NITA MOCANU

visual artist

DIARY OF A DISCUSSION ON EDUCATION AND OTHER THINGS

By 12:51 AM , , , ,



                    The exhibition entitled 'Diary of a Discussion on Education and Other Things' is based on an unfinished project from 2011. The project, a video documentary was called 'Art Class', and it aimed at presenting how it is to be a visual artist and an art teacher at the same time today. The project was further developed in 2014 during my residency program at Cluj at Studio Conset. The diary is an artistic method which I often use, because it suits best my ideas. My perspective upon education here is more a personal than a scientific one, thus I rely on my personal experiences together with the experiences of fellow-teachers and their pursuit of understanding via own practices. In November 2014 I held an open discussion for art teachers at MAGMA, Sfantu Gheorghe, which was recorded, and parts of this discussion is also included in the Diary. All these texts are a kind of a testimony of my personal experiences with the education system. Right now the situation is still unchanged.
                    'The definition of art used in Art Classes is very narrow. It is extremely hard even for us teachers to give a suitable definition, but at the same time we are forced to provide a functional definition for the students, sometimes by integrating the lack of clarities themselves in the definition.' Actually, in the case of Art Classes, art is defined as follows: visual language has its own specific grammar that is very different from the structure of verbal language, and which has to be learned separately if we want to understand visual arts. Constituting elements of the visual language are: the point, the line, the shape, the color, and they can be learned through creating aesthetic visual compositions. The curriculum in secondary schools (age group: 10-14) contains the following activities during Art Class: exercises based on using different working materials characteristic of the different forms of visual arts; exercises aimed at obtaining the different tones of the color wheel; exercises of deconstruction of and reshaping different structures; making decorative compositions with one single pattern, or repeated patterns (using different techniques); making figurative and non-figurative compositions by using contrast-colors (at least one composition for each pair of colors); fine and decorative compositions by using the decorative, constructive and signifying role of the dot and the line, etc.
                      In 2009 I finished my final exam as a teacher. When preparing for this exam, as being active on the contemporary art scene at the same time, I had a marked feeling of inadequacy: I felt that the bibliography for this exam was completely parallel with the cultural reality we were living in. Our whole education system seemed to be a machinery on autopilot. Similarly, the curriculum for Art Classes seemed to be an insensitive machinery as well, incapable of integrating the human factor. I was wondering where the students' lives and experiences could be placed in this whole system? According to the curriculum – which is highly result-oriented – it is easy to evaluate student performance: the different artworks realized by them either stick to the drained formalism of the Bauhaus-school, or they don't.
                      Interestingly, one book mentioned in the bibliography for the final exam was 'Postmodern Pedagogy' by Emil Stan. Greenwash for Fine Arts? - I was wondering. It was exactly postmodern (actually modern) pedagogy that is still missing from our education system, which is rather highly traditional, mechanic, formalist and competitive. We are missing exactly that kind of critical philosophy which character- izes postmodern pedagogy: we are missing activities based on collaboration); we are lacking experimental ways of learning such as learning through failure); we are lacking the student-oriented way of thinking as well as critical thinking regarding the visual world (visual arts and images in general).
                       All that is required from the students is to be able to realize a drawing on a piece of paper and to be able to follow some rules. In primary schools teaching art is even more schematic: many times teachers use copies of drawings in order to make the students follow the required aesthetic norms. The topics these children have to draw about are usually connected to holidays or they are the ones often required at competitions, such as 'The Colors of Autumn' or 'Visual Dialogs'.
I was told many times that Art Classes are placed at the middle of the school-day - they should constitute a moment of intellectual/mental break – in order to be able to better concentrate afterwards until about 2 pm.
                      During my teaching years I realized that each art teacher has his/her own version of the same story, very few of them are happy with the curriculum, they complain about the lack of methodology, and non of them is actually expert in pedagogy. Thus, teaching art becomes a subjective practice which follows the aesthetic values and dispositions of each and every teacher. Some of us, passionates about education, came up with our own methodologies, we created new methods based on our findings on the Internet following some of the student-oriented activities practiced in other countries/in other school-systems. However, trying to reinvent the pedagogy of arts individually is very time consuming and exhausting, and often it takes time and energy from the actual teaching itself. While a coherent long-term curriculum is completely absent from our educational system, the discussions I had with the different art teachers show that they have a general perspective upon the current situation, which could constitute as a starting point for redesigning the whole curriculum and the system.
Nita MOCANU



EXHIBITIONS


CONSET Studio, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
26.08-14.09.2014
HERE

MAGMA Contemporary Art Medium, Contemporary Art Space, Sfantu Gheorghe, Romania
13.11-07.12.2014
HERE

TEXTS FROM THE EXHIBITION

Texts from “Diary of a discussion on education and other things”:

“The 21 century kid has no idea about what he sees on TV”, “I never wrote a lesson plan”, “The visual education is educating the eye, without images you're dead”, “The good method is the consequence of a profound knowledge of the domain”,<<”To express a language”, it was Romanian the one who wrote the curriculum for Plastic Education?>>, “The pedagogical art is not visual art”, “The lesson on how to censor yourself at drawing because of the imposed lines types”, “Art teacher's mental bias: the pedagogy is composed of sentiments, intuitions and talent”, “The kids search for teachers recognition”, “To educate children to be happy about art even if they are not doing art”, “To learn to see”, “There are teachers with different opinions”, “A so big disinterest”, “One last possibility, to enter in education”, “Come on, give me your class to make some math preparation”, “A lot of kids are doing this, they do nothing”, “Exercises of getting out of the scheme”, “Ore he doesn't pay attention, or he needs to be in the center of attention”, “There are also others here that are as talented”, “Wrongly understood pedagogy”, “To much paperwork”, “The pressure to be doing all the time something, without reflection time”, “I would like to have other manuals”, “The performative part of teaching, what you say has to be authentic”, “You get to know to draw but to not know what to draw”, “You already anticipate the drawing when you say seasons”, “The art education is a mystery”, “Don't draw me what you know draw what you like”, “The problem of art is that it approaches the world as a whole and it has this ambition to speak in the name of the planet, but the population is not interested”, “Everybody communicates trough images not only the talented ones”, “Visual education should not resume itself to artists because we all can read images and write with images”, “When exams are coming, it's over, we are not doing drawing anymore”, “Contemporary art its a niche”, “The stakes are not always to educate artists”, “There is no importance given to subjects only to techniques”, “I don't pay attention to the curriculum”, “How an art work gets to have the masterpiece stamp”, “What happened in the past 150 years?”, “A total rethinking of the curriculum”, “The instruments are very limited, they are not even representing as but them”, “The ignorance about the life context of children, focusing of visual language grammar learning”, “Where did you get at Art History? At landscape.”, “All that you have to do is to SEE”


Conset Studio- Diary of a discussion on education - opening
"Diary of a discussion on education and other things" opening at Conset Studio, Cluj-Napoca, 13.09.2014
(photo gallery)
Diary of a discussion on education and other things 2014
"Diary of a discussion on education and other things" at Conset Studio, Cluj-Napoca, installation view
(photo gallery)

THE DEVELOPMENT OF SENSITIVITY - video by Nita Mocanu 2012


The Development of Sensitivity from Nita Mocanu on Vimeo.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
IDEA. Arts+Society #45 "Always a step away from art" by Diana Marincu

You Might Also Like

0 comentarii