Teacher as conceptual artist
What is teacher as conceptual artist?
Teacher as conceptual artist is not a method. At best, it is a filter, a way of thinking. This sounds much more
pretentious than it is. Teacher as conceptual artist is a way of thinking about one’s teaching practice/existence through the permissions of conceptual art. One of those permissions is to consistently and purposefully rethink what counts as art. If you’re thinking about yourself and your practice through the teacher as conceptual artist lens you may consistently be asking the question, “how is this the world that I’m involved with pliable?”. You encounter something – anything – and you ask yourself “how is this pliable? How does it bend? How is it made soft? How can I move it? How can I use it or think it differently?”
This is not a question about the physical world, although it is a question of materiality. Pliability doesn’t mean that the thing you’re bending will necessarily change in the physical world, but rather will turn into your work because you have thought it through your conceptual art filter. Conceptual art gives an ‘art’ permission which is to enact the question of pliability outside of the insistence of the plastic arts. The teacher who practices through conceptual art detaches him or herself from mandatory craftsmanship, traditions of practice, the labor-equals-worth paradigm, and the archival. In many ways teaching as conceptual art sees everything as special, but doesn’t require any kind of specialness to enact whatever is enacted. School then becomes material. Through the permissions of conceptual art people who find themselves within institutions or frameworks of education find a path to make art – even – with the banalities and materialities of those very institutions. Teaching as conceptual art asks the questions: How is school material? How is school pliable? How is the teacher a work? How is what I’m already doing within the institution already the work I want to be doing in the world? What permissions does conceptual art give to teacher as conceptual artist? Let’s call them modes.
- Teacher as conceptual artist