Copyright 2009

Rehearsal for Education I (2010)
Single channel video
Black & white (no sound)
16 mm film transferred to digital video
4:30 minutes

Rehearsal for Education II (2010)
Two channel video
Black & white (no sound)
16 mm film transferred to digital video
0:30 minutes

Rehearsal for Education III (Memory and Action) (2010)
Audio installation
3:00 minutes

This public installation is part of The Gramsci Project, organized by Charity Scribner. It was created from March-May 2010 in collaboration with students at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, Queens. These students were enrolled in the Capstone course Liberal Arts 200, Humanism, Science and Technology. Contributors are Michael Alvarado, Jacklyn Bonilla, Jorge Cedeno, Isha Chand, Suzie Gavers, Ming Jie Gong, Wendy Gonzalez, Sharmin Kohinoor, Jyoti Lama, Tashi Lama, Susan L’Esperance, Fiona Liang, Anna Maciejaszek, Betty Mar, Kathleen Marsellie, Christine Marte, Israel Giovanni Martinez, Pablo Pereira, Jatna Ramirez, Diana Reverol, Joel Rojas, Tiffany Roldan, Charity Scribner, Jennifer Sheen, Eliana Sofiste, Elike Szabo, Gregory Thomas, and Chucky Tsering.

The academic system is conflicted terrain: it is part of the ideological hegemony in which individuals are socialized to sustain mainstream values, and holds the potential for an individual’s political transformation. Rehearsal for Education is a project that uses the school classroom as the setting for experimentation in art practice and radical pedagogy.

The project’s starting point is Antonio Gramsci’s belief in the creation of a socialist consciousness that would arise from working lives, an idea that expanded our notion of the intellectual. In the classroom, a series of body movement activities and memory exercises based on students’ individual educational experiences were enacted. These activities were derived from the late Brazilian theater director Augusto Boal’s “Theater of the Oppressed,” a form of participatory theater that denounces performance as spectacle and instead uses performance to transfer knowledge and transform individual interior realities by activating spectators as actors.

The enactment of these non-traditional exercises and discussions in a school classroom was an attempt to provoke a differently felt learning experience, manifested both through the body and memory, an attempt to make the connection between political ideal and personal experience.

The resulting video and audio installations are an exploration in memory, movement, and social consciousness. Weaving together text with surreal, fragmented scenes of educational discipline and protest, the video suggests a defamiliarization and estrangement from the normalized modes of operation in a classroom. The audio installation, a multi-tracked orchestration of student’s voices speaking simple memories, statements that refer to the act of memory, and the reciting of Gramsci’s key concept, “All men and women are intellectuals,” makes simple juxtapositions of pronunciation and accent while also evoking a kind of choral harmony. Installed in public spaces, both works also act as a provocation, an attempt to call out to the public by disturbing typically ‘neutral’ spaces.

Rehearsal for Education was made possible with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.