MENTOR – Traveling Plates: Collaboration (w/ Course Description)

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Aesthetics and Pedagogy out of the Earth - Through this course we aimed to go beyond the techniques and expressive qualities of the ceramic medium through our creativity and imagination. While the challenge of our time is to maintain social distance, we focused on various projects that enabled us to overcome our daily restraints simply by treating them as another parameter and adapting our work to the circumstances in observance of solid rules and regulations and a sense of good practice.

Traveling Plates: Collaboration - Ceramics are a form of art that does not exist in isolation - ceramic art is made through collaborative, community effort. We used clay to build and sustain our practice and our personal networks on a global scale. Through a ‘multiple-hands’ method, objects traveled from place to place, and they were transformed by each member of our class community. The class was divided into teams with two artists or more on each team. A fired ceramic made by the mentor Raheleh Filsoofi was sent to one member of each team, and that person changed, transformed, or added to it (the technique and medium were optional) and sent it to the second person to finish. This exercise intended to show how clay can be transformed and how it undergoes a metamorphosis (well beyond the process of firing) from one individual to another and by extension from one culture to another throughout history. In this project we sought to explore individual and social communication through clay.  It was an exploration of the collaborative process -- how are the transformations recognized and perceived by one and the other?  How does the individual contribute to the process and the final product as a whole?  To what degree is there a kind of politics of production that articulate the ceramic community, and to what degree is an individual truly free to work in his or her own way?  In this exercise, each found one’s identity, either through the assertion of individuality or a sense of belonging to a wider group. Some expressed both.

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About this Artist

Raheleh Filsoofi

Raheleh Filsoofi

Raheleh Filsoofi is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work incorporates ancient and contemporary media such as ceramics, poetry, ambient sound, and video and addresses issues regarding borders, immigration, and inter-cultural communications. She gives participants the opportunity to explore the dynamics of the ceramic process and the expressive quality of the clay medium, while at the same time emphasizing art as a means of social engagement. Through a series of scaffolded individual and collaborative projects, participants develop skills in the artistic conceptualization and a creative process that is never final. Current projects focus on local natural resources as the physical and symbolic essence of place and the values of community and stewardship. Through the projects, we sensitize ourselves to an awareness of Nature and its relation to the human condition. Projects in making are expanded through a curatorial project and conference discussions on the contributions of ceramics to socially engaged art.
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