Sorrel Rix/文 刘向阳/翻译
HD Shanghai students explored the Technoetic Arts with university students creating interactive art using conductive technology. Their teamwork and critical thinking has improved a lot through this marvelous experience. Their creations were exhibited at Suzhou Digital.
This is the 4th iteration of the Collaboration project which aims to foster and build relationships in the spaces in between secondary and higher-level education. As part of the secondary school Art Elective course students from HDSH collaborated with students from the Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts (SIVA), Technoetic Arts BA to create interactive artworks using conductive technology.
Building this relationship with such an established center for higher education was important to the students and teachers at HDSH as we were able to share their knowledge and approaches to learning.
Often the methods and subject content taught at secondary level are restricted by exam criteria and can be limited or prescriptive. We partnered our students with degree students with an aim to encourage more freedom of ideas; for the university students to help ours develop deeper and more abstract meaning in their work.
A fundamental part of organising a collaborative project is to plan time in which the students can be together; this can prove very difficult to organise when you are working within the schedules from two different institutions. Myself and the course leader of the Technoetics Art program at SIVA, John Bardakos spent time forging a detailed timetable for the project in which students could share ideas, test materials and develop outcomes.
组织这次合作项目一个基本的要素是安排学生们能在一起的时间。安排时间其实非常麻烦，因为要考虑两个学校的时间表。我和上海视觉艺术学院德稻大师班这个项目的负责人John Bardakaos 一起努力，为这个项目整理出来了一份详细的时间表，从而确保学生可以沟通想法，测试不同材料并且完成创作。
The students worked in groups to create work around the theme ‘Language, Signs and Symbols’. Students selected their own sub-themes to explore from, ‘Symbols of Culture’, to the ‘Evolution of Chinese Poetry’, ‘Storytelling’ and ‘Body Language’.
▲ Students’ mind map of ideas 学生创意的思维导图
Students were given an open and simple brief; they had to create designs linking to the theme and they had to work with electric paint to produce drawings that made sound. Students had to work independently from the teacher to research, design and refine ideas.
Workshops took place at both HDSH and SIVA studios in which students were given a series of lessons in which to develop their work alongside SIVA students.
The project was structured around a series of workshops which allowed students time to test the conductive materials, draw and paint, record sounds and curate. The initial workshop centered around the exploration of the conductive paint.
SIVA students introduced HDSH students to the media encouraging them to test the consistency of the paint as well as mixing the paint with other inks to ascertain the best fluidity and conductivity.
▲ Bare conductive paint and circuit board 裸电导图和电路板
Students experimented with downloading and programming sounds to the conductuve circuit boards as well as using electric paint to create interesting circuits connecting the artwork to sound. Once the students had established clear designs they were able to start pairing their drawings with sound.
SIVA students led a sound workshop in which students created a range of sounds connected to their designs, these were recorded using sound equipment provided by the university.
The SIVA students played a vital role not just as teammates but as educators and mentors to the younger students. Working with university students meant that HDSH students were exposed to more advanced and abstract ideas, methodology and materials.
▲ SIVA students provide guidance to HDSH students 视觉艺术学院学生为赫德学生提供指导
Working with young adults within a higher-level environment had a positive influence on the work ethic of the HDSH students encouraging them to raise their standards. An important part of the process was to develop students’ critical thinking skills. Students took part in discussions about each other’s work in which they had to provide constructive ways in which to improve.
As the students had the rare opportunity to present their work within a public space, we felt it was important that they had an influence on the way in which it was curated. Students discussed the layout and positioning of their work as one large group rather than as individual groups. Students were asked to consider the experience of the viewer as they entered the space, how the work could be most visible and accessible to members of the public.
Students became very engaged in this process as they could start to visualize their exhibition becoming a reality. The notion that members of the public would actually be able to engage and interact with their work was exciting.
Students’ work was exhibited as part of Suzhou Digital exhibition in April this year. The students’ work shared a platform with other exciting art work from animation to robotics, digital surface design and Technoetic art. It was exciting to see their work displayed so professionally within the beautiful surroundings of the recently restored North Bank Granary in Suzhou.
▲ Digital Suzhou Exhibition, North Bank Granary exhibition space, Suzhou 创意阳澄数字文创节展览，北堤粮仓展馆，苏州
It was amazing to watch as children came in to the space and were encouraged to touch the artwork, something usually forbidden in formal art institutions. Instead the students watched as their faces lit up as sounds emerged from their touch.
Working with unusual materials at university level and seeing their work on public display provided a unique experience for our students in which they had a taste of what it’s like to be a Technoetic artist.
Through this project we aimed to create a real-life context for the students’ learning with an exciting conclusion, helping them to understand why they are learning as well as how.
In the future
The success of the project lay in the relationships built through collaboration. The students formed bonds with each other that encouraged and motivated them to design, make and innovate.
We plan to continue to forge this relationship with SIVA going forward. We would also like to extend the relationship to other institutions of arts, design and education in the hope to create more projects that foster teamwork, communication and creation.
If you work for or know of an organisation or institution that would like to collaborate with our students please contact Ms.Rix, Teacher of Art at HD Shanghai Bilingual School (email@example.com).