elective final project

I have never done this before. Typically, final projects in my History class require extensive writing. For example, my freshman write a textbook at the end of their course. This time though, I wanted to try something different. These seniors had selected to take my elective on Genocide and War Crimes. As you can imagine this is a “heavy” course. Examining mass murder and violence is a complex and challenging program of study. All term the students read extensively, wrote prolifically, and questioned the events earnestly.  Now I wanted them to have to demonstrate their understanding through a project that required them to have a vision and a purpose.  Could they make a high degree of connection between project guidelines and their knowledge and perception of genocide in which they illustrate their craftsmanship and originality?  I took my previous projects on design thinking as inspiration as I sat and crafted the prompt (below): design thinking I & design thinking II.

The prompt:

Create: Please create a work of visual art (conceptual art?) that communicates your ideas about what you have learned about Genocide & War Crimes and how this knowledge can benefit the world.

Your visual art must meet these requirements:

  • There must be at least 3-5 teachings in your visual art.

  • No symbols

  • No words

  • No cliches

    • no peace, love,  dripping blood, etc

    • no sad kids, or famous images of perpetrators, or famous images of violence

Requirements for presentation:

  • 5-7 minutes

  • Your process:

    • Why did you choose to portray Genocide in this manner?

    • How does this piece of visual art teach others about Genocide?

    • Needless to say, each teaching must reflect sophistication and deep intellectual thought.

A few of the products I received:

Project 1: Photography by EW. Depiction of the Armenia genocide using a pomegranate (fruit of Armenia)

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Project 2:  Cambodian Genocide by NHS.

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Project 3: Darkness Descending by AF.

Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 8.05.13 PMProject 4: Wood Sculpture by LL. Distressed wood forced and hammered into place.

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These projects and the presentation of their teachings on genocide really impressed me. If you are interested in the teachings that accompany each of the projects, please don’t hesitate to ask!

mfa, boston

Sadly, today was the last weekday of Spring Break. How did I spend it?  Out and about, of course! Despite being sick with a sore throat, cold, and a touch of a fever, I bundled up, drove David into work, and grabbed Skye for a day in Boston. Starting the relaxing day at Flour Bakery, we relished in our breakfast treats, coffees, and conversation for two slow hours before making our way over to the MFA.  Since the museum’s renovation, I had yet to visit and this is shockingly sad since art history was my minor!  It was so beautiful and powerful walking through the new wing of the MFA and fully taking in the art of the Americas collection.  One of my favorite parts of the day came when we stumbled into the contemporary art section and discussed our varied preferences for pieces depending on their function and/or form.  Before museum fatigue could set in, we walked through the Boston Garden and grabbed a tasty lunch at Fig’s Pizza.  Sharing a pizza that was half fig jam and prosciutto and half portabella mushroom and truffle oil was divine! My belly is still full hours later. To try to settle our fully expanded tummies, we wandered along Newbury Street until it was time to head in our separate directions: Skye to Cambridge and I to meet with my friend Lauren.  It was a whirlwind of a day but after a few days in bed fighting off my Spring Break sick, it was the perfect last weekday of the break.

photo by student

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During the first period, a student rushed in to give me this photo she took of me for her art class.  I like it.  I don’t usually like photos in which I am not smiling.  It seems like my face when not cracked in a smile is in a snarl.  But, this photo is nice.  Perhaps in sepia it would recall photos from the past when no one smiled but rather stared through the lens to their photographer: serene, mild, difficult to discern the mood or sentiment.