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Their openness to new experiences reminded me to be more open in turn to their unique ways of visiting and looking at art. Marianna Adams, “Falling in Love with Your Visitors
I want to pay more attention to invisible pedagogies – both how the physical space itself instructs and how actions from people (me included) communicate behaviors and attitudes. Marianna Adams, “Towards a More Mindful Practice

Rigid Ego Habits

Kay Larson, writing about the reaction to Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain in Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists:

The eruptions of violated sensibility were coming from human beings, whose unexamined expectations, habitual beliefs, moral rigidity, squeamishness about the body, conditioned responses, and exalted sense of propriety were causing howls of anguish. This raging cyclone of emotion is a succinct definition of dukkah—the Sanskrit word that sums up the suffering of cyclical existence, brought on by our ego fixations. Buddhists call this realm “samsara,” the troubled world created by our rigid ego habits: our clinging to the categories we invent, investing them with reality, punishing those who don’t agree.

See also the synopsis of “The Inadequacy of Mass Education & the Case for Autodidacticism" by Jordan Bates:

(…) autodidacticism is an attitude one brings to learning, an attitude which is essential to gaining substantive insight both within and beyond the confines of traditional educational institutions. This attitude consists of a willingness to question all of one’s assumptions and preconceived ideas, a strong desire to learn and to apply what is learned, and a fiery love for knowledge in and of itself.

Sounds like one way to combat the rigid ego habits. See also cultural dark matter.

Letter from Barrowford School (@BarrowfordSch) to sixth grade students at the end of their primary school years and with regard to their standardized test results:


  Please find enclosed your end of KS2 test results. We are very proud as you demonstrated huge amounts of commitment and tried your very best during this tricky week.
  
  However, we are concerned that these tests do not always assess all of what it is that make each of you special and unique. The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you—the way your teachers do, the way i hope to, and certainly not the way your families do. They do not know that many of you speak two languages. They do not know that you can play a musical instrument or that you can dance or paint a picture. They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them or that your laughter can brighten the dreariest day. They do not know that you write poetry or songs, play or participate in sports, wonder about the future, or that sometimes you take care of your little brother or sister after school. They do not know that you have travelled to a really neat place or that you know how to tell a great story or that you really love spending time with special family members and friends. They do not know that you can be trustworthy, kind or thoughtful, and that you try, every day, to be your very best… the scores you get will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything.
  
  So enjoy your results and be very proud of these but remember there are many ways of being smart.


Note: The contents appear to have come from another source.

(via Richard Wiseman)

Letter from Barrowford School (@BarrowfordSch) to sixth grade students at the end of their primary school years and with regard to their standardized test results:

Please find enclosed your end of KS2 test results. We are very proud as you demonstrated huge amounts of commitment and tried your very best during this tricky week.

However, we are concerned that these tests do not always assess all of what it is that make each of you special and unique. The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you—the way your teachers do, the way i hope to, and certainly not the way your families do. They do not know that many of you speak two languages. They do not know that you can play a musical instrument or that you can dance or paint a picture. They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them or that your laughter can brighten the dreariest day. They do not know that you write poetry or songs, play or participate in sports, wonder about the future, or that sometimes you take care of your little brother or sister after school. They do not know that you have travelled to a really neat place or that you know how to tell a great story or that you really love spending time with special family members and friends. They do not know that you can be trustworthy, kind or thoughtful, and that you try, every day, to be your very best… the scores you get will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything.

So enjoy your results and be very proud of these but remember there are many ways of being smart.

Note: The contents appear to have come from another source.

(via Richard Wiseman)

In an age of dramatic economic and political inequality, Swartz’s death is proof that it does not matter how talented you are or how hard you work—American meritocracy is a sham. If Swartz, a rich tech genius with an unparalleled network of powerful friends and a remarkable track record of success, couldn’t live an ethical, dignified life, then who can? Our contemporary culture is crippled by increasingly Soviet-style barriers against all who challenge the status quo. It has criminal statutes so broad that basically everyone is a lawbreaker, and selective prosecution has become a mechanism for ordering our politics. It demands deep moral compromise just to live with minimal interference from authority. It requires that, to be a ‘success’ like Karp, you must have not only the talent to build appealing social systems, but also the lack of a moral compass involved in using those social systems to manipulate others. The ethic of this approach is designed by those who fear only those risks associated with human freedom. Matt Stoller, “Aaron Swartz and 21st-Century Martyrdom" (via Alec Resnick)
A mind that moves associatively (as my mind does and probably your mind too) like a firefly in a grassy yard on a late June evening, has more fun (and other things too, of course, like static, like trouble) than a mind that moves logically or even chronologically. Pam Houston, “Corn Maze" (via Nicole)
A wish: to be a coyote (or small pack of them) in your museum, in your library, in your school, in your city, in your organization, in your [_______]. (image via womanhouse)

A wish: to be a coyote (or small pack of them) in your museum, in your library, in your school, in your city, in your organization, in your [_______]. (image via womanhouse)

A feral encounter […] is one that has changed from being domesticated, to untamed. It brings people into contact with the lived reality of a situation. It is guided by its context - not by an agenda, and not by a curriculum. John Thackara, “In Praise of the Feral
Still from Why Is This Man Walking With a Cabbage?


