On Fridays I work with a 2hr long class with 4-6 year olds. Usually, the weekly projects correspond to modern artists, but this week they worked with the Valentine's Day theme. There are 9 students in the class (8 girls and 1 boy), in the full age range.
During this class, something that stood out to me was Ms. A's helping the kids with many of their projects.
Cut-out hearts: fold square paper, draw half of heart, cut out along line. Some kids needed/wanted more help with this process than others. Ms. A would fold and draw for many of them, I was trying to show them how to do it by example, then see if they could do it on their own. Maybe this was a little too challenging?
Much of my experience has been with slightly older children and/or in more "educational" environments (schools and a museum that was all about educating children through creative projects). But should this placement (an art center) not be as challenging as a school? It's always still a learning experience. Also, because I am working with younger children (4-6), where is the line between encouraging challenging learning experiences and helping out with things that might be too advanced for a certain age group? Especially for young childred, there are certain developmental ages that really dictate what a child is capable of doing (i.e. scissors with the 2 yr olds).
Maybe I should read up on these stages...any suggestions?
Our discussion today reminded me of a story I listened to on NPR last week about the multiple perceptions of Jesus. It is really very interesting. This is the link:
Hey everybody, I don't really know if this has any place in this Ecological Imaginings class, but maybe if we can imagine the preservation of women to be a form of ecology, not unlike the preservation of all plant life, animal life.
I just wanted to call everyone's attention to this excellent documentary currently being shown on PBS on Mon & Tues nights at 9:00 PM. I imagine you guys have lots of time to watch films, yeah! But this is an amazing series.
"Half the Sky" about gender based violence.
Here's the link to the first & second segment:
[just speak nearby the borders of our minds] <-- link
This is a piece about borders. About communities. About movement and restrictions and ideologies. I wanted to interrogate how feminism is at times bounded by qualifiers, that is, to differentiate between French feminism and Third-World Feminism, and the ways in which those are both appropriate and constructed such that the result is constructed identities viewed as essential.
Among artists in the 20th and 21st century, explicit reference to prior works has become a mode of producing pieces. This may be in the form of collage or pastiche of some kind, and in video art, it is typically through found footage that these references can be made. Video Artists like Dara Birnbaum have spoken on the power of reappropriating footage, specifically, in her case, from popular media sources, but some of the logic remains in what I have done. Birnbaum wanted the agency to engage with the images being presented to her, to take ownership and subvert their meanings to create new meaning, asserting that she wanted to “talk back” to the media. Further, she asserts:
I’m working to develop and create a storyboard for the video piece I want to produce for my final project, but I am wondering if the directive and narrative-reflective form of the storyboard. That is, this happens, then this, then this. And that is not the kind of video I want to make, nor does it reflect the way I do my work, so I’m not sure if I should try to conform to the process, that it might make my work better, or if I should just do as I typically do, which is to be a bit more organic in my process, although perhaps less deliberate?
In my last web paper, I gave a brief history of Korea and the dynamic religious background that has followed Korea’s development in its fundamental ideas of woman’s relationship to man and vice-versa. Essentially, the stemming of modern discrimination against women, or the dichotomy of the two sexes, could be said to come from Korea’s groundings in Confucianism during the 14th century.
Initially, I thought about feminism across different geographic locations as global feminism, as a feminism rooted in nations, defined and given flavor by the nation as a whole. That is, thinking about American feminism and Indian feminism and Ghanaian feminism and French Feminism. But then, that is SO American-centric of me. When I try to think of a certain American feminism, it’s impossible. Just to think of Bryn Mawr feminism strikes me as impossible. And I’m not trying to suggest that we’re all special feminist snowflakes, or that there is not sense of shared feminist thought or identity. But our shorthand, our labeling of feminisms as rooted in some national identity/location/region can have the possibility of flattening and erasing nuance from how feminists express themselves in a variety of contexts.
At the beginning of this class we were shown The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago, an art display immortalizing women Chicago thought were the most influential to the feminist movement. I felt there were many problems with this kind of depiction, but after reading Three Guineas I felt an even greater negative reaction to it. Chicago's Woolfe plate made Virginia Woolfe seem like the climax of a great tradition of feminist thought- not an evolution in the scientific sense of the word, but a slow build up to a lauded, supposed-perfect feminist. And not just any kind of feminist, but a feminist explicitly defined by and given such status by her [white] ciswoman body. This hardly felt appropriate to me. Virginia Woolfe's writings exclude more than they embrace, and attempt to instruct women what they should do with themselves (to be what, precisely?) in a way that can be especially harmful. Why should she remain such an iconic representation of feminism when feminism as a movement, as a word, as a lifestyle and perception has moved beyond what she imagined or, maybe more importanty, deemed appropriate? There are, however, pieces of Three Guineas that I believe can still be found useful. So what is Virginia Woolfe now? Who is she meant to be to us?
I've thought about that, and I've come up with my own imagining of The Dinner Party. I consider this an initial draft of what it will become, and have many ideas for its next incarnations.