What a weekend!!!! I attended a workshop where we had to construct sculptural center pieces out of found objects that were to have a futuristic feel to them for the Florida Art Education Association Conference this year. We had no plan, no example, no nothin' to give us any hint as to what to do. I really got a taste of what my students feel when they are given a pile of "stuff", info, or whatever has been thrown at them, and ask them to make sinse of it by bringing it together into a connected whole. We were basically given a base and a tube and were set on our own to sift through tons of junk, making 100's of decisions about what the piece would look like, what "found objects" would best work to achieve the goal, colors, textures, patterns, and on and on and on. Sounds a little Daniel Pinkish doesn't it? Trying to find a connection between things that appear to have no connections?
This really tried and stretched my brain and left me quite fatiqued at the end of the day, as I had completed two different center piece sculptures. Though, I must say, it was pretty much fun. Many times, during the process, I had to change my plan and take a different route because iteas didn't work, engineering didn't work as planned, and, sometimes, because my outcome didn't match what I had invisioned. This is the way of the creative world. The end products were vastly different amoung the workshop "artists" yet they all hit the goal. Believe me, there were some strange looking center pieces but they were also perfect for the theme.
This really goes to prove how "performance based" art really is. Students, like myself, are constantly making decisions about their project to get it to that goal that they visualize in their minds. I don't usually leave them as stranded as I felt at the beginning of this exercize, but, they do have to use what they have learned and, in many instances, make connections and MANY, MANY decisions along the way to the end. This is where the real critical thinking skills come into play. When there is no set pattern presented nor a specific outcome stated, it leaves the students with their learned skills and their imagination to carry them along. It certainly helped me successfully build two "very interesting" pieces.