Course vs. Score

Posted on Apr 10, 2017

Last week I had the pleasure of teaching a workshop within the Artist as Educator graduate class taught by Caroline Woolard, an artist I greatly admire, at SVA (School of Visual Arts) in NYC. While walking the class through the process of designing a semester-long, college-level art class I tried to talk about how, while on the one hand, a college syllabus is a very institution-friendly document that outlines what useful and necessary information and activities the course will cover, it can also operate as a set of instructions that facilitates a generative process or kind of performance. There are many important things to consider, such as “Am I teaching from my bias and how can I counter that?,” “How can I  create an arc over a 16 week semester and break-down the material into ‘consumable chunks’?” or “What is my criteria for evaluation and how can I make it transparent to the students?,” but just as important are other questions: As teaching artists, how can we imagine our course as a laboratory? How can we design structures and assignments that are open, or balance instrumentality with a sense of serendipity, irreverence, playfulness, absurdity, intentional failure or other unquantifiable quality that may be conducive to making art? When I arrived at the class I was more than pleased to join in with their performance of a Fluxus aqueous event score, passing water around a circle with a spoon.

 

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