[iDC] disciplines

Luis Camnitzer camnitzer1 at gmail.com
Tue Jan 30 14:04:18 EST 2007

To avoid misunderstandings: I am not against discipline, certainly not
if it means rigor. I am against thinking within the discipline. I
always told my students that I could start teaching them how to use a
microscope, but that given how Academia operates, that would mean that
they never would find out that there are stars. I rather help them to
deal with the universe and then have them decide what tools are
available for their interest or what they have to invent. In a
paint-centric history of art, over the centuries most of the
perceptions and evaluations are based on what fits a little stick with
hairs glued to its tip. That is a poor tool to deal with knowledge or,
god forbid, to expand knowledge. It is like the tourist that only
looks at what can be photographed. This didn't preclude that somebody
would chose painting as a trade. It just meant that painting was
chosen as an inescapable way to formalize a vision, as the only one
possible. A good painting is not just a competent one. It is one that
gives the feeling that the skill of painting was created only for that
particular painting, and that if it didn't exist we all would be
impoverished. Therefore I didn't even demand people to work better
than their class mates or than anybody else. I only required that they
produce perfection, things beyond comparison.
So, if you think within a discipline, however rebellious, there might
be contributions, heresies, improvements and whatever within the
discipline. That is great for the craft. (and, by the way, new media,
in this ideology, are only new crafts). As an artist, that is, a
person operating in a meta-discipline, I look for more. I want points
from where I can exercise real leverage. Those points are not
discipline based. If anything, they are problem based. Paulo Freire
once wrote that before people learn how to read words they have to be
able to read the world. In a 3-Rs society we tend to overlook that.

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