The most amazing part of the takeover for me was being trusted. Students
were trusted to get their work down and we had the freedom in what we
wanted to present and how we would do it. The takeover on Saturday and
Thursday were very memorable for me and exceeded my expectations. If I was
to sum up my experience in one word, I would describe it as fun. I had a
great time with my class, another class from Granada, and students from
other schools. Because my group was stationed outside, I loved it even
more. I was surprised by how personal and private the takeover was. We
spoke to almost everyone present. We answered questions and through that we
connected to people we never knew before. The fact that I and so many
others enjoyed it so much, the experience was worth every hard work and our
efforts paid off. My experience with this project is something I will brag
about for the longest time.
• Respond to the founding documents included in the Creating the United States exhibition, by articulating the relevancy of these documents to their daily lives in the context of the 21st century.
• Participate in several NGB bridge building exercises that will prepare students to collaborate with each other and connect with their communities.
• Create a collaborative, multi-media, participatory installation combining two creative exercises in free speech and opinion polling:
1. We The People
Your students will help create video portraits of their peers, teachers, community members, and Skirball education staff each describing the first time they felt their voices were heard and their opinion mattered, and answering additional relevant questions posed by your students.
2. Fonts for Freedom
Your students will take to the streets with postcards inspired by a student designed Neighborhood Font, asking their neighbors to share thoughts and opinions on key concepts in the founding documents and mail the postcards back to the Skirball.
Using a parts-to-whole systems model, we’ll assemble together all the postcards and video clips, giving voice to a larger than life community message to be shared in our final installation.
The future always arrives too fast . . . and in the wrong order.
The futurologist and writer Alvin Toeffler is one of my heroes. This quote makes me pause and think about what has happened in the last six weeks. There was a lot of improvisation, contradiction, collaboration and drama in our work together. These words were selected for our “Lounge ‘n Learn” pillows from “Founding Brothers.” a history book Sara and I read in preparation for this project. These words describe the atmosphere that fueled the founding of our country. Improvisation, contradiction, collaboration and drama seem to frame our time together, too.
Stability, planning, coordination and predictability are essential for societies to function, but we need both stability and temporary instability (NEIGHBORGAPBRIDGE) to evolve. Change is messy, often alternating between planning, chaos, and chance. We see NEIGHBORGAPBRIDGE’s role is that of an alchemist, or a trickster. In Jungian Psychology and Mythology, a trickster is a character who plays tricks or disobeys normal rules and conventional behavior. When we tied our class up and re-enacted “Plan for a Slave Ship,” we were being tricksters. Of course, we do this with all good intentions of “bridging” people together and developing empathy!
Improvisation, contradiction, collaboration and drama DRIVE the creative process. As Art and Design Professors, Michele and I work hard (Oddly, in a linear way!) to create class environments that support these values. We are guaranteed Academic Freedom and we design learning environments for our students that reflect this. Error, Accident, Misunderstanding and Experimentation are welcome occurrences in our classes, because Experimental Pedagogy needs “Founding Father” type environments to function.
These learning environments are organic and sometimes unpredictable, because they challenge many of the rules of linear order we are accustomed to. Students and administrators are uncomfortable. Michele and I are uncomfortable. Authorship is blurred. Failure, success and creative ownership is shared. The future arrives too fast in these situations and often in the wrong order, making us feel unprepared and confused, yet exhilarated.
Sara said something interesting to me on Saturday. She compared last year’s residency, a very successful dance performance to this one and said that all that had to be done was turn on the lights (Knowing Sara and her work ethic, this is a huge exaggeration!) The Re-Creating the United States residency was not easy or binary. It was not on, off, right, wrong, good, bad.
It is the job of Artists, Designers, Thought leaders and Futurologists to push the world forward before it is ready. Thank you Skirball Cultural Center and Granada Hills Charter High School for working with us to begin to do this.
The first mistake in public business is going into it.
Public service is not easy — it is continually buffeted not only by political, social and economic winds but by real internal tensions within our Constitution. Democracy, as Franklin noted, is “an invitation to struggle.”
I can’t believe our project is over! It’s been a crazy 6 weeks. I’m
so glad to have shared in this experience and to have gotten the
opportunity to work with so many incredible people. The most
memorable part of the takeover for me was seeing the responses we
got for our “album covers”. I was happy that the kids were getting
creative, and some of them had really cool drawings to share. Some
of the drawings are posted on the blog as well. The takeover itself
exceeded my expectations in the amount of drawings we got - almost
everyone drew a picture for us, and we even ran out of pages at the
end. I only expected about half of the kids to participate, so I
was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. The takeover on Saturday
was less successful from what I saw, but I was only there for the
second shift. I was also kind of bummed that we only got to write
one song for this project. I would have loved to do more, but
sadly, our time was limited. I was surprised and impressed with how
all the projects came together for the takeover. It was cool to see
everyone’s projects and how they interpreted a 200 year old piece
of paper. What really made the experience worth it to me was that I
felt that I got closer to my classmates and especially the people
in my group. I was also glad to see the responses to our project
specifically, and that most people enjoyed our song. I had so much
fun working on it, and even that in itself made it worth it. From
this experience, I learned that everyone in our class is so
talented. Everyone had something special to contribute and that’s
really the reason that this thing worked out so well. I also think
that this experience has made me more confident in my ability as a
songwriter. So for that, many thanks to Patty and Michele and Sara
and everyone from the Skirball for allowing us to Re-create the
United States. It was a really cool experience and I hope we’ll be
seeing more of each other soon!
*** This Email was sent by a student in Granada Hills.
Ms. Kleinberg mentioned another class will be coming to the Skirball in the spring to see the Creating the United States Exhibition. She explained her idea that you will mentor them and share this experience with them to help them to connect to the artifacts in the show! Bravo! This is not a 2 day event. This is the ripple effect.
Part of Chaos Theory. In simple terms: a small change at one place can result in large change in another. A ripple effect.
"The name of the effect, coined by Edward Lorenz, is derived from the theoretical example of a hurricane’s formation being contingent on whether or not a distant butterfly had flapped its wings several weeks before.”
When the security guard very excitedly asks if she can make her own sign based off of the security sign, and when you see every single one of our mentors walk by looking ecstatic, you know that you’ve done something great.
I think Andrew really truly deserves this. Hearing him call “Yankee
Doodle” stupid at the podium forced the entire experience to
culminate in that moment. I realized then that we were working with
objects that we really did not care about beforehand, and that we
had all created a very deep attachment to the objects, with each of
us being a bit proud of our contemporary commentary. Thursday’s
experience certainly met my expectations yet it also frightened me
a little bit. It was over as soon as it began and I really wanted
to do more and take others into our tour of the subversive signs.
It made me wish that I would be able to attend on Saturday, both to
work for the project and to share the experience once more with my
classmates. There is no single thing that I can say was worth the
effort that we put into the project. It truly was an experience
that relied on the experience on Thursday and I think I can say
that every little part made it even more worth it. When the
security guard very excitedly asks if she can make her own sign
based off of the security sign, and when you see every single one
of our mentors walk by looking ecstatic, you know that you’ve done
something great. I observed that every single person in the class
mattered today. And that we would not have been as successful with
one fewer person, especially one fewer mentor because each person
played an integral role in this project.
*** This Email was sent by a student in Granada Hills.