The sadness of the dream of Pixar.

Posted by patrick lichty | Sat Dec 17th 2005 5:23 a.m.

My colleagues and I went to see Chronicles of Narnia last night, and I
thought more about this converstation.

The sadness of all this is that the students are aspiring to be people
who create someone else's vision.

This is what I feel is the tragedy of it all. To me, being an artist is
about generating your own ideas, vision, etc. It isn't about realizing
someone else's. I'm not talking about the Modernist view of the
artist-as-genius, but I am talking about the functional difference
between being a generator of ideas and merely an agent of realization.

One requires a lot more thought than the other.

In the US, kids are taught to want to learn just what they need to know
to get a job. This is where Postman was so right about Technopoly.
Results-based learning gears expectations to be complacent with the
pigeonhole, more or less. The problem is that they don't tell the kids
that the pigeonhole could be eliminated by outsourcing, market
pressures, or any number of factors that could cause a bottom-line
conscious corporation to 'shift its human resource requirements' for any
number of reasons, including the hiring of more creative people from
global labor pools in the future. The dream of Pixar is short term, in
tems of the students.

Some will say that the idea is to get them into industry so they can
start getting experience so they can rise to the point where they can
have creative freedom.

I understand we all have to eat. However, then why the hell are you
going to art school? To merely master a set of perceptual and
realization skills so you can actualize them LATER? This makes no sense
to me. Why are you going to an art school than going to a technical
school?

Therefore:
The dream of Pixar:
1: Short-term
2: Driven by corporate entertainment media cash
3: Results-driven (productivity of 'creative' entertainment media that
judges its merit on market success)
4: short-changes the individuality/vision of the artist,
5: Subjugates students to an unstable/uncertain corporate media
production paradigm.
6: Is intellectually bereft / discourages critical engagement /
discourages thought/reflection to emphasize entertainment.
7: Is elitist as a high art paradigm, but Pixar's elitism is driven by
the industrial/entertainment sector, not high culture. You still have
to have the same sorts of levels of validation, which are also extremely
hard to pass.

It's as if the students were going to extraordinary lengths not to
think, when they might actually find it easier to do so.

Pick your poison.

I can come up with a few more, I'm sure.
  • mark cooley | Sun Dec 18th 2005 9:50 p.m.
    i'm sympathetic with the view that students are shortchanging themselves. it's nice to see patrick sum up a lot of the frustrations i have as a teacher, and sad to see that the pixar flu is an epidemic (one would like to think that it's only at one's own school and the grass is somehow greener, or a little less well rendered at least, somewhere else). i do think that it is important not to revert to modernist assumptions of high and low art and to judge Pixaritis on such a basis (although it is tempting at times). that's why i'm happy to see that patrick commenting on the mythologies of success (in pixar terms) and why it might not be in the student's best interest (regardless of the hype) to even think twice about working as a human machine for someone elses profit. The sad fact is that many art students don't care about being artists and much of my time in the classroom is spent assuming that they do want to be artists. hence, the frustration.

    mark

    patrick lichty wrote:

    > My colleagues and I went to see Chronicles of Narnia last night, and I
    > thought more about this converstation.
    >
    > The sadness of all this is that the students are aspiring to be people
    > who create someone else's vision.
    >
    > This is what I feel is the tragedy of it all. To me, being an artist
    > is
    > about generating your own ideas, vision, etc. It isn't about
    > realizing
    > someone else's. I'm not talking about the Modernist view of the
    > artist-as-genius, but I am talking about the functional difference
    > between being a generator of ideas and merely an agent of realization.
    >
    >
    > One requires a lot more thought than the other.
    >
    > In the US, kids are taught to want to learn just what they need to
    > know
    > to get a job. This is where Postman was so right about Technopoly.
    > Results-based learning gears expectations to be complacent with the
    > pigeonhole, more or less. The problem is that they don't tell the
    > kids
    > that the pigeonhole could be eliminated by outsourcing, market
    > pressures, or any number of factors that could cause a bottom-line
    > conscious corporation to 'shift its human resource requirements' for
    > any
    > number of reasons, including the hiring of more creative people from
    > global labor pools in the future. The dream of Pixar is short term,
    > in
    > tems of the students.
    >
    > Some will say that the idea is to get them into industry so they can
    > start getting experience so they can rise to the point where they can
    > have creative freedom.
    >
    > I understand we all have to eat. However, then why the hell are you
    > going to art school? To merely master a set of perceptual and
    > realization skills so you can actualize them LATER? This makes no
    > sense
    > to me. Why are you going to an art school than going to a technical
    > school?
    >
    > Therefore:
    > The dream of Pixar:
    > 1: Short-term
    > 2: Driven by corporate entertainment media cash
    > 3: Results-driven (productivity of 'creative' entertainment media that
    > judges its merit on market success)
    > 4: short-changes the individuality/vision of the artist,
    > 5: Subjugates students to an unstable/uncertain corporate media
    > production paradigm.
    > 6: Is intellectually bereft / discourages critical engagement /
    > discourages thought/reflection to emphasize entertainment.
    > 7: Is elitist as a high art paradigm, but Pixar's elitism is driven by
    > the industrial/entertainment sector, not high culture. You still have
    > to have the same sorts of levels of validation, which are also
    > extremely
    > hard to pass.
    >
    > It's as if the students were going to extraordinary lengths not to
    > think, when they might actually find it easier to do so.
    >
    > Pick your poison.
    >
    > I can come up with a few more, I'm sure.
    >
    >
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