It is currently Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:01 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 18 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Judging Bonsai
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:35 am 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:13 am
Posts: 1190
Location: Los Angeles, California
This thread is for discussing Attila Soos' article, " Judging Bonsai "
http://artofbonsai.org/feature_articles/judging.php


Last edited by Paul Stokes on Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: I like the idea
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 12:58 pm 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 10:43 pm
Posts: 130
Location: Mexico, Merida
Hi Atila, I like your system. I organize every year a local exhibition, and usually invite some people to judge, but I notice that they simply chose the tree they like the best and they did not really checked all the trees very well. Last year I decided to hand in some sheets with 4 things to grade for each tree and to place comments and so fort. As a result they had to spend more time analyzing each of the trees and this information was given back to the members I think it was very help full. But I think your system is better yet. If you may, I will try it out this November.

Best wishes.
Enrique


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 1:22 pm 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:13 am
Posts: 1190
Location: Los Angeles, California
Hi Enrique,
Thank you, and you are welcome to use the judging spreadsheet. Let us know how it goes.
Cheers,
Attila


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 5:41 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:11 am
Posts: 6469
Location: Michigan USA
Enrique,
A review of this system would indeed be very educational, I look forward to your thoughts.

Will


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Evaluation
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:01 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 4:00 am
Posts: 38
Glad you address this point.
What I like to know is the evaluation. Not only the good points, but also the points that needs to be reconsider or develop further, like: in which area's the judges differs a lot in their scores, and how to deal with these big differences in scores (about the same judgement aspect).

I know a system that removes the 2 extreme scores (the most enthousiastic and the most uninterested judges), to end up with the average of all judges, but this needs a minimum number of judges, and there are always alternatives to deal with this problem.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:36 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 4:00 am
Posts: 38
Further thoughts about this judging system:

1. Do all people use the 10-grade school score system the same way. Look at tree #3. with scores of 2, 4,and 5. It looks like a rational and objective score system, but is it really so.

2. How can we judge the stock if we only see the result. This point really struck me.

3. Okay, the bonsai can be seen as a result of the stock + the choosen design; hereby you assume that there is something like a good design. This assumption doesn't stand strong, because when we give 1 same stock to 5 good bonsaiists, the results will be 5 good bonsai (therefore they are good bonsaiist), i.e. they make 5 different apparances of trees that all have good stories, which are well told to the audiance (remember that a good bonsai is a good story telling). In other words: there are more good designs possible with 1 stock.

4. Okay, for the technique aspects, you've simplified the Technical Analytical Points of the EBA; so the basic of your score system is the C plus the B class of EBA bonsai. The C for the technical points, and the B for the stock and design points.

My critiques are weighted as follows: 2 - 3 - 1


Last edited by Ron Sudiono on Tue Oct 02, 2007 1:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:44 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:11 am
Posts: 6469
Location: Michigan USA
Ron Sudiono wrote:
2. How can we judge the stock if we only see the result. This point really struck me.

The result is what is being judged.
Ron Sudiono wrote:
3. Okay, the bonsai can be seen as a result of the stock + the choosen design; hereby you assume that there is something like a good design. This assumption doesn't stand strong, because when we give 1 same stock to 5 good bonsaiists, the results will be 5 good bonsai (therefore they are good bonsaiist), i.e. they make 5 different apparances of trees that all have good stories, which are well told to the audiance (remember that a good bonsai is a good story telling). In other words: there are more good designs possible with 1 stock.


I think you're missing the point maybe. Certainly there would be five good bonsai created in the above senario but each one could be judged on thier own artistic merits. You left out one very important thing in you equation, talent, which takes a good bonsai made with techinqque and turns it into something that is more than the sum of its parts....and although you are correct in stating that there are many designs possible with one piece of stock, what is being judged is the design used and the end result, not what could have been, but what is.

Will


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 1:43 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 4:00 am
Posts: 38
Will Heath wrote:
Ron Sudiono wrote:
2. How can we judge the stock if we only see the result ? This point really struck me.

The result is what is being judged.

You mentioned in the article that what you called "Character", as a part of the "Subject", dealt with the stock.
"The Subject category could be further refined into two sub-categories: Character and Design. Character has to do with the quality of the stock we are starting with".


