Siri Borge Benedicte Clementsen Julie Clifforth Tonette Eberspacher Marte Gunnufsen Jennifer Johansson Nora Joung Siw-Anita Kirketeig Markus Moestue Egil Paulsen Philip Persson Mekdes W Shebeta Annika Eriksson Anne Szefer Karlsen Arne Skaug Olsen Gerd Tinglum Jan Verwoert
Bergen Academy of Art and Design
BA graduates 2014
Department of Fine Art
Bergen Academy of Art and Design Department of Fine Art BA graduates 2014 Siri Borge Benedicte Clementsen Julie Clifforth Tonette Eberspacher Marte Gunnufsen Jennifer Johansson Nora Joung Siw-Anita Kirketeig Markus Moestue Egil Paulsen Philip Persson Mekdes W Shebeta
8 - 9
Advices to a young artist
Annika Eriksson & Gerd Tinglum 10 - 15
Writing _ Art _ Education (please fill in the gaps) Jan Verwoert 16 - 20
Productive confusion and
the collaborative educational situation
Anne Szefer Karlsen & Arne Skaug Olsen 23 - 71
Advices to a young artist
Annika Eriksson & Gerd Tinglum
A recurring theme in discussions with students and colleagues is the nature of a process, the process of making art. In an area with so few absolutes as art, the bittersweet topic offers a common ground. The frequently so time-consuming, painful and yet absolutely fascinating process is something to which all artists can relate. Procrastinating, researching and then ultimately doing can be such a challenging part of the artistic process, however, that one resolutely feels that a golden shortcut must exist. Although there is no such easy route, there are some experiences that we would like to share with you. A first essential step is to let go of the anxious desire to please. To forget about what you â€œshouldâ€? and rediscover what you really want to do can be key when the lock has jammed. Perhaps you need an archive to dive into, a compilation, which can remind you of what really sets you ablaze. As an artist you are constantly working. Everything around you can potentially contribute to what you do. To keep your eyes open and release that knot of anxiety can help you enter the subtle state of conscious unconsciousness. The course of wrestling with something that does not yet exist requires you to actively search for those things - however ridiculous - that gets you going. To analyze, but also daring to let go, trusting both intellect and intuition, are key elements. Sometimes you need to put up limitations - a frame within which you can work. By limiting yourself you are also challenged to find new means of expression. The boundary can become a liberating force. As a guide along the way, we would like to include excerpts from a letter by Sol LeWitt, a deeply caring vote of confidence and kick-in-the-pants that has been music to the ears of several generations of artists since it was first published in 1965:
You seem the same as always, and being you, hate every minute of it. Don’t! Learn to say; Fuck You to the world once in a while. You have every right to. Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder, wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, gasping, confusing, itching, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, rumbling, rambling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hutching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose-sticking, assgouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO. From your description, and from what I know of your previous work and your ability, the work you are doing sounds very good. Drawings – clean-clear but crazy like machines, larger, bolder, real nonsense. That sounds wonderful – real nonsense. Do more. More nonsensical more crazy more machines, more breasts, penises, cunts, whatever – make them abound with nonsense. Try and tickle something inside you, your “weird humor.” You belong in the most secret part of you. Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool. Make your own, your own world. If you fear, make it work for you – draw and paint your fear and anxiety. And stop worrying about big, deep things such as “to decide on a purpose and way of life, a consistent approach to even some impossible end or even an imagined end.” You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking,
1 Eva Hesse and Sol LeWitt (2014), Converging Lines, Yale University Press.
empty. Then you will be able to DO! I have much confidence in you and even though you are tormenting yourself, the work you do is very good. Try to do some BAD work. The worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell. You are not responsible for the world – you are only responsible for your work, so do it. And don’t think that you have to conform to any idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be. But if life would be easier for you if you stopped working then stop. Don’t punish yourself. However, I think that it is so deeply engrained in you that it would be easier to DO.1 Professor Annika Eriksson and Rector Gerd Tinglum at Bergen Academy of Art and Design. Curators of the exhibition Sectioning Experience, May 2014.
Writing _ Art _ Education (please fill in the gaps)
1. _ about _ Writing about art education is not easy. This is because writing, art and education have something very crucial in common: They are practices. And in order for practices to grow and be enriched by an understanding of their own potentials and limits, they need to be exercised and experienced. Surely we also need to talk and share the experiences we gather. But the crux is that the understanding which underpins, informs and drives a practice cannot readily be extracted and isolated from a practice. At least not in a manner that would allow us to speak, scientifically, objectively, about what we do â€” as if we could look down on our practice, from an elevated vantage point, like a scientist dissecting a sample under a microscope, or rather: a king overseeing troop movements from high up on the commanderâ€™s hill. But even if our practice is neither a dead thing to be unpicked, nor an army to receive orders, but an expression of our own living being, we still speak about practice, often enough, in terms of positive knowledge and strategy, rather than from within practice, in terms of experience and exercise. Why is that? This is, I believe, because in speaking about what we do from an elevated vantage point, we seek to (or at least pretend to ourselves we could) assume the perspective of governance. In modern times, the manner in which the institutional apparatus governs the development of practices is indeed dependent on information gathered about these practices, scientifically, by means of constant monitoring and surveillance. In order to run a factory, army or hospital more efficiently, yes, one must know about a lot of things: how the machines are working, how 1 Foucault, Michel (1975). Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison, New York: Random House.
