29 SES 02, Challenging times: educating art educators in the present
Iinspired by the project Ecole Mondiale of the visual artists Filip Van Dingenen and Ive Van Bostraeten in this paper I want to rethink the idea of ecole mondiale in times of globalisation and migration. Through the design of 10 fieldstations on different locations the aim of the visual artists was to redefine and investigate the feasibility of Ecole Mondiale as an educational project today. Ecole Mondiale is a design for a postgraduate school initiated by King Leopold II in 1902. However never built, the aim of the project was to develop and prepare young men for a career in the overseas areas of Europe: acquiring competences and skills necessary to civilize and colonize an undisciplined world. Ecole Mondial as such not only focused on the intellect, but was also concentrated on discipline.
The starting point of our researchproject is, that today we no longer have to explore the overseas world, in the meantime we have explored, civilized and capitalized the world in such a way that there is nothing left to explore, civilize and appropriate. Hence, another approach to the world is required. The challenge of our project as such is: how to rethink Ecole Mondiale not in terms of colonisation, appropriation and capitalisation, but in terms of seeing, experiencing and of being exposed to conditions and potentials of human life in the world we all inhabit.
Hence, challenges we deal with are:
- How can we reconsider Ecole Mondiale in times of migration and globalisation?
- How to think about conditions and instructions not in terms of acquiring predefined standards, but in terms of affecting the senses, of disclosing a world and of paying attention?
- How to expose ‘Ecole Mondiale’ not as an idea, but as a form that calls for attention and regard?
In trying to come to terms with this request, together with the students of the teacher training in audiovisual and fine arts, and inspired by the projects of Jan Masschelein we set up schoolcamp@calais. The main question of schoolcamp is: Wat is this world for, which forms of existence or human life does it make possible, and what are the limits? The city Calais in the Northern Province of France we took as starting point for our research. We chose for Calais because of her being a city at the border and of being a city that does not function as a final destination. Our hypotheses was that as a transit zone, Calais enabled us not to be in control of the situation and not knowing what there is to see and to hear. As such we set up what we have called a ‘sensuous’, ‘temporal’ and ‘collective’ laboratory that enabled us to come into the presence, and to ‘see’ and ‘experience’ our ‘common’ world, so as to disclose it in terms of a milieu we are a part of and need to live together with. Meaning that particular aesthetic exercises and instructions were involved in order to suspend our expectations in favour of the senses. In this paper we will report on these exercises and the disciplinary arrangements (walking, gathering, comparing, mapping, and presenting) that were set up to make it possible to turn Calais into an issue that addresses us. Schoolcamp this way will be presented as a form of research that corresponds with participative observation. However, not a form of participative observation in terms of ethnographic research, but in terms of what Tim Ingold (2017) has described as anthropological educational research. From an anthropological point of view to observe means: ‘not to objectify; it is to attend to persons and things, to learn from them, and to follow in precept and practice’ (p.41). Participative observation as such must be understood as an ‘ontological commitment’, rather than ‘an intentional doing of fieldwork’ that yields ‘objective data’ (ibid). It is a form of research that happened to explore our human condition, and of opening up new possibilities for thinking… ‘to keep the conversation going’ (p.42)
Together with the mapping we also asked the students to make pictures and to record sound or conversations as well. At the end we asked the students to assemble their material in order to pronounce a statement in the form of an exhibition. What the exercises (walking, gathering, mapping, etc.) discloses however was not a piece of art work, neither did it reveal some scientific insights, but rather visualises what you could call ‘powerrelations’ in terms of modes of existence that emerge. l will present some of these visualisations
Augé, M. (1995) Non Places. Introduction to an anthropology of supermodernity. London/New York: Verso. Delheye, P. Ameye, T. and Knuts, S. (2014). Expansionism, Physical Education and Olympism: common interests of King Lepold II of Belgium, Cyrille Van Overbergh and Pierre de Coubertine (1894-1914) Ingold, T. (2017) Antropology and/as education. Routledge. Latour, B. (2004) Why has critique run out of steam? From matters of fact to matters of concern. Critical Inquiry 30 (winter), 225-248 Masschelein, J. (2010). E-ducating the gaze: the idea of a poor pedagogy. Ethics and Education. 5 (1), 43-53. Ranciére, J. (2017). En quel temps vivons-nous? Conversation avec Eric Hazan. Paris: La fabrique. Scherer, B. (2013) The antropocene project. Haus der Kulturen der Welt Van Dingenen, F. and Van Bostraeten, I. Ecole Mondiale. Accessed online October 2018: http://ecole-mondiale.org
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