The Bridge Blog A dialog about our new bridge and these web pages
Overview. As a pointy-headed
university professor, my weekend project of bridge photography and
building these web pages generated many questions and introduced me
to just-in-time learning. I enjoy chasing my curiosity and
want to identify ways to encourage younger learners to also enjoy curiosity
chasing and learning.
Learning usually requires repetition while forgetting occurs when
I infrequently use information. Many young learners do not understand
the importance of repetition. Weekly visits to the bridge provided
the repetition necessary to detect changes in the bridge and
many questions and opportunities for learning. Over the course of the
bridge project, I had access to few experts for answering questions.
Rather than a liability, this became an asset and pushed me to improve
my search skills with Google. Soon, I found that answers
to questions encountered during my weekly photo shoots were often
only a Google-search away -
Restoring the Joy in Learning). Consequently Google + Internet became
dependable extensions of my memory.
March 10, 2005 Unseen tal
I suppose that some of you will think I've completely flipped out. Thinking
about where to go with the web pages and the images that I have acquired over
the past 20 months has led me down many paths. One suggestion by a friend
is to take a group of photos and make an art show. Knowing very little about
formal art (except what I learn from Josh and Bibi), Ellen played the idea of
our friend Debra Bieber, now in Dhaka Bangladesh. We met Debra and her
husband, Glen, while I was a visiting professor of Biomedical Engineering at
the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (now Chennai). We were there from
1993 - 1994 and had the cultural experience of our life. During this time,
I was successful in managing my lab at Duke via the Internet, one of my
early experiences with Internet-centric life.
Anyway, I was considering three segments of an exhibit: time sequence of
the bridge growth, people and processes. As many of you know, I enjoy
learning from anyone and the bridge has provided many opportunities to learn
something of bridge technology. So Debra suggests the title "Unseen tal". I
am thinking, Deb has surely flipped out. Then Debra goes on to remind me
that tal is the rhythmic basis of classical (Carnatic (south) and
Hindustani (north) ) Indian music. I remembered going to my first classical
music performance at IIT (in the OAT). It was my first encounter with
classical Indian music and not at all what I expected. After the first few
numbers, I was ready to leave since it was completely not understandable.
There was a singer, drummer (tabla), violinist and veena and just as I was
about to give up, I suddenly realized that there was a rhythm (from the tabla
and veena) and a violin echo of what the singer was singing. And the singing
was not what I thought of as western singing but rather the singer was playing
his voice. All was suddenly understandable and enjoyable when I escaped from
my western paradigm of singing words and harmony and
saw that the singer was playing his instrument just as the violinist was
echoing the improvised composition with his instrument.
Tal (see the references below) is all about rhythm and Debra saw in my
photos a rhythm that is unseen by those viewing the bridge from afar. So
she composed the word, Unseen tal. I thought this was brilliant and felt
that Deb had caught the driving force of my bridge curiosity and my
passion for capturing the rhythm of the building of the bridge. So I am
thinking and playing with some ideas for a presentation.