As I was tidying up today, I came across a paper and presentation I wrote for Semiosalong back in 2014. The paper is a collection of interviews from people who have shared their thoughts on failure and error. Click here to hear and see more.
"Semiosalong is an ongoing biweekly salon style afterhours semiotic meetingplace. Semiosalong on Eesti Semiootika Seltsi egiidi all tegutsev mitteformaalne seminarisari, kus rakendatakse semiootilist analüüsimeetodit erinevatele maailma nähtustele ning tähistatakse seda, kui äge on semiootika." semiootika.ee/uritused/semiosalongid/semiosalong-2011-2015/
The book Sõbralik semiootika (editors Piret Karro and Kristin Orav) contains the texts of twenty-two Semiosalong lecturers, which are divided into three topics: art, culture and literature, and error, the latter according to special seminars on ERROR held in Tallinn in 2014. The collection includes articles from lecturers from the very first season in 2011 as well as from all the intermediate ones until this year, when regular and extraordinary seminars took place in Tartu and Tallinn. To purchase this book, click here.
Excerpt from my chapter:
The difference between an error and failure can be seen playfully. Generally, in games we first lose points before we lose the game. In this sense, errors are a sum of the whole. Sometimes they can be viewed as tiny setbacks or if you’re lucky as a free pass. These mistakes count just as much as any other loss and tally up depending on the point system, but the damage depends on the players and rules of the game.
What is an error?
Christian Graupner (Artist): An error is when something went wrong. Failure sounds more absolute, dead-end like. An error is a part of the creative process.
Therese Bogan (Therapist): I feel an error is small and it’s really an opportunity for adjustment.
Giorgio Convertito (Dancer and Dance maker): Most dance choreography is success-based: the movements, the spatial organization and the timing are often so precise that the possibility for error is very high. Basically, dancers are set-up for failure. On top of that there are technical errors always looming, in the form of music or light cue not being executed at the right time.
Setting yourself up for failure and being open to errors relieves the pressure for perfection or even mild success, for that matter. But I can’t help but think why are we going through all this trouble? Who’s being failed? I suppose we can fail ourselves, our audience, and what we think we have failed from the public’s perspective. If it’s all from subjective view then what if they didn’t know we made a mistake? Like a mask, we hide our errors and hope that nobody notices. Mishaps and boo-boos are bound to happen. Yes, they may have disappointed you, but on the other hand that’s how the cookie crumbled. The advantage is that no one will know it’s a mistake because you are the creator of your world. So why not befriend the enemy and incorporate errors into the plan?
From this angle, it looks ok:
Wambui Njuguna (Ashtanga Yoga teacher): Well, anytime someone needs a 'prop' to get into the pose. For example, in the first pose of the second series, pasasana, some people cannot put their heels to the floor due to stiffness, age or body type. So they put a rolled up mat or towel under the heels in order to balance in the pose. Is this failure or an ongoing error?
Anu: Laughter Yoga is based on the fact that fake laughter is just as good as real laughter so therefore I can't really think of laughter as failure nor error.
If failure is understood and gauged by a set of criteria for success and its parameters then perhaps we should try to inch our way towards not having any expectations. Another option would be to create a pre-emptive strike and set our selves up for failure. Here is a suggested guideline for that:
1. Think of what would be the ideal situation for whatever you are trying to achieve or are going through at the moment.
2. Point out major and minor elements of the story.
3. Now exchange those parts with what you think would be the opposite of the ideal. I recommend playing around with how wretched and horrifying you imagine your nightmare to be.
I wonder how I would approach failure and error these days, but I know that what I did back then got me here, which I'm quite happy at this very moment. With that said, I continue to welcome and be grateful all the mistakes and hiccups that I have made along the way.
Very excited to announce that our article, Process as the medium for socially engaged art, has been published in IMAG#7! Big thanks to InSEA and the editorial team- Ângela Saldanha, Bernadette Thomas and Teresa Torres de Eça.
"IMAG number 7 presents a collage of different essays created by InSEA members. When we initiated this issue we wanted to make visible the diverse range of art education practices in formal and non-formal settings and to invite the readers to engage in a visual journey; a process of ‘encountering others’. There is no filter on what should or should not constitute art education. Rather, here we have a mosaic of approaches; of ways of making and ways of understanding the role of art education in the schools, museums; universities and communities. We travel according to the last InSEA roads through the encounters generated during InSEA seminars and congresses. The journal opens with a story told by Steve Willis, current Vice President of InSEA, where he shares impressions, feelings and thoughts about his experience during the InSEA seminar in Walvis Bay, Namibia (Encounters with Otherness to achieve Knowingness).
As our journey continues, the reader meets Korinna Korsström Maggatröm-Magga (North Calling); Anastasia Artemeva and Arlene Tucker (Process as the medium for socially engaged art); Phivi Antoniou (Cyprus) and Dina Adel Hassan (Egypt). The northern authors reveal community art practices and social engaged intercultural projects in Finland and Russia. In the same section a different encounter invites the reader to learn about other socially engaged art education experiments in Alexandria, Egypt, with Dina Adel Hassan who describes using images, an experience conducted with Children at Risk in Egypt."
Download The full ISSUE ( PDF 17,9 MB) or individual chapters.
Otherness as a Form of Knowingness
Process as the medium for socially engaged art
Anastasia Artemeva and Arlene Tucker
Field Experiments in Visual Arts: Children at Risk, Homeless Children
Dina Adel Hassan
People, Stories and Histories of Strovolos III – Public art, social engagement and situational practices
The past in the present
Educating through design | Eduquer par le design: Naissance d’un club de design
Maktab Gammarth Toursom
Myriam Errais Borges
Elisavet Konstantinidou & Eva Pavlidou
Exploring artistic and cultural identity through an
art curriculum unit
Pensar, espacio, piel. Un ensayo visual desde nuestra experiencia como a/r/tógrafas. | To think,
space, skin.A visual essay from our experience as a/r/tographers.
María Martínez Morales; María Isabel Moreno
Montoro and Nuria López Pérez
“Art Lab x Kids: art as an instrument for discovery
and knowledge”: a visual literacy Project
Arlene Tucker is an artist and educator currently based in Joutsa, Finland.