Unlearning Learning

Public Program
Oct 20, 2018
Maria Rosa Sossai, Accademia Libera delle Arti Group, How to live together – the school in common, Institute Einaudi, Rome, 2017.

Saturday, October 20, 4–6pm
“Unlearning Learning” with BFAMFAPHD and Maria Rosa Sossai

Art in General
145 Plymouth Street (Map)
Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY 11201

This season, Art in General will continue to host the ongoing experimental discussion series Learning and Unlearning, organized by the artist-founded publication Shifter (Avi Alpert and Rit Premnath).

Learning and Unlearning is a series of events led by artists who use formats beyond the academic lecture or seminar. The aim of these shared gatherings is to unlearn the assumptions and prejudices we hold about each other and ourselves. Previous installments in the series have included Unlearning Work in Fall 2017 and Unlearning Dystopia in Spring 2018.

Unlearning Learning, the first event of this season, will consider the relationship between art and education, which lies at the heart of the entire series. Artist collective BFAMFAPHD and researcher Maria Rosa Sossai will consider how art and pedagogy can become tools for understanding the relations of power that shape institutions and practices, but also allow us to imagine new approaches to art and education. As practitioners who have developed workshops, teaching tools, and artworks that blur the boundary between art and educational practices, they will use this event to not simply speak about this subject, but also to activate some of their ideas.

Avi Alpert teaches literature and critical theory in the Princeton Writing Program where he focuses on the impact of globalization on modern thought and institutions. His writing examines what it means to be at once a private individual and a global subject, and how this dual demand has shaped modern life. His first book, Global Origins of the Modern Self, from Montaigne to Suzuki, offers a global history of the self, from Renaissance Europe to modern Japan. He has co-edited Dictionary of the Possible, Shifter Vol.22, and also writes art criticism and fiction.

BFAMFAPhD is a collective of artists, designers, technologists, organizers, and educators who work in the intersection of art, technology, and political economy. Our current work is a pedagogical project, including a book, a deck of cards, and an open-access website that offers practices of collaboration, contemplation, and social-ecological analysis for visual artists. It is for arts educators who want to connect art to economy; for students who want to make artworks that reflect the conditions of their own production. The project provides a framework that asks readers to explore both who they are becoming as they make projects and also what their projects are becoming as they takes shape and circulate in the world.

Sreshta Rit Premnath is an artist works across multiple media, investigating systems of representation and reflecting on the process by which images become icons and events become history. Premnath is the founder and co-editor of the publication Shifter and teaches at Parsons, New York.

Shifter is a topical publication that aims to illuminate and broaden our understanding of the intersections between contemporary art, politics, and philosophy. Shifter remains malleable and responsive in its form and activities, and represents a diversity of positions and backgrounds in its contributors. The publication is edited by Sreshta Rit Premnath and Avi Alpert.

Maria Rosa Sossai is a researcher in the field of artistic practices and educational policies, based in Rome. In 2012 she founded ALA Accademia Libera delle Arti, an independent platform for education and contemporary art that conceives the artistic practice as a process of shared knowledge. Among its recent projects a series of workshops and exhibitions of Italian and international artists at FAI Villa e Collezione Panza, Varese. From December 2013 to March 2015, she was appointed artistic director of AlbumArte, with whom she has collaborated since 2011. She also curated projects as well as exhibitions in commercial galleries, art foundations and museums both in Italy and abroad such MAN museum in Nuoro, Real Academia de España, the American Academy, Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, AlbumArte and Nomas Foundation in Rome, Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Istanbul, the Tel Aviv Museum and, with Laura Cherubini, the touring exhibition of the Italian artist Carla Accardi in Toru, Budapest, Thessaloniki and Athens.

General Support of Art in General is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation; Trust for Mutual Understanding; the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; National Endowment for the Arts; Visegrad Fund and FUTURA; Greenwich Collection; Cowles Charitable Trust; Milton and Sally Avery Foundation; Toby D. Lewis Donor Advised Fund of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland; The Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors; and by individuals. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

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Project Description:

Learning and Unlearning:
In collaboration with Shifter