Each of the four workshops Lists start with accolades from programmers and participants. Here's more
Bio - http://www.laughtears.com/bio.html
List One http://www.laughtears.com/workshops.html
List Two http://www.laughtears.com/workshops2.html
List Three http://www.laughtears.com/workshops3.html
List Four http://www.laughtears.com/workshops4.html
From: Leslie Raymond - Visiting Assistant Professor of Art
Oakland University, Michigan - Video Art ll, 3-22-12
Student reflections on Gerry Fialka's lecture McLuhan As Social Media
Gerry Fialka came to speak at Oakland University this past Thursday. He is a great speaker; he relates well with his audience and he knows his stuff.
I find it very interesting how Fialka said that artists need to reinvent the great ideas of the past artists, not to copy them but to create something based off of an-others idea and make it new, creative, and inventive. This is how we can keep moving forward in the art world and in life in general.
Also I like how he said that us artists should take our weaknesses or what we were told was incorrect or not good enough and run with it. I think that can make ones work stronger and even unique to that artist in their practice. What someone calls a mistake or poorly done can turn into that persons strength and the basis for there work.
Fialka was very honest and right down into reality. One of my favorite things he said was that the real classroom is outside of the classroom. Walk through a city and there is art everywhere, and not just the actual art but the potential art too.www.laughtears.com
Heading towards to lector hall, all I could think of was how boring listening to an artist say artsy things was going to be. I had previously sat in at some guest artist things and was bored out of my mind at most of them. However Gerry’s was different, I was surprised to be greeted by him and then asked what I wanted to be. I was caught a little off-guard but replied that I wanted to enter the video game industry. He too seemed a tad caught off guard at my response but gleefully continued on with a congratulatory statement. From that point on it was obvious that this guess artist/speaker was going to be different form the rest.
Unlike all of the other guests that have done talks, Gerry obviously shied away from a visual presentation and for good reasons too. His fluidity of subject and motion threw what he had to offer would not have worked well in the confines of a PowerPoint presentation.
His lecture started off by asking us a few unanswerable questions and giving everyone a chance to give their opinions. Eventually he started to talk on a media Theorist named Marshall McCluhan who answered all questions with more questions. One particular thing we were told to note for our teachers was his opinion on tools and their influences “We shape our tools, and they then shape us” instead of one of the predominant answers of we shape them or they shape us. This outlook on technological social evolution has been well proven in recent years by the internet. Gerry’s lecture emphasized that everything is in relation and that there is always a hidden effect of that relation. That hidden effect is what we must balance with the positives of the change when deciding to embrace new thing’s but is commonly overlooked.
Along with his theo-blabber there was some art hidden in there. He made note of how art has shifted in its position in society. It is now free to and has been a critique of society’s evolution. Art now serves as the sounding board for questions others are not willing to directly confront.
However out of everything said, there are two things I would like to quote that have resound the most with me.
“You do not learn in a room, you learn in the world” something I’ve believed for a long time.
“If you dream a dream alone, it’s a dream. But if you dream a dream together then it becomes reality.” That is and has always been the only difference between reality and imagination and will become even more truthful with time. (this needs something, oh i know! LINK)
Your group discussion was intensely enjoyable. I found your words and stories to be inspirational throughout. I felt that I needed a personal courtroom stenographer to keep track of all my ideas that kept escaping from my mind. I really connected and was comforted by your constant topic and relating to humans and how they have "destroyed" art and nature with their technological advancements. I felt that their was such a compression of facts that I couldn't keep up, and I unfortunately found myself lingering too long on one thing that you said. However, it was your interaction with the crowd that kept me interested and continually excited.
Your presence was so energetic and the whole presentation was completely not what I was expecting. The fact that while attending a visiting artists lecture I saw not one piece of his or anyone other persons art stirs my mind. I admittedly was caught off-guard with being questioned right as I entered the room, and I vaguely even remember what my answer was. However, after being seated, I found it very interesting to observe and listen to what others answers were. If I were given the chance again, my revised answer would be "a human".
Having not known anything, and still not knowing anything about you or your work I feel I will be easily able to connect and enjoy it. Knowing and relating to your views and beliefs will probably allow me to see your art differently than if I had not experienced your discussion beforehand. However, having further researched your links and biographies, I struggle to decipher what it is you really are, besides human.
I thought that the discussions and thought processes presented by our speaker last week was very interesting and uplifting. It made me feel that my opinions, judgments, and thoughts are just as great and accurate as anyone's. This is because he is accurate in saying we have all formed into this norm or idea of accepting something for what it is. There is room for other "theories" and ideas, and ways of completing our everyday tasks. There are creative ways to explore life and get involved in thinking out of the box.
Often I was confused by the topics we were covering; however, it was fun to be spontaneous and talk about topics that are not always thought about at school, work, and home. I agree that is important to combine work and home because you should love what you do. You should always be critically thinking and observing things around you, connecting your home life and work life. However, I feel that my work life and home life are so different at the moment that I do not like combining the two. Emotions and stress, to me, are often brought home from work and school. Instead, I want my ideas and thought processes to follow me.
