Sunday, March 2, 2014

Art Education and Artist's Statement

I studied art. I make art. I teach art. This semester, I enrolled in the newly founded art education program at the Kansas City Art Institute, in order to bring those interrelated disciplines together - in my life and in my mind.

So far, I am loving my first course - the theories, the history, the looking into myself and reflecting on what art and teaching art mean to me. Despite my enjoyment of being back in the classroom as a student, I have a lot less free time nowadays. Maybe that will help me become more organized, so I can keep track of everything I have going on?

We were recently assigned to bring our artist's statements to class. I revamped mine a bit before turning it in, and I would like to share it here:

                                                                                                                          Swoop and Stream, 2012. Digital photography.

“When we consider the movement of form in space over a certain time, we are entering the realm of geometry and mathematics in the same way as when we construct a machine.”
                                                                                                                                 -  Marcel Duchamp, concerning “Nude Descending a Staircase”

Time. Motion. Repetition. Addition.

I repeat. I make by employing repetitive processes, such as knotting, tearing, piling, picking, purging. Repetitive bodily gestures, actions and movements send me on an intimate tour of myself and my surroundings. These motions transport me beyond the confines of my own body. Or, rather, they redefine or extend its boundaries. I become fused with the materials within, on and around me.

Where does self end and other begin? What is mine to manipulate? I consciously explore the connection between bodily repetition and creation, motion and ecstasy/disengagement. I am fascinated by the genesis of intelligence. Abiding by specific rules can result in an entity that is more than the result of its instructions*.

My art acts as metaphor, not simply (simple) geometry. Through non-rational, or inexact, repetition (spiral not circular) people may rail against the discontinuous, nonsensical nature of existence.


People rarely see or have seen without some sort of additive implement (in other words, tool). Even the use of a pencil reshapes the human body, its desires, functions and ways of interacting with the self and other. Human interaction with machines, then, also re-purposes human boundaries – it alters the ways in which humans experience.

Sight remains impoverished without lights to see by. Tools light the night skies. Now machines have taken on new mutations. They can learn from humans and one another, act autonomously, read emotions, give the semblance of humanity and intelligence, and are otherwise self-evolving.

If a gaze could be based upon the simulation, mediation, connectivity and artifice these new machines exercise, then it would belong to a cyborg.

According to Donna J. Haraway, a cyborg is “a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality/lived experience as well as a creature of fiction.” (Haraway, Donna J. Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge, 1991. Print.) Humans possess a bionic gaze, which is a way of knowing the world through electronic, mechanical, digital and other enhancements.

Because of the technology we have invented and to which we have access, the bionic gaze is entirely plausible and definitely employed. So, we are hybrids of man and machine. We are synthetic communications systems; our bodies have become virtually re-crafted. We have been entranced by the exchange of intelligence.

Enhancement, though, does not mean we are privy to the right information – just different sets of information.

*Sometimes, it just makes a mess.

My goal is to set up an art/art education website. A personal website is LONG overdue. I will definitely report back when it is in working order and fit to be seen.

Alison :)

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