"What did the first brain to find itself on this planet do? Presumably it was astonished at being here and hadn't a clue what to make of itself and the filthy vehicle beneath its feet. In the meantime people have come to terms with their brains by regarding them as so unimportant as to be not even worth ignoring, by making rastas of themselves (bottommost: blackish pole; uppermost; the president of the senate, say) and by turning the so-unjustly beloved nature into the backdrop for a right farce. Although this doubtless not especially heroic way of avoiding a dilemma that still receives insufficient appreciation has become quite void of any charm now that it is so utterly predictable (how infantile bathroom scales are!), for this self-same reason it is, however, highly suitable for the conducting of certain procedures." - Walter Serner in Last Loosening Manifesto (1916)

"The concept of reality is a highly variable value, and entirely dependent on the brain and the requirements of the brain which considers it." - Richard Hülsenbeck in En Avant Dada (1920)

"After all, what is an art object, in any discipline,
but a beautifully woven system of life-giving lies that burst with potentiality?"
- Olchar E. Lindsann in Cheating Art History:
Strategies on the Fight Against Modernism ( ADa 91 )

"The pressure of occupation and the incessant stream of impressions pouring into our consciousness through all the gateways of knowledge make modern existence hazardous in many ways. Most persons are so absorbed in the contemplation of the outside world that they are wholly oblivious to what is passing on within themselves. The premature death of millions is primarily traceable to this cause." - Nikola Tesla in My Inventions (1919)

"I am not an artist because I refuse to be bored." - David Beris Edwards in BARM ( ADa 92 )

"Every manifestation of our life is accompanied by noise." - Luigi Russolo in L'arte dei rumori ( 1913 )

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Required Response to Group Critiques

Group critiques in the context of the Mason Gross school are wearily structured presentations of a students' project followed by a question and answer session. The thesis exhibition groups are very large in that there would not be enough time to have each student present their projects to the entire group. Thus, the thesis instructors have divided the two exhibition groups into groups of 12 students. Each student is then required to bring in previous projects of study and current progress projects in progress to present and discuss in a period of 10 minutes.

For the critique in which I was a part, we were in conversation with Viktor Witkowski. I presented the KUH[n] media-journal dvd that was just released by [PRO-][ANTI-] press in December and showed the Pocket Remover anti-infomercial which I had written and which I had filmed with Warren Fry. I explained that it was a compilation or collection of the videos made by friends or collaborators and that the small press publication was in the spirit of Francis Picabia's 391 journal or Wallace Berman's Semina journal. (There are of course numerous of other small presses both from the past and present that I could list that inform and are pertinent to KUH[n].) By the time that I had presented the dvd and Viktor had affirmed its obvious association to dADa and the absurd, it was time to present and discuss the next project.

If a system of critiques is to function as a platform for continuing discussion and an incitement for a visual discourse, there should be some kind of force which would ensure that this system is in place and perpetually in motion. Perhaps an active panel of faculty, distinguished by the visual concentration in which they teach, could host frequent critiques with atleast all of the courses in their area of concentration showing both their own and their students' work. It would be a start. It would enable the faculty to become familiar with the students in their concentration and vice versa if they did not already have a chance to teach most of those students already.

As the BFA thesis groups are an amalgamation of all of the visual concentrations of study, this panel of faculty could come together with the large group of BFA thesis students to facilitate further discussion for the fourth year visual students' thesis. If a system of critiques were maintained throughout the entire four years of a student's involvement in the program, perhaps this group of faculty could be designated as the instructors of the BFA Thesis course as they would be the most familiar with all of the students and their work. It could potentially create a situation where the thesis course and its exhibition would be a large, expansive, and rigorous conversation between everyone's field of study and their results and be fertile ground for organizing group exhibitions.

Though with the increasing number of part-time lecturers, the small number of full-time professors, graduate students as instructors, and the inability for the school to offer the required amount of courses to fulfill the concentration requirements in some departments, is a system like this to replace a non-existent one even possible?

If such a system, or any system was in place, perhaps we the students in that critique group would have been very familiar with the work we have been studying in the past four years and would be able to offer more complex insight with reference to a learned practice rather than only introducing concepts for a final undergraduate thesis in 10 minutes of the final semester.

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