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"education" Tag


The diversity of a stable object


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

     As a student of arts and design and, at the moment, about to reach the end of the first year – I found myself trying to understand my progress and development process as a student- considering all the different situations and stages I have been through this last year in relation to the school.

     Characterised by strong rhythm and diversity, the basic year forced me to be extremely versatile.

     Creativity and quick response led me to places where I had never been before and although I was very confused in the beginning, I can now understand the interconnection of all the proposals from the school and how my reaction to them should be constantly evaluated in order to keep developing as a student.

As so, confrontation becomes incredibly important to get to know myself and, under pressure, the behavior of my body had many times to overcome the speed of thought, which means, that it was necessary to act without thinking innumerable times – which resulted in a completely different way of percepting my own work. This practice, of course, has greatly influenced my method of creation and helps when it comes to try to have an overall view on the last period of my life- which I will be doing meanwhile writing this essay.

    From this very small and summarised description of the last months as a student of an art academy  I ask you to take some words that will help you to follow my thoughts throughout the essay:

  • Rhythm;
  • Diversity;
  • Versatile;
  • Creativity;
  • Interconnection;
  • Confrontation;
  • Development;
  • Behaviour of the body;
  • Method.

These words, for me, interrelate the three points I want to focus and connect: Art academies; my as a student and school furniture design. But lets start from the very beginning.

     Art as an educational practice emerged in the 16th century in Italy, and has since evolved in many directions. Artistic teaching has been constantly changing and responsible for the emergence and development of multiple movements and new artistic practices that grow from the urge of the artists and and the society. As so, methods used in art schools have been transformed side by side with the whole society and its needs. 

     Throughout all these years many academies have been important for the development of various names that have become part of world history. Thus, certainly, the school where each one of them studied, had a great impact in their own artistic practice. Aiming for the same to happen to me, when I decided to study arts, I promised myself that I would try to find a place that would truly satisfy my needs and where the thought that moves the school would meet my own way of thinking.

     The academies have become places where learning is fundamental but, over time, the way the disciplines are thought to the students is in constant transformation- what results in a huge variation of methods used in artistic teaching.

Therefore, my task of finding the place where I wanted to develop my practice as a potential artist had to be even more cautious and I had to get to know as much as I could about the schools to which I could apply without studying there.

     After much research, I ended up leaving my home country, Portugal, in search of something that seemed appropriate to me and I ended up enrolling in the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in search of a more adapted teaching to my ideas and to my way of producing.

Surrounded by different ways of thinking and materialising ideas, I was immediately enthusiastic about the reality that surrounded me. The contemporaneity and versatility of the teaching of each one of the teachers has proven the ideas that I brought with me from Portugal. It is very important to have the school as a safe space where all ideas are respected; Where the concept is valued and experimentation has no limits. The unlimited access to the workshops gives creativity to the students and the consideration of the creation process by the teachers and colleagues makes me believe in several methodologies that open up a huge range of possibilities to each project that I develop.

     While considering all this I realised how similar the school I was studying was to one of the most important schools in the art and design history which I always had as a great exemple of education techniques: the Bauhaus.So there has grown an even greater interest for this fascinating school. And, now, living even closer to where everything happened geographically, I have managed to get more and more acquainted with its history.

After some research, I have come to understand that the way the Bauhaus grew up and made its students grow is more than a teaching method. It is perhaps a method of production and creation that is directly related to one’s own method of living.

     Honestly, I find it striking how schools like the one I attend and the Bauhaus consider the curriculum of the degrees, and as time goes on we have more and more evidences of the positive influence of this way of teaching has- somewhat minimal, where “less” is believed to enable a much interesting creation.

I would like you to take into account the last sentence- “Less is believed to enable a very interesting creation”

     While researching about the schools of art education and my perception of them. I began to notice a very important element: school furniture. That both the Bauhaus and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie plays a very important role – maybe because of its relationship with design practices.

     Considering the academies as a space where an incredible relationship develops daily: between the building and its interior; the objects; and  the people that share this space of discovery and experimentation.

