Unleashing is a site-specific multi-media art exhibition across the hallways of Teachers College highlighting concepts of the American philosopher Maxine Greene, whose idea of “social imagination” provides the ground for the works on display. Carrying forward the success of Doing and Undergoing on view throughout Teachers College in 2013, Unleashing features the work of 28 international artists, and is accompanied by an audiovideo guide leading visitors to each of the 21 sites of the exhibition, as well as by special public programming, guided tours, a video screening series, and artist talks.
The exhibition and its title Unleashing are inspired by Greene’s book Releasing the Imagination, which is driven by a vision of aesthetic education, equality, and social justice. “The role of imagination,” she argues, “is not to resolve, not to point the way, not to improve. It is to awaken, to disclose the ordinarily unseen, unheard, and unexpected.” For Greene, artists, like educators, propose how the world could be other than it is. Drawing on a collaborative model, this exhibition puts forward an ethics of inclusion, one that is in dialogue with its built and natural environment, the diverse communities of students, teachers, staff and community members that traverse through or pass by the building daily.
Unleashing is driven by the idea of responding to a particular space, Teachers College–a complex of interconnected buildings whose eclectic architecture and spatial politics serve as an evocative testimony to how education and society have changed over time. The building, as the gravitas of this exhibition, serves as an ethical reminder, to paraphrase renowned architect Mark Foster Cage, of the things that are greater than us.
Through an emphasis on process at the core of Unleashing, we seek to consider the place of education and knowledge production. As a structured form of transmitting knowledge, education is informed by the current ideals and perceived accomplishments of society and humanity more broadly. The fallibility of these assumptions–one that is integral to any form of knowledge–is always potentially transmitted, too, thus making the possibility of failure part and parcel of education itself.
Taking our cue from Maxine Greene, Unleashing looks at positions taken by artists who are willing to unlearn what were made norms before them and develop their own artistic language and research based on possibilities that they create, thus participating in knowledge production processes to imagine new prospects and redefining that which is humanly possible.
The exhibition includes works by Fanny Allie, Nadav Assor, Brandy Bajalia, Burcak Bingol, Jean Marie Casbarian, Gregory Climer, Steffani Jemison, Ebru Kurbak, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Elisabeth Molin, Yasmin Jahan Nupur, Jacob Olmedo, Bernd Oppl, Şener Ozmen, Rafael Pagatini, Rit Premnath and Avi Alpert, Macon Reed, Saša Tkačenko, Hurmat Ul Ain and Rabbya Naseer, Jaret Vadera, Marion Wilson and Cathy Lebowitz, as well as Caroline Woolard and Jeff Warren. The exhibition is accompanied by the Unleashing ScreenSaver Project by (c) merry and a commissioned video work by Chelsea Knight guides visitors throughout the building.
Unleashing is directed by Richard Jochum and curated by Livia Alexander and Işın Onol. The project is made possible by the Office of the Provost and the Art & Art Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. The exhibition will be on display from April 1 – May 31, 2018, at 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027.
A public reception will be held on April 5, 2018, from 6 – 8 p.m., in the Everett Lounge. Video works by Sasha Litvintseva, Shelly Silver, Sille Storihle and Jumana Manna, as well as Saša Tkačenko will screen in the Media Services Lounge on select days. Guided tours will be offered throughout. For information contact Emily Lin, firstname.lastname@example.org | T +1 (212) 678-3461 | http://unleashing.net and http://unleashing.tc.columbia.edu