Just another end-of-the-academic-year post. Another academic semestre that made us all stretch our creative brains to make the best out of another confinement situation. Although my relationship with online classes is still one of rejection, I did learn something from what happened last year and was more resourceful this time around (or so I think).
The teaching experience is a learning experience. It’s joyful, stressful, neurotic, productive, frustrating, demanding, forgiving, and a lot of other things I can’t think of right now. Overall, it’s emotional. Or, as I’m beginning to understand, I am a very emotional teacher and that brings about all sorts of intense situations. I’m sure my students could speak to that, although we often laugh about that tension.
Having spent so many time working on my stream of affect and how it translates into creative expression, I always find myself doing the same with students, meaning: trying to bring focus to ways in which that emotional consciousness can be transformed into original bodies of work.
Dealing with all my energy and my expectations (and frustrations), but also with my will to potentiate their creative energy, most of the students showed signs of resilience, respect and will to mature. That’s been surprising to witness. Sometimes, we’re walking on broken glass and the minute after we’re projecting ways to emerge from that dangerous situation. It’s often chaotic, but always the sort of environment where concentration can’t go out of focus.
In the past three months we also focused on complementary essays. Not the sort of text one would write to explain the methodology behind the visual work, but instead an essay that would exercise their relationship with the emotional impact of words and how that arena is intrinsically connected to the thinking process. It’s been very rewarding (also challenging and labor intensive) to see those words come out, with generous amounts of sincerity in most cases.
On the other hand, this year students have confronted us with a new set of challenges. Potentiated by the pandemic, though not created by it, their passive energy and lack of motivation have often taken the front seat. Drama, death, anxiety, depression, you name it. In the midst of it all, some showed glimpses of magic, glimpses of truth, glimpses of authenticity and those moments kept the spirits alive and kicking till this moment, where we part ways and they prepare for what’s ahead.
Today, they’ve presented us with the projects they’ve been working on since the beginning of the year, accompanied by Orlando Franco and myself, also with help and feedback by the rest of the colleagues that work with us (Rodrigo Peixoto, Soraya Vasconcelos and so many others) and visiting tutors like Pedro Tropa.
Bellow, a selection of images from today’s presentation.