Shift/Work: Paragogics of Unlearning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Shift/Work is an art practice that supports the active peer production of open scores for artists by artists. An iterative practice continually re-performed like a musical score, Shift/Work Unlearning solicits autopoetic and generative workshop compositions that that do not require facilitation. This paper focuses on a workshop, initially composed in April 2014, that investigates the provocation of unlearning though a paragogy (Corneli 2011) wherein participants compose and play-test workshops for one another. Confronting “unlearning” is a ‘gesture that interrupts’ (Biesta 2017: 36); a MacGuffin that stimulates paragogic play with its other, manifesting participants’ different artistic learning expectations. Through performing each other’s unlearning workshops, participants gained metacognitive understanding of the roles of habit-memory, working-memory and play mechanics in scaffolding artistic practice. To date, there have been Shift/Work Unlearning iterations held in Scotland, Malmö (Sweden), Reykjavik (Iceland), Leeds (England), Kochi (India), Kristiansand (Norway) and Moscow (Russia). This report also draws on peer reviewed papers on Unlearning presented at Paradox: Alternative Zones: Uncovering the Official and the Unofficial in Fine Art Practice, Research and Education 2015 (The University of Arts Poznan, Poland), the 4th International Visual Methods Conference 2015 (Brighton University, England), International Teaching Artists Conference: Best, Next and Radical Practice in Participatory Arts (ITAC3) 2016 (University of Edinburgh, Scotland) and the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 2017 (University of Calgary and Mount Royal University, Canada).
Original languageEnglish
JournalVIS Nordic Journal for Artistic Research
Issue number5
Publication statusUnpublished - 16 Jul 2020
EventShift/Work: WorkshopWorkshop | Unlearning - Malmö Art Academy, Malmö, Sweden
Duration: 12 Sept 201414 Sept 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Paragogy
  • Unlearning
  • Memory
  • Habit
  • Habituation
  • Habitas
  • Practice
  • Contemporary Art
  • Play
  • Workshops
  • Studio
  • Anti-foundationalism
  • Foundationalism
  • Participatory Action Research
  • Visual Methods
  • New Ethnography


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