In the middle of a disruptive studio move I decided to escape the chaos to visit my school in person today.
I was interested to revisit the work we had done in the previous week around a shared space and examine this in relation to the classroom a little further. I decided this week that we would look at how the space is used, and examine how each individual negotiates this shared space during their daily routine. On Wednesday before my arrival I asked the children to record all of their movements within the classroom throughout the day. We looked again at the layout of the space, and created a map of it together using the interactive whiteboard. Each person used this as a guide to make their own map and on this they marked out their movements from the list they had made the previous day.
In the GP room I also used it as a guide to draw a large floor plan of the classroom using masking tape. I then invited the children to join me there.
Following the lines of their movements on their individual maps; they used coloured tape to mark their routes on to the life-size floor plan I had prepared. The children were focused and the paths were carefully marked out. The final drawing clearly revealed the most active spaces within the classroom. Small groups returned to their spaces on the drawing and attempted to retrace their steps. Finally the entire group found their space on the drawing and tried to follow their paths, the crowded assembly and difficulty of movement led us to look at and discuss the complexity of the classroom as our shared space.
The response to today’s session was really interesting. This week we turned our focus to shared and private spaces. We talked a lot about the spaces that belonged to us that were private and the spaces that we shared with others. We talked about the challenges of sharing spaces and why sharing a space has benefits. We document these places by placing our private space inside paper cubes and sharing our public spaces on the exterior.
After our break we explored the classroom as a shared space. I asked the children to draw a space for themselves on the floor using tape; marking out what they considered to be enough space to feel comfortable inside, the space around them that they felt belonged to them and to show others the space that they needed.
I really enjoyed watching them negotiate this with one another, they were very involved in the task. After the spaces were completed I asked if everyone was comfortable and if anyone was not to come and tell me why. One of the children found the task difficult as people kept getting in his way, and he ended up compromising the space he required. Another person had returned to their seat and was now sitting inside someone else’s space and she was worried about this. Some people made their spaces too small and only realised this afterwards, while others seemed satisfied in large expanded spaces. I found the groups responses so interesting and look forward to developing this further in our next meeting.
This week I made a REAL visit to my school. We examined the methods we had been using to date, focusing on recipes and finding other ways to describe them; instructions, directions, strategies……… This led us to look at conceptual art, and the work of Sol LeWit. who observed that when people made his drawings, that “each person draws a line differently and each person understands words differently” bringing us back to the importance of our personal interpretation of instructions and individual mark making.
Every week we have shared drawing processes with others; first the person next to us, them the people sitting at our desk and this week the whole class worked together on one large piece of paper. Following our recipes again, we linked, connected, and joined others in our class. With the potential to go anywhere, the recipes became difficult to follow. At the end the group talked about the sense of freedom they had working on this scale and that ‘they could go anywhere’, I questioned this as I had read the directions to the group and realised quickly that these directions really did have endless possibilities to ‘go anywhere’!
Connecting, linking and mixing with others today we create a large shared canvas. There were about six groups (split by tables) working together. As well as each group sharing drawings together they also created recipes for the rest of the room.
I experienced some difficulties through the technology today, and left feeling quite disconnected from the session and the group. We are revisiting our themes each week, but I feel that the work is developing very slowly, and has not really moved in a new direction yet. I would like to visit the school next week to try to establish a stronger connection with my class and see if we can develop this work further.
Introducing colour and new drawing impliments we used our drawing recipes again this week. Each person making their own individual marks, and interpreting words and colours their own way. Nobody is questioning how to do something now, as we all find our own way.
Revisiting our meeting at the Dock we returned to look at and try some new recipes created from a deconstructed studio drawing and focusing on our themes.
We linked our drawings with the person sitting next to us and questioned this part of the process.
Each person used the instruction differently, every mark was unique and individual.
amalgamate___ mix, blend, connect, combine, link, join, tie
_______________ space for individual interpretation and expression??
Recipes and questions……..a way to get to know each other!
Our first introductions to the project and one another took place at The Dock, Carrick on Shannon. This allowed for a tour of the Virtually There show and my studio space at the arts centre. Navigating the exhibition we asked lots questions about the project, the artwork, and why there was a black cabbage? We followed a drawing recipe and discussed “the impossible!” This led us onto the studio….. what was it like to share a space with a dancer, a musician and a painter/ had I made anything today and what was the last piece I worked on????? Food for thought and ingredients for our next meeting..
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