Lesson: An Exploration of Places and Spaces Part I

  • Grade Level: High School (9-12 grade)
  • Subject Area: Visual Arts, New Media
  • Still from "C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience)," 2007.Still from "C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience)," 2007.
  • Still from "C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience)," 2007.Still from "C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience)," 2007.
  • Still from "C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience)," 2007.Still from "C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience)," 2007.
  • Still from "C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience)," 2007.Still from "C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience)," 2007.
  • Still from "C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience)," 2007.Still from "C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience)," 2007.
  • Still from "C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience)," 2007.Still from "C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience)," 2007.
  • Still from "C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience)," 2007.Still from "C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience)," 2007.
  • Still from "C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience)," 2007.Still from "C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience)," 2007.
  • Still from "C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience)," 2007.Still from "C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience)," 2007.

Introduction

An Exploration of Places and Spaces Part I
Written by G:Class Educator Dina Weiss.
A high school collaboration working with City As School, reflecting on the current exhibitions at The New Museum, C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience) with “Museum as Hub: Six Degrees” projects by Lisa Sigal and Dave McKenzie, and specific artist projects in Rhizome’s Artbase: A Dislocative Tourism Agency, eRuv by Elliott Malkin and The Folk Songs Project.

The project will explore the ideas around “location.” How do we connect with our own location? How do we respond to new locations? What does a particular location say about who you are? Do you alter your appearance or behavior in specific locations? Students will investigate their experiences and roles living in an urban environment, and how can they relate to different types surroundings. All of these projects directly address issues about our relationships to spaces and places. Students will use these works as a catalyst to draw from for their own experiences through discussions and hands on projects.

Students will discuss the role of location. How does a specific location affect their experience? “Like a living organism, C.L.U.E. adapts to the space it temporarily occupies.”1:http://www.newmuseum.org/exhibitions/404/al_steiner__robbinschilds How do you relate to your own space? Is it important for you to blend into your space, stand out, or just exist? How do locations alter our behavior? This project will be in collaboration with Rhizome. It will draw connections from C.L.U.E. installation and connect with a work in Rhizome’s Artbase: The Folk Songs Project. “Folk Songs for the Five Points is a celebration of cultural diversity and change, using ‘folk songs’ as a metaphor to explore immigration and the formation of identity in New York’s Lower East Side.”2:http://www.rhizome.org In both art works specific environment play an integral role through sound, music, and images, which draws a distinct connections that allows viewers to develop a new and heightened awareness about the viewers’ surroundings.

Objectives

  • Students will explore the importance of a location.
  • Students will examine how architecture and landscape alter our movements.
  • Students will review how video, dance/movement, and music synthesize together.
  • Students will evaluate if and how it relates directly the pop culture music videos.
  • Students will review their own relationship to space and place.
  • Students will collaborate to create a performance, an online project and/or a music video.

Vocabulary

Symbiotic is the living together in more or less intimate association or close union of two dissimilar organisms; a cooperative relationship.
Intervention means to occur, fall, or come between points of time or events; to come in or between by way of hindrance or modification.
Location is a position or site occupied or available for occupancy or marked by some distinguishing feature.

Materials

Drawing supplies: paper, pen, and pencils for storyboard
a computer lab
video equipment, digital cameras
music equipment
Costumes or clothes
C.L.U.E. images from the Digital Archives

Lesson Strategy

Students will explore the way a location changes their appearance and actions. How can color, movement, and music directly change their experience in a place? Discuss how they feel connected and disconnected to their own environments.

Open discussion
How can they create a project utilizing video, photography, performance, and/or music to reflect their own experience with different locations?

Questions
Why do locations shift your experience? How does going to the beach make you feel different than the city? Contrast and compare a variety of known locations. What is the role of the neighborhood? And how do the neighbors participate whether they are willing or unwilling?

Project
Divide the class into groups of 3-6 students.
Allow each group to select an environment, music, and wardrobe, and create situations that contrast or relate to their space.
Storyboard the video and practice the performance/music.
Video, edit, and screen each work should be viewed in a specific selected location.

A.L. Steiner + robbinschilds C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience)
C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience) is a collaboration between artists A.L. Steiner and robbinschilds (Layla Childs and Sonya Robbins), AJ Blandford, and Kinski. Like a living organism, C.L.U.E. adapts to the space it temporarily occupies. In this manifestation at the New Museum, it takes the form of site-specific performance, multichannel video installation, and video projection. The flexible nature of this project embraces multiple arrangements of its parts, allowing the environment to inform its presentation. Shifting shape while generating new elements is essential for C.L.U.E. and enables it to continually evolve, remaining a work permanently in progress.
In the process of making their work, the artists visit locales ranging from desolate desert landscapes to darkened parking lots, responding to the environment and capturing the results of these interactions. The subsequent videos are choreographed patterns, crafted through the use of carefully timed jump cuts that divide the piece into discrete, color-coded sections. In C.L.U.E., robbinschilds is costumed in rainbow hues as they perform a series of choreographed duets to an instrumental rock score by the Seattle-based band Kinski. The symbiotic relationship between Steiner, robbinschilds, AJ Blandford, and Kinski propels the narrative of the video and encourages the viewer to accompany them on their journey.

eRuv by Elliott Malkin: “_eRuvis a digital graffiti project installed along the route of the former Third Avenue elevated train line in lower Manhattan. The train line, dismantled in 1955, was more than just a means of transport; it was part of an important religious boundary — an eruv — for a Hasidic community on the old Lower East Side. Using semacodes, the former boundary is reconstructed and mapped back onto the space of the city. Pedestrians with camera phones can then access location-specific historical content linked through the semacodes.”
Web Links:
http://www.dziga.com/eruv/index.php
http://rhizome.org/object.php?34783

The Folk Songs Project
Folk Songs for the Five Points is a celebration of cultural diversity and change, using “folk songs” as a metaphor to explore immigration and the formation of identity in New York’s Lower East Side. The project isn’t about absolute answers or clear definitions. We are celebrating the unexpected richness that confronts you at every turn – from the many languages of Canal St to the endless complexity contained in words like “immigrant” and “folk song”.
Web Links:
http://rhizome.org/art/?tag=tenementmuseum
http://www.tenement.org/folksongs/

Assessment

Evaluate student participation in discussion and project performance and installation.

Extending the Lesson

Have students find examples of pop culture videos that directly address issues about location.