This Tuesday night, we had our last session of the Origins lecture theories – a poster presentation of the research projects that my Origins seminar has been working on for the whole semester. We also had students from the creative artist book class to present their works. It was a celebration of the intellectual growths that we gained from past lectures and a showcase of our own work on the theme of Origins.
In this week’s lecture and seminar, we had Prof. Chris Gavaler from Washington and Lee University to talk about the origins of superheroes. Previously we have read two chapters of his book On the Origin of Superheroes: from the Big Bang to Action Comics No. 1 which talk about the evolution and eugenics implications of the birth of superheroes. Then in his evening lecture, Prof. Gavaler introduced this object by tracing back to the origins of the word “superhero,” the origins of the concept of the superhero, and the political and cultural implications of superhero.
Stephano Colangelo came to lecture about origins of contemporary poetry. He first mentions before getting into the heart of the lecture that poetry is a study of literature that produces metaphors to understanding something new about topics. He also expanded that the origins of poetry and especially contemporary poetry is difficult to trace since poetry is abstract and defined it as a state of mind. He said he would use metaphors to understand different parts of contemporary poetry.
One of the more interesting ideas he discussed was Benedetto Croce’s quote that, “art is pure intuition or pure expression.” I believe this is true for all art. There is fluidity in this statement that art is a pure intuition. When someone hears, sees, smell, taste, or feel any art form it, is the person interpreting that is giving the meaning to the art form, and it is all based on intuition without the primordial form of knowledge. You can also see this from the perspective of the artist, where the artist doesn’t have any concepts, but has an intuition and uses his art as his or her way of expression. There are ideas and concepts of the art, but there is no primordial form, and this is what art is by Croce. Croce also believes poetry as art and this intuition might be the beginning trace of origins for contemporary poetry. I think you can connect the idea of order vs. chaos in this definition of art. When art is a pure expression or intuition it gives it order because expression and intuition there is some understanding and intention behind it, however, the lack of primordial knowledge is similar to the idea of chaos where there is no understanding of where, how, and why this intuition or expression came to be.
Another significant point discussed in the lecture is the notion of relating voice, poetry, language, and body. Colangelo mentions that the multilingual poet, Paul Celan, says “poetry is timeless, and poetry can be an empty space. It doesn’t always have to be fully understood; it can be just left empty.” These components of poetry are crucial to discover some evidence to origins of poetry. However, it is also the reason I think why finding origins of poetry difficult. If poetry is timeless than it becomes more challenging to pinpoint when poetry has started because any literature with verses can become poetry from any time, but also most origins share the same characteristics of being timeless, such as origins of the universe there is no definite time when the universe started. Leaving poetry vague and incomprehensible also shares similar characteristics with the origins of universe and art. We also don’t fully understand why the universe was created and trace the origins of art. It is challenging to find origins of universe and art. For art, it is mainly due to defining what qualifies as art that makes tracing origins of art difficult, and for origins of the universe, we are not technologically and scientifically able to trace our universe at the beginning of time.
This week’s lecture had a very similar theme to the previous weeks lecture about the Big Bang Theory. Similar to last week, Professor David Berovici talked about the origin of the Earth and how it was found. He provided evidence of the Big Bang Theory that very much resembled the evidence we mentioned last week. Specifically, the concept that galaxies and other spatial phenomenon’s move away from each other and Olber’s effect, underscore the contradicting arguments of an infinite, old universe. The existence of dark night skies makes us believe the Universe is not necessarily infinite or as old as we think it is. Therefore we begin to question different theories that have been suggested in the past regarding the way the Universe was created.
When I think of space, of anything above our atmosphere, it’s usually clouded by my belief that anything in that realm is far too complex, large, or confusing for little me to possibly understand. However, every time I read a chapter or take a class about space, it feels like the things going on in that sky above me are simpler than the jumbled mess of life happening on this spaceship called Earth.