the soldiers are performing and how the patients are doing. This is modern scientific knowledge: acquired in the process of rendering the control of production (and health of the workforce) more effective. In these terms Michel Foucault convincingly analysed the conditions of modern knowledge production.1 And, even if the supermodernist factories of today, our universities, are no longer operating on a basis
of strict discipline and drill, that does not mean that the function of knowledge has changed. On the contrary, precisely because practices are becoming more fluid, more performative, harder to grasp, the demand to monitor them is increasing dramatically.
If anything epitomizes the current workings of the apparatus of governance and knowledge production, it is the coupling of the concepts performance and evaluation. They are the two most heavily used terms in the managerial vocabulary which has entered everyday language as well as educational handbooks issued after the implementation of the Bologna accord. The assumption is that whatever potential a practice may bear, this potential will only be recognized, if it is performed, meaning, if it is actualized before the eyes of jury of evaluators. Any potential that remains latent, unarticulated, unperformed in the moment of evaluation, will not be recognized as such. The same holds true for the practice of evaluation itself. Any judgement that is not performed in a form that would be absolutely explicit does not count. In all seriousness, during official audits of a MA Fine Arts programme (in the Netherlands), one of the key criteria for the way in which the ‘performance’ of the entire course is evaluated is how students evaluated the manner in which they were being evaluated by their teachers. No doubt, accountability is crucial in a pedagogical environment. But the new standards seem to be governed by the imperative: Show all. Judge all. And put all on file. In short, the routines that increasingly govern procedures in educational institutions are a mix of American Idol and The Office wrapped into one. A reality that even Dante might have had troubles imagining as he was mapping out the circles of Hell. The crux is, however, that, even and especially, when you seek to speak critically and map the lay of the land, as I have tried to do, you inevitably speak yourself, as if you were following the battle from up on commander’s hill, and as if the point was now to come up with a better tactic, to reorganize the frontlines. In assuming this imaginary elevated vantage point, the critique might in fact be as deluded as the people in educational ministries who write the guidelines for universities, firmly installing the demands for knowledge production, performance and evaluation in our heads and curricula. The bizarre thing is that, even though this is where the pressure comes from, the pressure is so high precisely because these notions of production, performance and evaluation have so painfully little to do with the horizon of lived experience within which any creative practice (be it writing, art or education) takes place. Practice thrives on intuitions. It needs time. For things to emerge. For things to fall apart again. For trust to be build up. For teachers to learn to listen to students learning to speak. For some sense of understanding to grow in relation to what one does, writes or says. For the possible meaning of works or words to transpire, so you maybe know how to make, or formulate them better, next time around. Latency is key in all of this. For a practice to have room to grow, there needs to be a reservoir of time, a repertoire of forms and intuitions, on which to draw, and which at no given point could — or would have to — be fully and exhaustively actualized (to fit the bill of a logic of performance and evaluation). The first thing that the pressure to perform and evaluate destroys is trust. Trust is based on a sense of sheer latency: the feeling that there is time and space for something to grow, on the basis of a relationship that presently is not fully formulated yet, and maybe never will. Trust implies that whatever may be, however things will
develop, will somehow be all right. And if it ever shouldn’t be, there will be ways to figure things out and do them differently. For a practice to develop and go further you need trust to hold the door open, so practice can move on and pull through. The loss of trust, usually, is the best indicator of the fact that the general norms of production and particular experience of practice are at odds. Then something needs to be done. And usually that possibility always exists. For as long as there are people, there is practice, and where there is practice, there is experience. The apocalyptic point of view, that “planet earth is blue and there’s nothing we can do”, offers itself when you’re “sitting in a tin can high above the world”. And as such only evinces the critic’s melancholia, up on commander’s hill. From the boots-on-the-ground perspective things tend to look a bit different. There usually is an opening somewhere. Often enough, in order to survive, practice simply splits itself into two: into creative and protective practice. The one part of your time is spent exercising the art of what you want to do, and the other part is invested into rehearsing the techniques of performing to a jury and acquiring the skills to pass the rites of evaluation (funding application writing etc.). This form of applied schizophrenia has probably always been a precondition for survival under difficult circumstances. It’s perfectly practicable. As long as you remember which of the two you is who. Trouble mostly begins once people mistake the protective part of the practice for the creative one, and, e.g., actually do what they said they would in the funding application, or that, what is skillfully performed in a situation of evaluation, could ever not just pass as but be writing, art or education. It won’t. And that also is the point of hope. For, despite the grim results that an analysis of writing in the age of self-promotion, educational government politics after Bologna and art under the pressure to perform and pass evaluations will inevitably arrive at, we can’t deny: There is writing, art and education beyond the routines of knowledge production, performance and evaluation. There is practice. There is trust. It exists. It survives. We constantly make the experience that it does. And, as Kant argued, and I hope he wrote it smiling, “if exists, it must be possible”, mustn’t it? 2. _ is _ There is no other way to do it. You have to say, or write, it with a smile: There is practice. There is writing. There is art. There is education. Why with a smile? Because of course you can’t proof it. You can only hope the person you are talking to, to respond to your smile with a smile of their own, so as to insinuate, by means of innuendo, that, yes, they too harbour the feeling, or had the experience, that indeed there can be writing, art and education. And that, if there is, one is practically synonymous with the other. If writing really turns into writing it becomes an art, just as education does. Meaning: It flows. Ideas emerge. You make discoveries. Together with others. Or by yourself. In the process of practicing the art. On the page, in the work, in conversation, in the studio, in the seminar room. Wherever. Whatever. A true discovery is educational. Whenever you suddenly find yourself in a place of which you didn’t know before that you didn’t know it was there and you could get there, that is education. The educational moment comes as a surprise for the writer, artist and teacher alike.
