Danyel Ferrari: Questions of space and mobility were often discussed as a part of Future Academy. What do you think about the place of architecture in the architecture of ideas, should there be walls?
Clementine Deliss: I might have a different perspective on that than, say, the students I have worked with in Future Academy. For the students I have worked with, this was actually one of the clearest issues and it came up very early on with regard to future buildings. The majority of students, whether they were based in Mumbai, Bangalore, Dakar or Edinburgh generally felt that they didn’t need buildings in the first instance. They sought more face-to-face contact in the sense that they wanted field studies in locations and therefore a kind of plug-in system to enable contact to be played out. So they proposed the “shack academy,” built on existing tea shops, usually roadside venues where more discussions took place than within the walls of the academy buildings. They effectively wanted a more informal location for the production of ideas. The Bangalore group felt that it wouldn’t be advantageous at this stage to invest in a large amount of technology, but safer to wait a while and test out the conditions that might develop over the next few years. So it wasn’t just about buying computers and various technology that would allow for this kind of plug-in mobility, it was something else. What they felt needed to be created was a quasi-business model where information, contacts and networks between these students could be developed into an economic set of relations as they became professionalized and entered into various careers. They wanted to build on the structures that they were already developing through Future Academy and create “roving colleges” that might provide a more equitable framework for them than the type of expansionism that we have known from the colonial period and that is in some cases, though not everywhere, being reformulated today.
Personally, I think one should be more careful and more sensitive to the fact that artists, if they work in the art college context, are actually moving into a back-stage condition. And this back-stage condition is enormously enriching for students. So sure they will teach, they’re always teaching, but they do not need to do courses so much as to be able to mediate what it is they are working on. In an art college, everybody is in a research context and for that purpose they need space. So I would argue that if you invite an artist to work within the art college, as much as possible you need to provide a certain space, a notion of “studio,” rather than creating staff rooms where they all check their emails and then go home. So I’m quite old fashioned in that I favor the artist’s studio within the art school context. And that is something that is either being reduced or is, in some parts of the world, utterly nonexistent.
Look for Boot Print Vol. 2, Issue 2 in December for the rest of her interview and others on the future of art pedagogy. In the meantime, check out her lecture if you’re in Chicago.
MORE INFO: Clémentine Deliss is an independent curator, researcher and publisher. Since 1996 she has produced Metronome, which was launched at the Dakar and Venice Biennales; the Kunsthalle Basel; DAAD, Berlin; documenta X and documenta 12; Galerie Chantal Crousel in Paris; and Kandada/CommandN gallery Tokyo. Dr. Deliss initiated Future Academy in late 2002 to investigate the transformations of the art college and, with the central input of students, forecast future conditions for independent research and art production. As a self-reflexive investigation that relies on the free will and engagement of students from different institutions and faculties, Future Academy is necessarily autonomous in its structure and thinking. The latest focus of Future Academy centers on the 'prelusive' phase within art production and a reappraisal of the artists' study collection as the possible core of a future art institute. In her talk, she will present outcomes of this research that relate specifically to international relations and economic self-sufficiency.
Wednesday, November 12, 5PM (I would recommend calling ahead to confirm)
Cochrane Woods Art Center RM 157 (University of Chicago)
5540 South Greenwood Avenue
Tuesday, November 18, 3PM
The Franke Institute, JRL S-118, Regenstein Library (University of Chicago)
1100 E 57th Street
posted by Tim Ridlen