In September 2018, Southwark Inclusive Learning Service key stage 4 (Sils) closed its London Bridge site and moved its entire school community to take up temporary residence at Tate Modern for a week. This project was a collaboration between young people, Sils staff (teachers, administrative and pastoral care), artists and researchers, working with and alongside one another to conceptually and physically reimagine and explore the ‘space’ of school. How might working with art and artists offer up different possibilities for thinking about education?
I was keen to share my favourite works on display at Tate Modern with students, and introduce art as an experience rather than an object. We began in the Media Networks display, listening to Cildo Meireles' Babel, before examining his Insertions into Ideological Circuits: Coca-Cola Project and talking about ways of hijacking objects in circulation and using them to spread our own messages. To this end, we picked up copies of the Tate Map, and students wrote hidden messages on them, before returning them into circulation in the gallery.
On the following days, we explored the Performer and Participant display. We entered Pak Sheung Chuen’s A Travel without Visual Experience, where the artist documents their experience of travelling a new country blindfolded and taking pictures, thereby experiencing their holiday only via the resulting images viewed after the trip. The display room at Tate Modern is pitch black, so I distributed blindfolds and cameras with flash to participants and they experienced the artwork in the same way that the artist had created it - on reviewing the pictures they took. We extended this experience by taking our cameras and blindfolds to other areas of the gallery, ending up in the Tanks, where students organically took ownership of the space by turning the blindfolds into fashion accessories and filming each other dancing – their own cultural production.
The below film, made by students, documents their experience of the project.