From the Ridiculous to the Sublime: The Visual Elaboration of Ideas

The Ridiculous (or at least, misguided) As an exhibition moderator I sometimes encounter work that seems to be based on a misinterpretation of the visual arts course. Of course the work is not really ‘ridiculous’, but let’s say it might be a little misguided. For example, in one case a student submitted (as artworks in their exhibition) a single Lego brick, and Lego ‘Batman’ and ‘Superman’ figures. Source: Wikimedia Obviously, there is no technical competence involved here: the Lego belonged to the student’s ...

LANGUAGE vs SENSE PERCEPTION (Art and the Theory of Knowledge)

A picture - worth a thousand words? My visual arts blog this month has a Theory of Knowledge element. I’m in the happy position of teaching both DP Visual Arts and DP Theory of Knowledge. There is a lot of Art/TOK overlap, but one activity that I recently had with ToK and Visual Arts students was very much in the ToK mode of questions... Sight and Sound (The limits of language) The ToK starting point was a discussion of Ways of Knowing: how do ...

The 5 Nots (Comparative Study HL)

In September I posted some thoughts about the Comparative Study – Six of the Best (comparative study issues and advice) This month I’m continuing that theme but focusing on criterion F, so I’m only talking really to those of you who are taking HIGHER LEVEL Visual Arts. Criterion F deals with making connections to your own art-making practice. *In July I posted a blog about what NOT to do in your exhibition - “When NOT to…” (Visual Arts Exhibition No Nos) Now I am posting ...

Six of the Best (comparative study issues and advice)

It’s September, so some of you will be just starting the bright and shiny adventure that is IBDP visual arts, while others will be returning for your final year. So (unless you have already completed it) part of the visual arts coursework that you will be/are engaged in is the Comparative Study. Examiners have now seen work uploaded for three examination sessions (May 2016 and 2017, and November 2016), and some issues and patterns are beginning to emerge. This blog is not intended ...

100 EXHIBITION HOURS (the conundrum of time and quality)

Lawrence is one of my visual arts students. He has repeatedly asked how much time each he should devote to each of the course components. (Hi Lawrence, I know you read my blog!) Of course, the course is taught holistically and there is no ‘hours per component’ recommendation in the visual arts guide. Visual Arts guide page 16: “Although the core syllabus is identified in this guide through subdivided segments, teachers are encouraged to approach the teaching of the visual arts course in a ...

“When NOT to…” (Visual Arts Exhibition No Nos)

By now I expect that many of you (students) are on holiday – so I’m pleased to see that you have spared a moment to check on the visual arts blog! If you have graduated I’m happy to see you and good luck on July 6th (RESULTS day!) If, on the other hand, you are in between the first and second year of the course, some of this blog may prove useful. I’m reflecting on more things seen during the last visual arts ...

YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS! – 10 SNAPSHOTS FOR AN EXHIBITION? 24/30? AGAIN, YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0hK1wyrrAU John McEnroe coins "You cannot be serious" “classic McEnroe outburst. John McEnroe v Tom Gullikson at Wimbledon in 1981. Umpire was Edward James”. Both my June 2017 blogs (for teachers and for students) are in response to things encountered as a visual arts examiner/moderator. This one is for students and relates to assessment - and the differences in perception from the perspective of a teacher and that of a moderator. The other is aimed at teachers and to some extent is about ethics ...

Your PP needs mistakes! (its GOOD to make mistakes)

It’s obvious. It’s probably so obvious that it doesn’t need saying. But I sometimes encounter students who are perfectionists - or at least try to delete/hide all evidence of mistakes in their visual arts journal and/or Process Portfolio. It’s not that they hate making mistakes, its more that they don’t like to leave any evidence behind. I get it – why reveal your “weaknesses” when you are up to your neck in assessment worries? You want to impress the examiner with the consistently high ...

WRITING FOR THE EXHIBITION

Hi students, if you are in a Northern Hemisphere school and in your final year as a DP visual arts student, the end is nigh. DP Arts deadlines are earlier than the deadlines for other DP subjects, and your teacher will probably ask for various files even before the ‘official’ deadlines so that he/she can check that all is OK. It’s probably a little stressful for you, but I know quite a few teachers who find this time of the year very ...

BLOOD, DUST AND CULTURE

I was forced to re-evaluate my definition of culture (and perhaps the many meanings of the word 'civilization') one night in Northern Tanzania when a group of Maasai tribesmen suggested that I drink the hot blood of a freshly slaughtered goat. This is life, Jim, I thought – but not as we know it. I’d watched the killing of the goat, and the invitation to drink the blood was a generous gesture of their hospitality, but no more than that – a ...