Tuesday, September 8, 2015

First day of school and the Assemblage

Good morning lovely teachers,

I'm thinking of you on this first day of school. How quickly this first day comes around again.

As I hear back from you about your participation in the group this year, I've begun to think of our group as an assemblage - an open-ended collective, a non-totalizable sum, that has a vital force as each member makes a contribution to the group. These ideas are taken up by Jane Bennett in her book Vibrant Matter.  This concept of the assemblage is a productive way for us to conceive of our collective efforts together. The assemblage has a distinctive history of formation and usually has a finite life span according to Bennett. 

Assemblages are not governed by a central head. The "effects generated by an assemblage are emergent properties, emergent in that their ability to make something happen is distinct from the sum of the vital force of each materiality considered alone." (p. 24).  When we talk about materiality here, we are thinking about you, your students, and the materials in the art room as active forces that play off of each other. 

As a learning community/assemblage, we come together to act and make contributions toward something larger than our individual selves. I will continue to talk about these ideas on the blog and in our gatherings. This is a weighty good morning but why not start the school year off with some philosophical images and thoughts?

I'm thinking of you on this day and thinking about what we can be together as an assemblage.

Best wishes,


Lee Bontecou, Untitled,  the concept of non-totalizable sums

The concept of no recognizable central head
The possibility of emergence with no clear beginning or end

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