Monday, October 6, 2008
Bicycle Wheel Marcel Duchamp
A bicycle wheel is attached to a seat. Visitors to the Museum of Modern Art walk around this pieces, gaze at it. Some perhaps wonder how this is Art, others are curious and want to understand how it is Art. Either way or whatever way, what is in front of them draws them into its creation and creates a feeling of curiosity.
‘The work of art is not complete without the perception of the viewer, until she or he begins to ask questions of the work’. (M Duchamp)
This leads me to consider how meaning is constructed and how we understand the role of, in this case the viewer, in creating meaning. How does the placement of self in relationship to the 'object' create meaning? In what ways does the viewer contribute to the 'objects' meaning? Each person viewing this piece of art does so through lens of their own experience. In this way their are multiple meanings that can contribute to some deeper understanding of 'Bicylce Wheel'
In creating something that is somewhat puzzling we are encouraged to spend some time in front of this art piece, to ask questions and test out our thinking in a process of self reflection or with others.
I think this gives us some great questions to consider when we are working with students and the curriculum. Is our curriculum somewhat puzzling, does it invite our questions, is there something to be discovered here, to be tossed around with others, to be contested?
And how then do we allow the students' questions to give us insight into what is meaningful for them in relation to the curriculum? How is this curiosity and desire to make meaning shared amongst students so we get a sense of the multiple meanings that can be created? I like the idea of giving close attention to students' questions as an insight into the meaning they are constructing rather than the answers they give.