Re: Emergent Learning LO2131
Sun, 16 Jul 95 23:25:01

Replying to LO2118 --

Jim - When I was younger, I was interested - as many are - in chess; and
at one point I was pretty much a victim of "chess fever". The only formal
study of chess which I ever undertook was the purchase of a book detailing
games played by Morphy (that's my memory; someone correct me if I'm wrong;
an American player from the quarter-century era). The book laid out the
games, and had some sparse commentary explaining some of the moves and
their consequences. This was information plus some explicit knowledge. A
member of the Chess Club at CCNY saw me struggling with the book and a
board in the cafeteria. He came over to look at the setup - mind you this
was about 15 moves into an actual recorded game - and he began to explain
the implications of what he saw, predicting a set of moves which turned
out to be the next 6 moves exactly. Then he pointed out a couple of
different directions the game could go, and one of those was in fact the
outcome. He did all this by "seeing" backwards in time (how the positions
got arrived at) and used his tacit knowledge to predict the future. Some
will say there are only so many combinations likely from any position, but
I think this was a good example of what you called tacit knowledge
following explicit knowledge. The guy had never before seen these games
from which I was playing.

Another interesting example which I haven't analyzed involves Boris
Kaufman, the cinematographer. In the early 60s I edited some footage
which he shot for an advertising agency. It was an "experimental" Ivory
commercial, which meant simply that the producer had an idea and some
funds, and hired Kaufman - who had a few days between projects - to shoot
some shots of babies. When we played with the footage we came up with a
pretty interesting spot, except that we didn't have any shots close enough
to the baby they wanted to feature, and Kaufman wasn't available for the
re-shooting of closeups. The producer arranged for Kaufman to visit me in
my cutting room one evening. Kaufman called and asked me to pull the
negative of the wider shot we had in our cut. At about 7PM he showed up
in my cutting room and we spent about 30 seconds looking at the work print
on the Moviola. Then Boris asks to look at the negative. He examines it
over my light box, then whips out a pen and grabs my pad; he draws a plot
showing where the camera should be placed, where the baby should be
placed, what lights to use and where they should be placed. Then he
specifies the lens - both size and manufacture - and the f stop and he
leaves. No more than 5 minutes. He then outlined the specifics for the
product shot, so everything would match in the commercial. Of course, it
did. Now it's true he shot the material originally, only three or four
months prior. But I never before saw such a display of expert knowledge,
and I never have since...

Jack Hirschfeld                   Don't you know, you fool, you never can win?