Eyes That Do Not See VI Discussion

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Eyes That Do Not See VI Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:51 pm

Use this thread to discuss Eyes That Do Not See VI.

The set is available here: https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=1 ... der%2cdocx

Overall I tried to make the set a bit easier this year than last year. I think I succeeded to some degree, although there were certainly still a large number of hard answers in the set. At the UCSD field I think maybe 15 questions went unanswered which feels an okay number.

I compiled the set in a somewhat haphazard way until relatively close to the end, so the distribution was a little more skewed than I would have liked. For instance, certain niche genres of are like late 19th century painters (Leighton, Waterhouse, Dewing) came up more than they should have, while other distributions like architecture were a bit neglected.

In general I've tried to avoid a lot of clues that are regular quizbowl questions wrapped in PowerPoint form. By this I mean slides with text that give the titles of a work. This probably decreases conversion a bit but hopefully keeps the set a bit more "real". At the same time, the visual nature of the set means it's sometimes a bit easier to successfully guess an answer to a question without necessarily being familiar with the work in question. This was probably evident with tossups on common scenes like slave markets and Christ and the Moneylenders.

I'll probably clean up a couple of errors and goofs in the set later this week (i.e. the Nelson tossup which had his name on a monument before the giveaway).
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Re: Eyes That Do Not See VI Discussion

Post by theMoMA » Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:15 pm

I enjoyed this tournament quite a bit. Here are some scattered musings:

I didn't particularly care for the "starts with this letter" questions, although I didn't know much about the genres that came up in that format, and our crowd in the "non-competitive" room didn't buzz on any of the clues but the giveaways.

I wonder if some of the photography questions could be made a bit more "conceptual" instead of "authorial" in focus, because some of the photographer tossups seemed to be pretty tough. Admittedly, this is an area where my knowledge is mostly of the surface variety.

I enjoy those tossups on countries and people from historical portraiture ("Poland" and Paul Revere, for example), and I think that's a cool area that's often underexplored in regular quizbowl (for lack of good distinguishing features of portraits that can be easily described in writing). There are probably other areas where quizbowl often doesn't capture everything that's interesting in the art world, and it'd be cool to see those come up too. Off the top of my head, ancient art outside the traditional Western creator/work paradigm has made for interesting early clues in country tossups in these Eyes events too. It's perhaps worth thinking about whether it's possible for regular quizbowl to build on Eyes's innovations in these areas.
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Re: Eyes That Do Not See VI Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:21 pm

theMoMA wrote:I didn't particularly care for the "starts with this letter" questions, although I didn't know much about the genres that came up in that format, and our crowd in the "non-competitive" room didn't buzz on any of the clues but the giveaways.
I was trying to use this as a way to ask about some more difficult artists without bogging down the set with a lot of things that weren't going to be converted. I could have done a better job with the comics one, though. In general I'm at a point where it's difficult to find new and accessible comics answers, although I imagine if I think harder some will come.
I wonder if some of the photography questions could be made a bit more "conceptual" instead of "authorial" in focus, because some of the photographer tossups seemed to be pretty tough. Admittedly, this is an area where my knowledge is mostly of the surface variety.
What is an example of a conceptual photo tossup that you're envisioning? Something like that 1950's tossup? In general I was having trouble coming up with accessible photography answers this year. The canon for photography is pretty small and most of the core people I've already written questions about.
I enjoy those tossups on countries and people from historical portraiture ("Poland" and Paul Revere, for example), and I think that's a cool area that's often underexplored in regular quizbowl (for lack of good distinguishing features of portraits that can be easily described in writing). There are probably other areas where quizbowl often doesn't capture everything that's interesting in the art world, and it'd be cool to see those come up too. Off the top of my head, ancient art outside the traditional Western creator/work paradigm has made for interesting early clues in country tossups in these Eyes events too. It's perhaps worth thinking about whether it's possible for regular quizbowl to build on Eyes's innovations in these areas.
I see non-Western art and art outside of painting/sculpture/architecture/film/photography as the main areas of art that quizbowl doesn't do a great job asking about these days. Generally these are for good reasons--art survey courses don't focus on these all that much and they're tricky to write questions on. To this I guess I'd also add works of art that are hard to describe. I think this area is where Eyes is generally able to ask about things that are harder in a regular quizbowl tossup.
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Re: Eyes That Do Not See VI Discussion

Post by theMoMA » Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:26 pm

Mike Bentley wrote:What is an example of a conceptual photo tossup that you're envisioning? Something like that 1950's tossup? In general I was having trouble coming up with accessible photography answers this year. The canon for photography is pretty small and most of the core people I've already written questions about.
Stuff like "name the war," "name the country," "name the magazine/newspaper/publication," "name the famous person depicted," "name the type of event depicted," etc.

