Tag Archives: arts

Beasts, whirligigs, and raindrops: engineering, art, and the play of the imagination

(by Eileen Dombrowski, from OUP blog) On this fine day in May, most Theory of Knowledge students in the northern hemisphere are surely preoccupied with only a certain aspect of knowledge: how well they have demonstrated it, in relevant forms, on examinations. So today let me suggest that tired students deserve to be invited away from exam stress through their senses and imaginations, and through a gentle form of TOK reflection.

I’d give them no taxing questions, but instead the chance simply to watch and respond to Theo Jansen’s Sandbeasts:

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Perspectives and manipulation: 6 photographers and a single subject

(by Eileen Dombrowski, from OUP blog) At first glance, this three-minute video (6 Photographers Capture Same Person But Results Vary Widely Because of a Twist) provides a visually engaging, if rather obvious, illustration of differing perspectives at work as 6 photographers take distinctly unlike pictures of the same subject. Taken at face value, it’s an appealing resource for a TOK class on the effect of what we think (perspectives, WOK intuition/reason) on what we see (WOK sense perception) and how we represent the world (WOK language). It’s when we question the methods of the film makers, though, and the reach of their conclusions, that the video becomes richer in questions that we want to raise in Theory of Knowledge.

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Clever cons and TOK 2: What does storytelling do to knowledge?

160215 scam roadsign(by Eileen Dombrowski, from OUP blog) Stories have power. In the scams of con artists, they have the power to “get you emotionally transported enough that you stop asking questions, or at least the questions that matter.” So warns Maria Konnikova, whose recently published book The Confidence Game prompted my post last week, and this week. At the same time, however, stories have an enriching role in the creation of knowledge, not just in obvious areas such as literature and history but also in areas such as the sciences where we might not expect a narrative to carry us. What, then, is the role of storytelling in telling lies, and telling truths? Continue reading

Orange cone dress protests pollution: art engages with the world

(by Theo Dombrowski, from OUP blog The image is striking.  A woman walks through the streets of Beijing dressed in a strange gown with a long–orange–cape trailing along the ground. But wait. What is the gown made from? Well, strange to say, what at first glance might seem like ruffles, are actually plastic cones or horns.

The woman is called Kong Ning and her creation of this orange dress provides TOK teachers with a striking current story to challenge and provoke students into considering complex–and vital–ways in which the Arts function as an area of knowledge. Continue reading

Arts and transformation?

(by Eileen Dombrowski. from OSC TOK blog Sept 28, 2014) “There might be a case,” the TOK subject guide allows, “for supposing that the arts have an important function as a medium for social criticism and transformation.” Might be a case? Supposing?  No overstatements here! The arts (arguably literature most directly) are used so widely as a vehicle for social critique that I offer one more example only for its striking current relevance and UN context: Continue reading

opinions on the child: raising knowledge questions with literature

14 07 28 baby
(by Theo Dombrowski, OSC TOK blog July 28, 2014) On a day when TOK students seem hard to rouse to even a mild level of vehement engagement, they will almost certainly perk up when asked questions like the following:

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History: the past in the present

(by Eileen Dombrowski, OSC TOK blog June 27) A symphony concert. A statue. These artworks of sculpture and music are charged with meaning in the context of war commemorations in Sarajevo today. The music is Haydn’s “God save the Emperor” and the statue is a monument to the assassin who killed the emperor’s heir. If you know anything about the outbreak of the First World War, you might feel a chilly shiver. Continue reading