Take 5: 25th May 2015 by Ms Joyce Teo Jie Ying
Good morning Mdm Tan, Mr Lee, Mr Tan, colleagues and all GESSians,
Today marks the first day of Aesthetics Week and this week is the time when the artistic, musical, culinary and literary skills of our very own GESSians are showcased and celebrated.
Your beautiful works are on display for all to see, and you will be entertained by a series of performances lined up during recess throughout the week. If this doesn’t sound appealing enough, with the exams seemingly long behind you and the June holidays fast approaching, I am certain all of you are going to enjoy this jam-packed final week of the semester.
For Aroozoo Reads last Wednesday, Mrs Tay shared with you a children’s story titled ‘ISH’. In the story, the boy was at first discouraged by his brother who had made fun of his drawings, but later found a new kind of artistic freedom and motivation to create when he was inspired by his little sister to think ‘ish’-ly. Instead of wasting time fretting over how the apple you drew does not look like an apple, it is perhaps more interesting to think about how to create something apple-ish. If you are really worried about not getting an apple-apple, why not just use a camera? If a perfect replica of the apple is what you want, then why not just take a photograph? But the question I want you to think about is, is an apple-apple the only and the best way to represent an apple?
So, today, in the same spirit of -ish and to set a light-hearted tone for the upcoming week, I would like to talk to you about messiness. I am not talking about your messy hair or the mess in your bag. The word messiness or chaos tend to come with many negative connotations. Instead, I would like to approach the word differently and talk about messiness in terms of ordered chaos, as something productive and as something you will inevitably face in life.
If I ask you now to picture a science lab and an artist studio, you would most likely see the lab as clinical and organised, while the art studio as filled with things all over the place. This stems from our conventional perception that science and art belong to belong to different parts of the brain – the left brain being the reasoning Science brain and the right brain being the creative Art brain. I often hear students say “I am good at Maths and hopeless at Art.” or vice versa, “I can do Art but I am horrible at Maths.” As an Art and Maths teacher, I will tell you that they are not all that different.
Why? To me, everything is about problem-solving. Before you arrive at any final solution, there is always a problem somewhere and something unknown. The process of moving from unknown to known is messy. You start with a big question mark, which prompts you to do something, and through seeing the problem from different perspectives, practicing, experimenting, and decision-making, you hopefully get less and less confused and manage to accomplish what you are suppose to do. This is aligned to design thinking, which all Sec 1 students would have experienced as part of your Applied Learning Programme. Problem-solving is central to most areas of learning, and learning is about making sense of your confusion and that can be a chaotic process. Therefore, I want to encourage you to become comfortable with this messy unknown.
Messiness and chaos are familiar territory for the Aesthetics. How often have you felt unsure about yourself during Art lessons, shy or embarrassed during Music, doubtful about the taste of your food in FCE, or clueless about what to write in Literature? We need to recognise that creating something, be it anything, is often a long and messy process.
So, as you wind down this final week with a new appreciation for messiness in mind, I wish you an enjoyable and relaxing time participating in Aesthetics Week.