Reflection: Other Related Research
Powerful Concepts from our Discussion with Deke Weaver
By Rachel Fleming (04/14/14 17:50:18)
Related animal: Wolf

The performance "The Wolf" by Deke Weaver first struck me as confusing but intriguing. During the course of the performance I felt myself getting absorbed by a swarm of ideas and meanings. I didn't feel like I understood a lot of what was going on, but I kept trying as it went along to piece things together and find connections. Some parts were deep enough to where I felt like I needed to bring myself back to reality. I was curious about some things like the glasses, the dances in the video, and various sounds. There seemed to be no clear answers until the discussion at the end, when I was able to piece together why he did some things in a particular way.

Through the discussion I was able to find answers to my questions solely by listening to Deke's insightful comments and elaborations.

Three ideas particularly stood out to me:

1. The idea that there is a desirable emotion associated with not being given an answer and having a sort of "shock" when confronted with something we cannot explain based on our current knowledge. This idea really resonated with me. Earlier today I was watching YouTube videos explaining quantum mechanics and was getting very frustrated (especially since this week I didn't understand the lectures on this topic and couldn't get help from my professor or a TA). It was not enjoyable for me to not have answers right in front of me. Deke's comments about the experience of self-discovery and surprise made me feel like I could use this approach to calm my frustrations and make my search for knowledge more enjoyable.

I also imagine that this is the feeling a lot of research scientists long for, since it probably means that there is a chance they are observing something new, important, and interesting for all of science.

2. The idea that cultural associations with animals shapes our actions and attitudes toward them. I had been aware of this idea in the back of my mind but hearing it described in a new way helped me to really understand the complete separation between the real animal and the human perception of it. Although I like animals a lot, there are probably still biased in my own thinking that are influenced by societal views.

3. The fact that Deke has uncertainty at times about the impact of his work on audiences relates to struggles I go through every day. I often question what impact my hard work will have on society, the environment, and in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes I wonder how my current and future contributions to science will be used, and who will fund them. I wonder if I'll be lucky enough to contribute a sentence to an undergraduate textbook, or if my work will be more interesting than useful. The fact that Deke also expressed on-and-off uncertainties he has about his work, but continues anyway, was inspiring.

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