Chromotopia: Geographies of Color:
Rethinking the Culture of a Curriculum
Remap color curriculum with open-ended experiments that morph into amazing artmaking.
Chromotopia: Geographies of Color explores philosopher Jacques Ranciére’s maxim “Everything is in everything” as well as his theory of “universal teaching,” suggesting that a more expansive approach to color curriculum will promote better mixing, critical thinking, metacognitive awareness, and more sensitivity to color in multiple contexts. The presentation features easy-to-do “out of the box” (and out of the wheel) color experiences, including abstract paintings, narrative collages, public art, GIFS, and animations.
Understand and teach color in relation to history, science, and economics as well as to everyday uses of color in popular culture. Did people of the past see the same colors we do? Do people see color differently in various contemporary cultures? How do other creatures see color? Are the color perceiving capacities of humans evolving?
Consider the profound cultural implications of color symbolism. Where and when did the pink/blue gender binary for babies originate? Are cultural associations with dark and light innate and universal, or cultural and contextual?
Slip into something colorful for this fast-paced tour of the world of color as we reconsider, not just the color curriculum, but the underlying implications of all of the media, methods, and structures that shape our art teaching
The Primal Repression of Art Education
I have come to think of the color wheel as the primal repression of art education, an early act of undermining those things that we, artist-educators, affirm we hold dear—discovery, experimentation, nuanced perception, artistic investigation, and self-confidence in one’s own creative capacities.
Scene: The art teacher promises the children
(actually the art teacher promises the children AGAIN—because most children who have had several years of art education report having made color wheels multiple times during their arts education)
The art teacher again promises the children that painting a color wheel will unlock the mysteries of mixing.
The children dutifully mix red and yellow and achieve orange.
They mix blue and yellow and usually achieve green.
The children (or perhaps they are teenagers by now) mix red and blue and achieve MAROONISH MUD.
The reliability of not anticipating, predicting, and preparing children for this outcome is astonishing.
Each child, each new generation of children, each new group of discerning teens is introduced to an exercise that virtually never works.
Need fresh ideas for color curriculum?
Check out these images
from my Chromotopia: Geographies of Color Presentation.