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Tag Archives: #art#

https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/attention-restoration-theory/

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Source: my trek in the moss covered Yakushima

To concentrate, one requires directed attention. According to researchers Rachel and Stephen Kaplan, this limited resource gets depleted.

Holidaying in bustling, car honking Asian cities like Bangkok, Jakarta, Ho Chih Minh or KL gets me stressed by the loud noise. Given a choice I prefer padi fields of Bali with its restorative walks in Hue, Kota Kinabalu, Brunei and Sarawak, especially long walks in Japan calm me. Yet, being in New Zealand and Tibet although calming did not calm me.

What is it about a holiday in Japan that so fascinates me even though there are many other more interesting places in the world? I finally found my answer in an article by Courtney Ackerman on Rachel and Stephen Kaplan’s Attention Restoration Theory and the benefits of nature .

According to ART, a restorative environment possess 4 elements:

Being Away
Soft Fascination
Extent
Compatibility

Being Away
A change in environment gives the sense of being separate and transported from one’s usual thoughts and concerns. Although an individual does not need to be physically away, it can certainly be helpful.

Meditation, or changing focus such as reading a book, laughing at a comedy can help one be psychologically detached from present worries and demands, and distracted from the environment that is draining your attention and energy (Daniel, 2014).

Fascination
Here, one’s attention is held without any effort expended. Restorative environments hold your attention without your need to focus or direct it in a certain way.

Two kinds of fascination according to Kaplan:

Hard fascination: where your attention is held by a highly stimulating activity; such activities generally do not provide the opportunity to reflect or introspect, since you are completely absorbed. Eg, vigorous exercise

Soft fascination: when your attention is held by a less active or stimulating activity; such activities generally provide the opportunity to reflect and introspect (Daniel, 2014). For me, thats being in an onsen, or swimming. Unfortunately, I cant have a pen with me.
 
Extent
This component refers to the quality of restorative environments that encourages you to feel totally immersed and engaged (Kaplan, 2001).

An environment must be familiar and coherent for it to be restorative. Although you do not need to have been to the environment before, it cannot conjur feelings of excitement, discomfort, confusion, or being out-of-place which will trigger your fight or flight or need to attend to the situation.

Whats your choice of a restorative holiday?

Can you recreate intermittent holidays before the big one?

Forest Therapy in Japan
https://www.fo-society.jp/therapy/cn45/index_en.html

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Beyond sushi, Japanese cuisine is very much an art form, in presentation, choosing the right plate, balancing everything in the right frame.

My very ordinary Japanese breakfast of rice and tofu at the Ryokan Yakakutei, Kirishima presented in little dishes where eating becomes a meditative art form in front of a garden.

How do you elevate the ordinary and everyday into an art form?

🌿It does not have to be expensive, simple Daiso utensils.

🌿Or gift someone an experience, like Spanish tapas of seasonal vegetables.

🌿Or a few slices of the best, arranged in a special plate to commemorate a special occasion.

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Photo: my left eyed flounder arranged to look like a peacock spreading his feathers, at Ryokan Yakaku

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tei.

🌿Simple grilled fish on a blue ocean

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plate.

🌿Let the guest of honour cook their own in Shabu shabu style. Swish, swish and the meat is cooked.

How about taking up your own pottery class?

Simple living. I am not a robot.

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Beyond sushi, Japanese cuisine is very much an art form, in presentation, choosing the right plate, balancing everything in the right frame.

My very ordinary Japanese breakfast of rice and tofu at the Ryokan Yakakutei, Kirishima presented in little dishes where eating becomes a meditative art form in front of a garden.

How do you elevate the ordinary and everyday into an art form?

🌿It does not have to be expensive, simple Daiso utensils.

🌿Or gift someone an experience, like Spanish tapas of seasonal vegetables.

🌿Or a few slices of the best, arranged in a special plate to commemorate a special occasion.

image

Photo: my left eyed flounder arranged to look like a peacock spreading his feathers, at Ryokan Yakaku

image

tei.

