The intelligent eye (3)

David Perkins’s second suggestion for looking at art is to make looking broad and adventurous. Experiential intelligence, he says, tends to operate in a somewhat narrow, stereotyped way, unless we give it a nudge. This sort of self-cuing helps experiential intelligence to change directions, casting a net widely to finding seeings that otherwise would be missed. In order to expand our perceptions, we should aim our experiential intelligence at chosen targets, set ourselves a mission and direct ourselves to look for particular sorts of things, such as what awaits and what hides.

The rules of thumb suggested are:
  • Ask “What’s going on here?”.
  • Look for surprises.
  • Look for mood and personality.
  • Look for motion.
  • Look for capturing a time or place.
  • Look for cultural and historical connections.
  • Look for space and negative space.
  • Look for specific “technical” dimensions.
  • Shift your scale.
  • Look for virtuosity.

Perkins then makes the following observations on the cultivation of broad and adventurous thinking to enrich our thinking:
  • Broad and adventurous thinking is reaching out beyond the obvious by any manner whatsoever with an open spirit.
  • It is more enculturation than instruction. It is a posture, a mindset, an attitude, an orientation.
  • Broader and more adventurous thinking should not be seen as the manna of genius but the bread and butter of getting along in the world just that much better than we otherwise would.

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