Farmlab Public Salon
Elise Co, Sean Dockray, Chandler McWilliams & Nikita Pashenkov
Friday, June 13, 2008
About The Salon
Join four members of the founding committee of The Public School for this free-of-charge Farmlab Public Salon.
The Public School is a school with no curriculum, located underneath TELIC Arts Exchange. The Public School is an open structure, or maybe a stage, on which ideas about school perform new realities. To put it another way, The Public School is invested in the idea of public space - not in the sense of state-controlled plots of land, but rather in the sense of spaces for the political.
The Public School works from within the arts institution, drawing upon its resources, engaging with its direction, and activating the diverse passions, skills, and practices of its audience. At the moment, it operates as follows: first, classes are proposed by the public (I want to learn this or I want to teach this); then, people have the opportunity to sign up for the classes (I also want to learn that); finally, when enough people have expressed interest, the school finds a teacher and offers the class to those who signed up.
In practice, this process is complicated by economics, logistics, and ideological mandates. Not all classes can be offered, and not all classes necessarily ought to be. These decisions, made by The Public School committee (a volunteer, rotating group), determine the curriculum of the school and the possibilities it allows. Here, the school is a site where competing proposals articulate new configurations for the school itself. The fundamental project of The Public School is to keep open this interface between thought and action.
There is a monthly class called "The Public School" during which the mechanisms of The Public School are presented and discussed by members of the committee. Some of the topics that have been discussed in previous months include: How are class fees calculated? What if someone can't afford these fees? What is motivating the committee? How can someone become involved in the decision-making process? How does The Public School fit into the larger ecology of "free schools"?
About Telic Arts Exchange
TELIC Arts Exchange, located on Chung King Road in Chinatown, provides a place for multiple publics to engage with contemporary forms of media, art and architecture. The space is a platform for exhibitions, performances, screenings, lectures and discussions. TELIC’s program emphasizes social exchange, interactivity and public participation to produce a critical engagement with new media and culture.
The Public School was initiated by Sean Dockray with Fiona Whitton as a project for TELIC Arts Exchange at the end of 2007. It is currently guided by the founding committee: Elise Co, Sean Dockray, John Houck, Chandler McWilliams, Naoko Miyano, and Nikita Pashenkov.
Photo courtesy Sean Dockray