The PAIC workshop: “Making the visible invisible – Kunstnergarden meets Holbergskolen”

3-9 February 2017

The second PAIC workshop took place at the local Art Museum, Kunstnergården, in the village Dianalund, Denmark from Friday February 3, till Friday 9, 2017. The aim of the workshop was to create wider awareness and recognition of the possiblities for collaboration between the local school, Holbergskolen, and the local art museums; Kunstnergården and Sorø Kunstmuseum. Throughout five-day workshop two volunteers from Kunstnergården,  Danish sound artist, Mads Bech Paluszewski-Hau and Austrian artist, Helene Thuemmel engaged 24 7th grade students (13-14 y.) in artistically creative learning processes and gave new life to Kunstnergården with five new audio works and visual art works.

Prior to the workshop both Kunstnergården and Holbergskolen were introduced to the general idea. For the volunteers at Kunstnergården it was a motivating factor for entering into cooperation with the school in order to get the young people out and see the museum. They wanted to let them know that it is a place available to them. The volunteers wanted to see Kunstnergården being used in different way hoping that new (younger) volunteers one day can take over. From the school’s point of view the project was a unique opportunity to get out in the community and search for new partnerships, which is also required by the new Danish Educational Law (Open School Reform). A third and equally important motivation was being engaged with artists in artistic learning processes, which can inspire and later be used at the school as a working method – or in general as new knowledge.

In the month, weeks and days beforethe workshop, there was continuous exchange of ideas between the partners involved. As a facilitator, Sorø Kunstmuseum took the initiative and coordination, but  for  joint ownership it was important  that both artists, teachers and the volunteers at Kunstnergården had the opportunity to join in  both with expectations and assessments of what they considered possible in relation to the site and the specific group of students.

The procedural organization of the project was from the beginning prioritized and contributed to the project’s results since the dialogue between the various institutions and the ongoing evaluations and adjustments (months and days before the start of the workshop) secured ownership and relevance to those involved and giving an equal basis.

“You are going to help us to create new life out here on Kunstnergården”, was one of the first things the students were told by the artists before they were introduced to both Kunstnergårdens founder Lars Saltofte Larsens art museum and the two contemporrary artist’s work and working methods.

The open frame and inspiration from both artists and Kunstnergården played directly into the final design of the workshop. Even though the hole workshop was planned and rearranged according to the daily process, an important workshop-tool was that both students and artists were put in situations where they had to search for inspiration, learn from the place and explore its possibilities. “Try it” was the upbeat encouragement from the artists when the students got an idea they would like to proceed with. In this way everything was possible, which also took some of the works in new and different directions, other than the technical equipment and the first announced frames actually demanded. The students were to trial and experience error and fail, play with technique and materials and through numerous attempts have new ideas that could take the process in a new direction – In the same way as the professional artists went to this task.

The 24 students, who worked in five groups, created five artworks of different nature, and each in their own way contributed to new life on Kunstnergården. The works were shown for students, parents, PAlC team members, the volunteers from Kunstnergården and other interested people from the local area at an opening on Thursday of February from 16-18 p.m. More than 65 people attended the opening.

The Artworks

  • The search for Lars Saltofte’s ghost – a video work that mixed documentary genre and the fiction – combination of the anecdotes about Saltofte got new life through the idea of ​​his ghost.
  • Shadow Play – a video work that gave new life to the selected works from the exhibition through the shadow images.
  • The lonely boy – a total installation, which in its design gave new life to otherwise discarded objects from artist yard. There was the performance as part of the work at the opening, expressing the lonely boy’s story.
  • Audio Guide – a sound piece that could be downloaded and functioned as a sensory guide around the exhibition.
  • Sound frequencies – an interactive sound piece, which was performed at the opening. The audience was guided through space so they though their own body could feel and hear how they themselves could affect movements in space.

In many ways – and on many levels – this workshop aimed to illustrate that when people are being listened to and when something makes sense and becomes meaningful, it opens up the mind and willingness to create new perspectives and new partnerships – the invisible became visible.

The PAIC workshop at Kunstnergården was also funded by The Danish Art Council and The Cultural – and School Organisation, Middle – and West Sealand.