Monday, April 23, 2012

OSSSFU- CONCEPTUAL CORRESPONDENCE COURSE

  In 1999 Tony Labat and I established THE OLD SCHOOL FOR SOCIAL SCULPTURE in a one room school house that I owned down the road from the church. Labat teaches at The SF Art Institute. Through negotiations with him and SFAI administrators we were able to bring about 20 undergrad. and graduate students east for a 10 day summer session. I was married at the time. Those 10 days of informal communication with artists like Robin Winters, Linda Montano and Kiki Smith, meals, road trips to the lake and shooting range, and late night partying were incredible. The students loved it. Labat loved it. I loved it. My wife was so stressed out and overwhelmed that it was the final straw laid onto an already shaky legged camel. The marriage fell apart soon afterward.
   Now I don't blame The OSSS for my trouble in paradise. It just sped up the process. The reality of doing such a piece is that it becomes more a summer camp than a summer school. The logistics of feeding and caring for twenty something people in tents for 10 days is a real struggle for people with staffs. Without a staff it can be nerve racking. So it is that now the Old School has come back in the form of a much more manageable "correspondence course" Free University. Once again I have a great faculty- Labat, Winters, Montano, Spencer Tunick, Sally Webster, Samm Kunce, Marta Hoskins, George Holz, Tessa Hughes-Freeland, Carlo McCormick, Marrianna Rothen, Sharon Glazberg, Eduardo Cure, Hollie Witchey, Mike Edison, Rob Kennedy...and more. The problem now is forming the student body.
   The idea is to hook up one student with one teacher. The boundaries are intentionally blurred between teacher and student. Some students are on par with the teacher. I want them to ask- who's teaching who? Of course any person can contact another these days. The lines of communication are wide open between cell phone, email and social media. The OSSSFU is a vehicle set up to formalize, expedite and hopefully keep the lines of communication open. Even though the faculty is diverse, there's nothing that says a student can't request a faculty member not listed. Recently a prospective student asked about Stelarc. I contacted him and although he applauded the school, he honestly realized he could not devote the time required to take on a student. I'd much rather have this response than someone all for it and then drop the ball. As dean of admissions this is a constant problem. Like any budding relationship, the string between soup cans must remain taut.
     So, if any readers of this blog would like to go to school let me know. I'm not teaching any courses myself but I will be turkey hunting and trout fishing as much as time allows in the month of May. If any supermodels would care to accompany me, just drop me a line. To my faculty I want to express my sincerest gratitude for once again participating in another one of my crack-pot ideas for no money. And to the students a great big THANK YOU. Now get to class.
  

1 Comments:

At April 23, 2012 at 4:34 PM , Blogger Nathan Rosquist said...

Tony Labat told me to look you up a few months ago. I finally did today, and look what I find. Sign me up!

 

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