Reschooling Anxiety

For the final show that Southside Hub of Production (SHoP) was meant to have at their Woodlawn Ave. location, participating artists where given the choice of a room in the historic Fenn House wherein to install their work. I chose the room designated as “the classroom” on the second floor of the three-story mansion. Classrooms have become a ubiquitous staple of the community art center and the SHoP classroom carried the evidence of numerous events, workshops, activities and even open studio times. 

The classroom (whether actual or virtual) has become a mainstay in socially leaning art projects because of its almost automatic promise of democracy, criticality, and service to the public good. Education—a desperately clingy "common good"—seems to always need a present teacher though to get started and I wanted to situate the space in a manner that it could function as a learning space, but more autonomously. 

My contribution to the exhibit On Making Things Matter, consisted of a series of placards for the everyday things in the SHoP classroom. The placards consisted of a quick digital illustration of the object I found in the room (e.g. a staple gun, an unused canvas, a box of nails) and two pieces of text: An "imagined origin, purpose, or related narrative" and "directives for a potential assignment". The first piece of text--the "imagined" text--was meant to situate the object either in history, craft, or personal memories. The second text--the directive--is meant to promote the use of that thing in a new way within the SHoP classroom. The directives are usually open ended and intended to encourage generativity and making. 

The objects that received placards in the room were: Exit sign, flag, glue bottle, handmade guitar, handheld mirror, handwriting practice paper, cardboard helmet, solvent spray bottle, laundry basket, marker, mask, jar full of wine corks, bathroom mirror, paint container, pedestal, owl mask, pegboard, stack of wood pieces that look like books, pencil on string, radiator, spool of ribbon, cityscape, tape, rope, math tables, safety goggles, drawing of the word "faith, can of shaving cream embroidery rings,  shower door, pile of old newspapers, 8 1/2 x 11 paper, staple gun, styrofoam form, sunglasses, tabletop, toilet paper tube, toilet, towel rod, garbage can, drawing made with tape, xylophone, air conditioner, armature, bathtub as storage, chalkboard, blank canvas, boba fett cutout, box of nails, brayer, broom, cassette organizer, chair, clamp light, scrap wood closet, coat hook, crate, and decorative element. 

Download all the placards as a PDF here: SHoP Placards