What I'm Reading


  • Teaching and learning at its best is one of the most ancient and elemental of all human exchanges. It has been going on ever since our primordial progenitors tried to pass the good news about fire. Tips, tricks, and techniques are not the heart of education - fire is. I mean finding light in the darkness, staying warm in a cold world, avoiding being burned if you can, and knowing what brings healing if you cannot. That is the knowledge that our students really want, and that is the knowledge we owe them. Not merely the facts, not merely the theories, but a deep knowing of what it means to kindle the gift of life in ourselves, in others, and in the world.

    Parker Palmer in 'Radical Presence' by Mary Rose O'Reilley
  • Notes from Living as Form: Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2011 edited by Nato Thompson

    my thoughts in [ ]. other text below is directly quoted from the book.

    [Socially engaged art uses poetry and symbolism. Some actual, statistically measurable change may happen as a result of the project, but it's more about affecting social consciousness than acheiving the measurable results sought by non-profit activist organizaions. The playfulness and poetry of social practice art comes from the freedom from having to report statistically-measurable change to funders.] p. 18

    Tania Bruguera - "I don't want an art that points at a thing, I want an art that is the thing."..."It is time to put Duchamp's urinal back in the resstroom." p.21

    Isolated artists must focus on speaking, while groups of people coming together must focus on listening. p.26

    "If I was an artist, he said, why didn't I come up with some kind of creative solution to issues instead of just telling people like him what they already knew. That was the defining moment that pushed me out of the studio." - Rick Lowe p. 26

    And in an era in which the production of culture is often used as an advertisement, artists too can be guilty of projects wherein the production of art is simply advertising for the ultimate product: themselves. p.31

    ...borrowing from french theorist Michel de Certeau's terms the 'tactical' and the 'strategic' – notions that explore how aesthetics are produced in space. If the tactical is temporary, interventionist form of trespass, the strategic is the long-term insvestment in space. p.31

    [ tactical = how an artist makes the work. medium, action, site. 

    strategic = why they make the work. what the big-picture goal of the work is. ]

    For some, there were too many similarities between a VIP cocktail party and the intimate personal experiences advocated by much of the work gathered under the heading of relational aesthetics...

    Josh MacPhee, "I am tired of artists fetishizing activist culture and shoiwng it to the world as though it were their invention." p.31

    These are projects [Lowe's Project Row Houses, Reynold's Tamms Year Ten and Park Fiction's activism to create a public park in Hamburg] that are deelpy routed in community relations and motivated by a commitment to political change. They also gain community traction by committing to an idea over time. [as opposed to the hit-and-run model] p. 32

    The concept of affect derives from the understanding that how things make one feel is substantively different than how things make one think... Socially engaged art may, in fact, be a misnomer. Defying discursive boundaries, its very flexible nature reflects an interst in producing effects and affects in the world rather than focusing on the form itself. in doing so, this work has produced new forms of living that force a reconsideration and perhaps new laguage altogether. p.32