  This is my way of questioning where our daily life behaviors come from.


(via Luke)

Still from Why Is This Man Walking With a Cabbage?

This is my way of questioning where our daily life behaviors come from.

(via Luke)

Funding appeal (Kickstarter) and trailer for Common Notions: Handbook Not Required—The Story of the Purple Thistle

The Purple Thistle has become a project that inspires folks from all over the world to try and create similar projects with youth in their communities. The Thistle is very unique and truly run by the people who use it, so as community engaged artists we draw from almost 20 interviews with youth, Thistle alumni, adult directors and radical education theorists. The film weaves together interviews with theorists Matt Hern, Astra Taylor, Gustavo Esteva, Khelsilem Rivers, carla bergman and Madhu Prakash and with Thistle founders, and as well as current collective members, Genevieve Robertson, Sylvia Mcfadden, Keith Lennig, Maya Motoi, aly dela Cruz, Savanna Todd and Sadie Couture. The film will include visuals of Thistle events like collective meetings, art openings and an educational trip to Mexico, to craft a lively and critical narrative.

The documentary explores themes of the disappearance of community space, social isolation and hyper individualism that results in the exclusion of youth from the world. Our interview subjects point to the crucial role that counter-institutions play in addressing these problems. We’ll explore why is it important to have spaces to practice the world we want to create and the need for free spaces (free to use the space, free to be yourself). To do this, we’ll look closely at the elements that make the Thistle work such as the ideas of meeting youth where they are at; trust; the process of Deschooling, or learning how to learn outside of institutions; collective and horizontal organizing; and the nuts and bolts of running a collective – the “rules” of the “de-institution”.

Through telling the story of the Thistle we begin to explore larger ideas of capitalism, education, radical generosity and the gift economy. And ultimately we hope to create a narrative that defines and explores a set of common notions that we can build a social movement upon. Common Notions are a set of relational norms that come out of the community, out of relationships. As opposed to an ideology or ethical blueprint, common notions are: trust, friendship, radical generosity, mutual aid, self-determination and collectivism as the path to youth liberation.

[L]et your convictions be more important than your job or your mortgage or your debt or any of the million little things Americans let keep them small and separated and afraid. Quinn Norton, “The Internet’s Own Boy
Establish enigmas, not explanations. Robert Smithson (via Boris Anthony, who adds, “Create the possibility for others to create. Keep the game going.”)
Our Education, Austin Kleon, 2014

Our Education, Austin Kleon, 2014

Taeyoon Choi asked, “is there a space for art and poetics on the fine line between teaching tool and assistive technology?”

I replied with the following:


  (Learning) Toy?
  
  “School as a project” is like a playground or a sandbox. See also Minecraft: learning by making, communicating, etc.


When I say learning toy, I refer to blocks, sticks, Lego bricks, and other tools for construction. Toys that are modular, deconstructable, reconstuctable, and infinitely adaptable. Minecraft fits that bill. These learning toys are not to be confused with the many closed loops that are sold as toys, things that are single-use or limited in use.

When Taeon says “school as a project,” I think he is referring to School for Poetic Computation, previously mentioned here.

Taeyoon Choi asked, “is there a space for art and poetics on the fine line between teaching tool and assistive technology?”

I replied with the following:

(Learning) Toy?

“School as a project” is like a playground or a sandbox. See also Minecraft: learning by making, communicating, etc.

When I say learning toy, I refer to blocks, sticks, Lego bricks, and other tools for construction. Toys that are modular, deconstructable, reconstuctable, and infinitely adaptable. Minecraft fits that bill. These learning toys are not to be confused with the many closed loops that are sold as toys, things that are single-use or limited in use.

When Taeon says “school as a project,” I think he is referring to School for Poetic Computation, previously mentioned here.

The talking tribe, I find, want sensation from the mountain–not in Keats’s sense. Beginners, not unnaturally, do the same—I did myself. They want the startling view, the horrid pinnacle—sips of beer and tea instead of milk. Yet often the mountain gives itself most completely when I have no destination, when I reach nowhere in particular, but have gone out merely to be with the mountain as one visits a friend with no intention but to be with him. Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain (via Allen)