An Opportune Writing

The journey began by deploying the AND Boolean search method as my main research method. While the results it yielded were germane to the topic, they were heavily limited by the input of my key words which began with Vietnam War memorial and controversy but then controversy alone was soon replaced by Maya Lin and other names of stakeholders. The main reason why I had to replace controversy is because the word was too broad. The searches yielded articles that seemed to say the same thing but with different voices which warranted an input change. After deleting controversy, scholarly articles that analyzed the broad spectrum of issues were removed, creating room for ones that offered unique perspectives and insights on one or two stake holders. After finding my scholarly source, “Monument or Memorial? The Wall and the Politics of Memory” by Robert K. Brigham I used my second strategy; choosing sources that either argue against or supplement his viewpoint. But more importantly these sources have to present their arguments through the perspectives of stakeholders different from ones Brigham used. That way not only is there a flow between the stakeholder’s issues, but I also can be sure that I am analyzing a myriad issues of connected issues at the same time, not presenting two sides of one debate. In conclusion, I found my sources by using the AND method for each stakeholder, and strategically finding complementing sources,

Genre and audience have some influence over my choice of sources. I approached the blog and the outsider’s guide with similar selections but with the academic argument my selections had to be different. This is mainly due to the formality and gravity of the genre and its audience. Simply put, the blog and the outsider guide are mainly informal genres that do not heavily require many scholarly sources nor restrained to have a tone of objectivity that an academic argument is required to have. Rather writing a blog or an outsider guide requires a more personal and in a sense a subjective approach which allows me to find sources fitting only my personal perspective, a method that would discredit any academic argument.

This process has taught me to really focus on who is the audience and how can I use my writing to express my understanding as thoroughly as possible by making my content relatable to the audience. Thus it has made me a better writer by making me understand that context of any writing is not just a historical or socio political background of the topic, but also factors in who is reading the piece. It is a very simple thing that in my previous education, I would never think about since my audience has always been my teacher who knew more about the topic than I did.

The method of relating to the audience is crucial to both architecture courses now and in professional practice. This is because architecture is such a broad discipline that many of its atypical nuances are sometimes even foreign to well-studied professors, let alone future clients who don’t know a thing about design. This is why understanding and respecting context (audience) is crucial as it eventually will determine whether I pass design studio or be commissioned.


Ultimately, this course has taught me that writing about art is an opportune product. To be ethically responsible is to produce writing that illustrates your experience with the art in the most appropriate manner. Thus appropriate in this situation means to be responsive to both the context of your experience and the language you use to engage your audience. For example to illustrate the disbelief we, in our modern time, would have of bipartisan political support for anything, I added a cheesy photo of 2 suit wearing donkey and elephant. Their conjoined stance and their awkward uneasy smile not only conveys a bonding partnership but also the discomfort of it. By having these traits my audience of well-read art enthusiasts can easily understand it without knowing much about politics.

Word Count: 667

Written Versus Experienced

Before going to the voice recital, I always wondered how the program (the list of music) is chosen. I began trying the Boolean operator methods from your summary heuristic and quickly concluded that only the And operator is suitable for key words voice types and recitals (I chose voice types over music genre because it is more specific and often determines genre).

And is the best option because it only searches articles comparing recitals and voice types that might occur in these events while the or operation and not operator slow my research by finding all articles containing the either one or both of the words. With the operator I found J. T. Dalton’s thesis on recital programing.

Because the outsider guide genre asks me to provide key insights after experiencing a voice recital for the first time , I wrote heavily on the difference between the actual experience and expectations my audience, an outsider with no friends majoring music to refer to , might assume after reading online blogs and seeing taped recordings of these events.

One good example is when I addressed the discrepancy of the actual dress code and the presumed dress code for an audience member in the What to Wear section. In this instance, not only is my textual content a comparison but also my visual content where I put a hyperlink to a YouTube video of a music teacher advising you to dress up in the beginning of the section to the contrast the photo of hoodie wearing music majors at the end of the section.

The genre and my audience also influenced my sources by making me find a source an outsider would refer to before going and a source an outsider could only find after going there. Which is why chose a recital guideline handout written by Kirsten Phillips ( a music teacher) to compare with response from an informal interview with a music major who regularly attends recitals for a grade.

Overall, the research and writing for this genre made me realize that when writing for an unfamiliar genre, sometimes my initial research might not be useful at all or used in a different way than originally planned. For example, my initial interest in finding how music is chosen for the recital was heavily trumped by my shock from realizing how wrong the etiquette guides were after going to the recital.

I originally planned to use J. T. Dalton’s analysis of recital programing for a full section after the introduction to provide a well-researched background of how the recital is traditionally structured and compare my experience to historical trends. After realizing the major discrepancy between presumed and actual etiquettes, I changed my initial findings from a full section to a few short paragraphs in the How to Enjoy the Music section. A full detailed comparison shrunk down to a detailed advice on a talking point.

Recognizing flexibility in research and organization is very important when faced with new writing tasks because pertinent sources are hard to find and the focal point of the piece could easily change in different stages of writing. This is very proven in architectural writings for studio projects where the thesis and its supporting facts change after each meeting with the professor.



Putting Las Meninas into Words

After writing a tiresome and somewhat enjoyable 1140 word report on a painting that I had learned about in AP art history class so many years ago and of course saw in person, I wondered why I chose that painting. Could it be that I was truly awe inspired by it? Or was it a painting I felt I was never truly able to describe in any scenario other than in an AP art exam? I realize it was both those things and something else. The painting connected me to a younger self.

By describing and researching the painting, it made me remember the spark I had when I first discovered that words could open the meanings of images. However the ability to construe those concise words has always eluded me until this assignment. Describing the physical qualities of a painting isn’t hard, in fact there is even a fill in manual for that in any AP art exam. However to fully express the meaning behind those physical qualities is, especially in the case of Las Meninas.

The main issue lies in the fact that the painting requires me to convey a multidimensional moment to the reader as efficiently as possible. Since the painting assumes that the viewer could be in many different perspectives at once (both in and out the painting), the order of descriptions is crucial. I had to clearly define what a “dimension” is and explain how one dimension follows to another, as if such an order is definite. For example in my blog’s fourth paragraph I described the order of dimensions by beginning with the viewer’s perspective to Velázquez’s to the King and Queen’s, but it could might as well be the King and Queen’s perspective to Velázquez’s to the viewer’s . The order of how these dimensions are perceived varies individually, but I can’t express all possibilities or else my argument will be all over the place. To be an effective writer, I had to assume there is only one logic, but in art there is no such case.


Another fallacy of being concise is that I failed to include the viewpoints of many other figures such as the princess’s, her meninas’s and the figures in the background especially the man in the doorway. But again if I do so, the blog’s fourth paragraph would be massive. The order of dimensions would be massive and the descriptions of dimensions would be redundant.

Nevertheless, art compels the viewer to form their own thoughts, by limiting those variables my writing could never be the full experience. It only serves as an abstraction formulated by my view.

The last thing I felt my writing was lacking occurred to me when I read Helen’s draft in class. She began her art encounter by not describing the experience but rather the region where the experience occurred. Her approach was more personal because she described the region by explaining what she saw in the car ride to the concert. Before reading Helen’s draft, I believed writing about my experience in Museo del Prado isn’t as effective as explaining the historical context. But now in reflection, I believe by including memories of the museum and how the people beside were reacting to the piece, my writing would be more interesting and more suitable for a blog.

In conclusion, writing about Las Meninas has not only helped me re-visit past mistakes in writing, but also made me more aware the limitations of writing about art and the importance of physical and historical context.

589 Words