HOMEWORK is a collaboration between artists Ditte Lyngkaer Pedersen, Carlos Motta, Lize Mogel, and Jeuno J.E Kim. Conceived as a study group, an editorial team and a curatorial collaborative, HOMEWORK investigates relationships between art and “the political”, education and politics, process and product.
Everybody is Friends with Paulo Freire
organized by HOMEWORK at PS122 Gallery’s The Classroom
June 2-24, 2007
The Classroom at PS122 is a space traditionally used for solo exhibitions. In a sense, this was a “solo show” of Paulo Freire. It was not directly biographical, but rather associative. Freire’s writing is highly influential to artists, especially to those who work in pedagogical or dialogical form. HOMEWORK wanted to see where this influence lay, and how his work, considered radical in the 1970s when much of it was written, resonates in today’s world.
Freire’s project linked education to social change through strategies such as dialogical action, developing transformative consciousness, praxis, and the rejection of the traditional "banking" model of education with the aim to "liberate the oppressed". Freire is considered to be among the most influential thinkers on education, and his literacy training is utilized worldwide from Brazil to South Africa to the United States. The crux of the exhibition is the following question:
How do you re-enact Paulo Freire’s pedagogy today?
We sent this question out via an email chain letter, asking people to respond and pass it on. There are two main features of chain letters— when they are successful, they travel far and wide; and when they fail, they are unanswered and discarded. Also, the nature of email is that it is fleeting—a call like this is buried in the day’s mail, and rarely unearthed again. As a collection, this small archive of responses likewise oscillated between “success” and “failure.” The received submissions were displayed on the gallery’s south wall.
A circle of nine video monitors showed works by artists that take a relevant approach to pedagogical form, and at the same time, “the political” (it’s impossible to separate the pedagogical from the political and vice versa). These included Alexander Vaindorf’s Useless/ Open Letter To The Government # 2, Carla Herrera-Prats’ Transactions # 3 (Some Statistics), Carlos Motta’s Memory of a Protest, Center for Urban Pedagogy & GOLES’s Public Housing Television, Ditte Lyngkaer Pedersen’s SOBJECT, Dmitry Vilensky’s Protest Match and Jeuno JE Kim & Ewa Einhorn’s The Accompanist.
This exhibition was an experiment, it by no means claimed to be an explanation or a survey of Freire’s work…perhaps it was not about Paulo Freire at all. We simply recognized the strength of his contribution and wished to present a forum to think about the issues he set forth.
HOMEWORK’s own collective response to "Everybody is Friends with Paulo Freire" was the "Summer School," which happened in June at PS122 Gallery downstairs. We invited artists to create a pedagogical experience—one that is active, and breaks away from the typical ways we learn as artists or within art education systems. This temporary school offered lectures, workshops and performances led by artists. Free and open to the public, Summer School playfully adapted educational strategies to transmit alternative knowledge.