Feb 5th ~ 9th
First thing this morning we were shown our studio allocations, I’d imagine they’ll be fluid during our settling in period as we discern each other’s need of space and/or light.
Tutorial with Ailbhe
I can’t get the constraints on my time due to working on the sculpture project out of my head, I’m feeling constantly conflicted over it, at once apologetic and frustrated but I wouldn’t be here without the earnings from it. I outlined some of my interests and concerns and the ‘curse’ of labelling myself an interdisciplinary artist. I tried, unsuccessfully, to explain the basis of my sculptural approach to photography. We talked about the act of gathering objects as a starting point for a body of work which lead me to describe the some of the methods I used in my final year work, where I collected flotsam and jetsam after a violent storm which lead to the construction of votive altars based on a post-apocalyptic mythology I devised. I mentioned the influence of Bas Jan Ader on my acceptance of failure and happenstance, and how this helped me counteract an ingrained practice of rigid plans and expected outcomes that comes from years of working in industry. I recalled a tutorial with Brian McGuire where he helped me redefine what constitutes a finished piece. Ailbhe gave me a couple of artists to look at: Wolfgang Laib – Pollen pieces and Simon Starling – shedboatshed. I’m undertaking a review of my recent projects and old notebooks to help me decide a direction for my work.
Situations – Our first Situations discussion at Grande Parade.Chapter one of The Ignorant Schoolmaster – Five Lessons in intellectual Emancipation by Jacques Rancière, ‘An Intellectual Adventure’. Here Rancière recounts the story of an early 19th century educator, Joeseph Jacotot, who took advantage of an unplanned posting to Holland (a political expediency) to conduct an experiment. He was faced with a dilemma where class of students and their master had no common language. He used a bilingual copy of ‘The Telemaque’, a utopian novel from1699 by Fenelon, as their link and asked his students to learn French from the Flemish translation. They succeed with no explanations of the finer points of French, this challenged Jacotot’s understanding of a basic tenet of teaching, that of explication and his realisation of the distance it put between educator and student. It was this ‘Pedagogical Myth’ that divides intelligence between the knowing and the ignorant. It was the Flemish student’s inherent intelligence that allowed them to succeed, the same as used to learn their mother tongue. This was Jacotot’s affirmation; that anyone could learn alone, his role in the exercise was to implement his will upon the students and not explicate to them. Rancière’s book reveals this experiment to a modern (1987) audience and he uses it as a critique of Bourdieu’s circular arguments of educational exclusion of the working class and the implementation of reforms to tackle these apparent inequalities by Mitterand’s education Minister, Alain Savay. In Rancière critique of these policies he becomes a voice for the early 19th century workers that ‘transgressed the boundaries set for them’ and attacks the bourgeois intellectuals that would speak for, or explicate to, the workers.
I was looking forward to this session as a great way for the group to open up. To hear their physical and intellectual voices, and get to know one another better. The conversation flowed with Lucy having to reign us in from time to time for getting off topic. Sinead’s previous life in Paris and her experiences with the education system in France was very enlightening and a little depressing. It seems the same inequalities that Rancière saw in the sixties, seventies and early eighties still exist today. We talked about a range of ideas: the raising of weaker members through group cohesion, the entomology of educational terms and Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. One surprising idea that was posited was that there is still a place for rhythmic rote learning. We made a correlation with the assumed role of Artist (capital A) as pedagogue and the implications of that function.
Wednesday to Friday: Garryhill