Academic journal article Studies in Art Education

Lines of Deterritorialization: The Becoming-Minor of Carter's Drawing

Academic journal article Studies in Art Education

Lines of Deterritorialization: The Becoming-Minor of Carter's Drawing

Article excerpt

On the Scene... Again

When I first encountered Carter's drawing in the spring of 2010, he was deeply committed to the construction of a biomechanical alien. But more than anything, Carter seemed to be interested in the telling of a story, a story that helped him to authorize and enact a practice of drawing that suited his strengths and curiosities as a storyteller. We all have a fundamental need and desire for story, a thirst to reorient our experience-lived and imagined- through the construction and communication of tales. We activate these tales in order to bring attention to those events that have, in some way, moved us to think and live our lives differently. What struck me, then, when encountering Carter's drawing was not the realization that he was telling me a story; it was the intensity with which he used speech to do so. It is not uncommon for children to talk to and among themselves when drawing (Thompson & Bales, 1991, p. 44), but it seemed rather uncommon, at least to me, to witness Carter drawing almost entirely through his speech. It is not that Carter neglected to engage in traditional modes of drawing, but rather that these particular instances of engagement occupied such a peripheral role in his creative practice.

It was not, however, until I had the privilege of looking with greater criticality across Carter's drawing practice that I began to appreciate and understand the prolific-yet understated- modes through which his "graphic" work had emerged, and my own selective afflictions when attending to this work. By continually revisiting and recommitting to Carter's drawings, I am now, more than ever, better equipped to ask the kinds of questions that permit me to pursue "differently"the tenacity with which he has consumed graphic forms, appropriated these forms, and purposed them anew. I see in his graphicoriented work a zest and intensity of process that, for some reason, I was unable to locate or appreciate before. This realization continues to move me toward the necessary action of rethinking and retheorizing the initial encounter in which Carter performed the construction of his biomechanical alien. It is not that my initial thinking and theorizations missed the point, but rather that there is still more of the point to think and theorize.

Questions matter; they move us as researchers in both general and particular ways. Our questions-like stories-reveal their questioning potential in and through the contexts, materials, and relationships that we share with others and the world. These days, I find myself being nudged to askthe kinds of questions that move me-physically, intellectually, conceptually, theoretically, and methodologically-into and through a scene of complexity that is and always will be in a state of telling. The scene, in this case, is Carter's drawing and the specific languages that are exercised when our working and making come together.


How and why do children-and perhaps all of us-draw as we do? I have always made a point to keep this question near to me, especially when I am invested and entangled in the working practices of children's drawing. When my attentions begin to shift to the predictable and the anticipatory, and my actions cause me to stray afield from the problem of "how" children draw as they do, it is this question that helps to connect me once again to the dynamic rhythms of children's drawing. This question, at least for me, purposes occasions to take pause, to reflect, and to further consider the processes through which children are learning to draw and the particularities that both motivate and move them into and through such engagements. Further, this question serves as a reminder to locate my involvedness and the degree to which my participatory commitments lead to, askew, neglect, and privilege the noticing, analyzing, and writing of one thing and not another. In their article, "An Iconoclastic View of the Imagery Sources in the Drawings of Young People" (1977), Brent and Marjorie Wilson initiated a similar question-one that aimed to investigate the function of imitation in the process of children's learning to draw and the degree to which particular graphic configurations are advanced, adapted, and further espoused by young people (p. …

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