I’ve been looking into the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design Jerusalem after watching a lecture they posted recently (by the contemporary craft theorist Glenn Adamson – a thinker whose work I value) and I am struck by exceptional creativity and artistic bravery of the work by their students as well as the extreme relevance, and insight displayed by faculty by challenging the students to contemplate and create responses to the ubiquitous “How To” Youtube video culture we currently inhabit.
It’s given me great pause to consider my what I see as my challenging role as a maker, and as an educator interested in craft and ‘the handmade’ in today’s information saturated and ’24 hour’ accessible world.
Below I offer you links to the Bezalel Academy’s HOW TO projects (which won them first place in the category of Foreign schools, as part of Tokyo Design Week, 2014) and also a portion of the academy’s introduction to the Fine Arts Department program – which I think is quite beautifully stated..
Art has always been a difficult concept to define. Applying the question of art to the present could turn the question into an argument. What turns a video clip, a sculpture, a stage show or a painting into a work of art? How should one go about teaching something so elusive, so fluid, so fragile – and yet so enigmatic and magical? Talent cannot be taught, but it is possible to hone intuition, evoke curiosity, skepticism and criticism, provide tools for thought and bolster self confidence, through which the student may develop as an artist.
The formation of a creative artist is a complex process whose sources cannot be deciphered and whose results cannot be anticipated. Art expands and breaks through boundaries all the time – never resting on its laurels. It embraces new media and produces infinite connections and combinations; occasionally, it abandons traditional tools only to revive them at unexpected times.
This is the academy’s description of the assignment:
To tempt you into watching, here is just ONE of the How To videos made by the Bezalel students.
How To: the videos
As an afterthought, I’m including the Glenn Adamson lecture recording from the Bezalel conference. It’s very informative concerning the curatorial process behind NYC MAKERS: The Biennial.