Luis Camnitzer’s The Assignment Book

by stephaniecorleto

At the end of his talk with Christiane, Luis Camnitzer said something that truly encompassed the purpose of collaborative learning and those who question the current structure of education;  “A good teacher and a good artist should aim at becoming unnecessary.”

Driven by profit, the commodification of education benefits from being necessary with a top-down flow knowledge and maintenance of a stratified class structure.  For Luis, both the artist and the educator are (should be) intermediaries of knowledge, and in his words “art is a tool for thinking.”  In The Assignment Book he poses questions, the pieces of art are his responses. Unlike a traditional art object, they are touched and changed by the visitors participating by posting their response cards. The hierarchy of artist/viewer, teacher/student,  art object/everyday object is removed with the goal of deinsitutionalizing learning and challenging these traditions.

Like Theater of the Oppressed and the photography anecdote in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, the disruption of traditional notions of learning jars the mind. No longer required to conform to established order, education revolutionary possibilities. Really, any piece of art can  be seen as something that disrupts our thoughts. Even if one doesn’t know the context of a piece, if it makes you stop and step out of everyday monotonous thought then it has succeeded.

Below are a few pictures I snapped on my phone in the gallery, ignore my reflection in the metal plates!

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