...really good teaching is about not seeing the world the way that everyone else does...

"Good teachers perceive the world in alternative terms, and they push their students to test out these new, potentially enriching perspectives. Sometimes they do so in ways that are, to say the least, peculiar."
Mark Edmundson, "Geek Lessons" NYT, 2008

Monday, 30 March 2009

I Don’t Know

The curious wording on the removable identification tags of guards at Guantánamo Bay.

The Florida Sun Sentinel reported that when military personnel at Gitmo have contact with detainees, they peel off their Velcro I.D. tags and replace them with tags that read “I don’t know.” The aim, according to the U.S. military, is to protect the identity of the guards and to prevent revenge attacks against them and their families.

Clive Stafford-Smith, the celebrated lawyer who represents a number of Guantánamo Bay inmates, told Schott’s Vocab:

Soldiers in Guantánamo have never worn name tags – we complained about this, as it meant we couldn’t report them for misconduct and they started wearing Velcro strip numbers. This seems to be a further development – perhaps we are supposed to complain and then, when asked about whom, say “I don’t know.” It reflects the “Alice in Wonderland” absurdity that is Guantánamo Bay.


Thursday, 26 March 2009


EYE OF THE STORM - AN INTERDISCIPLINARY CONFERENCE ON SCIENTIFIC CONTROVERSY, 19 / 20 June 2009, Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1, UK. CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: The Arts Catalyst and Tate Britain announce an international call for artists, scientists, social scientists, theorists, policy-makers and other disciplines, to present in EYE OF THE STORM, a conference exploring scientific controversy from an interdisciplinary perspective. EYE OF THE STORM aims to explore a range of controversies, from esoteric arguments between physicists over the structure of the universe, to disputes about the causes of species decline and climate change, and highly charged public controversies around the use of stem cells and the distribution of genetically modified organisms. When heated debates around the challenge of climate change have shown how abstruse uncertainties within a scientific community can be amplified and distorted to challenge the whole notion of human-caused greenhouse warming, EYE OF THE STORM sets out to examine the relationship between scientific uncertainty and public controversies around science. We invite abstracts for papers and proposals for artists' presentations and talks for EYE OF THE STORM that consider questions such as the following: When the whole culture and ethic of science is based on disagreement and alternative explanations, how does this essential scientific uncertainty work in the quest for knowledge? How do scientific disputes affect political decision-making and society's relationship with science? As scientific and technological developments produce their own controversies, such as those around GM crops, what are the current critical controversies in and around science and technology? What alternative societal and cultural perspectives and contributions do artists and social scientists bring to this area? When the influential science sociologist Bruno Latour has worried that social science - in questioning the 'reality' that science examines - may have contributed to political abuses of science: what is the relationship between scholarship, science and politics? -- Submissions: Please send 200-word abstracts for papers and presentations (20 minutes maximum) to . Artists may attach images (2MB maximum). Deadline: 31 March 2009.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Follow Fluxus - After Fluxus

Follow Fluxus -
The Follow Fluxus - After Fluxus 2009 grant for young contemporary art called by the State Capital of Wiesbaden and the NKV Nassauischer kunstverein Wiesbaden doted with 10.000 Euro goes to Jimmy Robert.

Follow Fluxus - After Fluxus /

Follow Fluxus - After Fluxus supports young international artists whose work suggests ideas inherent to the Fluxus art movement in order to keep the art current alive. The establishment of the grant was inspired by the "Fluxus Festival of Very New Music" which took place in Wiesbaden in 1962. This Fluxus event provided the first real broad impact for the new art movement and started off what is now seen as the first international movement operating in a global network.

The endowment of 10,000 Euro is provided annually for a residency in Wiesbaden from June through August. Living quarters and studio space is provided by NKV during this time. The work stipend concludes with an exhibition of the artist's created work in the following year between September and May and includes a publication. The grant holder should reside predominantly in Wiesbaden for the duration of the grant period.

Jimmy Robert /

Jimmy Roberts (born 1975 in Guadeloupe) creates photographs, collages, objects, performances and films that focus on process and transition. While analyzing the relationship between image and object, he concentrates formally on the issue of the point at which a two-dimensional surface ceases to be an image and begins to expand both within our imagination and in reality into something similar to a three-dimensional object.

Jimmy Roberts' playful and yet profound transgression and progression of genres, the way he overlaps two- and three dimensional structures that permeate the most diverse forms of media, and his critical approach to the performative elements inherent even in the differing look and feel of collages – all these were qualities that prompted the jury to award Jimmy Roberts the 2009 Follow Fluxus scholarship bestowed by the Nassau Kunstverein and Wiesbaden as State Capital of Hessen.

Each of his images displays an object that is then developed into a spatial sculpture. Here, Roberts systematically explores its relationship to the human body. In his performance, inspired by Yoko Ono's CUT PIECE, he quite literally translates the action of touch and being touched into action, including both himself and the viewer(s). As Jimmy Roberts interprets the action, his upper body is not covered with clothes but gradually surrounded with duct tape. With each piece of tape the audience pulls off him, the artist successively exposes himself while losing pieces that quite literally and figuratively he has been stuck with. At the same time, each stripped-off strip of tape describes sequences of the press reviews of Ono's performance 1966 in London.

"He transforms the principle of collage and decollage with wit, precision, elegance and the opportunities afforded by a contemporary visual idiom, NKV director Elke Gruhn explains, "this convinced the jury to elect him as the second Follow Fluxus – After Fluxus laureate of the NKV and the State Capital of Wiesbaden".

This is the area where the jury believes he advances George Maciunas' ideas. Vital for the jury's decision was not that Roberts sees himself the way the Fluxus movement historically viewed itself, but rather that he created artworks in the vital spirit of Fluxus that refuse to be strictly pigeonholed.

The Jury 2009 /

/ Kevin Clark, Artist, New York
/ Michael Berger, Collection Berger, Wiesbaden
/ Alice Koegel, Curator for Contemporary Art at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Suttgart and Curator of "STATES OF FLUX" 2007 at Tate Modern London
/ Rita Thies, Head of Cultural Department of the City of Wiesbaden
/ Elke Gruhn, Director and Curator of NKV, Wiesbaden

Former Laureates:
2008 / Emily Wardill

ll\ NKV nassauischer kunstverein wiesbaden
wilhelmstr 15
65185 wiesbaden