SPA Lewis Hyde Lecture Response Week 3

Lewis Hyde recorded Lecture from 11-06-14 A Lived Practice Symposium at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

This lecture was a bit hard for me to connect to. Audio books and podcasts are not really easy for me to pay attention too. For some reason when it is just video it takes so much more energy to follow and absorb, Being stressed makes me antsy – which does not help. The second half of the recorded lecture I did follow a bit better.

The Cultural Commons aspect is what finally caught my attention. That knowledge should be common property in order for others to be able to build on the current theories and progress. Nicholas Tesla would probably have applauded much of the speech as he himself allowed others to use his patents for new inventions and further experiments. The anecdote about lighting a second candle without diminishing the light from the first was particularly poignant for me and I actually try to apply a similar concept to most of my projects. What helps one of us helps all of us.

Additional comments:

After reading the .pdf of the Lewis Hyde lecture I understand it a little better. The quote by Thomas Jefferson, “He who receives an idea from me receives instruction himself without lessening mind, as he who lights his taper at mine receives light without darkening me.” is similar to how I try to live my life. As I briefly mentioned in the web discussion, when I pass along calls for art for shows I’m entering it doesn’t make it any less likely that my piece will get in. Instead in pushes me to create better and stronger work. I view sharing certain art techniques the same way.  This article refers to the competition and rivalry between Matisse and Picasso and how they each made the others work stronger. If you do not have competition there is no desire to progress and everything will stagnate and die.

In regards to the idea of cultural commons. It is an unusual position to ponder. As artists we are always talking about how to protect our work and our ideas from being copied.Yet, in science we feel differently and as a society feel information should be readily available for continued progress for the betterment of mankind. Today especially it is an interesting conundrum as companies are beginning to patent and otherwise protect or own portions of our very DNA. There is a large debate as to whether they are even doing anything wrong and the company has called the original articles inflamatory.

The sections about Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr is poignant. They are thought to be stand alone figures, but nothing is created within a vacuum and ideas must come from somewhere, be built on something else. This is the portion that I related to Nicholas Tesla in my previous writing. He patented his works but also let others use them freely. Unfortunately society and the business world do not necessarily respect those aspects of man and he was nearly forgotten.

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