Tag Archives: workshops

allan kaprow student experiments

…from page 60 of “Allan Kaprow”, Corso Superiore Arte Visiva, Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Skira, 1998, Milano.

Find a comfortable place and sit down. Choose someone from among the people you can see and observe him/her.
Copy his/her position, movements, etc, exactly.

Split into three groups. Each group must try to push three different types of materials towards a given point.
Use only the power of your breath.

Choose a partner.
Pinch him/her and then let him/her in turn pinch you.
Check the increase in temperature of the part of skin pinched.

Arrange into small groups.
One person volunteers to be completely passive.
The others must push him in directions they consider to be right.
Having first agreed among themselves.

Choose a dirty mark.
Try to clean it using your saliva and one or more Q-tips.

Choose a partner.
One of the pair draws a line on the ground in chalk. The other partner must follow the line close behind and erase it until either the eraser or the chalk is completely worn out.

Choose a partner.
Observe your partner’s mouth in a mirror and copy his/her expressions.
Each time, move further away, one pace at a time.
Stop when you are too far away to see each other.

Sit on a chair.
Wait for a partner to rest his/her brow on your knee.
Exchange heat.
If you want, swap places and repeat.

Find a place inside.
Moisten a finger and blow on it until it is dry.
Moisten it again and wait until it has dried by itself.

Choose a partner.
Cover your head with a sheet of newspaper.
Breath in and hold for as long as possible.
Stop when the sensation of warm damp becomes unpleasant.

Split into groups.: those who wear glasses and those who don’t.
Those who do not wear glasses mist up the lenses of those who do.
Those who wear glasses must then give the glasses to those who don’t.
Repeat the procedure.

Form a line.
A boy/girl will give you a cold kiss and a warm kiss on each cheek.
Try to spot the difference.

Take a paper handkerchief.
Place it over your mouth.
All walk, starting from the same line.
Hold your breath or breath in until the handkerchief falls.

performance and kind-ness: lone twin

On the weekend i went down to perth to participate in a workshop by uk artists 'lone twin'. anne had tipped me off on it, and i managed to get there at the last minute. this performance duo is pretty inspiring. they take 'pointless activity' to the max – for example line dancing, blindfolded, without music, in cowboy costumes, for 12 hours continuously. in another work, they were asked to link two art centres at opposite ends of an english village, colchester. they got a map and drew a straight line with a ruler between the 2 centres. then they decided to walk as close to a straight line as possible between the two places. To make it a bit more difficult, they wore their cowboy outfits and dragged with them a telegraph pole – it took 8 days! each person they met with told them stories about the town… one woman said they had arrived "25 years late" since that was when a wall blocking their way had been built. each of these encounters was documented by burning the initials of the person into the pole using a magnifying glass and the sun. when they finally arrived at their destination, a crowd of townsfolk had gathered. they all raised the pole together, and lone twin told their stories back to them.

The title of the workshop was “performance and kindness”. [see http://www.cityofswan.com/nrla/workshops.htm] Lone twin are interested in the idea that their activity often generates kindness from those they come into contact with. In return, their lavishing of time and attention on a place or activity is a sort of kindness in itself. It's an interesting concept in relation to performance art, given its famous history of (self) violence. But then i started thinking about the idea of kindness. The word began to me to have a ring of other sorts of “ness” – you know, like the “tree-ness” of a tree is that it should stand tall and provide shade. The “bird-ness” of a bird is that it should fly and have feathers. Of course, these ness-es are negotiable, and changeable over time… It occurred to me that the word “kind” (when used interchangeably with the word “sort” could be a kind of category word – a word which attempts to come to grips with the thing-ness of a thing.
One definition of "kind" from dictionary.com: "Fundamental, underlying character as a determinant of the class to which a thing belongs; nature or essence."
"Kind-ness": the condition of a thing that it should *be like* something (that it should "have a kind"). The character of a thing, precisely that it should *have* a character of some sort.
It's a humble definition, i realise, (and a fuzzy unformed one) but not without some kindness (generosity) within itself – it respects the nature of something for what it is, without trying to change it.

Cunderdin High School Workshops Day 1

[the following post is part of the Bilateral Kellerberrin project. For more on my Cunderdin workshops, see this link.]

cunderdin is 45 km from kellerberrin. As part of my residency at kellerberrin i am running some school workshops. Since i often do these kind of workshops (as a job) i thought it would be interesting to approach them as an experiment “in themselves” ie – something without a known outcome. That way the workshop process becomes as much a part of my ongoing project as any other aspect of the residency.

Felena found what could be the ideal class for such an experiment – the multimedia and information-communication technology (MM ICT) class at cunderdin high. The students are about 13-14 years old, there are about ten of them. Their teachers, Iain and Trevor, have a focus on film/video and computers, respectively. I think its an interesting class to be working with (as opposed to an “art” class) because there is already, i reckon, an openness to the idea of utilising whatever materials and processes happen to be in front of you, and are appropriate, for a given project.

