AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE: THE ARTS
Pablo Picasso (1942) Tête de taureau (Bull's Head). Bicycle seat and handlebars. Musée Picasso, Paris
CLASS ACTIVITY: PICASSO'S LIE AND
COLERIDGE'S WILLING SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF
At its finest art has the potential to enrapture, awe, inspire, educate and otherwise transports the beholder to another place or state of being.
Begin this session as a whole class presentation/discussion. Ask a student volunteer to read the Picasso quote. Then call on some students to comment on Picasso's iconic Bull's Head sculpture. Push the class to really think about this. The following provocation questions may or may not be needed:
- Is it a Bull's Head?
- Is it an old bicycle seat welded to some junk handlebars?
- Can you ride it?
- Did making it require art training or fine motor skill?
- Could any of us make it just as well?
- Is it beautiful or otherwise aesthetically interesting?
- How much money would it make at auction if it were sold today?
- What would an indigenous person from the rainforest have to say about i?
- Is it a case of the map not being the territory, or just some strange, new kind of territory?
- Is it original? Does that matter?
Next, jump into the following:
1. Call on a student who has not said much to read out this Coleridge quote.
2. Next move straight into the Shakespeare video which includes the line, "We are such stuff as dreams are made of."
3. Follow this with a student reading of the Hilary Mantel quote which compares the novel as a form of representation with theatre and film.
4. Finally read the Tolkein quote which talks about the importance of internal consistency and logical coherence in an invented world.
CONVERSATIONS IN TRIOS
Arrange students in trios. Ensure that as many groups as possible include at least one participant who has chosen a HL Art subject as part of their IB Diploma. Provide every student with a copy of the quotes and the Knowledge Questions for reference. Allow three minutes silent reading time before the trios come together for their conversations.
After 10 full minutes of conversation. A spokesperson from reach group will report back and some more lively conversation should ensue; albeit less intimately, as a whole class.
Remind students that a good conversation should take on a life of its own. There should be good listening, and a willingness to respond and build upon (or counter) what was just said. It is not just waiting for your own turn to speak.
WARM uP QUESTION
- What is "breaking the 4th wall" in the theatre? How does this notion relate to "Shakespearean asides" and "mockumentaries"?
- If everything Shakespeare wrote was a lie—every word is fiction after all—how is it possible that he is able to evoke profound truth about the human predicament?
- To what extent does it make sense to talk about Truth in the arts?
- In order to understand the past what are the relative merits of historical fiction and academic history?