Budding critics

I am doing a unit on art and music with my senior 2 classes, and while most of the students (despite the privilege of looking at art and listening to music in class) are still nutso as usual, lighting papers on fire with lighters in the back of the classroom and playing drinking games with bottles of green tea, some have actually gotten quite interested in the unit. I decided to take advantage of the attention and have the students do some artistic criticism.

Writing in class is usually a struggle, so I had low hopes when I asked my students to respond in writing to music that I played from my computer’s speakers. Here are some excerpts:

-of MGMT’s song “Electric Feel” : “This is not suitable for old people”

-more MGMT: “It is a little bit fast, the lyrics use English. I think maybe it is good for fall into sleep.”

-Rodrigo y Gabriela: “Quickly and a bit exciting. It remind me of country sightseeing, really beautiful and nice.”

-“I like the music. This music is very quick and regular. I like the music. I like USA.”

-“It’s very beautiful, made me think of my hometown in countryside. It’s also made me think of dancing women in farm.

-more: “I don’t like it. I don’t like songs without lyrics and it makes me feel like I am rubbit but I don’t want to be a rubbit.”

-and more: “It is fast and the instrument is amazing. You will get hooked on it, if you listen to the music.”

-of GFS A Capella’s cover of “I was a Fool”: “I dislike it. Because it beat and rhythm is slowly and vocals sings bad. It made me want to go to bed and made me want to angry with others”

-more: “I don’t like the voice of this man. It will increase my pressure.”

-of Chopin’s “Revolutionary” Etude: “There may have piano. It let me uncomfortable and want to go out.”

-again, Chopin: “I don’t like this song because I don’t understand the sprite of the song. And sometimes the sound of the piano makes me feel scared.”

-of Led Zeppelin’s “Misty Mountain Hop”: “It’s likely that designed for someone who was illness.”

-“I like it. Because I want to be a rocker.”

-of Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer:” “I dont like this music because I think it’s to boring and it make me fall asleep.”

-“When I go to the beach I will listen to this kind of music, I think I will be happy and relaxed.” [talking heads?]

-“This is a quesity music.”

-of Santogold’s “Creator”: “The song make teenage want to crime.”

-more: “That’s too loud. I think isn’t suitable for a girl.”

-and more…: “I dislike it. It’s very bad…It sounds very bad.”

-GFS A Capella’s cover of “Kiss”: “I don’t like the music, its amazing. I dont beleive this is a man. It makes me scared.”

-“I’m really get shock the voice come from a boy. It’s really good. Makes me feel sunshine.”

-“I like it, because it makes me have feelings.”

-“The voice like a woman’s. It’s amazing one, du-du-du-du, I think is very fun.”

-“Bong bong bong”

-“I don’t like this kind of music. It will make me feel uncomfortable. All of it I don’t like. Beat, tempo, singer. I hate it.”

-of Yonder Mountain String Band: “Fresh. Makes me miss a girl.”

-“I like it. It makes me think about the forest.”

-“I don’t like it. It’s so out.”

-of Guns n’ Roses’ “Sweet Child o’Mine”: “I don’t like it. I feel noisy.”

-“Tempo is fast, it really make me feel that my life is so spirital and exciting.”

-“When you feel unhappy I think listen this is a good chose. Singer like a person who is under the oppress.”

-“The tempo is quickly. It makes people excited and very high.”

-Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff”: “I don’t like it. It makes me confused.”

-“This kind of song make me a little sleepy. But when you are is some occasion you will have different feels.”

-I think it is so interesting and a little funny, lovd and sometimes pleasure.”

-“I think this song sounds is very very high.”

More than you even know. Here’s some commentary on art:

-Thomas Cole’s “Sierra Nevada”: “I think if I will sit on the grasses, can be very romantic.”

-“When you see it at first sight, you will get hooked on it. You will free your mind from worry.”

-“The sky looks very sad. May be it like a girl is crying.”

-“If I live here, I will happy like crazy.”

-“I don’t like it, because I do not have boyfriend.”

-“I want to live in there and I think I will find someone to marry in this wonderland.”

-Le Corbusier’s Notre Dame de Ronchamp: “It’s a famous building, I read a book about it. It’s stand of a thinking. But I like it. It looks like funny.”

-“This picture may be makes me uncomfortable. The church’s surface has a little old, and it’s not enough beautiful, but inside it’s structure looks like science technique academy.”

-“I don’t like it. It’s too old, I like the instyle building, it’s very fresh.”

-“I like the building’s styly, because is very classical.”

-“This building is strange and interesting and like a mushroom.”

-“I think it doesnt like a church. Because I think it likes a mushroom. But I like it, because of it had many great ideas in it.”

As can be seen from the above comments, my students were strangely inspired by mushrooms; after I asked them to draw a romantic landscape and modern architecture, many drew houses which looked like mushrooms or a mushroom forest. Either there’s a shroom phase going on at Shida Fuzhong or my kids are a bit crazy.

-Corbu again: “I like it because it looks like a mushroom, big mushroom. It’s very beautiful and magic.”

-“It looks like mushroom outside, it also looks like a kind of cold animal.”

-“This building is strange, and makes me feel some horror.”

-This church is very different. The building is tall and I think it can attract some visitors.”

“I think it is a pair of shoes. This can contain many people in it. It’s also a big cap. I like this church.”

-“I don’t like it, because it looks so old. I don’t like traditional buildings.”

-“I don’t like it, because I think it’s boring. I am not interesting in architecture.”

-“It’s a veryold and strange build. It’s look like a templer or church. But in the build, too dark, like internet bar.”

-“I can’t imagine this is a church! It’s amazing, just look like my breakfast – a pound of round bread, a piece of butter, delicious!”

-Heironymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights: “I like it, because it very colorful. But the heaven is a little crowded. So, I like hell more.”

-“There are some sheep and people, I don’t like it, I don’t know whats the meaning about it.”

-“I like the beautiful heavn, I don’t like the Hill.”

-“I like these pictures because I believe that good man will pay off and bad man will be terrible.”

-“At first, the few people came here and created a world in this area. Then many people play with a variety of animals and have some little castle in the river. The people is very happiness to live there. But finally, something happened to them. They were divided into many parts. You can see ears or some organs everywhere. That’s very terrible.”

-“It’s very cute.”

-“It’s so crazy, I want to throw it away.”

-“It make people think about life, we should do good thing to go the Garden of Earthly Delights or to go to worst place.”

-“It shows some people without clothes playing with animals.”

-“So many people without cloths! It is so religious. It is just beyond the reality. Maybe we can learn something from this.”

-“I don’t like it. Because I don’t have any belief. I don’t believe heaven or God. I just believe myself forever.”

-Ansel Adams’ photo of a boulder field at the base of the Sierra Nevada: “It’s very ugly, I think the stone is a bad thing, it’s too bad.”

-The mountains are very tall, there are some stones. It makes me feel very sad, because we can’t see anything which are alive.”

-“It meaning death or unluck or dark. There are not any life.”

-“It’s look like 2012 [the movie predicting the apocalypse]. Many stones. It’s horrible.”

I was at first surprised that many of my less enthusiastic students even did the in-class assignment. But with the honesty and profundity of feeling I’m getting from these criticisms, I’m thinking of recommending a few of my students to the New York Times as promising critics of art and music.

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2 Responses to Budding critics

  1. Turtle Nuketronix says:

    In a word, OMG
    On the one hand, “I don’t believe this is a man”. On the other hand, “It will increase my pressure”

  2. Kailah says:

    Excellent chinglish indeed. and nicely-chosen songs to boot!
    I wonder what they’ll have to say about the art.

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