Of course, the kind of art that i do was kinda unfamiliar to them. I ran them through a very rough powerpoint presentation of some of my projects, trying to draw the focus onto a careful consideration of the banal and everyday as an approach to art making. The “Cornflakes” performance and the orange juice installation were kind of confusing to them, I think. But I pressed on. The lecture theatre piece with cushions may have made an impact, I'm not sure. It's hard to tell when you are not only introducing them to your work, but also the the WHOLE IDEA of this kind of work. One bright spark kept asking “what's the point?” (something that Deakin students also asked a few weeks ago when i talked to them) and indeed that is perhaps the crucial question.

Trevor pointed out afterwards that it was potentially empowering for them to realise that they can make something out of what is in front of them – it is an honouring of the minor things that make up your life. I guess that's some kind of point. But anyway, a lack of point didnt seem to deter them from sitting with me, fairly undistracted, for an hour, which is an achievement with any kids of that age, i reckon, especially when i am not trying to seduce them with razzamatazz.

Before they ran off to little lunch I tried to squeeze out of them some of their interests, with a view to “doing something” together for the 4 weeks when they get back from their fortnight of holidays.
“What would you like to do with that period of time?”
Responses included :
-make something…a car? Drive it off a cliff – a destruction piece. (are there any cliffs around here?)
-make our own drugs (probably a bit out of our league in the time frame)
-create our own music, create our own games.
-design a hockey stick (i was impressed with this one, this project would involve carpentry, graphic design, engineering drawings, testing etc)
-make a cartoon character.
-a car racing or horse racing game
-something involving guitars.

It was good to gauge what they were into, and the idea of games and music popped up a bit, so maybe we can head off in that direction. I am aware that I need to structure, quite cleverly, the “freedom” which i intend to give them. It is probably most unproductive to let them loose and do “whatever they want” because (like improvised performance) they will most likely fall back on that which is familiar, behaviour wise, and i want to do the opposite. Probably I will begin each week with exposure to some particular items of art or media (either by me or by various luminaries i rustle up) and then get them to participate in a collaboration/play activity a la allan kaprow, something self-contained, so there is a “result” within the day. If these are adequately documented, it would be enough of an achievement to present the findings of four activities as a “workshop outcome”.

bianca hester is working on a collaborative project with undergrad students at VCA (victorian college of arts). you can see some of the progress of her erstwile students in a bloggy form here: http://studioeverybody.blog-city.com

much like the legendary allan kaprow, hester is keen to shake up her students a bit, to get them out of the normal routine of university art school process – which usually involves a single student authoring a single discrete and highly tangible object/outcome (and being "assessed" individually, and by an authority rather than peers).

instead, hester is "forcing" them to embark on a collaborative process, and to struggle with the project as a process in itself. i cant say i have any idea what the outcome might be, but the budding artists seem to have engaged in some sort of game based around "exchange" – they have divided their foci into "four intensities "falling under the headings "object, process, tool, material" – the use of which is kinda unclear…(one student's intensities were "TROLLY JOINING STRING SCISSORS")…

the blog comes across, to me, more as the collective minutes after an intense meeting, and i think thats why its a bit hard to follow what's going on. but it is clear that it is a site for exchange by the participants more than by interested outsiders like myself. furthermore (and this is most interesting to me) it is an experiment challenging the limits of hester's own practice as an artist. i'm itching to see and hear more…

aware – mobile phone workshop

eep! next week I will be participating in a [mobile phone/interactive-website etc] workshop run by Finnish artists aware.

d-lux media arts, who are co-ordinating the thing, have released the list of other participants – you can find it on their website here. it seems I am the most techno-beginnerish of the whole bunch! hope i can keep up!
details about the workshop from the d-lux website:

Aware (John Evans & Andrew Paterson, both UK/FI) will lead a 3-day master class as an intensive introduction to the collective contribution, publication and syndication of mobile media.
This master class is aimed at new media artists, designers and other creative researchers, interested in gaining skills, hands-on practical experience, and shared knowledge related to this medium for socially-engaged media art practices.
Over the 3 days there will be three aspects to the master class that will be intermingled each day. Firstly, each morning will be dedicated to skills development. It will give 'how-to-do' advice in setting up a webserver, an sms gateway and introduce techniques and approaches to publication and syndication via different methods within mobile and online networks. There will be a distinct focus on open source solutions within proprietary networks, and sustainability beyond the duration of the master class.
In the afternoon sessions, as part of the process of sharing knowledge that Aware has gained in almost 2 years of practice and development, the following themes will be introduced for discussion and elaborated, depending upon interest: Metadata and context; Usability issues; Online representations and interfaces; Public / privacy threshold issues; Experience of social networks in mobile practices; Aesthetics of mobile media. In addition to these subjects, there will be an opportunity to share thoughts on how to design workshops for other special-interest groups, and how to present mobile practices to an audience.
To complement in a hands-on manner, activities from early afternoon onwards, will be done in dispersed group exercises. All contributions by the group will gather in a collective online weblog, which will be used as a prototype environment to illustrate the concepts discussed during the master class.