This session was great. Dena introduced the project to the girls and explained how they would be reinterpreting objects through curatorial processes and interventions, as Dena has investigated in her own practice. It was quite a difficult concept to get across but as the day progressed and the students worked through putting their project journals together each one gradually developed their own understanding of what Dena did and what the project might be about.
Dena was balancing a fine line between having a strong project framework which would lead the students on an exciting and challenging journey, while still leaving space for them to take a lead in that journey and responsibility for their own learning.
The girls seemed interested but hesitant about the idea that what they produced during the project would form part of one of the museum’s ‘Big Saturday’ events on March 7. Because of publication deadlines the event was planned in before we had discussed this with the group but Dena, Alice and I feel confident that the girls will have something to contribute as an intervention to the day – even if neither them nor us know what it will be yet. [The situation reminds me of a conversation at one of the enquire events I went to which raised the question of whether we should be asking students to publicly exhibit their work at all. Artists, someone argued, have the choice, time and foresight to hand should they choose to show their work. Students involved in projects do not necessarily have the will, confidence or development time to be in a position to be happy to show their work publicly. Therefore should we be putting them in such a position, it was asked?] This project, by its very nature, is experimental. The students are working to a brief rather than as ‘fine art’ makers so the outcome is more a vocational investigation rather than an art object in its traditional sense.
The group will be coming to the museum for the next couple of sessions to research and record what they think of our human remains displays, looking at what is on display and how it has been presented to the visitor. Can’t wait.