Friday, July 14, 2017

Under the Mango Tree

Above is the second paragraph of 221A's announcement of its participation in documenta 14's Under the Mango Tree -- Sites of Learning. (If Documenta has learned anything from Athens, maybe it's time to learn something with Documenta?) Of note is the assertion that "the structures of formal education systems are increasingly reaching their productive and epistemological limits." But if this is the case, what about the possessive apostrophe (or is it a contraction?) in the first sentence ("221A's shifts its...")? How productive are gaffes like that? As for the title ("Under the Mango Tree"), Freire's critical pedagogy is to graduate colloquia what Berger's Ways of Seeing (1972) remains to first-year art school courses -- a staple.

I am all for artist-run centres providing educational opportunities. Years ago Vancouver's Kootenay School of Writing promoted itself as such, offering courses and workshops led by visiting writers and artists like Charles Bernstein and Abigail Child. More recently, the 2012 Institutions by Artists conference exemplified the ever-blossoming relationship between artist-run centres and the academy. If these "limits" are to be addressed, perhaps we might find them in relational expressions, not those limited to disingenuous generalizations and unchecked typographical errors*.

* now corrected

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