It’s when you suddenly figure out that you (didn’t know you didn’t know you) could say this and put it this way rather than that way, create this, and create it this way rather than that way, elucidate or help with this, and do it this way rather than that way. If something comes to pass like that, it’s a surprising discovery. And when it happens, when it comes about, somehow, this type of surprising discovery turns a text into a piece of writing, a work into a piece of art and a seminar or tutorial conversation into an educational experience. But the crux is — hence the smile — you cannot be entirely sure. You might be familiar with the experience: You hand in an essay thinking that, wow, you really figured something out there. But the moment you receive it back from the editors, their comments and questions sober you up, and, heaven knows, you’re miserable now. Were you right to assume that the writing testified to a discovery? Or are they right now to point out to you that the text just falls apart in its beginning, middle and end? Same thing: You prepare a work, for a studio crit, or an exhibition, and you feel really excited about what you feel you have just found out and want to show — and in the moment of presentation, people are simply, very conspicuously, silent. No one says a damn thing. Why? Likewise: You conduct a seminar or tutorial conversation, it gets really intense, positively exhilarating, and in the conversation, at least that’s what it feels like, you suddenly have a breakthrough moment. Someone in the room says something really amazing, maybe almost accidentally, at least unguardedly, something which opens up entirely new perspectives or reveals something profound or previously unthinkable, because, due to the conversation, there was some electricity in the air that allowed for that shared moment of illumination. But next time you meet it seemed like nothing happened. So was it just in your head? Were you high on your own trip? Were you imagining things? This holds true not just for moments when you believed a discovery was made and you may later find no evidence of it. It also applies to cases where you were positively convinced that things really did not go well, that you didn’t manage to express what you meant, that people were silent because they hated the work or it felt nothing was shared or received, and then, suddenly, days, months, maybe years later you meet someone who tells you how much that text, artwork, exhibition, conversation, seminar meant to them. If that teaches you anything, it’s the simple insight that — even if you think you can clearly feel the difference between a high and a low, a discovery or a dud — you can be very wrong. Of course, you could instantly try and check with the other person. But there are infinitely many reasons why they can’t or won’t give you a clear confirmation, or a straight answer. For all you know, they might presently be too busy with what’s going on in their own head, or too shy, or too happy to leave you in doubt, just to see you act when you get a little nervous. It could be any of these reasons. Or none of them. And it was really just nothing. Or the right thing said in the wrong moment. Or whatever. If there’s something that writing, art and education share, an experience that makes you feel that writing is a little like art is a little like education, it is probably the fundamental insecurity related to the understanding that you can never be 100%
sure, that there is no positive proof and no scientific evidence of the fact that a discovery really has been made. Even if in the moment, or for the time being, you are absolutely convinced, this gives you no guarantee that other people might not feel different, or that on the next day it might all turn out to have been a grand delusion. This is no excuse. And if it were, it would be not only a lame but also a terrible excuse. Namely exactly the justification that bad writers, artists and teachers have used for centuries: If you don’t understand me now, you will do so in a few years time. If it hurts now, have patience, give it some time and you will see that the pain will pay off, and going through it taught you something, etc., etc… What if that never happens? If what was obscure now, will just be meaningless in the future? What if the exercise you underwent was painful for no reason and taught you nothing of any value? These questions raise powerful objections against anyone who would just want to excuse themselves by conveniently maintaining that: well, we can’t know, can we? The future will tell… etc., etc… That cannot ever be the point even if there is a truth to the insecurity. The point would rather be to create some sort of codex of solidarity between those who write, who make art and who teach: a codex based on the understanding that you cannot possibly be positively sure about the validity of your methods and discoveries, but that nevertheless you have to take a risk and try a method, or hold on to a discovery or feeling, at least long enough to allow for things to potentially be taken to the next level. To take this risk implies that someone will have to take responsibility, and be accountable for the ramifications. Experience would seem to show (and again, I could be wrong, I could be right) that creative processes, in writing, art and education alike only ever really get of the ground, when responsibilities are taken by all involved, in equal measure. Writer, editor, reader. Artist, peer, viewer, critic, curator, collector. Student, tutor, evaluator. These relations are precarious and not easy to balance. But sometimes it may simply take a certain smile to signal that for the time being you may be on the same page: that you are willing to embark on the process of figuring things out together, and are willing to share the responsibility for following things through, at least, to the best of your abilities. This is not to say that ethics come to the rescue at the point where knowledge fails us. Because also such a codex won’t rescue an attempt to figure things out when it (maybe) goes wrong (or maybe doesn’t). On this level an ethical understanding of how to assume responsibility might in fact be as hard to grasp and difficult to arrive at as the conclusion on what it is one really achieved or learned in writing, art and education. So it’s anything but a safe ground. Still, arguably, it’s a question that arises from the experience of practice: How to, personally and collectively, assume responsibility for the insecurity that any true practice is cursed with, and emerges from? An insecurity which cannot be recuperated in the form of positive knowledge (because it is its opposite: the painful awareness of an absence of conclusive evidence) and which the pressure to perform and pass evaluation can only make worse, since it forces you to pretend that you know and suppress the full awareness that, well, maybe you don’t… This doesn’t