Quizbowl is built out of knowledge binaries; in this context, the binary is between the image and something else: the creator, the event, the person depicted, etc. My suspicion is that the binaries that people tend to know most when it comes to a photographic image concern the image itself (i.e. the event, person, place, etc. depicted), and are less likely to concern the creator.

(I suspect that this is because photography, especially in the news and pop culture, is not presented as art. In the purely artistic context, the first question that comes to mind when you see a new work is "who made it?" When you see a powerful photograph on the cover of the NY Times, that question is secondary, if it arises at all.)
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Re: Eyes That Do Not See VI Discussion

Post by gyre and gimble » Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:38 pm

This was really fun, as always. I don't have much to say about the content, other than that I could definitely tell you were starting to run out of core-quizbowl answerlines. The only effect of that was that this set wasn't as clearly easier than Eyes V as was advertised. Not that this was an issue; we had a pretty damn strong field at the Maryland site and I think everyone enjoyed the questions. I was especially delighted to see Tom Wesselmann, Paul Strand, and Hans Namuth come up; those guys are pretty underrepresented, and Strand and Namuth at least are super important.

The only real complaint I have is that a lot of the images seemed rather "yellowed-out." I'm not sure what percent of the images you're pulling off of ArtStor these days, but it would help the quality of presentation if you screen the ones you pull off of Google Images for odd color settings. I'm sure that a lot of players, like myself, rely heavily on correct color schemes when buzzing on the close-up clues, and it throws them off a bit when things appear too yellow. The Barque of Dante question, for example, suffered from this, as did a lot of the Spanish stuff, from what I can remember.

Anyway, thanks again for doing this. Eyes is still the best thing ever in quizbowl.
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Re: Eyes That Do Not See VI Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:14 pm

gyre and gimble wrote:The only real complaint I have is that a lot of the images seemed rather "yellowed-out." I'm not sure what percent of the images you're pulling off of ArtStor these days, but it would help the quality of presentation if you screen the ones you pull off of Google Images for odd color settings. I'm sure that a lot of players, like myself, rely heavily on correct color schemes when buzzing on the close-up clues, and it throws them off a bit when things appear too yellow. The Barque of Dante question, for example, suffered from this, as did a lot of the Spanish stuff, from what I can remember.
Mostly I grab non-film images from ArtStor, although sometimes it's necessary to go to other sources if it's not on there or at too low of a resolution. But even on ArtStor the quality varies. I agree that bad colors can make it misleading, although this starts to get into general issues around reproductions vs. seeing the work in person. If I had more time and better equipment I might try to do scans from art books, but I honestly don't see that happening.
Andrew wrote:Stuff like "name the war," "name the country," "name the magazine/newspaper/publication," "name the famous person depicted," "name the type of event depicted," etc.

Quizbowl is built out of knowledge binaries; in this context, the binary is between the image and something else: the creator, the event, the person depicted, etc. My suspicion is that the binaries that people tend to know most when it comes to a photographic image concern the image itself (i.e. the event, person, place, etc. depicted), and are less likely to concern the creator.

(I suspect that this is because photography, especially in the news and pop culture, is not presented as art. In the purely artistic context, the first question that comes to mind when you see a new work is "who made it?" When you see a powerful photograph on the cover of the NY Times, that question is secondary, if it arises at all.)
This is a good point about how we are likely to encounter photographs. In practice it can be hard to write these types of conceptual tossups on photographs. That's one of the reasons the Vietnam question was buried in the tiebreakers. There are lots of great and important Vietnam photos, but most of them are pretty instantly recognizable as being in a jungle, featuring clothing from the era, or showing Vietnamese soldiers/civilians which makes it easy to guess. There are ways to get around this by emphasizing more of the history and less of the fine arts in the photography distribution. For instance, one could imagine writing a photography tossup on Harry Truman or something where he's grayed out of various important scenes and ends with him holding "Dewey Defeats Truman". Most of these pictures wouldn't have a lot of merit as fine arts, but they're still important in their own right.
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