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Being at the edge of landscape : sense of place and pedagogy Pente, Patti Vera

Abstract

This study is an experiment in landscape art where artists put large pieces of fabric in personally significant places to be marked by the land. Landscape art is a site of power that can challenge embedded assumptions regarding national identity within tensions among local, national, and global scales. This research ruptures the Canadian myth of wilderness nation through the creation of an alternative landscape art that is informed by a theoretical discourse on the threshold as a site of difference and of learning. Inspired by the creative processes of the participating artists, Peter von Tiesenhausen, Pat Beaton, and Robert Dmytruk, I consider pedagogical implications for art education when pedagogy is structured on the powerful premise that learning is an uncertain, relational, and continual process. Using my understanding of the methodology of a/r/tography, I create and poetically analyze art that offers opportunities for personal reflection into the nature of transformative educational practices. This form of arts-based research is influenced by the notion of assemblage, as presented by Deleuze and Guattari (1984), as well as practices of narrative, action research, and autoethnography, all of which echo the research method of currere (Pinar & Grumet, 1976). Within a/r/tography, image and text are creatively juxtaposed to inspire new understandings about the pedagogical thresholds among my roles of artist, researcher, and teacher. Arguing that social change must begin from a personal awareness of one's tacit values, I posit that a/r/tography can be an educational opening into reflection of such values due to the embodied, personal nature of art-making. Through a philosophical discussion of subjectivity and community following the work of Jean-Luc Nancy and Jacque Derrida, I take the participants' and my local, significant places as sites from which to reverse the binary of landscape and artist, following an artistic version of deconstruction. From this a/r/tographical inquiry into elements of the land that serve as structural and heuristic supports, I critique the neoliberal subject position within nationalism, education, and landscape art. I draw on understandings of identity as theorized and performed from the premise that it, like learning, is an unpredictable, relational activity of emergence that is alway slocated on the threshold of difference between one person and another. Thus, I examine the educational, ontological, and social importance of what it means to exist within community in the land. In doing so, I raise questions regarding the normative structures of our educational institutions and suggest that social transformation could begin through art practices as a creative form of pedagogy.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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