30 September 2011

Impact7, Day 4, Teaching Print

In the morning session, I went to hear a talk by Bepen Bhana (NZ) on
'InterdisciPRINTarity: Exploring Print Pedagogy Within An Interdisciplinary Framework'
where he discussed some of the  the challenges and consequences for print educators
who are now progressively compelled to operate in an interdisciplinary environment,
where the parameters of previously discipline-specific academic programmes
have been theoretically liberated, restructured and realigned
for studio outputs to potentially transcend disciplinary boundaries.

While interdisciplinarity or an 'open' studio mode of teaching delivery 
is a product of rapidly advancing digital technologies, 
as well as intended to better reflect what is occurring 
in professional contemporary practice beyond academia; 
in an endeavor to determine the role of print within such an integrative environment, 
this talk discussed some of the rationales of such an evolving paradigm.

He proposed that print has effectively been relocated as a catalyst for educators 
to initiate opportunities for potentially new processes, knowledge and modes of practice. 
Art educators are trying to balance the demands of both generalisation and specialisation.
 He also queried if there is a 'trade-off' between students developing a broad perspective 
 at the expense of highly developed specialised craft and technical skills. 
Technical skills by their very nature are difficult to teach and attain conventionally, 
as they are forms of knowledge that are acquired through physically making and doing. 
The challenge for educators is to assist students to become the 'masters', 
not the 'slaves' of technology.

He reflected on the quandary for contemporary print educators 
being the need to seek a balance between theory and practice, 
to better enable students to negotiate the ever-evolving definitions and parameters 
of the fields of practice for which they prepare their students for.

Marian Macken (AU), Mies van der Rohe: Built Houses, 2009
Laser cut paper, blind letterpress, etched Perspex, boxboard. Edition 4
(winner of Artspace Mackay's 2010 Libris Award 
Category 1 for National Artists' Book Award)

Then Marian Macken (AU) showed some very interesting examples
of how she has used printing & constructing books with architecture students
including photography, paper folding, cutting, pop-ups, binding etc.
They made some very interesting 'books' that documented a journey.

The practice of producing artists' books in the teaching of design can be a form of
 alternative architectural and landscape architectural representation and production. 
She spoke of the importance of the act of making 
and of crafting products within design learning. 
 The artist's book has a strong relationship with the model 
due to its 3-dimensional qualities

Books implicitly embrace the notion of documentation, as records of past events. 
This requires the students to curate, compile, edit and reformat their work; 
the books they made held the unfurling narrative. 
This then allows, and values, documentation to be admitted within the design process. 
This notion of documentation as interpretation acknowledges 
the recursive and reflective elements within the design process.

These ideas were explored through a series of case studies 

that use artists' books in various ways to teach design, 
including the book as documenting site analysis, as a generator of design development, 
as a presentation tool, and the role of hybrid representation. 
Her talk proposed that artists' books offer a lens 
through which architectural representation may be examined and critiqued. 
Artists' books provide a means of investigating spatial interpretations 
and propositions in 3-dimensional form.

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