Illustration: The Magazine of Yoga
The Oracle and The Architect
Goddard College Transdisciplinary Studies
BY MAGAZINE CONTRIBUTOR JOSH POLLOCK
Conversation: Ruth Farmer
Practices: Josh Pollock, Goddard College IMA scholar
Practices: Bridgette P. La Victoire, Goddard College IMA scholar
Practices: Joanna Tebbs Young, Goddard College IMA scholar
Practices: Eric Dalke, Goddard College IMA scholar
Practices: Sed Dickerson, Goddard College IMA scholar
Website: Goddard’s IMA Worlds of Change Blog
I met Tiffany Monique during a recent residency at Goddard College, where she is studying Transformative Language Arts. Tiffany came to Goddard to become a better communicator and to use her art for progressive learning and social change. Goddard is a place where her outgoing personality obviously thrives. She told me she plans to hold a workshop at Goddard about the Matrix films to discuss the metaphor of disconnection between knowledge and knowing in arts and education.
When I saw the first Matrix film, I saw the film as a being anti-consumerism and feared that message was missed by much of its audience. Tiffany holds similar concerns about a film commenting on a system it made tons of money for and in many ways feeds.
Josh Pollock Were you immediately unsettled by The Matrix or did it take time after the first time you watched the film?
Tiffany Monique Parts of me noticed that there was depth, but initially I admit that I didn’t see it in the first movie. I was only interested in the explosions and fighting techniques. The truck explosion was a great visual in Reloaded (Matrix 2), but what struck me most deeply was the conversation that Neo has with the Oracle, and later with the Architect. Realizing that the Oracle and Architect were basically mother and father of the matrix really stayed with me.
Josh How does this relate to the way you approach your studies?
Tiffany It wasn’t until I came to Goddard College’s Spring 2011 Residency and participated in a workshop about Transdisciplinary Studies that I really began to appreciate how this movie could be used to explain Transdisciplinary Studies.
In some ways the Matrix’s architect character is the symbol for epistemic knowledge (2+2=4), and the oracle character symbolizes the letter, or the variable (happiness). The growing disconnection between knowledge and knowing is dangerous, and The Matrix symbolically plays out a very possible reality if we don’t balance the values and respect the connection between quantitative and qualitative understanding. The architect and oracle need to fall back in love again.
Josh While the film was successful commercially and at being entertaining and in the end it was something that fed the system it was rallying against. How do you think commercial efforts like this to get across a subversive message could work better as a persuasive tool?
Tiffany Movies, songs, dances, and the like have all been used to send important messages. Artists have the difficult honor of performing checks and balances regarding the system in which they exist. Art is also a means to celebrate unity, even movies.
On the flip side, I also believe there is a level of media conditioning that lends itself more toward “feeding the system,” but that is where TV artists (performers, directors, producers, etc.) must push the integrity of their art, despite commercial gain. Can there be commercial gain in entertainment that has integrity? I believe so. Have I seen it lately? Not so much. The Matrix Trilogy just happens to be a platform I think can be used to connect ideas to one another.
Tiffany Beard is the quintessential Renaissance Gal. An accomplished writer, singer, and performer; Tiffany is committed to helping fellow artists collaborate for social change. Tiffany is a member of ASCAP, The National Forensics League, and the Transformative Language Arts Network. You can read her personal blog at www.alwaysalreadyalright.blogspot.com
Josh Pollock is an audio engineer, aspiring sci-fi writer and student living in New York City. He holds an associates degree from Full Sail in Recording Engineering and a bachelors in Environmental Studies from The New School. He is currently enrolled in the Individualized Studies Masters of Arts program at Goddard College. His website is www.ComplexWaveform.com
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.