Common Knowlege and Learning Curves, Artspace, Sydney
18 June 2018
Common Knowledge and Learning Curves is the first Australian institutional solo exhibition by Keg de Souza, and stems from the artist’s ongoing interest in the ways we teach and learn. The exhibition seeks to break down hierarchies in typical knowledge exchange, exploring radical pedagogy and its tenets including democratic dialogue, lived experience, inquiry learning, solidarity and unlearning.
With a particular focus on the ways in which space informs teaching and learning, de Souza utilises the familiar aesthetics of a classroom in unexpected ways. Props such as chalkboards, uniforms, award ribbons and venetian blinds are deconstructed and employed as architecture to divide the gallery into temporary spaces of varying materiality and functionality. In the spirit of play and experimentation, visitors are invited to use these architectural and sculptural forms. The exhibition becomes a space where ideas and actions can emerge through critical and collective interaction.
Included in the exhibition are enlarged building blocks – a ubiquitous tool designed by the founder of kindergarten Friedrich Fröbel – which here become modular units that can be stacked and reconfigured to suit different activities and also double as seating. This dynamism offers possibilities for visitors to contribute to an ever-changing learning environment for both intimate and group conversations. Another key feature of Common Knowledge and Learning Curves is an experimental library that wraps around the gallery walls with a selection of books and readings that prioritise marginalised voices within education.
De Souza’s temporary architecture creates a playful, mutable setting to host a series of dialogical events throughout the duration of the exhibition. These public events offer an opportunity for deep thinking about pedagogy and the relationship between place and the learning process. Various community members and organisations – including Bigambul Elder Uncle Wes Marne and students from Plunkett Street Primary School – have been invited to lead discussions, host tours and share knowledge as part of the exhibition (more information below), acknowledging lived experience as a highly valued resource. These temporary spaces within the exhibition are also open for use by educators, collectives or students to occupy for conversation, classes or self-directed reading groups.
More info and public programs here