imply that it would be nice if we were nice to each other. Because writers, artists and educators are not nice. They, we, make each other insecure. If we didn’t, we would probably not even try to convince one another, by writing, making work or conducting conversations. But since this is what we do — make each other insecure — we might as well, if only tacitly, assume responsibility for that very condition of practice, be it with a smile, that acknowledges the risk of not knowing for sure. Jan Verwoert, May 2014.
Productive confusion and
the collaborative educational situation
Anne Szefer Karlsen & Arne Skaug Olsen
Introduction The essay Productive confusion and the collaborative educational situation – presented here in a revised version – was written for Biennale Bénin 2012 - Inventing the World: The Artist as Citizen. But, perhaps more importantly, the essays was an entry point for us into a highly localised debate in Benin – the idea of establishing the country’s first formal art education at the L’Université d’Abomey-Calavi. As a response to this, Anne Szefer Karlsen curated the seminar Recovering an Art School at the Centre Songhaï, an agricultural school and co-operative in the city of PortoNovo, Benin. Participants of the seminar were Joseph Adandé (professor of Art History at the L’Université d’Abomey-Calavi, Bénin), Dóra Hegyi (Director of transit. hu, Hungary), Jean-Paul Thibeau (artist and teacher at l’Ecole Supérieure d’Art d’Aix en Provence, France), as well as Anne Szefer Karlsen and myself. In addition we were joined by two of professor Andade’s students, Clalo Messan and Tchala Essayoudo as well as artist Toril Johannessen who was part of the biennale exhibition. The aim of the seminar was to discuss what teaching art could be – regardless and because of our different cultural, political, financial, theoretical and practical backgrounds. However tempered and shaped for a very specific situation written seemingly far removed from our everyday life as artist-teachers and artist-students in the Global North, I still feel that the core of the essay has potential importance for our context. As art education is contested and revised to reflect new models of economic thinking, political and cultural ideologies, the question is: how do we challenge the implications of this, and how can we create a language for teaching that is not done according to an institutionalised model, but rather as a response to how art outside of institutions is actually created? Perhaps it is for us, here and now, as art education is changing, that the title of the seminar in Porto Novo should truly evoke new ideas: is it time to recover the art school? Productive confusion and the collaborative educational situation When an artist teaches, she is speaking from two positions: the artist’s position and the teacher’s position. Nevertheless she manages to speak without ambiguity. The particularity of the united role of the artist-teacher manifests itself in a ‘collaborative
educational situationâ€™, in which a sharing of knowledge and an interest in cultivating ideas and engendering discussions are the prevalent modes of interaction. Rather than making sure that knowledge is transferred from one individual to another in an act of training, the artist-teacher holds an intermediary position that helps make knowledge visible to a community of artists through what we would like to call the educational situation. Art schools ought to be communities free of ideology. However, they are often still modelled on the historical master-apprentice relationship, or, more recently, on the research-based systems copied from academia. Both create elusive frameworks in which the actual educational situation created by artist-teachers has a hard time manifesting itself. Individual freedom of choice is restrained by unproductive bureaucracy, which enforces a set of limitations governed by an ideology of administration, or by systems in which knowledge is handed down in an authoritative manner in order to convey tradition, craftsmanship and aesthetic values. Both of these models often employ artists as teachers, but also a wide variety of other instructors, such as technical or academic teachers. The educational situation that we want to explore and define here â€“ that of the intermediary position â€“ exists within both these education models, but just as much outside of them. It happens when artists meet and exchange ideas, it happens as a result of an immersive process of interacting with artworks, criticism, history, exhibitions and in conversations among peers. In our thinking both teacher and student are artists in their own right, but at different stages of their development. By setting up a more egalitarian mode of engagement than the master-apprentice or research-based models, the educational situation creates collaborations, rather than simply facilitating the needs or expectations expressed by institutions or traditions. The most important effort of the artist-teacher is to ensure that this collaborative educational situation is protected and sustained as a crucial component of being an artist within society, and within and outwith organised education. We want to explore a few of the collaborative efforts that occur in the sharing of knowledge and cultivation of new ideas in the educational situation particular to the artist-teacher practice, rather than explicitly discuss the role of the career art teacher. It is important to stress that our attitude is based on personal experiences rather than rigorous research. Thus, this essay is a reaction to changes that we feel undermine a crucial part of art teaching: freedom, community and autonomy. The dissident teacher We would like to somehow get closer to what is specific to the role of the artistteacher and to create an awareness of that specificity. In our view the practice of the artist-teacher within both organised art education and informal educational models, is distinctly different from other forms of education. Our aim is not to reinvent the role of the artist-teacher, rather we wish to describe certain parts of art education as a collaborative forum for exchange and debate and identify it as an inherently oppositional strategy. Within educations that are based on a fixed curriculum, such as institutional universities, the dissident teacher is defined by the content of their
