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'Working Title': Rethinking the Teacher-Student Relationship

by Janan Siam 9 May 2012 4:12 PM

Janan Siam, a member of Solvent Collective, writes about the working environment ahead of Saturday’s exhibition.


Over the past few months the Solvent Collective, a group of 10 UTD alumni, undergraduate and graduate students, has been planning Working Title, an ongoing installation at Ro2 Art’s downtown project space. They kicked off the project this past Saturday and will be inviting two additional “generations” of artists to continue to add to their installation over the next two weeks. Members of Solvent Collective will be blogging for Art&Seek about the project. Today, Janan Siam writes about the working environment ahead of Saturday’s exhibition.

It is dawning on me as I watch Anthony and John work together, unplanned, that teaching to and learning from one another are such wonderful primal instincts of peace and resolution. It conjures thoughts of prehistoric man teaching his fellows to gather, hunt, make fire, paint cave walls, etc.

Working Title is allowing artists to only collaborate, by which introducing each artist to 29 different methodologies within three weeks time. This amount of information exchange creates a particular bond between the artists involved.
It is a frenzied race to the finish, at times: messy, unsure, disconnected. But I am witnessing that all of these conflicts come to their resolutions through intellectual exchange and communication. Second generation’s solution to disparity is unique compared to Solvent’s entirely, and I am learning so much just by observing.
We all become students and teachers of each other, as we should be. At the end of Working Title, the 30 of us are going to step back, feel accomplished, and strangely (but awesomely) closer to each other as master and pupil usually do.