Video on Vimeo: Pedagogies of Space R-Lab

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The following is a video on R-Lab’s presentation of the workshop “Game Time” developed for the exhibition on Oskar Hansen for the Index Swedish Art Foundation. Presentation was made during the conference: Pedagogies of Space,  25-26 February 2016, at Index, Stockholm.

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Doreen Massey: author of Spatial Divisions of Labor

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“Through her politically engaged books and essays, Doreen Massey, who has died aged 72, electrified geographical scholarship. From the 1970s onwards, her writings on space, place and power inspired generations of geographers and many others, including creative artists and trade unionists. From challenging the tendency to blame poor regions for their own poverty to articulating a progressive politics of place, she shaped a passionate belief that unequal spatial relations could, and should, be different.

Spatial Divisions of Labour (1984) demonstrated that a Marxian approach to uneven regional development and capitalist production could be combined with an attention to the dynamic trajectories and cultures of particular places. The essays in Space, Place and Gender (1994) brought a feminist perspective to the rethinking of power relations. Her concept of “geometries of power” drew attention to the ways in which different people and places experienced processes such as globalisation.

Central to her contribution was her “relational” approach to understanding space and place. Rather than seeing space dispassionately as a surface on which phenomena were distributed, she theorised space in a much more lively and contested way as a constellation of different trajectories of activity.

While she saw the role of capital as significant in the production of space, she viewed it as having a less determinant role than other radical geographers, notably David Harvey. This position was informed by a politically hopeful stance. If space was unfinished and in the course of being produced, she argued that there was also the possibility for it to be politicised and created in different and potentially more equal ways. In her article A Global Sense of Place (1991), she proposed that places were still significant and were being reworked through processes of globalisation rather than annihilated by it.”

Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise 1963-67

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Quoted from the link: Cornelius Cardew was a fascinating figure. Both in his life, and through his music, he posed questions with which I find myself in equal sympathy and conflict. He is undeniably one of the most important figures in the Post-War British avant-garde. Cardew, by all accounts, was a prodigy. During his early twenties he worked at the highest levels of performance. In 1958 (age 22) he won a scholarship to study at the Studio for Electronic Music in Cologne, and was promptly asked by Karlheinz Stockhausen to serve as his assistant. Stockhausen’s recollections of Cardew are drenched in respect. He was one of the few people whom he allowed to work on his scores unsupervised. During the late 50’s, influenced by John Cage and other members of his generation, Cardew abandoned Serialism and began to compose scores utilizing indeterminacy and experiment. It was this period of his work for which he is most remembered, and from which Treatise (our subject) comes. In 1967 he joined the iconic free-improvisation collective AMM with Lou Gare, Eddie Prévost, Keith Rowe and Christopher Hobbs, which advanced his sense of compositional possibility. The following year with Howard Skempton and Michael Parsons he formed the equally important Scratch Orchestra, which grew into a large ensemble, preforming over the following four years.

Pedagogies of Space @ Index

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A two-day conference summarizing Index’s program dedicated to Oskar Hansen’s pedagogy of Open Form explores the notion of space in the context of experimental art and architecture education. Considering space both as a learning environment and a teaching tool, the seminar gathers postwar and contemporary examples of pedagogical practices that question and reshape established sites and modes of creative education.

Deriving from different contexts and time, those practices share their interest in space as a means to provoke changes—either to test the borders of disciplines, as in Hansen’s open-air games or Anna and Lawrence Halprin’s performative workshops, or to transform educational process through redesigning its setting, as in Hansen’s adaptation of the seat of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts to Open Form curriculum. Space may be used as a site to embody innovative pedagogical concepts, as in Ciudad Abierta (Open City), collectively built microutopia constructed by the students and faculty of the Architecture School of the Catholic University in Valparaiso, or as a non-site, becoming a tool to free education from its institutional ties, as in Buckminster Fuller’s nomadic teaching or contemporary self-organized academies that in their lack of attachment to particular place find an escape from neoliberal logics of result-oriented education. In addition to presentation by researchers and writers, there will be also presentations from student workshops organized in collaboration with the Kungl. Konsthögskolan and Konstfack, Stockholm, and the Art Acadmy of Jutland, Aarhus.

With Eva Diaz, Mark Wasiuta, Oscar Andrade Castro, Anna Molska, Tor Lindstand, Jens Evaldsson, Sam Thorne, Kuba Szreder, Alberto Iacovoni, Peter Lang, Magnus Ericsson, Florian Zeyfang and others. The conference will be in English.

Organized in collaboration with Aleksandra Kędziorek, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw.

With kind support by the Polish Institute in Stockholm, the Polish Presidency in the Council of Baltic Sea States, and the Royal Institute of Art, Architecture.

Worthwhile distractions: the Kaleidoscope

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A German print from 1818, titled “Human Nonsense.”
An illustration from 1818, titled “Human Nonsense.” (Photo: Public Domain/WikiCommons)
It’s hard to imagine now, but in the years after the kaleidoscope was first invented in 1816, it distracted the public as much as an iPhone. A person couldn’t walk down a street in London without seeing people staring into these tubes and walking into walls from being so immersed in the new invention.
Its presence was pervasive. If a person didn’t own a kaleidoscope, they could pay a “penny for a peek” from London’s poor or homeless, who earned a living by offering passersby a look into the patterns produced by what some termed as one of the “most important inventions and discoveries of our time.”
Art from that period chronicled how immersive the kaleidoscope experience could be. Media scholar Erkki Huhtamo describes an engraving shown at the Frankfurt Film Museum, in which several people (and even a monkey!) are shown staring into their kaleidoscopes. As Huhtamo explains it, “These ‘kaleidoscomanics’ are so mesmerized by the visions they see inside the ‘picture tube’ that they do not even notice that other men are courting their companions behind their backs.”

The kaleidoscopes we can buy today, similar to the one I grew up with in the early-1980s, are not the same objects that came onto the scene in England. My first kaleidoscope was made of yellow cardboard with multicolored polka dots. It was cheaply made and squished under my fingertips as I turned the dial. In its base, it had plastic jewels that created patterns that would saturate when pointed directly at the sun. Within a month or two, the toy went into the toy box where it sat until being thrown away.
By contrast, the kaleidoscope of the early-and mid-1800s wasn’t just a child’s toy. In fact, it wouldn’t become child’s toy for at least several decades. Instead, this new mobile device was in the hands of everyone from children to the elderly; from professors to pastors and was seen on nearly every public street in the UK where it was first invented. How this beloved device went from adult obsession to throwaway juvenilia turns out to be a long, strange journey, one that has profound implications for the mobile devices you are carrying right now.
The kaleidoscopes on the streets of 19th century Britain were handheld and made from a range of materials, such as tubes made of brass with embellishments of wood or leather or those cheaply made of tin. The base of the tube was typically filled with broken pieces of glass, ribbons, or other small trinkets. When Sir David Brewster submitted his patent for the kaleidoscope in 1817, he focused almost exclusively on describing its inner workings, noting in passing that these elements could be “either covered up with paper or leather or placed in a cylindrical or any other tube.”

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