Session Title

Making Bullshit: Serious Play and Failure in Arts Education and Professional Practice

Start Date

5-10-2012 3:00 PM

End Date

5-10-2012 4:30 PM

Session Description

Artist and designer Paula Scher describes play as an opportunity to create without limit, producing new works that are devoid of the solemnity that is manifest within day-to-day professional practice. Solemnity, Scher explained, is work targeting and ‘accepted by appropriate audiences.’ Serious play, in contrast is ‘spontaneous,’ ‘accidental’ and ‘imperfect.... [it] is about invention... not perfection.’ Scher’s iconic work is born from serious play.

This concept also occurs in critical theory, such as Henri Lefebvre’s volume II of the Critique of Everyday Life, where he suggests that art and play are linked through their ‘transfuctional’ nature (that is, to have may uses, and at the same time none at all).

These concepts are not new: they are phenomena that occur during the natural development of social creatures. As artists and educators, it is important to nurture ‘serious play’ as an integral component of our practice, creating environments that are open to experimentation and in which failure is a non-issue.

Making Bullshit is aimed at creating an open discussion between educators within all artistic disciplines — traditional and new media arts, design, art history, etc. Potential topics include techniques for integrating serious play in the classroom, debate about when to implement serious play vs. solemnity, historical context, comparisons with other artistic and educational tools, case studies: recollections of serious play in action (practiced or observed), the relationship between play and failure, artistic practices embracing play, critical theory on the topics of play and/or failure in artistic practice.

mccollam_mueller-macaa_2012-list_1.txt (1 kB)
2012 Session List 1

mccollam_mueller-macaa_2012-list_2.txt (4 kB)
2012 Session List 2

 
Oct 5th, 3:00 PM Oct 5th, 4:30 PM

Making Bullshit: Serious Play and Failure in Arts Education and Professional Practice

Artist and designer Paula Scher describes play as an opportunity to create without limit, producing new works that are devoid of the solemnity that is manifest within day-to-day professional practice. Solemnity, Scher explained, is work targeting and ‘accepted by appropriate audiences.’ Serious play, in contrast is ‘spontaneous,’ ‘accidental’ and ‘imperfect.... [it] is about invention... not perfection.’ Scher’s iconic work is born from serious play.

This concept also occurs in critical theory, such as Henri Lefebvre’s volume II of the Critique of Everyday Life, where he suggests that art and play are linked through their ‘transfuctional’ nature (that is, to have may uses, and at the same time none at all).

These concepts are not new: they are phenomena that occur during the natural development of social creatures. As artists and educators, it is important to nurture ‘serious play’ as an integral component of our practice, creating environments that are open to experimentation and in which failure is a non-issue.

Making Bullshit is aimed at creating an open discussion between educators within all artistic disciplines — traditional and new media arts, design, art history, etc. Potential topics include techniques for integrating serious play in the classroom, debate about when to implement serious play vs. solemnity, historical context, comparisons with other artistic and educational tools, case studies: recollections of serious play in action (practiced or observed), the relationship between play and failure, artistic practices embracing play, critical theory on the topics of play and/or failure in artistic practice.