THE USES OF DISCOMFORT-Reading response week1

Discomfort for understanding.


From the Ted talk “Gaming for Understanding”, Brenda Romero, I find out game is always an efficient way for us to see things from other people’s perspective, which help us to understand each other better. Most of the time the game designer uses this tactic by having a tragic story.

In the simplest terms, the meaning of tragedy is "to cause fear and compassion." (from Aristotle's "Poetics"). By feeling the pain and suffering of the characters in the tragedy, we as the audience can resonate with the mental journey of the tragic characters, and this resonance or sense of identity can give us an emotional and spiritual release and purification. This effect is also known as catharsis. The tragic characters have suffered a lot of hardships and gained a new insight or wisdom, and as an audience, we have a new understanding of the meaning of life. This experience combines subtle emotions with insights into significant issues in life, making us not only deeply impressed by the difficult journey of the characters in the play, but also to some extent a sense of comfort and joy.


Just like a child who likes to drink sweet drinks, when people are middle-aged, they have to drink a variety of wines with complex tastes. The level of pleasure and the realm have always been different, and the uncomfortable tends to bring a deeper aesthetic experience. When we are reading those tragedies, we are not intending to make ourselves feel uncomfortable. Instead, Schiller once said that "the highest level of pleasure is always accompanied by pain." Tragedy is a pleasure because of the pain. Because the tragedy exults people from the daily interests with a huge pain, and let the mind get rid of the daily attention, we can discover our own strength. In the great pain, our concern for the interests of things has no meaning. The living feathers of our lives are illusory, and let us get rid of the narrow utilitarian nature of limited things. This kind of involvement proves our physical existent. However, in the face of tremendous fate power, since physical existent is so small, do we still need to pay attention to this kind of profit and gains?

In a word, leading us to share a discomforting story can be an efficient way to let everyone share similar feelings. In this way, we can understand each other better.


12 square meter Heng Zhang

I am not trying to explain what this piece of art means. It is only mean something when you really be in that perspective.

We should not make something weird to attract attention. Instead, by rethinking profoundly, can we make our art more meaningful. The form of showing is nothing. We need to look around ourselves, see what is going on than refine our deepest insights.

THE USES OF DISCOMFORT-Reading response week2

Performance art

I don't understand a lot of behavioral Arts all the time, and I think some of them are none sense and some of them are even disgusting. Disgusting art is not limited to contemporary art. This disgust has been sporadic in the history of art, but it has been on a large scale since the last century. The artwork is disgusting, behind the subjective and objective reasons. We feel confused, often because we do not understand these reasons.

But one of the performance artists really touched me this week. He said: Sometimes the way you fight against fate is to try to do ridiculous things.

THE USES OF DISCOMFORT-Reading response week3

empathy through touch

In the reading “Mediated Social Touch”, Antal Haans and Wijnand IJsselsteijn, it talks about the technology used to mimic the touch feeling we already have. Lots of researchers have developed artificial tactile sensors that mimic the ability of human skin to detect surface information, such as shapes, patterns, and structures. This may be one step closer to making electronic devices and robots that can perceive sensations such as roughness and smoothness. 

While on the other hand there are still some quite basic way to give people the sense of touch without touching them. In 1998, Nippon Design Center produced the signage plan for Umeda Hospital, a maternity hospital in Yamaguchi Prefecture. The key concept underlying the signs was "Cleanliness is the best service that a hospital can provide". With the recent renovation of the outpatient building, new signs have been created.


The signs in the hospital

It is the textile itself which make people think of clean and warm. Human-beings have quite a strong imagination they have the ability to connect different stuff together through memory. 
THE USES OF DISCOMFORT-Reading response week4

historical trauma

My Child Lebensborn is a story-driven nurture game.
Help the child of an enemy in a post-war society. 

As a portrait of how any child’s spirit can be flattened and damaged by repeated “othering”, My Child Lebensborn is fierce and unflinching. As a tool to bring to vivid life the emotional texture of history, away from the dry dates and military maneuvers laid out by so many male history writers, it is uniquely effective. As a video game, however, it’s a difficult ride – oppressive, psychologically strenuous and repetitive. But not all video games need be fun to be effective, and My Child Lebensborn will leave any caring, persistent player with an indelible memory.
The story of the Nazi's Lebensborn program is shocking and spectacular. The idea to "breed" children for a ruling race is an example of the same twisted thinking that made the Nazis create concentration camps and start mass killings of people they thought were genetically worthless. This is a tragic part of our history. 

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