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Evaluation
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 2:16 pm 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:13 am
Posts: 1190
Location: Los Angeles, California
Ron Sudiono wrote:
in which area's the judges differs a lot in their scores, and how to deal with these big differences in scores (about the same judgement aspect).
I know a system that removes the 2 extreme scores (the most enthousiastic and the most uninterested judges), to end up with the average of all judges, but this needs a minimum number of judges, and there are always alternatives to deal with this problem.


Hi Ron,
The judges will always score according to their own personal preferences, no matter what system is used. This subjectivity cannot be completely eliminated, but can somewhat be minimized. In case of this system, I added double weight to the Subject category, which means that even the judges who value the technical side more than the character/design side, will be "forced" to add more imprtance to the latter, due to the formula used on the spreadsheet.
But the main thing is that each judge will be able to use the system to rank the trees based on the criteria selected on the judging sheet. It helps him to be consistent in applying the same criteria, the same way, for all the trees. And we will be able to see why he/she ranked one tree higher than the other tree.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 2:44 pm 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:13 am
Posts: 1190
Location: Los Angeles, California
Ron Sudiono wrote:
1. Do all people use the 10-grade school score system the same way ? Look at tree #3. with scores of 2, 4,and 5. It looks like a rational and objective score system, but is it really so ?


I cannot answer this question with certainty. But I know that the 10-grade system is widely used around the world, it is fine enough to differentiate between nuances (a 5-grade system would be too rough, in my opinion, leading to too many ties) and it is easy to understand: 1 for the worst quality, 10 for the best quality, 5 for an average.

Of course, there is always a problem with this: what does top quality mean? Top quality for Kimura would be different from top quality for Joe
Average. This is not really a problem when only one judge is used. But when there are multiple judges, there must be a discussion about the frame of reference. For instance, if there is an elementary school competition, the bonsai that received a grade 10 will certainly not receive the same 10 if the tree was competing in an international contest involving top artist.

But I think that the judges would be intelligent enough to agree on a frame of reference.

Ron Sudiono wrote:
2. How can we judge the stock if we only see the result ? This point really struck me.


The quality and character of the material will shine through, no matter what is the design, and even after after the tree is finished. It is not hard to see this when looking at a bonsai designed from an old collected yamadori: the texture of bark, the existence of deadwood, the shape of primary branches, the proportion of trunk and branches suggesting great age, the points of interests that attract the viewer's attention. Some of these qualities are really intangible and hard to adequately describe with words. But character can also be enhanced by the artist. He can create deadwood that wasn't there before (see Cheng Kung-Cheng). Some bonsai was created from seed or young cutting, and every quality of that stock is man-made. It doesn't matter, character is character, regardless whether it is man-made or nature-made. Regardless of the design, this character is of crucial importance.

Ron Sudiono wrote:
3. Okay, the bonsai can be seen as a result of the stock + the choosen design; hereby you assume that there is something like a good design. This assumption doesn?t stand strong, because when we give 1 same stock to 5 good bonsaiists, the results will be 5 good bonsai (therefore they are good bonsaiist), i.e. they make 5 different apparances of trees that all have good stories, which are well told to the audiance (remember that a good bonsai is a good story telling). In other words: there are more good designs possible with 1 stock.


I completely agree with you, there are many possible good designs for any material. There are also many possible bad designs. It is up to the judge to decide which one is a good or a bad design, according to the judge's talent and knowledge.

Ron Sudiono wrote:
4. Okay, for the technique aspects, you've simplified the Technical Analytical Points of the EBA; so the basic of your score system is the C plus the B class of EBA bonsai. The C for the technical points, and the B for the stock and design points.
My critiques are weighted as follows: 2 ? 3 - 1


Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the EBA and their system. Or may be "fortunately", since I designed this one according to my own experience, and without being biased by any other system.

By the way, thank you for taking the time to give some thought to this and have a discussion. I am sure that, like any other system, this is far from being perfect, and there are always ways to improve it. It is an attempt in my quest for creating good bonsai, and to learn about how others see it.
Best regards,
Attila


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 3:02 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 4:01 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Sweden
I still don't understand why being subjective is a bad thing...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 3:27 pm 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:13 am
Posts: 1190
Location: Los Angeles, California
Emil Br?nnstr?m wrote:
I still don't understand why being subjective is a bad thing...

I think that being subjective is a wonderful thing. Without it, there would be no art.

