The Physical Word

Premise: Active filtering and collaboration manifest itself in the final project for the freshman foundation class “Making and Meaning” hosted at the San Francisco Art Institute. Seven students created a piece entitled, “The Physical Word – Artists Interpreting Information“.

First, by brainstorming individual passions and cares, the students successfully established relationships with each other by creating a collaborative mind map.

Then, the information on the map was considered while developing the project proposal, where creative consensus had to be reached before embarking on the the next phase.

Interacting with the physical world outside of art school was a requisite for the project, so students trekked through the streets of San Francisco gathering information with digital and traditional art media to research and engage their community.

Next, the students devised a system of paper signs to query the public, coded an open source blog, and established a free phone number in which phone text responses were forwarded directly to the website.

Responses to the public posts were created by the individual artists in their preferred medium.

“The Physical Word” culminated in the hugely successful all-freshmen presentation which included the live website demonstration, the exhibition of physical artworks, and the video documentation of the whole process.

In conclusion, “The Physical Word” demonstrates how active filtering is a remarkably innovative method of teaching. It simply requires students to make decisions based on research, technique, and collaboration.

Enhancing learning is empowering young artists to make choices, to take risks, and to share while considering their own intent, context, and liability.

I extol the benefits of the Free Culture Movement, Open Source Software, and the Hands-On Imperative, because it develops more assets for a student’s toolkit, thereby insuring cultural fluency and a return to Sharism: the more you give, the more you receive.