teaching. The artist-teacher does not follow a curriculum, thus there is another set of distinguishing features for their role. Our claim is that an artist-teacher setting up collaborative and trans-disciplinary moments creates non-compliance with the prevalent systems by default. Ideally we would like to see the importance of the artist-teacher in this particular role properly acknowledged, both within and outside of formal educational institutions, and an appreciation for how these individuals through their teaching are contributing to society and artist communities at large. We se this non-compliance as an important aspect of the artist-students entry into a community of peers, and that the opposite – an educational situation that creates compliance – creates education consumers. In an attempt at making clear how art could be taught, we should look more closely at how the role of the artist-teacher creates and constitutes a collaborative educational situation, even though this may sit counter to prevalent educational models. We need to point out that being an artist-teacher is not primarily about upholding existing frameworks, but rather about challenging them by constantly introducing competencies and knowledge created outside such frameworks to its artist-student community. This knowledge is introduced through dialogue, rather than instruction and instrumental knowledge transfer. A dialogue-based collaborative mode of education ensures a vital alternative that can both help evolve the institutional framework in which it operates and simultaneously open up an autonomous space where teaching can happen. If this happens, the artist-teacher creates a contested site, which often places them in a precarious position. The educational situation set up by the artist-teacher together with the artist-students is a fragile one, because it is dependent on a certain degree of autonomy to be able to uphold a productive confusion and carve out a certain freedom to define a body of knowledge through collaboration rather than as a result of a prescriptive curriculum. The educational situation can in such cases act as a buffer between art and political, financial or ideological instrumentalisation. In our view this must always be enabled and encouraged by educational institutions. The intangible, yet decisive, moments when artists are taught through collaboration, are difficult to describe in a coherent way, as they cannot be reduced to schematic models. Because these teaching moments cannot be positioned neatly in categories and spreadsheets, they are not traceable, quantifiable or necessarily possible to repeat. In the context of the western European education system, we see that all the hopes and good intentions that might underpin the Bologna process are about to choke European art schools because the administrators have been given the mandate to create a system that is not based on trust, but on ‘empirical’ data supplied by teaching staff and students on topics such as teaching outcomes and transferrable skills. Thus, the pedagogical characteristics of institutional art education today have created a situation in which the artist-teacher whose aim is to educate through other means and who has set themselves different educational outcomes, is less than compliant.
What artist-teachers are able to transfer is not necessarily supported by or cannot easily be organised in a formal curriculum, as it is led by the individual artist-teacher’s specific knowledge. The education they offer is a collection of elements that are interchangeable, sometimes even improvised. Because the artist-teacher cannot be compliant, the attempts at defining their role is similarly escaping us, simply because their competence is coloured by particularities such as ethics, religion, topography as well as climate. One could say that the artist-teacher has the power to make both the curriculum and the school appear in the act of teaching. To create the formative space necessary to foster teacher, student and ultimately the art school itself, we need to ask what kind of structures, if any, the artists want to create in the first place. In many schools art education is described as ‘studio practice’. However, this term is not necessarily in line with what artists actually do and where they are active, since much of the artists’ practices happen outside of studio spaces. Thus most of what we think of as artists’ activity takes place outside of the strictly marketable studio system. Unproductive education and productive confusion At the core of the issue around the choice of teaching methodology lies the question of what kind of artists we want to encourage and educate. In this context it is important to make a distinction between the artist-teacher and artists that subscribe to the so-called educational turn. As we see it, the educational turn is far from a noninstrumentalised artistic movement, but rather a set of artists’ responses to highly instrumentalised art institutions that are only given the opportunity to elaborate and produce educational programmes by their funders, rather than support artists’ practices no matter what outcome. The artist-teachers we want to speak of here do not create artworks out of the education they stage or conduct: the educational situation they set up is in effect unproductive. The rhetorical question to ask is: do we want a business-oriented genius-type artist with a secluded studio practice, or do we want to create an interdisciplinary set of skills and stimulate both the artistteacher and the artist-students to develop