[Humanist] 23.343 computing and the arts

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Oct 4 10:31:30 CEST 2009

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 23, No. 343.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Sat, 03 Oct 2009 13:46:48 +0100
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: humanities computing and the arts

Some of us here have from time to time, or more steadily, walked the 
bridge between humanities computing and the arts, and the crafts, or 
been where the distinction vanishes. In the latest issue of the London 
Review of Books, for 8 October 2009, the English artist Bridget Riley, 
in "At the End of My Pencil", provides a way into the sort of thinking 
and talking which seems just right for the territory. I quote here from 
the first two paragraphs of her article, though the whole of it is 
online (www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n19/print/rile03_.html):

> For me, drawing is an inquiry, a way of finding out – the first thing
> that I discover is that I do not know. This is alarming even to the
> point of momentary panic. Only experience reassures me that this
> encounter with my own ignorance – with the unknown – is my chosen and
> particular task, and provided I can make the required effort the
> rewards may reach the unimaginable. It is as though there is an eye
> at the end of my pencil, which tries, independently of my personal
> general-purpose eye, to penetrate a kind of obscuring veil or
> thickness. To break down this thickness, this deadening opacity, to
> elicit some particle of clarity or insight, is what I want to do.
> The strange thing is that the information I am looking for is, of
> course, there all the time and as present to one’s naked eye, so to
> speak, as it ever will be. But to get the essentials down there on my
> sheet of paper so that I can recover and see again what I have just
> seen, that is what I have to push towards. What it amounts to is that
> while drawing I am watching and simultaneously recording myself
> looking, discovering things that on the one hand are staring me in
> the face and on the other I have not yet really seen. It is this
> effort ‘to clarify’ that makes drawing particularly useful and it is
> in this way that I assimilate experience and find new ground.

Willard McCarty, Professor of Humanities Computing,
King's College London, staff.cch.kcl.ac.uk/~wmccarty/;
Editor, Humanist, www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist;
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, www.isr-journal.org.

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