Mixup, Mashup, Remix. Pop did it with newspapers. Dadists did it with teacups. You could say that Raphael did it with the Greek philosophy. What is promising today is that the amount of content is limitless and the possibilities boundless with a simple laptop and a goal or concept.
I have been looking for a better way to teach art movements in AP European History and AP United States History this year. I think mashup and remix could be the way to go.
What I have found is that students can usually learn and remember the main characteristics of art movements. Italian Renaissance was realistic and more secular than Byzantine. Romanticism rejected the extremes of Enlightenment and industrialization. Surrealism attempted to incorporate Freudian psychology and Einsteinian physics. What I have been looking for is a way to teach the art movements that will help students retain and deepen their understanding beyond this academic year.
The assignment I am developing would be based on three steps. The first would be discovery in which they identify the main characteristics from a set of prints. The second would be a flipped-lecture on the artistic movement and its genealogy. The third would be a remix in which students apply the style and philosophy of the artistic movement create their own video or photographic work.
The successful project would take about a week to complete. In this, students would produce their own works using the philosophies and approaches that the artists of the specified movements followed. For example, I would like students to have a clearer understanding of the work of Cubists like Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque and the goals involved. They would need to be able to translate an understanding of Cubism’s characteristics and way of viewing the world to their own working piece.
For this project, students would use a combination of their own video/images and those taken from sites, supported by music and/or sounds, to replicate the Cubists goals of seeing a subject from multiple viewpoints simultaneously, flat colors to avoid emotional responses, overlapping planes, no perspective, and traditional African and Oceanic artistic inspirations. I have written before about how Man with a Movie Camera related Russian avant-garde art to film. I am sure that once a student completed this project they could confidently discuss Cubism alone or as it might be contrasted with another Western art movement.
Based on our project in which my group developed campaign ads for UN Secretary General candidates, students will need a good example that I create, a clear rubric, a review of Fair Use, and software suggestions. I will be working on my sample over the next two weeks and anticipate having it ready to show to my AP class during the upcoming academic unit. I will link to it here when it is ready.
Garry Leroy Baker