thinking tools in the confusing process of learning artistic practice? Of course there is room between these two stereotypes for many more typologies, but for the artist-teacher role we would like to outline and encourage here we believe the answer is easy. Trans-disciplinarity The artist-teacher exists wherever we find artists. They appear in the exchanges between artists in general. The role of the artist-teacher is defined partly by being the instigator of confusion, rather than a carrier of authority. Instead of only inhabiting a physical space – the school building – they create a social space that is necessary for the collaboration generated by the educational situation. In this space we locate the sharing of knowledge. Within any educational situation, knowledge is circulating between the artist-teachers and artist-students in an on-going conversation, which creates a trans-disciplinary space. This space is created through the realisation that knowledge and artistic practices in many cases are no longer useful when divided
into isolated compartments and is fundamentally different from a multi-disciplinary space where one could say that knowledge and practice exist alongside each other. Contrary to trans-disciplinary thinking within the natural sciences, social sciences and technology, the trans-disciplinarity of the educational situation created by artist-teachers is not geared towards resolving problems that have been identified. Rather the situation creates and embodies trans-disciplinarity. We understand trans-disciplinarity as an activity in which a question from one discipline can only be answered through another discipline, and we see every individual â€“ artist-teachers as well as artist-students â€“ as constituting different disciplines. This means that since the educational situation created by the artist teacher is trans-disciplinary, every artist, be they teacher or student, can only find answers to their questions through other artists: this creates the collaborative effort that manifest itself in the educational situation. Thus, this trans-disciplinarity constantly creates new knowledge, which in turn is circulated in a collaborative mode of sharing. The educational moment and situation are not about a collaborative effort in art making, but more about an effort to think and discuss together. Although the result of the educational situation might be art making, we also need to be open to the possibility that the artist-student ends up not making any art at all. This is maybe how the collaborative educational situation is crucially different from other educations. Education should not be product-oriented. Anne Szefer Karlsen & Arne Skaug Olsen, Bergen, September 2012. Revised by Arne Skaug Olsen, April 2014 for catalogue, April 2014. Original essay published by Biennale Benin and Silvana Editorial, November 2012. The original essay can be read here: www.arneskaug.no/text-archive/productive-confusion
24 - 27
Siri Borge 28 - 31
Benedicte Clementsen 32 - 35
Julie Clifforth 36 - 39
Tonette Eberspacher 40 - 43
Marte Gunnufsen 44 - 47
Jennifer Johansson 48 - 51
Nora Joung 52 - 55
Siw-Anita Kirketeig 56 - 59
Markus Moestue 60 - 63
Egil Paulsen 64 - 67
Philip Persson 68 - 71
Mekdes W Shebeta
Siri Borge b. 1985, Norway firstname.lastname@example.org
01.08.13 I reached with my fingers as far back in my mouth as I could, between the rearmost molar and my uvula somewhere. First, I picked out some tiny white eggs, which at first glance resembled small seeds or other food particles of various kinds. Then I discovered a white larva wriggling between the eggs, which I barely managed to grasp. I pinched it between my fingers and tried to pluck it out until I began to gag on something thick in my throat. I continued to pull and my throat filled up with the huge larva and was so tight that I could not breathe. The parasite proved to be around 50 centimeters long, and it had been there for such an extended time that it had become connected to the base of the tongue. The parasite and tongue had become one. I could not stand there with half a meter long parasite in my hands, so if I wanted to keep my tongue, I had to shove the parasite down my throat. No parasite, no tongue. This experience from my subconscious state represents a metaphor about my battle against the way capitalism forces us into social structures where we are modifying our bodies - and ways of thinking - to feel complete and a sense of belonging. Living along with other humans often requires us to compromise, facing the potential of keeping down the ideas that are being shoved down our throats and 1-3 Untitled, 2014. Photocollages.
living in symbiosis with the parasite. Resistance potentially leads to being excluded from the herd or worseÂjoining it, but not being â€˜heardâ€™or taken seriously. Parasites are both natural and necessary, but so is body hair. I do not see how it makes us more civilized to remove, or expect others to
remove, parts of us that function as a way of communicating that we are no longer children but sexually mature. These are just some of the ideas that have surfaced through this ongoing body of work.
Benedicte Clementsen b. 1986, Norway www.benedicteclementsen.com
One combination like any other (dual channel video (HD), 6:11 minutes loop) Situated in a time-less wasteland, the frame sweeps over a dystopian terrain. Empty and non-geographic, a light coloured organism appears, blending in against the background of which it is concealed. The visual sensitivity and the 1â€‰-â€‰3 One combination like any other, 2014.
behaviour of the organism is deceiving through its sporadic floatinglike gestures. It is not a complete form, in its collapsing and expanding at the same time. Partly hidden, observed only in fragments, it is both
veiled and exposed. Like an immersed and on-going enigma of the potential that lie underneath. One combination like any other (performance) In a distinct environment an animate being is bushwhacking. Like the objects in its surroundings, it is left behind and blends in. Through a minimal movement, over a duration of time, the being shifts its position. With a transferable tactility, it is intimate with the objects in its milieu, they become naked without undressing. As parts of a fragmented body, yet never complete.
