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Assignment: Mnemonic Device

November 2, 2014

mnemonic device assignment_f14

Fall 2014 Arts 270: Introduction to Sculpture
Problem: Construction of Mnemonic Device(s) in Steel
Preparation for the problem:
1. Skills: Metal shop experience – welders, forge, plasma cutter, break, roller, grinders, shears, rosebud, cutting torch, etc.
a. practice all of the demonstrated tools and machines (you’ve accomplished the beginnings of this by making your Halloween costume component)
b. two-a-day drawings from memory: simple, reductive drawings that represent (for you) the memory, or memories, you are trying to access. These drawings will be your first mnemonic exercises.
2. Research:
a. Listen to this Radio Lab show:

b. Read this chapter from Oliver Sacks’s book, “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat”

c. Read and take notes as you look up memory and mnemonics. Feel free to create your personal research on theories of memory, i.e., episodic, causal, procedural, semantic, etc. This research is self-directed and allows you to delve as deeply as you can into areas that interest you the most.

TO THINK ABOUT NOW: Memory is at the heart of many of our automatic behaviors. It is as much a learning tool as an identity construction device. How we remember, what we remember, why we recall… all of these are rich areas for exploration. The more you learn about memory the more you have license to throw your own theories into the mix…. even if they are made-up theories based on facts.
A mnemonic device is something in the physical world that assists us with our capacity to monitor and recollect information stored in memory. Although most of the information that you might pull up on mnemonics will refer to semantic tricks that help one to remember abstract concepts, the assigned problem is asking you to construct a device that refers to or enables recall of a specific memory. You may choose to use a memory of yours, someone else’s, a nation’s, the earth’s, etc. You must first get very clear about the memory itself. Do not swim in generalities.
The way in which you present this mnemonic device should fit the type of memory that it is referencing. Should it be on the wall, on the floor, on the body, leaning, in a series, or as a discreet object (or other possibilities)? Is it for a human, an animal, a plant? Is it rough, slick, forged, rusted, painted, flocked? The methods and materials you use need to further your concept. Idea and delivery are not separate!
There are no size stipulations. The materials are limited to MOSTLY metal (i.e., surface treatments can be mixed media). The piece will need to be titled and a short (about one paragraph) writing about the memory for which this device is being made must be handed in with the piece. The due date will be the date of our class final.
NOTE: Your journals are due on the last class day of the week before finals.

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