🌿Simple grilled fish on a blue ocean

image

plate.

🌿Let the guest of honour cook their own in Shabu shabu style. Swish, swish and the meat is cooked.

How about taking up your own pottery class?

Simple living. I am not a robot.

What you observe creates your reality.

Those of us who drive know the danger of blind spots and the need for side mirrors.

According to Shawn Achor of “Before Happiness“, a reality at work based on only one vantage point is limited and full of blind spots and that prevents forward movement.

Achor suggests that the perspective is in the details. He cites Dr Irwin Braverman, a professor at Yale School of Medicine and Linda Friedlaender, the curator at the Yale Centre for British Art who came up with an exercise that helped doctors improve a skill that actually could save lives.

In the midst of training, students were taken to an art museum to see the world in multiple dimensions.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the students who took this class exhibited a 10% improvement in their ability to detect important medical details.

“Once they are able to see this wider rave of details, they were better able to leverage their IQ and EQ and all their other cognitive abilities to knit these details together and see previously missed connections.

Those details were the vantage points that broadened their perspective and made them more successful in their work. ”

Achor notes that in medicine , as in all professions, it is easy to get stuck seeing things from only one vantage point and approach problems with a broader and deeper perspective.

He gave the example of a doctor who observes the lips of a patient and noticed something all other doctors missed and saved the patient’s life.

Seeing reality from different angles can allow us to open our eyes to a broader range of opportunities and connect more deeply with our team and family.

Please also catch Shawn Achor’s very humorous TED talk.

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Broken pot becomes a work of art. At the 2016 Singapore Garden Festival.

Seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world.

Marxist art critic John Berger’s “Ways of seeing” peels through the layers of meaning in these oil paintings arguing that paintings project the painter’s (or patron’s) assumptions of beauty, truth, civilisation, taste, class and gender.

Take this painting of the”Ambassadors” I saw at the National Gallery, London last year.

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Who are these people being painted ? How do they look at the painter or at us (spectator/owner)?
What were the relations of such men with the rest of the world?

“Centuries later, we can interpret the objects on the shelves according to our perspectives. The scientific instruments on the top shelf were for navigation. This was the time when the ocean trade routes were being opened up for the slave trade and to siphon riches from other continents into Europe and later supply the capital for the take-off of the Industrial Revolution. “. A class of people, convinced that the world was there to furnish it’s comfort.

Man and nature. And Gainsborough’s Mr and Mrs Andrews as proud landowners. Why did Mr and Mrs Andrews commission a portrait of themselves with recognizable landscape of their own land as background.

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Source: https://mydailyartdisplay.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/mr-and-mrs-andrews-by-thomas-gainsborough/

Consider the category of nudes in paintings. In them all remains the implication that the subject (a woman) is aware of being seen by a spectator. Is it merely a celebration of the human form? Or a depiction of the painter’s experience, turning desire into fantasy.

Women are depicted in quite a different way from men – not because the feminine is different from the masculine – but because the “ideal” spectator is always assumed to be male and the image of the woman is designed to flatter him.

The claim of the theme is made empty by the way the subject is painted, writes Berger. He compares 3 different paintings of Mary Magdalene of the Bible in different levels of undress. Mary Magdalene was depicted in the bible for her love of Jesus and transformation of her life by her repentance. The way her pictures are painted contradicts the essence of her story. (A naked Mary Magdalene certainly does not evoke images of religious piety in the spectator regardless of how the painter chooses to name it.)

Next time you look at a painting or a advertisement, look at the devises (Berger):
The gesture of models and mythological figures
The poses taken up to denote stereotypes of women: serene mother (madonna), sex-object (Venus, nymph surprised)
Materials particularly used to indicate luxury: furs etc
Equation of drinking and success
Gestures and embraces of lovers, arranged frontally for the benefit of the spectator.