Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Artist Run Schools Permeate my Membranes

Free schools as artistic practice--at what or who's cost?
proposed by Adam Kleinman

The exhibition of a lecture and events forum positioned as a “school”
by various art practitioners is quickly becoming one of the most
popular forms of cultural production today. Take for example the New
Museum’s Night School, The Bruce High Quality Foundation University,
the Class Room at the New York Art Book Fair, or even The University
of Trash at the Sculpture Center—not to mention this very program.
Considering that talk is thick these days about education and
educational models, what better place and time than now to
self-reflexively question what we are all doing here! So, to begin,
lets pose a few, possibly loaded, Socratic questions:

1. What is the difference between “a school” and an education?
2. What motivates an artist or cultural producer to create
“schools” in the first place? What is at stake for the “principals”?
3. What differentiates “ free schools” from the more traditional,
and free, programs already offered by institutional education
departments such as conferences, colloquia, workshops and the like?
What are the strengths and weakness of each form?
4. Who funds and /or supports free schools? Why do they?
5. What is the social capital of a free school?
6. Although a college education may cost well over $100,000, are
free schools really an “alterative”? What does it mean when these
free schools begin appropriating terms like “university” or “course”.
7. Is google a free school—consider that the word school is derived
from the ancient Greek word for leisure. What other free sources of
education are taken for granted, ie the New York Public Library,
various centers and lectures at Columbia University, New York
University, the Americas Society, PBS on-line, MIT open source, and so
8. What is the difference between a school and a service?
9. Is research a necessary component of a school, or is
experimentation and exchange and end in itself?
10. What obligations, commitments, criteria, or otherwise should a
school provide?
11. What is the difference between a free school and a book of the
month club or any similar informal social activity?
12. Is there a labor relation between reality tv and a free school?
Don’t both use the production of a below the line volunteer as both
content and content producer?
13. Without granting any form of competency, which can be defined in
the both vocational as well as the intellectual sense, what is really
at stake for the student?
14. Is the exhibition of something, which takes the form of a
school, actually a school?

Suggested Reading:



Suggested assignment:

Create an itinerary for the next two moths featuring free educational
offerings in New York--thematize the list if you like. While creating
this itinerary, make a list of centers, ie http://www.nyu.edu/ipk/
, which offer these activates and categorizes them.

And additional suggestion:
Create a catalog of free school being offered today and try to
categorize them into different models. For example:

The appropriated University:
Night School, BHQFU (as above) and

Reading groups / clubs:

Social Activities/outings:
Pickpocket Almanack (thanks Adam)

a la "cheap rhino tricks"


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