VISA 480 Week 2 Lesson Plan

Nothing to Hide

Reading Discussion

Martin Heidegger trans. by Albert Hofstader The Thing in Poetry, Language, Thought (p. 163-169)
Peters, Gary Ahead of Yes and No:  Heidegger on Not Knowing and Art in On Not Knowing (p.110-119)
Plant, Sadie Eleven Thoughts on Nothing in Voids (p. 365-66)

Students are divided into 5 groups, one question for each group for 2 rounds then open to class.

Round 1 The Thing

a)     Which is activated first, the jug as a thing or the jug as an object?
b)     What if we put a flower in the jug, does it then become a vase?
c)      Is function necessary for a thing to be a “thing”, can you think of anything that doesn’t have a use?
d)     Where do you think “nothing” would fit in all this?
e)     Define how the jug is:  a) jug
b) thing
c) Object d) Representation e) Process and then articulate how these all inform one another

Round 2 Ahead of Yes or No

  • Of all the decisions an artist must make, what do you think is the most important one?
  • Do you agree with how the author locates “truth” in art?
  • What is the difference between what, how and why questions?
  • Is art’s consequence “unknowability”?  What does that mean?
  • What does it mean when Peters’ says “while the thinker can think outside of the aesthetic, the artist remains within it”?

Round 3 Group Discussion Question:
Do you think that now that you know about the “not knowing” it ruins it?

Personal Reflection In-Class Activity
Alongside Piet Mondrian’s well-known geometric abstractions, he sustained another body of work, which critic David Shapiro refers to as his “secret.”  For his friends he displayed evanescent single-flower studies on secret wall in New York City.  These studies are a counterpoint in his artistic sensibility, revealing a devotion to the essential from another perspective.  They are quietly sensual and suggestion of the body and the “allegorized feminine” (David Shapiro’s “Mondrian’s Secret” from Uncontrollable Beauty:  Toward a New Aesthetic, p. 307-23)

a.      Do you have a “secret” body of work that you are reluctant to bring to public scrutiny?
b.     Does this work represent another pole of your artistic sensibility? Why is it secret?  Free write for 5 minutes

Online Group Journal Preparation Homework   Reminders
Students are divided into 5 groups of 5.  Upon evaluating the responses to the journals, next week’s discussion groups will be based on like-minded or interestingly contrasting points found in the online journal when attempting the questions.  The groups in class will not have duplicates of the online journal groups about the same readings.  Selected answers from the journal will be featured in Friday’s lecture.

1.  Each member of the group should reply in a post, describing your interpretation of and differences between:  The sex which is not one, Informe & Abject

After the Wednesday deadline, when postings are up, please take the time to discuss or respond to the other answers or distinguishing features your fellow group members described.

2.  Each member of the group, post a suggestion of a media work from visual culture, or art work (please provide an attached JPG or URL reference) that illustrates or produces from the ideas in Kristeva’s Powers of Horror Approaching Abjection excerpt.  Please describe how you chose the source, and how you saw it coincide with particular details.


  Critique days have been assigned, let me know of any glaring issues/absences.  Start to look at Dictionary project prompt online.  Don’t forget your online group journals, due Wednesday by 5pm, before class on Friday.