Blog: Constructing Semantics

Christine Alfery

Posted on March 03 2020

Yellow Trees Mountain Range by Christine Alfery

Featured image: Green Trees on the Mountain

I read a lot.  Especially academic papers. Why do I love to read densely worded long academic papers?  The words. I love to break down sentences and think about how loaded some words are. Academic papers are full of hidden political jargon that I find fascinating.  Academics really know how to use words to their advantage. 

It is so much fun to read the discussions that go on surrounding these papers.  Many who read these papers, and I myself when I first started to read them, had no idea the hidden language in them.  Now those words flash out at me like lightning bolts. Applying these concepts to how I think of individuality, and freedom in art makes reading those discussions like going on a super carnival ride with your hands up and not being afraid.  So. Much. Fun. 

The National Educational Research Association is currently calling for papers for their upcoming convention.  Academics from all over submit papers, like I submit art to shows, in hopes of being chosen to present their paper at the convention.  It is an honor to be selected to present. Folks like me read the papers and add comments in the hopes of helping writer have their paper juried to be presented at the convention.  

In this year’s submissions the words “constructing” and “fabricating” flashed at me.  These words were used in phrases such as “fabricating a (fill-in-the-blank) citizen/learner” or “constructing a (fill-in-the-blank) citizen/learner”.  

As an artist, I relate these words to the concept of “creating” art.  An artist creates artwork. So is the act of “creating” the same for others?  An educator “creates” a curriculum, a Politician “creates” an agenda. If they all create, is the act of “creating” the same for all? 

Is the act of “creating” the same for all?

Yes we are arguing semantics – isn’t it fun?  

When an artist “creates” they are open to the gathering of ideas and concepts – allowing them to freely become.   The other examples have an objective in mind when they gather and process subjective ideas. Yes, all are subjective, but the artist’s influence is individuality, uniqueness and freedom.  The other examples are based on the individuals forming a collective. Once an individual voice joins the collective, creativity stops and fabrication of the message begins. The objective is to control how the individual thinks, the objective of the other is to freely allow the individual to become.  One controls how the work become, the other allows the work to become. One has learned how to color in the lines, the other colors outside the lines.  

Constructing, fabricating, creating – it all sounds the same, right?  But now you know – you too can play the game, join the ride, see the flashing lightning bolts.  Words are more than just words. Words have power.  

So. Much. Fun.

More Posts