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Jordaens Visual Arts Discussion

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:45 am
by Jem Casey
Since there are no more planned mirrors of Jordaens Visual Arts, please use this thread for any and all discussion of the set, be it general thoughts, comments on specific questions, or errata.

Some thanks are in order, first and foremost to my co-writer Sarang Yeola. Sarang wrote 13 questions, a total that doesn't come close to capturing how much he did for the set, which included talking me through many question ideas and issues, digging up cool things to clue, handling logistical stuff, and even coming up with the idea for this tournament back in December. Sarang produced questions of extraordinarily high quality for a writer who’d only written ~5 (regular-difficulty) visual art questions before and, thanks to his deep knowledge of and enthusiasm for the art world, injected perspectives on art history/CE into the set that my questions wouldn’t have otherwise hit on. Also indispensable to the finished product were Mike Bentley, who pitched in 8 tossups for the tiebreaker packet at the last minute, and Ophir Lifshitz, whose proofreading acumen and implementation of advanced stats for the Skype mirror helped sharpen the set a good deal in the week before the main site. And thanks of course to everyone who played the set. In every round I read at both mirrors, I was thrilled to see all sorts of players demolishing all sorts of clues that we’d been excited to introduce to quizbowl, which is most certainly a rewarding way to cap off a project like this one.

Depending on how the discussion develops, if it does at all, I may post further about the philosophy and methodology that went into the set or my own thoughts about the finished product.

Re: Jordaens Visual Arts Discussion

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:15 am
by Auroni
this set was cool & good

Re: Jordaens Visual Arts Discussion

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:51 am
by DumbJaques
I thought this set was well-written, creative, and fun to play - all in all, a top-quality production that we could only expect from Jordan.

I did want to take some time though to single out one way in which I thought this set was far more than good, and indeed was truly outstanding: This tournament managed to be an exciting, canon-expanding event that included a huge range of things that don't come up in quizbowl but clearly feel important, capture key areas of intellectual achievement we've under-asked, etc. It is hardly the only such tournament, but I don't think any other tournament has been so quite so canon-expanding while still feeling so accessible, meaty, and fun. This set broke new ground, without at any point really seeming (to me, at least) as if it lost track of the core aspects of its subject, and without feeling like a slog.

I suspect this achievement might go underappreciated by people just noting that this tournament was great, etc. It WAS great, but I think it was also important, because I don't think you can possibly say that this set didn't do its job of expanding our quizbowl-minds. And it showed that you can do this without many of the costs that others (very much including myself) have tried and failed to avoid while pursuing the same goal. Other people have done good work in this direction, and I don't mean to minimize their important efforts at all. But I'd like to see this set recognized as doing perhaps the best-yet job of walking this challenging line that many of us are eternally seeking a better handle on.

Re: Jordaens Visual Arts Discussion

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:00 am
by naan/steak-holding toll
I enjoyed this tournament and appreciate how it really went out of its way to find a ton of fresh content. It's made me want to go learn more about visual arts again.

My main objection is that about two or so questions a round felt really figure-outable and obvious. For example, the Council of Trent tossup effectively said "this Renaissance era religious event that influenced art" and the True Cross tossup said "this object that goes in precessions that someone in the Middle East might possess."

On the flip side, most of the rest of the "historically inspired" art was amazing. A tossup on the Carolingian Renaissance? <3 More tournaments should do that.

Re: Jordaens Visual Arts Discussion

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:42 am
by nsb2
In general, I really enjoyed playing this set, and I found many of the tossups to be on underappreciated but "important" material. As a vis arts player versed primarily in the canon, I had fun learning about a lot of new things.

On the other hand, there were a few tossups which seemed like they weren't on particularly "important" topics, the mirror from the Arnolfini Wedding being one such example. I had read up about the Werl triptych only a few hours before the tournament and wasn't even remotely thinking of the mirror when that clue came up. This may just be a deficiency in the way I studied, but the anwerline seemed a little out of the way.

Re: Jordaens Visual Arts Discussion

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:59 am
by A Dim-Witted Saboteur
Even as a non-art player, I found a lot of things to enjoy about this set. The "world art" distribution was excellent, and that, together with answerlines like "bison-skin painting", really made the tournament. Thanks for exploring a really underutilized answerspace!

Re: Jordaens Visual Arts Discussion

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:29 am
by vinteuil
nsb2 wrote: On the other hand, there were a few tossups which seemed like they weren't on particularly "important" topics, the mirror from the Arnolfini Wedding being one such example. I had read up about the Werl triptych only a few hours before the tournament and wasn't even remotely thinking of the mirror when that clue came up. This may just be a deficiency in the way I studied, but the anwerline seemed a little out of the way.
The most-discussed feature of one of the two most famous paintings by one of the most famous European artists is unimportant now?

I completely agree with Chris and Will. In particular, I was a huge fan of the amount of Classical/Ancient art (a stupidly under-quizbowled set of topics) as well as the non-"Western" art. And I'll reiterate what I said on-site: this tournament did an incredible job integrating relevant, well-known/influential secondary sources in a nontransparent (except the Wittkower clue in the aforementioned Catholic Reformation TU), interesting, and buzzable way. (This is true of all the other types of clues, but it seems to be particularly hard to do with this kind.)

Re: Jordaens Visual Arts Discussion

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:48 pm
by TaylorH
I want to reiterate that this tournament did a great job asking about topics that were relatively far from the quiz bowl canon in an accessible and interest-stimulating way. The 3-D art and film in particular stood out to me as especially excellent.

Many sculpture/3-D art questions in quiz bowl in general come off as boring or ill-asked. Lots of these question ask for a sculptor or movement from names of works because descriptions of such works often are too wordy or awkward. This set handled these questions in a consistently interesting way by asking for objects or materials instead of artists or specific works. Of course, there have been many questions in this vein before on works made from marble, bronze, etc, but the answerlines on TVs, sand, and bottles stood out as unique and fun, but not gimmicky.

Additionally I thought the film answerline selection was phenomenal. Several topics that have hardly been mentioned in quiz bowl at all, but are undeniably important in the world of art film, were clued in accessible ways (I'm thinking particularly of the questions on Cremaster and Meshes of the Afternoon). These were things it was unlikely people would know about through quiz bowl, but would surely know about if they watch a lot of art house films or are generally aware of the canon of such films.

Re: Jordaens Visual Arts Discussion

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:24 pm
by theMoMA
I enjoyed this set a lot. I agree with Chris that it broke ground in a way that seemed entirely casual and natural. I think a good way to put it is that I felt completely comfortable buzzing on the first or second line of a tossup with either a very difficult answer, or a very easy one; some sets feel a bit more like a psychological examination, where you're trying to get a feel for each question and how it fits into the broader difficulty of the tournament, but this one just felt very playable and fun.

Re: Jordaens Visual Arts Discussion

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:49 pm
by Jem Casey
The set has been added to the archive and is available here!