29 SES 02, The Construction of Knowledge and Pedagogical Practices within Museums
To think about artistic creation or the history of art in the negative, not based on light, but on darkness, not based on the day – the history – but on the night – everything which was left out of the historical narrative or which appears in it as being an exception. (Faria, 2013)
This is how the text for the exhibition Lessons of Darkness, which was open to the public from January to December 2013 in the José de Guimarães International Arts Centre, in Guimarães, Portugal, begins.
Taking this exhibition as a case study, and taking a point of view from the educational service, where I am integrated and in which I transform myself every day, my proposal is to think this place – educational service – as a performative and disruptive space that can have a role in the public dimension, crucial to the understanding of what surround us.
A possibility of an up-to-date research within the PHD would be a macroscopic approach, referring to its organization, management of resources, budgets, positioning and theoretical approaches, dissecting the schedule of activities, pedagogical and artistic contents, all in one, focusing on the ‘what?’. I am, however, more interested in the ‘how?’, in a microscopic perspective on the practices of contact between education and art. On the classroom, the theatre stage or the museum room, the garden or the private house which gathers stories by the fireplace.
I am interested in thinking how the participants (teachers, students, artists) act and experience these places and times where proposals become events. Thinking about how the contents are worked upon in the inside of these places and which relationships of transferibility are created.
‘More than an exhibition, Lessons of Darkness is the motto for the new and broader assembly of this Centre. Just like the exhibition which was previously presented, based on the collections of José de Guimarães, which form the assets of the intitution, we project towards summoning a set of interventions by various contemporary artists and pieces and objects of popular, religious and archaeologic heritage of the region.’(Faria, 2013)
During the daily confrontation with this place the idea of a crossing throughout the history of these objects and the shapes inhabiting the 13 rooms of the centre became more and more evident. The unexpected reactions from the audience confirmed the strangeness with which our bodies felt this place, where the religious and the popular, the scholar and the contemporary lived together side by side, where distant times and places would get closer and where the deconstruction of a linear, hierarchical and preconceived history, which we all know from school learning, was immediate.
‘…the configuration of the exhibition space has suffered deep changes in the physical and conceptual structure. While the previous assembly had the configuration of an atlas, just like geography, like cartography, structuring itself on cores with a narrative logic, this assembly functions as an archipelago, which consists in various Islands, more or less close to each others, sometimes completely autonomous, gathered around a broad idea of darkness.
…what does bringing objects from the darkness to the light, from invisibilty to visibility, from the level of shadows to the level of bodies mean?’(Faria, 2013)
With this metaphor of darkness, I invite us to reflect on this space of practices of contact between education and art. Far from the traditional white sheets, the truths by which we are led, this is a place, open for reflection towards the unknown, towards the profound discovery, where still shapeless objects, with voices which were never heard before, live along with each other.
Atkinson, D. (2002). Art in education identity and practice. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Careri, F. (2013). Walkscapes: O caminhar como prática estética. São Paulo: Editora G. Gili. Faria, N. (2013). Lições da Escuridão. In C. I. d. A. J. d. Guimarães (Ed.), (Faria, Nuno ed., pp. 17-18): A Oficina, CIPRL. Taylor, D. (2003). The archive and the repertoire : performing cultural memory in the Americas. Durham: Duke University Press.
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