Reflection on our learning processes
Fraser’s work provided a very stimulating red thread through our class and inspired students’ own experimental projects. Fraser’s work is ideal for bridging the difficult gap that often looms between theory and practice, science and art. But we also found the experience quite challenging: First of all, a three-hour class did not provide enough time for a full-fledged creative process. Furthermore, it was very difficult for our students to bring together theory, artistic work, and practical experiments. Finally, the concept of critique proved difficult. For the students, what is meant by cultural and social critique was not at all self-evident.
All in all, we found the class a very rewarding but at times also unsettling experience; focusing on Fraser’s work allowed us to raise various issues that are extremely relevant to our field, contemporary arts and cultural production. For example, we discussed “What exactly is the relationship between contemporary art and cultural production?” “How can we distinguish between them without recreating exclusivity?” and, “Isn’t the insistence on a critical stance per se, and by definition, an elitist endeavor?”
It has become clear to us how precise Fraser’s work points to ruptures in the social and cultural fabric. Her art often prompts a feeling of discomfort and it seems that precisely this dis-ease is what allows us to think not only about the difficult relationship between the museum and institutional critique, but also about stores of self-evident knowledge and art’s interventionist potential.