Because put to practice, the theory is something else

September 2, 2014

Rather than offering answers to the questions posed by Luis, what I can do is bring a couple of old-new issues to the equation. For example, if art remains a "superfluous element" in education, why not remove it from the curriculum as a discipline? Wouldn’t it be worth just getting rid of? If it is useless, what interests do school systems and the state have in keeping it as a discipline? Would removing it from schools be an act of wisdom, laziness or ignorance? And on the other hand, why and for whom do art schools exist?

Before trying to answer, however, I recognize the first problem: my difficulty to think in terms of art education. I tend to believe that art education is neither art nor education, but an embedded system that puts one into the other without its consent, in which art is forced to be education and the latter to be art, running the risk of being neither but the simulation of the sum of the two. That is, a third place so specific that instead of generating critical thinking and proposing new political dimensions to the fields of art, education and life, it has been transformed into something self-sufficient, insular and useless, which further strengthens the idea of art as an accessory to thought in the educational context. It may sound pessimistic, but I assure you, it is a hopeful pessimism.   

Therefore, my first proposal is to think the relationship between art and other areas of knowledge in the field of education from the perspective of art not as a discipline but as a creative engine of the educational structure, especially the school in which the artist is not a bad teacher, but a 'proponent, an entrepreneur and an educator', as suggested by Hélio Oiticica in 1967.

In practical terms, I suggest something simple and not at all outstanding: the revision of the curriculum—in conceptual, physical and political terms—conducted by educators and students on a daily, specific and micro-political context within their schools, not as a determination of bureaucrats and experts in pedagogy. As their first tasks, these intergenerational work groups would examine the need for disciplines and what those should be; review time for education in terms of class, discipline, year, degree, projection and discussion of what is meant by school in political and physical terms (is it a building or what is inside it?) and the analysis of the place of art and the relationship between work and leisure in education. After that, maybe we can answer why and for whom are art schools meant in the world.