The only constraint I see is that it needs to happen within the limits of some generally accepted conventions. An example of such a convention is that a good bonsai displays great age. Or: bonsai is inspired by nature. This is what I was referring to when I said that "subjectivity can be somewhat minimized". Unlimited subjectivity is what I am against.
In other words, bonsai, like any other human endeavour, is a game. When we play the game, we must agree on a few rules. Without these rules, there would be no game.

A judging system like this lays down the rules of the game. Remember, this is a bonsai competition.

But these conventions still give the artist a lot of room for subjectivity. Subjectivity is the most exciting part of any art form. I call it creativity.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 8:17 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 4:00 am
Posts: 38
Allow me to take a step BACK first, to discuss the aim of a good judging system in bonsai, because I think you can't design a judging system without assuming some goals, aims, and background. Judging and competetion is almost the same, of course, and I know many people dislike the idea of competition in bonsai, because it creates politics between bonsaiists, and politics and art are not two best friends, as you know. But okay, since we talk about competition, we shall talk about competition here. Here we goes:

The makers and users of a judging system are at least 2 different groups: the judges, which are working within an organization dealing with bonsai on one hand, and the audience at the other hand.

I can't speak about the aims and goals of a bonsai organization, but I notice that there is always a big discrepancy between these 2 groups: bonsai competition is a phenomena which is NOT transparant to the broad audience. The audience simply don't know how bonsai scores are made and what thoughts, aims, situations, etc. take a big role among the judges and the judging proces. As part of this general audience, I suspect there is anxiety or secrecy within the organisators of bonsai shows and competitions to reveal 'the truth behind judging', and I suspect that the reason for this is not only a practical reason such as the impossibility to inform the audience how the judges works.

So, I will speak only from the point of interest of the audience here, and try to take your idea a step further.

The aims for the audience is to learn about bonsai, because only after learning how to appreciate bonsai, one can enjoy bonsai a lot more. Learning from judges meaning at the first place TRANSPARANCY. The judges should tell the audience how they appreciate bonsai by informing WHAT to be seen, HOW to be seen/scored, but also show WHICH unrational and subjective processes play a big role in order to judge well. I talk here about personal taste, background, emotions, groups interactions, etc. I define personal taste as the impossibility to have ONE judging system in which all the relative weights/relations of all criteria is wel known, agreed, and followed by everybody.

Your idea start with the basic desire to rationalize the judging process, which is a good starting point, thank you! I like now to add the fact that this 'valueing' proces is not only a rational proces, but a mix of rational and unrational processes. Other things like the relative positions should be taken into account. I talk about relative positions within 2 relationships: between the bonsai's itself, and between the judges as well.

In practice, I like to add a second and third judging rounds to your idea. After scoring individually every bonsai without seeing the others, each judges should take comparisons between the bonsai in competition. He/she should be allowed to make a virtual side-by-side comparisons, like in bodybuilding for example, in which each judge is allowed to call out 2 or 3 bodybuilders to be compared side-by-side.

After taking account the relative positions between all bonsai in this competition, I suggest we take into account the group interactions. The aim here is to try to eliminate or reduce the big differences in scores between judges about the same criterium. You can choose an discussion form or, if this is not practical or possibly, a 'silent' third round: each judges sees the individual scores of other judges, and is allowed to ask for explanations by big differences with his/her own score, without getting in a discussion. He/she could then reconsider his/her own score.

The results of the first, second, and third round should be published during the show, or at least after the show. The most important thing for the audience (like me) is not only objectivity (because we know this is a kind of illusion) but how we can learn to look and appreciate bonsai from the so-called experts.

There are many alternatives possible, and I don't have the illusion to design the best judging system.

By the way, the EBA defines 3 levels of bonsai quality: A-B-C classes. A beginning bonsai will be judged according to the C system, where the emphasis lay in judging each elements of the bonsai individually: nebari, tachiagari, branches, taper, pot, etc. (your 'Techniques' elements). You select 4 elements, TAP selects 16 'technical elements', plus 4 'esthetical elements': balance, naturallness, depth, and harmony. After scoring a minimal C scores, the bonsai may take a step further, and becomes a B bonsai. Here, more esthetical points will be judges, maybe with more depth and division (I only has the C criteria so I can't tell you in details about this). Finally, a A level bonsai will not be judged by any rational number or aspect or element, but pure by intuition (100% esthetical).


