10 Questions: What is Failure? | KCET
10 Questions: What is Failure?
"10 Questions" is a collaboration with UCLA and is an interdisciplinary course/public event series featuring conversations with leading scholars that provides both students and the public a special opportunity to experience the conversations that drive innovation at the university.
Every Tuesday for ten weeks UCLA faculty members from disciplines as diverse as dance, medicine, photography, astrophysics, athletics, Chicana and Chicano studies, law, philosophy and religious studies will join UCLA Arts Dean Brett Steele to explore a fundamental question such as: What is space? What is failure? and What is freedom? The goal is to stimulate dialogue and exchange, and to seed a greater understanding of the profoundly interdisciplinary nature of knowledge production in the 21st century. We present a discussion primer for each week's session to get the conversation started.
Art&Arc100: 10 Questions sessions will be held on Tuesdays through December 4 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Glorya Kaufman Hall theater (room 200). Free and open to the public (RSVP required). Pay by space parking available on campus adjacent to Kaufman Hall (Structure 4).
This week, David Gere, Valorie Kondos Field, Janet O'Shea and Lorrie Frasure-Yokley will join Brett Steele, dean of the UCLA School of the Arts & Architecture to explore the question, "What is Failure?"
David Gere, arts activist
Professor in the Department of World Arts & Cultures/Dance
David Gere, Ph.D., serves as director of the UCLA Art & Global Health Center and is a professor in the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, where he teaches courses in arts activism. His book, "How to Make Dances in an Epidemic: Tracking Choreography in the Age of AIDS" (University of Wisconsin Press) received the award for outstanding book publication from the Congress on Research in Dance. Gere has co-authored numerous public health journal articles addressing arts-based health interventions. And he has co-curated a trilogy of AIDS exhibitions: MAKE ART/STOP AIDS (2008), The A.R.T. Show (2011) and Through Positive Eyes (2016), set to tour the United States starting in 2019.
Recommended Reading: "Letting Them Die" from the book "Why HIV/AIDS Prevention Programmes Fail," by Catherine Campbell
Why is it that people knowingly engage in sexual behaviour that could lead to a slow and painful premature death? Why do the best-intentioned attempts to stem the tide of the HIV epidemic often have so little impact? (Note: This is a PDF document.) Read more.
"There's a moment when the dancers are running and then sliding on their stomachs. It has a childlike innocence to it, but it's about Bill Jones' response to the AIDS epidemic. He created it in 1989, which is the year we lost Alvin Ailey to the disease. 'D-Man' is what he would call one of his dancers Demian Acquavella who died of AIDS so it's a tribute to him and he inspired the dance. It really has to do with the tenacity of the human spirit." Read more.
Failure and accidents are important concepts in Patrick Quan's working method. Both notions, embodied in the show's title, can lead to a "success" which can then become its own failure, too. It is a feedback loop that allows the artist to explore in his work the nature of observing and understanding objects, and then providing the same investigative experience for the viewer. Read more.
Valorie Kondos Field, gymnastics coach
Head coach of UCLA gymnastics
UCLA alumna Valorie Kondos Field is the head coach of the UCLA Gymnastics Team, which she has positioned as one of the premier programs in collegiate gymnastics with seven NCAA championships. Not only has she consistently recruited and coached some of the top talent in the world, but she has produced the results, totaling over 500 career regular season victories in her 28-year career.
Failure. I don’t know what mean-spirited person thought up the word Failure, but I simply don’t believe it exists. It is a grouping of letters with absolutely no meaning for me. Read more.
Recommended Reading: Valorie Kondos Field's new book is a good read on many levels (Los Angeles Times)
The coach of UCLA’s women’s gymnastics team built her extraordinarily successful career on encouraging self-direction and being 1% better each day at a form of expression that feeds your soul. The “dance” in the title can mean actually dancing but also is a touching reference to late UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, an avid supporter of the women’s gymnastics team and a mentor to Kondos Field. Read more.
If you ascribe to today's cultural mores of a dancer's career; it's fleeting, and predominantly defined by external presentation of movement — the grand leaps, endless pirouettes and high extensions. After all, aging dancers are at the mercy of their bodies' diminishing capacity to perform dazzling physical feats to a rapt audience. Or are they? With her new project: "Dancing Over 50," Emmaly Wiederholt, a 29-year-old dancer and journalist, rejects the notion that dancers have an expiration date and that the acme of their careers only occurs when their technique is at its finest. Read more.