Julie Clifforth b. 1984, Denmark www.oo0oo.blog.com
Depth cannot be without a surface In a constant change and then it stops Occupancy in space. Follow the lines Souvenir
1 Photography. 2 Collage and drawing. 3 Metal sculpture.
Tonette Eberspacher b. 1989 , Germany email@example.com
If I touch the rock, it is cold but if I rest my hand on the rock for a while it turns warm. Even though I just touch it with my hand I can sense the weight of the material and at the same time something living and a sort of satisfaction spreads to my whole body The mountain is compact, it has a density that turns focus to the moment. Edges, waves and fractures moves through the stone and shows itself on the surface The size gives me a sense of dynamic power The qualities of the materials makes my own movement noticeable and stronger. The mountain exspresses roughness and enormous peacefulness and at the same time it gives me the sensation of another time than that of my own. It feels like I am moving with the time of the mountain when I climb. I do something at the same time as I don`t notice what I do, in flow, guided by instinct.
1 vis รก vis, 2014. Video stills.
Marte Gunnufsen b. 1980, Norway firstname.lastname@example.org
1 - 3 AVE MARIA II, 2014. Video stills. In slow motion, a pole dancer moves to Ave Maria by Franz Schubert.
Jennifer Johansson b. 1987, Sweden www.jennifermariaelisabeth.tumblr.com
I wanted to make something that could stimulate her. I was curious of her reaction. Would she be interested at all? When the pleasure of the moment had faded, she was standing still. Looking at me from the other side of it. I wanted to see her reaction, but I was feeling spectated. The sculptures felt like a wall between us.
1 Happiness will come, 2014. Video, sculpture. 2 He called my children animals, 2013. Video, sculpture.
Nora Joung b. 1989, Norway www.vimeo.com/njoung
1 Business-monkey, 2014. Text. 2 Video Games, 2014. Video stills.
The artist has a flashlight between her teeth whilst searching around in the garbage. It is hard to talk with a flashlight between the teeth, but it is easier to see. A doctor can find any disease she’s looking for, but in the garbage it is hard to tell what she’ll find. The artist found some random home-videos, somebody’s taped memories, something dead and gone and tossed away. A persistent vision guides the artist through this material, what will not escape the eye, what image can’t be cleared from the mind. The artist is the baboon. Say what. Let us think about the baboon. As in the monkey. No island, this is fluid. Just the baboon. Some creature innit. Sure is. The fiercest of monkeys. Doesn’t even climb. Banging its baboon hand on the windows. Showing its red arse to the world. The arse is – as Sloterdijk taught us the elementary cynical organ, it can deflate whatever position. The baboon doesn’t respect humans at all, looks at us as if there is no difference. The baboon is eating the garbage. The savannah is myriads, the city is multitudes. The particular is not able to see the true generality of this society. But the particular is a reminder of the very vastness of this world. It is good to forget the illusions that brought you up from bed this morning and have a free view of a closed scene, what time tossed away, a persistent vision. It is hard to see, we need some help. A baboon to remind us of something we didn’t know, or something painful we knew already. In art, Thoth, God of knowledge, hieroglyphs and wisdom, is sometimes depicted with the head of a baboon. Sometimes, in life as well, one should wear the head of a baboon, just to see if looking through another pair of windows might provide a bit of wisdom.
Siw-Anita Kirketeig b. 1988, Norway email@example.com
Poetry is sculpting of thought.
1-3 Various poems, 2014.
eg er fødd inn i lyset håret er gull insekta syg av det reine blodet det glansa blodet eg ser med urørt iris purpurpute silkehimmel landskapet er eit fargerike lyseblått kritt to gullbiller kryp inn i kvar sin augekrok som oljetårer
ei natt slo lynet ned ute på jordet opp frå den brente jorda vaks eit syrintre du har aldri sett treet men eg kan høyre parfymen gjennom det opne vindauget om natta eg kan lukte skrifta på veggen ordet smaker metallisk oker
ordet smaker metallisk oker ein munnblom, gull munnen renner det renner gjennomsiktig gull frå munnen ordet har forgylt kroppen det har forløst den frå vonde under parfymen av syrinene ordet er forløst frå vonde det er f o r g y l t og sødmer sommaren er eit lyst landskap kornet er gull og lyset og håret, gull
Markus Moestue b. 1982, Norway www.markusmoestue.no
“For decades I’ve walked through many leading secular museums, like the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., and have seen their impressive dinosaur skeletons, but they were used for evolution. Now we have one of that class for our museum.” Ken Ham, president and founder of the Creation Museum
1 Stavanger, 2013. 2 Kvinesdal, 2013.
Egil Paulsen b. 1986, Sweden www.egilpaulsen.com
I remember holding a starfish in my hands whilst studying its behavior. It gave me the strange feeling of being aware, but with no eyes it was sliding around slowly on my arm. I was told that it has eyes on the many tube feet under its belly, and with these tubes it feels its presence in the world. While a starfish lacks a centralized brain, it has a complex nervous system, which activates its impulses to move about. This fivepointed creature evoked a strange feeling of its being. It was the starfish’s apparent feeling of the situation it was in which caused it to act. I can recall this understanding as a quite a remarkable feeling. The starfish gave me a feeling of being very strange, remote and different from me. It had a completely different reality 1 Ultrasonic Vision, 2013. Ultrasonic sensors, goggles, vibration motors, Arduino. Ultrasonic Vision is a pair of goggles that allow users to navigate through space with the help of sonar technology. By replacing vision with tactile feedback, I investigate how perception of space can be felt rather than beheld.
within itself, and I had no way of experiencing it the same way. This feeling strikes me when observing any living being – even plants. The reason I call this story a feeling rather than memory, is because of that starfish. It demonstrates that it reacts on feeling when deciding what to do.
