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Object lessons: Copying and reconstruction as a teaching strategy

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As tutors at Winchester School of Art we have worked through a series of copy projects over the past four years. We began remaking historic art objects including Anthony Caro’s Early One Morning (1962) and Jean Tinguely’s Homage to New York (1960). Works were fabricated collectively with undergraduate fine art students and staged at an end of term event. The project developed to reconstruct apparatus to make copies, including François Willème’s Photosculpture apparatus: a paradigm for nineteenth-century modernity that provides a genealogy for three-dimensional (3D) prototyping and is arguably an antecedent of cybernetic culture. Obsolete technological positions were restaged in order to better understand current cultures. Over this process, which we characterize as a material historiography, we have worked collaboratively with archaeologists at the University of Southampton to share practice and knowledge around both contemporary visualization technologies and ancient processes, most recently working speculatively through the production process of carved Neolithic artefacts. Both projects draw together technical and contextual teaching and define new uses of space and collective research structures.
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Keywords: 3D prototyping; archaeology; copy; reconstruction; technics; trans-disciplinarity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Central Saint Martins 2: Winchester School of Art

Publication date: 01 April 2014

More about this publication?
  • How can art, design and communication aid teaching? Do these teaching methods work better in certain fields of study? Focusing on arts and media-based subjects, and encompassing all areas of higher education, this journal reveals the potential value of new educational styles and creative teaching methods.

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