Prof. Jeanne Bamberger - From action to symbol: An essential tension

נשלח 28 בפבר׳ 2012, 10:04 על ידי Yotam Hod   [ עודכן 17 באפר׳ 2012, 23:21 על ידי keren aridor ]

From action to symbol: 
An essential tension

Question “Where does the present go when it becomes past, and where is the past?” 

The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity. -L. Wittgenstein 

We necessarily experience the world in and through time; our body actions, the flow of objects and events around us are necessarily experienced as successive and contiguous. How and why, then, do we step off these temporal action paths, to selectively and purposefully interrupt, stop, and contain the natural passage of contiguous, continuous actions/events? 

Music, of all our creations, is about time. Music, shaping time, brings the transient presence (of time) into consciousness—making time palpable, as if hand held. The episodes with children that I follow, recapitulate in innocent form the efforts of philosophers and scientists throughout history to hold time still so as to reflect upon it, to digitize, count, measure its evanescent, continuously disappearing presence. 

Time: First, does it belong to the class of things that exist or to that of things that do not exist?... But of time some parts have been, while others have to be, and no part of it is, though it is divisible. Again, the "now" which seems to be bound to the past and the future--does it always remain one and the same or is it always other and other? It is hard to say. 

Aristotle: Physics, Book IV, Chapter 10 

How do we learn to turn the moving flow of our complex organized bodily actions, like clapping, or bouncing a ball, or swinging on the park swing, or rollerblading, into discrete entities that somehow represent our experience of those objects, and our sensory mastery of them. 

I will argue that in their efforts to describe organized (periodic, patterned) rhythmic actions (clapping, walking, drumming), children give us a window into assumptions that hide, in their everyday practice, the remarkably poignant complexity of coming to understand and use everyday, common symbolic expressions. 

More specifically, in seeking to make descriptions of objects (or themselves) in motion, 
children must find ways to hold time and motion still, to contain and bound it, to 
make bits and pieces of their going on. By studying their efforts, children also 
provide us with insight into the critical (silent) transformations that we absorb 
and use and teach and test--our everyday symbolic conventions that capture, compress, 
consolidate motions going on. 

Learning from the children, I have developed an interactive computer-based environment in which children are puzzling productively with the essential tension between their effective knowing-in-action and their developing representational competence.

Jeanne Bamberger is Professor of Music at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she teaches music theory and music cognition. Her interests include musical development and learning, in particular aspects of representations among both children and adults. She was a student of Artur Schnabel and Roger Sessions and has performed extensively as piano soloist and in chamber music ensembles. She attended Columbia University and the University of California at Berkeley receiving degrees in philosophy and music theory. Her most recent books include (1995) The mind behind the musical ear (Harvard University Press), and (2000) Developing musical intuitions: A project based introduction to making and understanding music. (Oxford University Press)

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