School, S’Cool, Skool, Shoal, School…

(only dead fish swim with the stream…)

Whenever we think of a school, it is useful to remind ourselves that the meaning of the word has undergone many transformations, and the root of the English word school can be found in the classical Greek term Skholē, which denotes , first, “ a pursuit or time or leisure (taken from withholding of, or vacation from, other kinds of more instrumentalized time) and only consequently shades off to mean “a forum for discussion” and “a place for learning.” -Raqs Media Collective

What is learning? How do we, as artists continue to learn, develop, refine, challenge and explore our practice, expand it and share it with others? What is collaboration, research and how do they function in the context of art practice today?

And most specifically, how do we do this in Somerset?!

These are a few of the questions and ideas that I feel, as one of the participating artists on the Prospectus Project, we have begun to explore in our meetings and over a programmed five-days opportunity working together and with invited practitioners in the Sixth Form Art Department at Huish Espiscopi in Langport, Somerset. Over five days during the school Easter Holidays (Friday 7th April until Thursday 13th April 2017) myself and the six other artists embarked upon a time-tabled programme of discussion, making, sharing, listening and exploring each others practices, ways of learning, making and responding. It has been a broad and varied few days of which I will reflect on particular details in future posts. For now, and by way of introduction I would like to present my own reason’s for applying to participate in Prospectus.

“The artist by night, in dreams, recovers what the no-collar worker lost by day.” As someone who describes themselves as an Artist, Blogger, Bookseller I am interested in the idea of the ‘Artist by Night’ posed by groups such as Raqs Media Collective, that in the down-time between the monotony of the working day lies the freedom and imagination from dreaming and/or creative practices. Similarly working in arts schools in out-of-hours is of particular appeal. Raqs Media Collective continues in saying, “An artist’s education is never finished. School is never out.” I feel particularly passionate about this in both my sustained commitment to critical writing (in the form of an arts blog) and researching through making, viewing art, visiting museums towards my own practice. This philosophy extends to other personal endeavours as well as creating exhibitions with other artists in the South West.

I am interested in exploring what is deemed as ‘contemporary relevant processes’ in relation to the theme of ‘Prospect’ as outlined in the brief as my practice has so far been more traditional in its choice of medium (drawing, printmaking, mixed-media) and I am open-minded and keen to work with others as a way of exploring what direction my practice may evolve. Potential areas to develop could involve context, audience and research or include more writing or recorded video-based dialogue in what I do. In particular I am proposing to develop ideas around ‘the artist by night’ or ‘school as a factory’ in which malleable material enters and is changed/formed or altered in some way; that which leaves  is not necessarily always a finished product but can also take form as a set of ideals or beliefs.

Quotes sourced from: MADOFF, S H. (2009) Art School: Propositions for the 21st Century, Raqs Media Collective, How to be an artist by night, MIT Press. p72-81

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