SchoolArts Magazine

MAY-JUN 2013

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Looking & Learning Interdisciplinary Connections "The viewer has always been the artist's collaborator; finishing the work, carrying their own personal history into the process." —Tony Oursler Explore Create Beginner Show students Ken Butler's Coat Hanger Violin and Object Opera. Ask them to identify what objects they see in each image. Ask, "What do you think the Coat Hanger Violin sounds like?" "What kinds of sounds might the Object Opera make?"Havestudentsactoutsomeofthese imagined sounds. Explain that an artwork that combines visual art with music, science, or any other subject is called interdisciplinary. On the board, have students create a list of subjects that might be combined with art. Beginner Ask your class to vote on several options for an interdisciplinary art project, such as a performance combining sculpture, dance, and music; a video featuring sculptures of historical subjects; or an interpretation of a story through narrative silhouettes. Explain that you will work on the project that receives the most votes. Once the project is chosen, divide students into groups to work on different aspects of the project (costume design, sculptures, drawings, etc.) so that each student has a clear and defined role. Be sure to document the final performance or artwork, and consider inviting parents or community members to view it. Intermediate Ask students, "What do you think interdisciplinarymeans?"Havethemwritetheirdefinitions in their sketchbooks. Next, show students Influence Machine, Object Opera, and Coat Hanger Violin. Now ask, "Do these artworks fit your definition of interdisciplinary? What makes them interdisciplinary?" After some discussion, ask, "What other disciplines might be combined with visual art?" Advanced Show students Influence Machine followed by Object Opera and Coat Hanger Violin. Explain that many artists are not content to create art that fits into traditional categories and instead create artwork that transcends boundaries and borders, often creating new processes and styles of artwork. Ask students to create a list of the media, subjects, and processes involved with each artwork in their sketchbooks, paying careful attention to the ways they connect to various disciplines and subjects. Ask, "Are certain subjects or disciplines more appropriate for making art than others? Why? Is there anything that can't be incorporated into an artwork?" Intermediate In small groups, have students plan and design two or more works of art that combine two-dimensional and three-dimensional elements with at least one other discipline (music, science, dance, theater, history, etc.). Their plans can include drawings, small models, scripts, and, if possible, short videos. Discuss the ideas with each group to chooseonethatwillbemostsuccessful.Havestudentsconsiderhow they might use things in the room to accomplish their idea. Could they use an overhead or LCD projector as part of their design? Are there digital cameras or video recorders available? What can they use to make sounds? If possible, work with each group to help students completetheirchosenidea.Usephotosorvideotodocumenttheprocess and record their final installations, performances, or actions. Advanced Ask students to choose a new discipline that they would like to incorporate into an art project. They should consider how their chosen subject might work best. For example, they might use a scientific process to combine natural pigments with acrylic paint to create new colors; create a video combining sculpture, costumes, and spoken word; transform found objects into musical instruments; or project images ontoasculptedsurface.Allowthemtoworkingroupsifdesired.Have each student or group begin with a written proposal that includes a concrete timeline for each stage of the project. Begin each class with a short meeting to discuss daily progress. When the projects are ready, scheduleoneortwodaysforperformance,presentation,andcritique. Be sure to document the performances with photo and video and share online if possible. Finally, have each student submit a reflection on the process (written or video). Written by Karl Cole, curator of images at Davis Publications; and Robb Sandagata, digital and interactive media coordinator at Davis Publications. Resources Ken Butler 28 May/June 2013 SchoolArts Tony Oursler

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