The interaction turns out to be very relevant in the day-to-day of those who frequent this place. The distribution / organisation of space among all those who occupy it is extremely relevant and certainly influences all activities that take place in the school environment, from pedagogical to playful.

     Historically, there are several objects that are part of the artistic school environment and that, thanks to its constant presence, a certain language between human being and object is developed. As I wandered through the corridors of my school, I realised that each student has its own body language, just like every person and that we all physically get involved with what surrounds us.

Cafeteria after lunch, Bauhaus, Dessau 1930-2, printed later Iwao Yamawaki 1898-1987 Purchased with funds provided by the Asia Pacific Acquisitions Committee 2010 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P79894

 

 

     The same happens in relation to pieces of furniture. Without realising it, the chairs where we sit become part of our position while we are seated, or an easel can become part of our body while we paint – its triangular shape where the frame is supported, often serves as support for the painter. I myself have noticed that many times I paint I find moving in different angles thanks to the support given by the easel. And, together (me and the easel), support the fluid movements of my arm that moves the brush.

     Due to the introduction of this new theme – school furniture design. It is impossible not to go back to the bauhaus, a school where numerous pieces of furniture were developed and included in the school itself. When I went to the exhibition “netherlands bauhaus – pioneers of a new world” at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, I found several photographs with many of the most famous pieces by Bauhaus students, such as Marcel Breuer’s stool but, and I realised how furniture captures my attention by the way it is designed and it interacts with the space. But, throughout the exhibition, there was one piece that captured my attention, the Ulm stool by Max Bill.

“Function means the relation of one thing to another. (…) When we speak about fulfilling a function, we are talking about producing something to fulfil a need. “;

“By function I therefore understand a relation, for example the relation between material and form.” – Said Max Biil.

     Having the designer’s words as a starting point I would like to take advantage of the functionality of his piece – which fascinates me – and directly compare it to my relationship with the school that I attend because, incredibly, while appreciating the stool in the museum Boijmans Van Beuningen I felt that, somehow, its structure was very close to mine, as a student of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.

     Physical characteristics of the piece:

– The stool is made up of 4 pieces that when fitted create a volume of varied functionality. The joint of the different parts is extremely well design;

– The simplicity of the geometry allows the interconnection of all parts and a joint strong enough to handle a weight;

– The stool has 3 almost identical parts that form the seat and a tube that allows support and transport.

 

 

     In a metaphorical way, I associate this description with my goals as a student. Every day I try to find solutions for my assignments through maximum simplicity; I try to be as organised as possible so I do not get lost in my own thoughts and, to ensure that each of these thoughts results in something material. In order to develop my production process. In each of the projects that I do in school I seek the interconnection with the others projects- always trying to notice the small things where they might be similar and, therefore, I have discovered many personal characteristics – mainly in relation to the way I work and how I shape my thinking. By considering and evaluating my own works I manage to find myself a little bit more every day.

 

     Functionality of the piece:

  • One of the strongest features of the Ulm stool is its versatility in functionality.

The joining of four simple pieces results in a simple object that can be used as a bench, as a desk and as a shelf and can still be transported very easily.

 

 

     In relation to my own experience this versatility can be found in a lot of aspects. The Gerrit Rietveld Academie is a place where its diversity promotes an open space where a lot is possible. Even if the departments work in separate ways there are links in between that make the school work as one and everyone is free to participate and to take the best out of everything that the school offers, from people to workshops.

From such freedom I experienced a lot of different results from each student, including myself.  It is this versatility that I try to find in my posture as a student because I believe that it will certainly result in a practicality and ability to solve any problem that I will increase my creativity and for sure be one of the most important learnings I will take with me from my years as an art student.

 

     At this point, where I can relate the characteristics of a design piece with my own performance as a student. I consider my research finished.

After all and by becoming better acquainted with the reality of art academies and their direct relationship with what is produced in them. I believe that writing this essay resulted in a very personal development – It led me to conclusions about how I interact with the space around me and how this influences my results and it also made me pay more attention to the results themselves so that, later, perhaps, I might be able to assume that I know myself.

