Hi there tout la gang,

We don't have much to say about research in practice at the Café right now

but we are talking policy and practice over here now: Literacy Enquirers.

Monday, March 17, 2008

the art of measurement

Background: I am working on a project about reporting requirements and accountability frameworks in adult literacy in Canada.

My coworker was just in New York and went to the MoMA. She saw the Marcel Duchamp sculpture called 3 Standard Stoppages. She described it to me and as she did, I started to see why she thought that this sculpture would resonate with me as I am doing this work. One of the things Duchamp did when building the sculpture was dip a metre length of string in ink and let it drop into what ever shape happened. Each shape was different but each one was a metre. If you cannot see that it is a metre, it is not because it is not a metre, it is just that you are not used to seeing metres that way.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! Immediately I felt better. Thank you M. Duchamp. Thank you art. Thank you Tannis.

Here is what it says on the MoMA page:

It is "a joke about the meter," Duchamp glibly noted about this piece, but his premise for it reads like a theorem: "If a straight horizontal thread one meter long falls from a height of one meter onto a horizontal plane twisting as it pleases [it] creates a new image of the unit of length." Duchamp dropped three threads one meter long from the height of one meter onto three stretched canvases. The threads were then adhered to the canvases to preserve the random curves they assumed upon landing. The canvases were cut along the threads' profiles, creating a template of their curves creating new units of measure that retain the length of the meter but undermine its rational basis.

As it pleases!


...undermine its rational basis!


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