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 12:09 pm 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:13 am
Posts: 1190
Location: Los Angeles, California
Ron Sudiono wrote:
After scoring individually every bonsai without seeing the others, each judges should take comparisons between the bonsai in competition. He/she should be allowed to make a virtual side-by-side comparisons, like in bodybuilding for example, in which each judge is allowed to call out 2 or 3 bodybuilders to be compared side-by-side.


I agree with you, comparing the trees side by side has to be absolutely part of the judging process. I would never attempt to judge one tree in an exhibit, without comparing it, and my scores, with the other trees. Since the aim is to differentiate the best tree from the ones that are not so good, one needs to compare them. The only difference between you and myself here is that I envisioned this comparison process to be not a separate round, but to be part of the scoring process from the beginning: as you score the trees, you are going back and forth, comparing them to each other, and adjusting your scores if necessary.

Scoring is never an absolute science, but rather relative, so comparison is essential.

Ron Sudiono wrote:
After taking account the relative positions between all bonsai in this competition, I suggest we take into account the group interactions. The aim here is to try to eliminate or reduce the big differences in scores between judges about the same criterium. You can choose an discussion form or, if this is not practical or possibly, a 'silent' third round: each judges sees the individual scores of other judges, and is allowed to ask for explanations by big differences with his/her own score, without getting in a discussion. He/she could then reconsider his/her own score.


I find this a good idea, albeit sometimes impractical. The judges may not want to have such a discussion with each-other. They may feel that questioning their decisions means questioning their competency. Or there could be other logistical problems. But if the judges agree to it gladly, then this may be a very good idea to implement.

Ron Sudiono wrote:
The results of the first, second, and third round should be published during the show, or at least after the show. The most important thing for the audience (like me) is not only objectivity (because we know this is a kind of illusion) but how we can learn to look and appreciate bonsai from the so-called experts.


Publishing the results of judging would be to me the best part of the competition. This is where we get an insight into the minds of experienced bonsai professionals, and can learn a lot. Not only learn about bonsai, but also about how others see and feel about bonsai, which is another exciting area. To make it even better, I would love to see a discussion forum with the judges, where the audience can ask questions and the judges respond to it in a live setting.

When the judging process is hidden from the public, it is (willingly or unwillingly) implied that winning is the only thing that matters. Everything else happens behind the scene. I think that this is wrong. Winning is nice, but the most important thing is that a competition makes people analyze and think about the whole process of creating a bonsai, and how the end result speaks to the viewer. This should be the main purpose, and judging can help to achieve this.

Ron Sudiono wrote:
By the way, the EBA defines 3 levels of bonsai quality: A-B-C classes. A beginning bonsai will be judged according to the C system, where the emphasis lay in judging each elements of the bonsai individually: nebari, tachiagari, branches, taper, pot, etc. (your 'Techniques' elements). You select 4 elements, TAP selects 16 'technical elements', plus 4 'esthetical elements': balance, naturallness, depth, and harmony. After scoring a minimal C scores, the bonsai may take a step further, and becomes a B bonsai. Here, more esthetical points will be judges, maybe with more depth and division (I only has the C criteria so I can't tell you in details about this). Finally, a A level bonsai will not be judged by any rational number or aspect or element, but pure by intuition (100% esthetical).


Nice system. The only drawback I see is that it is very tedious. I know that some people prefer to use a questionnaire with 50 different criteria. The other extreme is the simplest scoring system, with one single score, based on intuition. And there is the whole scale of compexity between the two extremes.
My goal was to create something as simple as possible, but not too simplistic.
I consider your ideas all very good, worthy of implementing.
Cheers,
Attila


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 1:38 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 4:00 am
Posts: 38
Attila Soos wrote:
The judges may not want to have such a discussion with each-other. They may feel that questioning their decisions means questioning their competency. Or there could be other logistical problems. But if the judges agree to it gladly, then this may be a very good idea to implement.


This sounds logical but in fact not at all.
By pusblishing all scores, the judges now interacts with everybody, so what is the point not to talk about his/her scores. If I was a judge, I like the opportunity to correct my "mistakes" earlier in the judging proces than afterwards.


Last edited by Ron Sudiono on Thu Oct 04, 2007 1:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 18 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Copyright 2006-2008 The Art of Bonsai Project.
All rights reserved.
Original MSSimplicity Theme created by Matt Sims © 2004
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group