We are not masters of the use of all our senses equally. There is one of them – that is, touch – whose activity is never suspended. Are you enclosed in a building in the midst of darkness? Clap your hands: you will perceive by the resonance of the place whether the area is large or small, whether you are in the middle or in a corner. At half a
foot from a wall the air, circulating less than it does in the open air, brings a different sensation to your face. Stay immobile, and turn successively in every direction. If there is an open door, a light draft will indicate it to you. If you are in a boat you will know by the way air strikes your face whether the river’s current is carrying you along slow or fast. These observations and countless others like them can be made only at night; they escape us in daylight, however much attention we might want to give them. Here, meanwhile, we do not even use our fingers, our hands, or a cane. How much ocular knowledge can be acquired by touch, even without touching anything at all? Jean-Jacques Rousseau, “Émile, or On Education”, 1763.
In a forest just a short train ride out of Berlin, a set of old enamel painted metal buckets are attached to pine trees high above the ground. A wooden beam is nailed to a neighboring tree about three meters away from one of the buckets. The beam reaches over to the bucket. The one end that reaches of the bucket has a nail hit through it with its tip pointing downwards. The nail rests on top of the 2 Prepared Forest, 2012. Buckets, wood, nails. Beelitz-Heilstätten, Germany.
bucket’s bottom as the bucket is attached upside down. When the two trees sway in opposite directions, the nail scratches the bucket. Another like bucket setup is repeated for other clusters of trees just a few meters away from this one. The sound from the nail scratching the enameled surface is being amplified by the bucket’s almost cone
like shape, functioning as a speaker facing down towards the ground. The bowing movement made from the trees creates a varied but clear sound. On good windy days, the sounds can be heard up to 300 meters from the actual site. These sculptures can be looked upon as windows that open up for a greater field of sensible connections between the trees. My work come to being as attempts to push invisible networks of events into perceptual expressions. The feeling of a presence in the network of trees is carried through their performed sounds.
Philip Persson b. 1989, Sweden firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Still frame, video. 2 Untitled photograph.
Mekdes W Shebeta b.1967, Ethiopia email@example.com
I aim to depict the African migrants lifestyle as well as the various endpoints of its diaspora through examining their art forms in order to promote cross cultural understanding and aesthetic awareness. My project investigated how, despite the destruction and transformation of their daily lives and livelihoods, the identity and the dignity of the African immigrant can be revealed through art. My recent artwork explores the use of storytelling, using narration as a 1â€‰-â€‰2 Mujiji House, 2012. Found materials. 2,50 x 1,90 x 2,15 m 3 Kijiji, 2013. Still frame from Kijiji documentary.
tool that goes beyond the traditional documentary format, and reveals the aesthetics of poverty. It focuses on the complications of global migration politics and the integration of the mass movement of rural populations immigrating to large urban areas that often spread out for miles beyond the city-centers. Questions that interest me when considering urbanization include: How is the use of space transformed and restructured in these expanding dense populations of urban areas? How does urbanizationâ€™s new spaces
create new identities and new life patterns for the rural migrants? I use the strategies of relational aesthetics in my narrative installation in order to create a social atmosphere that evokes memory and emotion that transports the audience into another world. They become part of the piece. They are a part of the story of maintaining cultural identity over time and space, setting up camps in a location that seems far from home; they are meant to experience what it takes to hold on to cultural identity in the face of dislocation. I construct a replica of the temporary kijiji house on site far from its original context. By filling the single room of the dwelling with locally available, as well as collected materials from the original site, I invite the viewer into its impermanent and tenuous atmosphere. I allow the dislocated space to tell the story.
Sectioning Experience Bergen Academy of Art and Design Department of Fine Art BA graduates 2014 Curators Gerd Tinglum Annika Eriksson © Art, Image, Text Siri Borge, Benedicte Clementsen, Julie Clifforth, Tonette Eberspacher, Marte Gunnufsen, Jennifer Johansson, Nora Joung, Siw-Anita Kirketeig, Markus Moestue, Egil Paulsen, Philip Persson, Mekdes W Shebeta © Texts Anne Szefer Karlsen, Jan Verwoert, Arne Skaug Olsen Graphic design knaggengrafikk.tumblr.com Editors Benedicte Clementsen Egil Paulsen Print Molvik Grafisk A special thanks to the sponsors: DaDa Hårstudio Design Ice Legal Molvik Grafisk Nygårdsgaten maleforretning AS Ujevnt Yogarommet
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