reply to sketch vs prototype, sorta
read through much of what you had to say about sketch and prototype and art and choices and I am so interested that I am distracted, which is the common result of reading in areas where I love to spend my brain time. It is not the kid-in-candy-store cliché but more like thirsty man who cannot swim falling in a deep lake. my mind likes to resonate at a certain frequency and that is my frequency, and it almost makes it impossible to reflect in any meaningful way because I am so taken by the myriad responses and directions of responses and the literal and figurative (which are considered binary but are, of course, a continuum) see what I mean, nonsense comes out…
I kid myself that this is indicative of greater thoughts but rather disorganized closets are so because they are over filled, but because they have no shelves. I have no shelves.
OK, so, first shelf: sketch and prototype stuff the list that you share on 5/7 is a series of words that are like a hard rain. keeping with my water metaphor. I have this little paper cup and there are all these words there. golly each one of these words is a trigger for a thousand words. evocative and evoke, and provocative and provoke, the difference between poking and being poked. it is infer and imply right? sketches evoke? sketches provoke.. they come unbidden on the best days right? it is like reading a script and seeing the actors come to life in your mind, if that is your muse… Or seeing a dance when hearing a tune, or painting and poems and so on.. it is not the final thing but it is like the dream of the final thing… didactics is instructive, but not always like Mary Chase in Harvey when she tell her daughter, Myrtle to “stop being didactic, its irritating and men hate it.” Didactic is this great thing where we are telling with a purpose. While “telling” has gotten bad press from constructivists, it is a beautiful thing, and it intention makes it prototypical then? While the “provoked” response makes it reflexive and not “crafted” which word I want to talk about as well…
teaching theater offered me the filter of choices and constraints. One has a script and a finite set of actors, and a finite budget and within those constraints choices are made. and as I used this reduction it offered itself to writing and design and so on… But the constraints and choices are not the art, they are the craft.
weaving baskets is a largely technical project because of the constraints and choices available. you have your materials and your method and within that craft you can do well or poorly but it is not because of your art so much as because of your technical skill. Knitting and other ignoble crafts are not the art of imagining but the craft of doing. The art is the dream part right? It is the wishing the conjuring and high end of Bloom where we synthesize. And the first stuff where we know and comprehend and apply is all the work of the craftsman. The analysis and evaluation are for the drear critics who neither create nor dream. Must take issue with Bloom that this is the far end of the scale, as it is neither art nor craft. It is synthesis that can come from the new but is addressed by Shakespeare better than by Bloom.
So sketch is choices pre-constraint. And prototype is constraint added to choices. Sketch is to create and plug into the art, and prototype is to allow it to be governed by the rules of the craft.
I love Opera as it is a conventionalized meta-art form. Not everything goes. You do not sing off pitch. Certain classic roles are always sung by certain vocal types and there even exists certain ages for certain vocal types accepted. I suppose it is like sumo wrestling which is only enjoyable by those who care about the conventions. But within the conventions that exist are strengths that other forms do not enjoy. In Opera there is a baseline belief that clarity of tone and pitch are necessarily good, or necessary. Volume is now poo pooed by many who hear singing but the thought in opera is that if you have an orchestra and no microphone and you are expressing great joy or agony that you should not have to whisper. IN opera emotion is king and exhilaration and grief are not apologized for but expressed as we feel them . We do not sort of feel agony, and it is not well expressed by some off-pitch folk singer to my mind.
opera has layers and levels of craft that are its accepted constraints. It offers choices within pageantry and tonal quality and years of training that take each technical skill and allows extreme, regal and unequalled expression of the fundamental, archetypal human condition. This is in costume, sets, orchestration, libretto, and performance.
At the end of the day in the conventions of design and pedagogy, which are as confined as other forms, we know the rules still apply. Your art provokes, your rules provide shelving for the art to live on. Your rules of organization are provide by experience with the human condition. Your prototype is the compromise of your choices with the size of the shelving. Prototypes are the constraints you apply. Modern Art is the failed effort to have content without the form. Verse poetry was called a 300-year failed experiment because it added epic rule sets to creativity and expression. When do we need constraints? only to reach a culture, a time and place, a group, an individual, or the human condition. Novels may be in the past as we lose our ability to think. we may all be twitterized and able to only think in bumper stickers, and what rules will apply to bumper stickers?
so my visceral response to the formal and arbitrary distinctions between sketch and prototype is that this is a definition in search of a word. Sketch is the design-based conventionalized shorthand for “idea.” You get to share the idea without extensive rule following. Prototype is the shorthand for “choices.” The hard constraints are provided by current thought in pedagogical design’s idea of acceptable and unacceptable. While some of this is rule driven because there are some black and white areas where the design is “on pitch” or not. This defines the boundaries or constraints. But inside the playing area the rest lies along the continuum of choices. These choices all fall in bounds right?
Lastly because this is silly rambling and taking way too long, the interesting stuff is when we break the boundaries in pedagogy and design. Using Twitter or using on-line tech is the not reformative, but revolutionary choice that allows progression (not to be confused with the too generous word of progress). The interesting stuff in educational design lies on the edge of novel and convincing. It is not enough to be new, it must also be significant. Authenticity is like significant, but it is only one ingredient. It must also be meaningful, but that is another element not the definition. So I use “convincing.” This alludes to an understanding of persuasion that I do not believe in, but would like to.