I felt that when he asked questions and told us to give one word answers, that my answers were always thought-provoking. I am unsure this is because I am creative, or because I like coming up with answers that provoke others. I like to trick or impress people with ideas because often ideas are difficult to come across when we have to think quickly. I feel it's sometimes easier to think of something when you have less pressure. For example, thinking of a video topic may seem difficult when you are given certain guidelines and are under pressure to meet the standards.
Fialka made it clear that thinking for yourself is very important and that not even teachers, scientists, or government knows the answers to everything, yet has an "explanation" for everything. Listening to Fialka's comments and points of view almost upset me because to become an art teacher I have to follow strict courses and procedures. Yet, he stressed that everything we see and do isn't always the correct thing to do, but is accepted as a norm.
Posted by Leah Kaganac
On Thursday we had special guest Gerry Fialka visit Oakland. You never really know what you're going to get at these lectures, but we had been warned it was going to be entertaining. Upon entering the room, Gerry approached me and handed me a flyer and asked what I was going to school to become. As I told him I wanted to do graphic design work and editorial things for magazines he said he was impressed and asked me several questions. I've never had such a personal contact with a guest speaker or even a teacher be that interested in such a short amount of time.
Gerry got right into the lecture on Marshall McCluhan, who I knew very little about previously. Gerry had us answer several of his questions such as 'what was the first human invention?' and each person in the room had to answer. Although there was no visual aids to his presentation, that definitely kept me engaged.
Gerry talked about 'media theorist' Marshall McCluhan. Gerry stressed that Marshall was an innovator because he always answered questions with another question and brought out a lot of ideas and theories to the surface. One thing Gerry talked about, which he said to make sure to mention to our professor, was how Marshall believed that we shape the tools, and then the tools shape us. The first thing that came to mind when I heard this was Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg and friends created Facebook which was a tool to connect with friends and see a new side to people and their lives. Since its creation Facebook has shaped society. People are able to connect and communicate in ways never before possible. People lay out their personal lives for their friends to see.
Gerry also talked about seeing both sides to objects and situations. There are advantages and disadvantages to almost everything. He said that he gets distracted when students text in class and most likely the student isn't even paying attention but there is that possibility that they are taking highly detailed and diligent notes by using their phone. It really got me thinking about seeing situations from that kind of perspective which is interesting.
Posted by Kayleigh
Having not read the flyer prior to the Gerry Fialka lecture, I didn’t have an idea of what it was going to be about. This turned out okay because I enjoy pleasant surprises.
What impressed me about his lecture was how comfortable and confident he seems to be with his worldview. His thoughts on society, human nature, history, art, the general precedence of things, etc. were quite entertaining. I really liked some points that he made:
· He said, “Understanding is not having a point of view.” For me, this was the over arching theme of the lecture and a really fun thing to think about. I think that remaining neutral on most things is really difficult (if not impossible) to do; it’s much easier to grab onto a position and understand an issue from there. With that said, despite my questionable abilities to remain neutral, I think that it’s an important idea to consider before coming to conclusions.
· He talked about how it’s a function of artists to expose the “hidden effects of what we invent” to the rest of society. With new inventions/innovations appearing everyday, thinking about and revealing the “hidden effects” of them is important to making decisions in and accepting our evolving society. In order to do this, an artist satirizes the invention. This theoretically forces a different perspective on it.
He says that making “value judgments” (grabbing onto a position/opinion) regarding specific inventions is what makes people unable to cope with the “hidden effects” of them.
Before the lecture began Gerry handed out “Marshall McLuhan’s Tetrad,” which is fun to play with. Plugging different inventions into it really allows me to consider them in different ways and even helps to move me toward a more neutral opinion of the invention. The four questions in “Marshall McLuhan’s Tetrad” cut to the core of what the benefits and disadvantages of an invention are.
Overall I thought that it was a great lecture. It was fun listening to what he had to say. I think that Gerry Fialka fits a sort of new-age-old-wise-man archetype quite well.
Posted by Chris Naglik
Gerry had a lot of points that made you think. Usually when talking to most artists or when artist come to lecture I expect them to come and talk about their art work but he immediately got the audience to thinking with the first question that he asked. The fact that he was able to keep us all involved besides the one guy that he caught sleeping. Gerry had an interesting idea about art too. He talked about how artists have come up with art work that is not art work but then he covered other mediums that have done the same thing. Like the women that mad the book that wasn’t a book or the man that made the song that wasn’t a song. To me this is the most interesting because I feel like music, just like art, is something that is everywhere. So many artists have taken things that have already been made and then calling them art after making a slight change to them. When the music artist recorded the song that was nothing but natural sound and called it music it was just the same as artists that make found art. I dislike both of these because I like creativity and people who are original. I feel that taking found art or making music out of basically nothing is an insult us who work hard to make real art and music with meaning.
Some of the simple quotes that Gerry said were interesting too. It was one about taking the time to make planes and then doing the opposite. I liked that one because sometimes we constantly make plans that don’t work out the way that they should so maybe if we tried the opposite or just tried something different in general we would get different and possibly better results. Another thing he asked us was would it ever really be silence. Another one of those questions that I think made everyone think. And I think the biggest thing about a lot of his questions were they didn’t make us just think on the surface of things but I heard other people talking and they seemed to be in deep thought about these questions. All together his lecture was something that made me think and that was the most important part to me and it is what really kept me tuned in.
Posted by Bruce O. at 3:03 PM