THE PINK I #exwr14

What if I open it?

The small and full of personal secrets.

Inviting, intriguing, impossible, imaginary, inspiring,

THE PINK

Would I laugh at your

intimacy being

exposed to the

light?

or cry?               or go mad?

INTENSE IS THE AIR
IN THE ROOM

Allowing myself not knowing

҂

The Diaries of the Invisible 

 

I
I danced today
Alone
In an empty house
No one was there
Not even me
Me?
Who am I to say
A word
An empty house
A dance
My trance
I wave my hand
And life just keeps passing by
II
I sit at home and
They tell me to cook
When I was a girl
They told me to do the dishes
Always
Or
No one would marry me
No one
I am not married
It is so obvious why
I do not want to cook
Kitchen is not my thing
I always forget to eat
I  always forget myself
III
“Everyday power”
I found a book about it recently
How to gain power
Everyday
The book is white
POWER written in black
Are they demanding me to become visible now?

How to become an artist? Susanne Oertel from Basel.

Susanna Oertel

Many of us get to know quite early in life that we are not good enough painters or singers or something else.  This is probably the main reason why most of the students focus on the much more “practical” list of the school subjects already during the first five years of their school lives. Arts and music is mostly considered like something that just has to be passed. There are people who feel that these are still on the lists of compulsory subjects only out of some frozen traditional habits. The dry, demanding and boring art classes are bringing children many disappointments and feeling of exclusion, the joy of creative arts is something as rare as quality art materials in these spaces.

To make it short, becoming an artist is a luxury or a looser option. Most of us consider ourselves not to be suited of becoming an artists and therefore do not think of it as a career choice in the first place. We make that decision for life without ever having a chance to find out what does it mean to fully get engaged with colours and lines so that you forget about time and space and just play.

As a parallel stream to the development of math and languages based global curriculum (measured with PISA), there is so much talk about the need for innovative and creative people who, as some think, can save the world from the catastrophe we are heading towards in full speed.  The enterprises are crying out for creative people for better businesses and continues growth, hoping with the help of these miracle people introduce new sustainable approaches to economics.

Where can we find such special people if everyone are only interested in math and physics, the basic aim for all education is linear predictable lines in thinking?

Susanne Oertel is one of the successful women I have met who manages to combine both, “the very practical” job as a nurse in a hospital in Basel, and being a painter. In my opinion it is the creative people, like her, who will save the world from the disaster. She is one of the many who is renewing the way how Western people are looking at their working and consuming habits. She is creating global change every moment just by continuing to be herself.

Susanne has been taking part in intuitive pedagogy painting workshops with Merete Lövlie in Germany and in Sweden but also in a special workshop that was created by the artist group “Picking Apples” in Prague. Our last meeting was in Berlin, we were painting for four full days. The second day I asked Susanne to tell me more about her becoming an artist, explain what does it mean for her to take part in Meretes painting classes and what are her future projects. This interview is now available in soundcloud.

“MOM, watch me, I´m doing the impossible” part II

Analyzing a Visual Image[1]. Critical Feminist view.

white man hunting

The photo is taken at a conference held in a nice hotel. You can see an elderly white male professor introducing his work in the field. He shows himself doing field studies in Africa in order to collect data for his research. It looks like many years ago he was there. He has displayed his books on the stage so that the audience can see that he has been publishing a lot ever since. The books look prominent.

At the center of the attention is a white Western man dancing with a large group of African people. You can see the locals wearing guns and old dirty clothing. They have their backs towards the filmmaker or just out of focus. The white man dancing is clearly in the center, everyone else is unrecognizable, somehow unimportant and you might even say, secondary. They are just providing a background for him to come forward and present himself.

The old professor looking up towards his young self on the screen, looks tired and one can see how his figure now resembles the African villagers. It is an interesting double scene we can witness here. The man has grown old. He is getting bold and stooped. He looks like a shadow of the young, hopeful and powerful man he once was. Even though he is not young anymore, he is probably wealthy. In a way it looks as if his life must have been a great success but on the other hand one might also question that. The shiny stand with the name of the hotel lets us know that it is not just another place but it is a very fancy hotel in Norway we are located in. But the old man looks so very tired.

This picture presents us with a sentimental stage of expertise in educational research. As I am the one who took the picture just a few days ago, I know that the audience mainly consisted of women. It is a typical picture of educational conferences held in Europe. An old man talking about his work, talking about something that has been done a long time ago and having a lot of women carefully listening and making notes. This is a picture of expertise in the field of education, where most of the people occupied with the work are women but the know-how still belongs to men. I would argue that the expert in my area of study often looks like an old white Western male presenting himself, having only very little to do with the actual field of the research. The gap between educational theory and practice is therefore profound.

The resemblance between Daniel Coyle[2] and the professor is striking. It is clear that Coyle is making his way towards traditional Western academia by creating field trips to various locations in the world, meeting “the Grand Old Men” in his area of study and collecting cases etc. Coyle is interested in talent (a special interest area in education), so he goes and travels the world! His family calls his journeys “treasure hunting”, he himself likes the word pair “Great Expedition” (ibid. p.12). Sounds wonderful! But actually how many women working in the schools or kindergartens could do that? Why is it so important in the first place?

While reading Coyle´s arguments about talent in the chapter one of his book, the professional eye immediately depicts many weaknesses[3]. Despite of the fact that he obviously lacks basic knowledge about prominent theories in the field of his study, he was able to find funding for his travels, he even found a publisher for his book (which is a bestseller by now, if to believe the information on the books homepage http://www.thetalentcode.com) and he is clearly making his way in to academic circles already. What kind of talent is needed to achieve a status as an expert in the field? What does it tell us about the meaning of expert knowledge in our times and about the experts we have? All I have is the questions.

References
Coyle, D. (?). The Talent Code. Greatness isn´t born. It´s grown. Here is how. http://thetalentcode.com/excerpt/ [retrieved 24.04.2013]


[1] Photo is taken 19th of April 2013 in Trondheim at an annual meeting of Norwegian kindergarten teachers. There were about 340 women listening the professor. In the whole audience there were perhaps 3% to 5% men. All the people doing presentations or having workshops during the three days conference were elderly white Western males.

[2] Based on the reading of the first chapter of Daniel Coyle´s book “ The Talent Code” available online http://thetalentcode.com/excerpt/.

[3] Daniel Coyle is ignoring many studies carried out about talented people as well as prominent theory of Lev Vygotsky called Zone of Proximal Development. See for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_of_proximal_development.