MoMA roundtable - Transpedagogy - with Qiu Zhijie
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[楼主] art-pa-pa 2009-05-20 20:59:26

Transpedagogy: Contemporary Art and the Vehicles of Education

Friday, May 15, 2009, 4:00 p.m.

Text source: MoMA's website - click here

What role has art education played in contemporary art practice? Artists, scholars, and critics talk about collaborative and participatory art, pedagogical experiments, and how such art can be understood and discussed. This is the first panel of a two-part symposium, presented in collaboration with The Serpentine Gallery, London. Speakers include Mark Allen, Director of the non-profit performance/installation space Machine Project; Claire Bishop, Associate Professor of Art History at the Graduate Center, New York; Tania Bruguera, artist; Jessica Gogan, Assistant Director for Education and Interpretation, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Grant Kester, Associate Professor, Art History Visual Arts Department, University of California, San Diego; Adam Lerner, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, and Chief Animator in the Department of Structures and Fictions; Bernardo Ortiz, artist and member of Lugar a Dudas, Cali, Colombia; Sally Tallant, Head of Education and Public Programmes at the Serpentine Gallery, London; Phillip Van den Bossche, Director, Kunstmuseum Aan Zee, Oostende, Belgium; artist Qiu Zhijie, among others.


Qiu Zhijie's answers to preliminary dialogue questionnaire

Preliminary Dialogue Questionnaire

Many art projects that incorporate pedagogy as a medium seem to be a reaction/response to institutionalized Education ¬ particularly museum education- functioning as a sort of institutional critique. Do you agree with this statement? And if so, what are the concrete aspects of educational methodologies that are being critiqued?


I don't agree. In my environment, art museums don't have a lot of power, so even though my works have some educational aspect, there is nothing about them or other institutions' education being my oponents, as from the beginning they don't match here. They don't have a real educational role.

What is to be learned by institutions from artist-instigated pedagogical projects?


Pedagogical projects held by institutions such as museums and schools disseminate values that are generally accepted by the public. These values are acknowledged and established in a process of selection from and negotiation among many conflicting values, and what are selected are always the most easily acceptable ones to the public. To put it in another way, these values are so easily to be accepted that they are almost obvious and self-explanatory. On the other hand, values advocated by artist-instigated pedagogical projects can include those that have not been accepted by the public. They can even be in conflict with those being disseminated by institutions. There should be no obvious/self-explanatory values in art projects, but rather experimental twists on such values. If such twists can be comprehensive and cover all aspects, they may bring confusion to the society. But naturally shifted values will also bring more ways to disseminate value.


Because of the nature of institutions, they cannot discard mainstream values. However, to experiment with some unconventional ways of disseminating values will help to avoid the “self-explanatory illusion” of mainstream values.

What is to be learned (if anything) by the art practice from the way in which pedagogical methodologies understand its audiences and studies their responses?


Pedagogical projects carried by artists in its general sense have a shrewd interpretative ability to the reaction and participation of their receiver. Any reaction from the receiver, including rejection, can be interpreted as a good result. It is hard to say that such pedagogical projects have a clear goal. In this sense, institutions such as museum should be on guard of pedagogical projects carried by artists. On the other hand, artists should rethink and revalue such interpretation, which has too much room for interpretation. They should try to establish certain cross-referencing guidelines. Only so can they utilize their projects’ advantage of being game-like and experimental, and give new ideas to pedagogical methods that are already existing in the system. For me in today’s world, the possibility to realize this is very slim.

Conventional pedagogy has set goals and parameters toward its audience. What are the benefits/downfalls in establishing similar structure to art projects that engage in similar practices?


Artists learned the model of establishing goals toward specific groups of people from the tradition of taking commissions, so of course it is important for them to study specific groups of people. Similarly, any specific pedagogical project also relies on the study of a specific group of people. Moreover, while pedagogy developed by artists aims toward a specific group of people, it at the same time sets its goal toward an imagined future or a different group of audience. That is to say, an artist sets his goal toward a specific audience but also goes beyond it; specific parameters and methods should also be suitable for observations and studies of a broader scope. This is something that is beyond the systemized, clearly-defined conventional pedagogy. Systemized pedagogical projects in general set up concrete goals, with specific evaluation standards, and thus overlook symbolic levels.

How can we characterize the kind of participation that takes place in a work with a core pedagogical component?


What characterizes participation in contemporary art is the temporary absence of authority. Neither the artist’s way of interpretation nor the ideal way of participation set by him is considered the only authoritative voice. There is always room for other interpretations.

In what was the relationship drawn between performance art and performative pedagogy is useful and in which was is it unhelpful to understand this practice?

performance art本身就是原来的具有社会改造野心的行为艺术被机构吸收改造之后的一个保守的事物。相反,performative pedagogy在各种假设的情景里面工作,对于教育中的对主流意识形态的不反思,特别是上面说过的自明性presumed truth的幻觉有纠正的作用。它是好的教育的必然模式。其实也不是什么新鲜的模式。孔子和佛陀都是这么搞教育的。

Performance art, which originally possesses social reform ambitions, became a conservative thing after being assimilated and reformed by institutions. On the contrary, performative pedagogy operates in different hypothetical prospects, without a reflection on the mainstream ideology, in particularly it rectifies the presumed truth "illusion" mentionned above. It is a necessary model for good education. Actually it isn't a new model. Confucius and Buddha used the same education methods.

What is the distinction of approaches between using art as a vehicle to teach art vs. using artistic strategies toward creating a better understanding of other issues?


Using art itself to teach art is definitely not a good method. It is better not to talk about art when teaching art. One should focus on the multiple existing possibilities of things. The best art teacher probably is a dragger of things' possibilities.
Using art to understand things is effective, it regularly happens everywhere in our everyday life. But in fact deepest thoughts don't need that, they have a moving power stronger than any kind of art.

How can pedagogy, through the work of artists, can contribute to reinvent the gallery and museum practices?

In the activist realm, in what ways can artistic/pedagogical projects impact an audience that straight forward activism can not? Why is it important (is it important) to keep this practices within the artistic realm?


If we think creation as a type of work that can influence ways of thinking, education is no doubt part of such work. Another goal of creation is to create feelings and ways of thinking. Activist-artist will always include pedagogical goals in this creation; it is the manifestation of his activist nature. In this sense, the pedagogical component is always important to artistic creation.


The agenda of an activist, at least at its beginning stage, will always be marginalized by the established social system. Art creation has the capacity to create a debate and its experimental nature has the ability to free itself from constraints. Thus, art creation can provide a better way to engage activism. Society tends to reject activism, but with the help of art creation, for example its game-like quality, more people can be engaged in activism. The e­xpression of activist ideas in artistic realm should be open and stimulating, rather than being a direct declaration, in order to avoid any pre-conceived rejection.

How are these current practiced indebted to institutional critique and
relational aesthetics, and how do they contrast?

Is there a question or questions that you would like to ask other

Is there a topic within the previous questions on which you would be
interested in leading a breakout discussion?


Funny is, what can an educator learn from his student and from the teaching process.

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