 

Ana Resende, April 2019

Bauhuas ‘Vorkurs(preliminary)’ and Rietveld ‘Basic year’


Sunday, April 21, 2019

When I first heard “Bauhaus,” my first impression of it was just “big movement that is important in the history of European art” Because I didn’t have much interest and think it was not really related to me.
But Boijmans Museum’s exhibition of Bauhaus, where I went without any expectations, influenced me more than I expected.
The systematic learning of basic things, such as materials and colors, seemed boring at first glance, but were the most dynamic and interesting things. Exploring the properties of materials, understanding the various and contrary things, geometric shapes and colors are the most essential elements for art, but I had missed them.
Through the writings of Johannes Itten, founder of Bauhaus vorkurs (preliminary course), I could understand exactly why Bauhaus put so much effort into these things.

     Let’s take a look at the works that I saw at the exhibition and the writings of Johannes Itten together.

          

   Two of the most distinct elements of Bauhaus : Geometric form and primitive colors

“ The clear geometric form is the one most easily comprehended and its basic elements are the circle, the square and the triangle. Every possible form lies dormant in these formal elements. They are visible to him who sees, invisible to him who does not. Form is also colour. Without colour there is no form. Form and colour are one…Geometric forms and the colours of the spectrum are the simplest, most sensitive forms and colours and therefore the most precise means of expression in a work of art.” 1

 

It was like playful work of children. It made me think differently about the concepts and the properties of materials that I had been knowing.

 

Forms and colours were discussed and presented in any number of polar contrasts. These contrasts can be presented as intellectual concepts…The students had to present these carious contrasts, separately and in combinations, in a manner that allowed our senses to perceive them convincingly.” “All artistic effects are based on the creation of contrasts. We not only studied their contrasts – smooth-rough, hard-soft, light-heavy—visually but also explored them with our fingertips…To deepen and control the experience, students had to contemplate, touch, and raw these textures until they knew them by heart and could reproduce them out of their inner perception, without the natural model.” 2

Among the many exhibits, the drawings that caught my eye turned out to be from vorkurs works.

I was fascinated by these rhythmical lines and colors 

“ The teacher’s most difficult problem is the liberation and deepening of the inner spiritual sense of perception. To conduct exercises in that area one needs a very pliable, labile material which reacts immediately to the slightest motion of the hand. I used india ink brushes and soft charcoal” “The success of these studies wholly depends on the student’s ability to overcome his intellect and the function of his senses and give himself totally to spontaneous feeling. An inner automatism quite naturally gives a convincing outer form to his feelings.” 3

 

Johannes Itten’s ideals of education were very impressive and as a Gerrit Rietveld student, I related to that.
Itten found it difficult to judge students because they all have different talents and characters.
So the vorkurs was built, and students were able to have time to think fully about their interests and aptitudes as they went through this course. I think it is the same reason why Rietveld Academie persists in the basic year while many other schools have given it up already.
Students at Bauhaus had to explore and enlighten themselves without relying on the knowledge from the outside. Itten emphasized inner growth and self-examination, so he went back to the quest for more basic things and helped discover students’ interests and talents through them.

I felt lost when I came to the Rietveld Academie at first. I was used to Korean cramming education, that was why it was difficult and awkward for me to think about myself and being on one’s own. Of course, I’m used to them now, and this new way of education has given me a chance to think deeply about myself.
Drawing and painting, theory, design, mixed media and sculpture, learning these five subjects, and using various workshops, I could see what I liked and disliked, or what I didn’t do well.
The fairly free atmosphere of discussion and feedback also helped me broaden my horizons.

Pictures of Rietveld Academie basic year class

 

pictures of Bauhaus vorkurs

   Interestingly, you can find quite similar things. Both educations seem to be exploring materials.

They have a lot in common, but the reason Bauhaus’ education seemed more interesting to me is probably because of the physical exercise. Itten gave the class exercises in relation, breathing, and concentration to achieve a spiritual state and physical readiness during instruction period.4
He thought the training the body as an instrument of the spirit is essential to an artist’s creativity. That is why, before attempting class, the students were asked to limber up their bodies and minds by physical jerks, controlled breathing, and meditation.5 I agree with his opinion as a yoga and meditation lover.
I believe that the body and mind are connected and the brain also moves more actively when the body is ready and activated.

