Change is an inevitable part of the human condition. Whether it
takes place within an individual or as a collective experience,
change holds the past, present and future to the light of reflective
consciousness. How does the individual's experience of change effect
the collective experience?
What qualities of installation art provide a vehicle for collaboration,
personal and collective interpretation, and conceptual content?
Is the concept of "installation" a viable art form for
consideration in the middle school curriculum?
Since the "dematerialization" of the art object in the
1970s, many serious artists have chosen to work in temporary
forms such as "installations" in which everyday objects
and materials are arranged to create a sensory experience through
which the viewer literally enters into the artwork. Despite this
dramatic shift in how much art is made and understood, most school
art projects are created by individual students working alone to
make static, (semi) permanent, individually conceived and executed
In his essay, "The Relation of the Environment to the Anti-Environment,"
Marshall McLuhan writes, "Only the small child and the artist
have that immediacy of approach that permits perception of the environmental.
The artist provides us with anti-environments that enable us to
see the environment."
This project encourages students and art teachers to work together
as artistic collaborators, using found materials in the school and
community to create an "artistic space" to investigate
some aspect of school and community life. In such projects, the
art teacher steps out of the role of the "dispenser of art
knowledge," instead becoming a community artist who leads students
and other members of the school community in exploring a vital issue
in their lives. The installation site opens up a "discursive
space" where people come together to witness and discuss "whats
happening" at this time and place. This enables people to look
and look critically at the culture in which they live and to consider
what role they might play in shaping its future.