CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo

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ARTIST AT WORK 2014-2015

In the 2014-2015 school year we started a project of artist residencies in primary schools with the purpose of integrating within the official curriculum a series of art projects that would take place throughout the whole duration of the school year. We believed that it was essential to view the school as a space of experimentation where, by means of implementing methodologies coming from art, we can posit a vision of education that takes into account other forms of productivity other than those that schools have been subjected to in the official plans that respond to the neoliberal governmentality which has now reached all orders of life. From the outset of the project we were aware that questioning the ruling ideology that orders and structures reality as naturalised normality would have to involve a round-trip journey between the museum and the school. Its power of affectation and the learning that this project leads to would have to reach all agents and institutions involved in the process, starting with our own: the museum and its workers, rhythms, temporalities and procedures; but also the school and its students, teachers and parents as well as the artists.

From the beginning, Mercedes Álvarez undertook research, with the guidance of Aida Sánchez de Serdio, that ran in parallel to the whole work process. This publication is one of the end results of the research. It is intended not only to evaluate the institutional implications of the work developed in the schools, but is also addressed at all those people interested in undertaking collaborative projects in which artists and other agents are inserted within structures of official education in order to create their work. At no time was it among the goals of this first evaluation of the parallel research to evaluate either the activities developed by the artists nor their processes. Rather, the purpose was to focus attention on the relational structure that is set in place around this type of project, as well as to agree on protocols and institutional procedures with the goal of creating a useful tool for future projects with similar characteristics, both here at CA2M as well as in other institutions or spaces interested in art education. However, although it was not among our original goals, the ethical, political and aesthetic implications that were mobilised by this type of project would seem to be reflected in some points of the text, confirming many of the debates that rose to the surface during the art residencies.

On this occasion, the research has taken a format very close to an academic approach, but our intention is to continue exploring new forms of accompanying these processes of art education from more experimental optics. Without going any further, we are already developing three new residencies in public schools in the metropolitan area of Madrid in which we are, once again, undertaking parallel research conceived to appraise new forms of addressing projects, both from the viewpoint of contents to be evaluated and researched, as well as formats in which to undertake them, ranging from audiovisuals to personal narratives. At the end of this interesting process we hope to be able to share not just the results of the research, but also to contribute to a rethinking of the processes of evaluation and parallel research, and to challenge the values conventionally accepted as guidelines for evaluation or as standards of quality, which have more to do with a culture of the spectacle that with a critical approach that not only thinks of the processes but also of processes of thinking the processes.

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