Education as Experiment, Countdown day 6: Mel Donhoe

The third of 8 posts to introduce Education as Experiment.


Three years ago I was on my final disciplinary at a college I was Head of Department, Fine Art, just as I was hauled into the office early one morning to be quizzed regarding the work of my notorious year two degree students. As I approached their studio spaces (on the third floor) I could see day light gleaming in through the hole they had smashed through the exterior wall and drawn a bank machine around it. Previously they had set a boat on fire in a near by mere, probably instigated by my throwing a harp from the window during a seminar. Nicolas Bourriaud, in his book, Relational Aesthetics suggets in relation to contemporary art, that it is a ‘demonstration, for everyone to come, of the possibility of creating significance by inhabiting the edge of the abysss.’ Im pained daily by the notion, what actually is the significance, today for students of art to inhabit this abyss? In my opinion and indeed experience, art education has been plunged into a standardisation in a way that allows art to create a false sense of place. We are graduating mechanical professionals that have experienced art education and not art.

Through a series of non standardised, non institutional actions (pedagogic event scores) I propose to demonstrate an active archive of tools for unteaching art education in order to bring back a sense of real place. Armed with evidence and catalyst reproductions that will nuture and encourage brief dialogues between anyone who has been engaged with art school institutions, either marginalised, protagonistic or pragmatic there wil be something for everyone to look fondly upon, take back to the learning site or totally ignor because you are fundementally in agreement with my armoury of disciplinaries, warnings, dismissals, constructive dismissals, legal battles and more recently, gagging restraint.


Should art students construct a bonfire instead of a degree show?

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