Imagine, wouldn’t it be more fun and energetic if we did yoga together at school or if we did weird exercises before we painted?

 

Maybe ‘Basic year’ is the most important time as an artist. This is because it is an opportunity to experience many challenges and failures without constraint. So far, I have been busy just completing my assignment. After learning of Bauhaus’ educational philosophy, I began to reflect on my attitude and to think about how to deal with my work in the future. I will bear in mind the philosophy of Bauhaus, which is attentive to the sounds of body and mind, faithful to the basics and always exploring.

 

 

1)Frank whit ford, Bauhaus, Thames and hudson, 1984, London, page 106
2)Gyorgy kepes, Education of vision, Studio vista, 1965, Newyork, page 105,106
3)Gyorgy kepes, Education of vision, Studio vista, 1965, Newyork, page115
4)Gyorgy kepes, Education of vision, Studio vista, 1965, Newyork, page105
5)Frank whit ford, Bauhaus, Thames and hudson, 1984, London, page 55

ON DESIGN EDUCATION


Thursday, February 6, 2014

 

The bricks manifesto is a collaborative version
of ‘this is (not) a manifesto’ to bring people together
to discuss their education vision during DDW 2012.9

tumblr_inline_ms8phbzUvw1qz4rgp

 

UnBornLab
Presented at the graduation show of the Design Academy Eindhoven during Dutch Design Week 2013, UnBornLab is a masters project, initiated by Eugenie de Lariviere, looking at design education from a design student’s perspective.

It was important for me to understand education from my own perspective; as a student and a designer.
Mixing both a field research on a local level, and an academic research on a more ‘global level (that is the European level)I felt the need to always bring the theoretical part into practice, by organizing workshops, discussions, lectures, interviews (etc), in order to grasp an understanding of the big notion that is education.

One way to do so was to analyze how the system functions. I was able to get an overview of it by breaking it down into four ‘elements’, which together, represent the main ‘pillars’ forming our schools. These four elements being; community, structure, content and environment, the interactions they have together shapes the different academic institutions we know of.

(For example: Structure = Content implies that if structure makes content, it induces a top-down approach of knowledge, raising the question of knowledge accreditation, knowledge hierarchy, as well as of formal vs. informal knowledge. Whereas Content = Structure implies that if knowledge forms structure it leads to a more bottom up approach of producing and sharing knowledge for example; crowd source and open source systems. The same goes with structure = community vs. community = structure and so on.)

To communicate the concept clearly, I visualized these methods of the ‘four elements’ by quickly sketching them into volumes. It was once again a means of bringing the theory into practice by giving shape to the research. Making it physical also enabled me to reach people who did not feel strongly about the subject.

COMMUNITY-CONTENT_redu CONTENT-COMMUNITY_redu

Community = Content  vs.  Content = Community

 

Following on the idea of ‘rethinking’ education from a student’s perspective, I chose to look further on recent shifts in the relationship between ‘content’ and ‘community’, focusing on students as the bearer of contemporary knowledge.

With the faster availability of information the world is transforming at a greater pace and students are often proven to be quicker to adapt to these changes, may they be social, economical, political (etc). The content they bring in the school, as an addition to the curriculum, comes to show more applicability regarding the world they evolve in. In this process, schools go from being knowledge distributors to becoming intermediate spaces where a dynamic cross-pollination of knowledge happens.

The UnBornLab functions as an experiment to document students’ working processes as the basis for renewing design curricula.
The first step of the project was a blog to bring student’s current research (in this case their thesis topics) outside of schools.

DAE-BLOG

DAE Masters Blog

 

Believing in the importance of students’ self-taught expertise as a school’s temporary knowledge, the idea evolved in the motivation to create a dynamic archive of this knowledge by building a self-generating library of past researches.

Through a series of short video-interviews students present their work, focusing on the research rather than the outcome. Considering students as temporary ‘experts’ of their subjects, the videos can be seen as short introductions on given design topics. One topic leading to another UnBornLab intends to be the start of a dynamic knowledge database of ‘UnBorn’ designers.

UnBornLab_siteS_screenshot

 


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