Janet O'Shea, author and martial artist
Assistant Professor in the Department of Art
Janet O’Shea is author of "Risk, Failure, Play: What Dance Reveals about Martial Arts Training" (2018, Oxford University Press) and "At Home in the World: Bharata Natyam on the Global Stage" (2007, Wesleyan University Press). Recipient ofa UCLA Transdisciplinary Seed Grant to study the cognitive benefits of Filipino Martial Arts training, she gave a TEDx Talkon competitive play and has offered keynote presentations at the Martial Arts Studies conference and Dance/Performance in Interdisciplinary Perspective Symposium. Her essays have been published in five languages and seven countries. She is professor of World Arts and Cultures/Dance at UCLA.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were something we could do that could teach us how to work together? Kinetic play, sports, physical games, and other activities where interacting with each is central to the experience, can unite us and can show us how to disagree with respect. But there’s a catch: too much attention to winning turns sports from play into work; too much attention to winning can be stressful and can promoted deception and even violence. Watch the TEDx talk.
Recommended Reading: Arresting the Carceral State, by Mariame Kaba and Erica R. Meiners (Jacobin Magazine)
Increasing numbers of policy makers, advocates, academics, educators, parents, students, and organizers are focusing explicitly on the relationships between education and imprisonment, also known as the school-to-prison pipeline (STPP). Less a pipeline than a nexus or a swamp, the STPP is generally used to refer to interlocking sets of structural and individual relationships in which youth, primarily of color, are funneled from schools and neighborhoods into under- or unemployment and prisons. Read more.
“What we’re trying to teach is that failure is not a bug of learning, it’s the feature,” said Rachel Simmons, a leadership development specialist in Smith’s Wurtele Center for Work and Life and a kind of unofficial “failure czar” on campus. “It’s not something that should be locked out of the learning experience. For many of our students — those who have had to be almost perfect to get accepted into a school like Smith — failure can be an unfamiliar experience. So when it happens, it can be crippling.” Read more.
Dances with Scarves, Swords and Coconut Shells: Kayamanan Ng Lahi Keeps Filipino Folk Traditions Vibrant in L.A.
As expected, many Filipino Americans are here, but numerous other backgrounds are represented as well: Mexican American, African American, Japanese American, Chinese American, Hawaiian, and more. “We are a reflection of the community,” notes co-founder and programming director Joel Jacinto, “we’re inclusive.” This extraordinary mix of performers — which in several cases includes generations of family members — will spend the next six hours here, as they have for the last few months, perfecting their routines. Read more.
Lorrie Frasure-Yokley, scholar of racial and ethnic politics
Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science
Political Science Associate Professor Lorrie Frasure-Yokely is a scholar of racial and ethnic politics. In 2015, she became the first woman of color to earn tenure and promotion in the Political Science Department at UCLA. Her research interests include racial and ethnic political behavior, immigrant political incorporation, African American politics, women and politics, and state and local politics.
A new initiative by the University of California system uses first-generation faculty to guide first-generation students, with the goal of decreasing dropout rates. As part of our series Rethinking College, Hari Sreenivasan visits UCLA to see how the program is working. Watch the feature.
That America is the land of opportunity is an ideal that perhaps no group understands more than immigrants. To adopt a new country — its language, its people, its customs — is no easy task. But for a chance at a better life, whether the goal is to make more money in order to provide for one’s family, or just the possibility of getting a leg up in life — the struggle is worthwhile. “I couldn’t have imagined when I came here at 19 that I would become a partner in a company,” says Solorzano. “At that time, I didn’t even know what I was coming over for. I just kept working all the time. But when I stop to think about it, this has been so great for me and for my family. I know I’m so lucky.” Read more.
While electoral changes are necessary to ensure basic human rights, such as the right to affordable housing, grassroots organizing in working class-communities is foundational to creating transformative social change, as these constituencies have solutions for these issues based on real-life experiences. Originally categorized by the late Indian jurist and politician, B.R. Ambedkar, of the early to mid-1900s, movement building can manifest in the following typologies: (1) Educate; (2) Agitate; and (3) Organize. Read more.
Top Image: The Failure of Sir Launcelot to enter the Chapel of the Holy Grail, Number 3 of the Holy Grail tapestries woven by Morris & Co. 1891-94 for Stanmore Hall. Wool and silk on cotton warp, c. 1890 | Public Domain
Connect with KCET
How well do you know what goes in the blue bin and what goes in the trash? Take our recycling quiz to test your knowledge.
“Imperishable,” a public art installation boasting 8-foot-tall towers full of Cheetos, focuses on food accessibility and equity and how this impacts Los Angeles’s diverse communities.
A Q&A will immediately follow the screening with director James Mangold.
What is knowledge? What kinds of things do we know, and how do we learn them? Philosopher and professor Tyler Burge, evolutionary biologist and podcaster Shane Campbell-Staton and theater artist Sylvan Oswald answer these questions.