A painfully early start for some people, meeting at 08.45 for a morning of group tutorials (and this was going to be a long day not finishing until after 22.00!).
09.00 – Four invited artists lead small group discussions with each student having about 30 mins to present about an aspect of their work. The four artists, Jonny Briggs, Kaori Homma, Gareth Polmeer and Rosie Sherwood are great facilitators/tutors and each group had a diverse mix of 1st & 2nd year students, online and London based.
14.00 – After 4 hours of the tutorials and a short break for lunch it was straight into a lecture titled; ‘Demystifying postmodern obscurity’! Gareth Polmeer (who had earlier been leading one of the group tutorials) was drawing on his own research exploring the German philosopher Hegel and how his ideas about art can be helpful in cutting through the often deliberate obscurity of popular art school ideas and theories. He quoted Nietzsche: ‘Those who know that they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound strive for obscurity.’
16.00 – The day was far from over. After the lecture we walked to 3 local galleries, South London Gallery, Peckham Platform & Assembly Point.
18.00 – A more relaxed finish to the day, we went to course leader Jonathan’s home for a meal.
Began with a visit to the V&A museum to meet Melanie Lenz the Patric Prince Curator of Digital Art and Digital Programmes Manager. Melanie made a selection from the V&As growing collection of work that comes the very broad and contested titles of ‘computer art’, ‘digital art’ or simply work that engages with the digital environment. She led us on a fascinating walk through history with some great examples of work by Roman Verostko, Mark Wilson, Ben Laposky,and many others.
We then returned to Camberwell College for a choice of seminars that crossed over the 5 different MA courses offered. Students could choose between ‘Sequential Narrative in book arts’, ‘Curatorial thinking’, ‘The exhibition is a slippery thing’ or ‘Investigating narrative in illustration’.
The day ended with a meal for everyone at course leader Jonathan’s home, lots of good food, including a sprout couscous that even those who hated sprouts actually enjoyed!
First day and lots of introductions as people who have only met online meet face to face for the first time. The London based students have been working on curating the Lumen Art Prize exhibition later in March so that took some of our initial focus. This project has helped raised some great issues for the students from the practical considerations of presenting work that uses a range of technology alongside more traditional work. As hoped there has also been a wider debate around important concerns including curatorial narrative for a show, is this a show simply to showcase winners or something to help explore questions, alongside issues like immateriality or time and space and do any themes emerge for a selection like this.
In the afternoon many students presented recent work which lead to much discussion, debate a funny one liner. One student was talking about their struggle with oil paint in a particular painting and another student who uses oil a lot instantly responded, ‘oil is a bitch’!
We concluded a long first day with a meal together at Course Leader Jonathan’s home.