Teaching Ai Wei Wei & the 9/11 Cheeseboard

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This term I’ve been teaching Visual Media & Archaeology, a class conceived by Sara Perry–I’m covering her teaching while she is on research leave in Egypt. It has been tough, as I did not have time to prep the class beforehand and I’ve been writing the lectures from scratch. But it has also been great to revisit a lot of my thesis material though, and gather my thoughts regarding topics such as Art & Archaeology in a more formal way.

I am happy to get back to teaching though, as have been primarily focussed on research for the last several years. The students have been fantastic–very smart, engaged and disturbingly keen.

I’ve enjoyed bringing up all the weird, interesting, fun and downright disturbing things that I have found over the years in visual representations in archaeology and have the students discuss them. Ai Wei Wei and his ill-treatment of Han pottery caused a fairly passionate discussion, particularly when I mentioned that it was worth more (in terms of money) after he broke the vases. I let that debate die down a bit, then (trying my hardest not to cackle or rub my hands together in a sinister way) brought up Maximo Caminero’s subsequent “vandalism” of an Ai Wei Wei exhibition.

During the Museums lecture, I brought this image up in a slide:

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Yes, we debated the 9/11 Cheese Board. What is the appropriate commodification of memory? The cries of dismay were fabulous.

So while it has been hard work, I’ve been having a lot of fun. For their final projects, the students have been getting together blog/portfolios featuring their work. Please check them out! They are really chuffed by page clicks and feedback:

How the Past Met the Present: A Story of Augmented Reality and Heritage:
https://pastmeetspresentblog.wordpress.com/

Archaeology TV:
http://archaeologyteevee.tumblr.com/

Drawn into the Past:
https://drawnintothepast.wordpress.com/

Art & Religion in Prehistory:
https://aysilneeson.wordpress.com/

Feeding Venice/Get Sidetracked:
https://zack-ferritto-goodall.squarespace.com/

Awesome Archaeology Women:
http://awesomearchwomen.tumblr.com

Plants and Animals “of the Home”:
https://plantandanimaldomestication.wordpress.com/

The Heritage Sight:
https://theheritagesight.wordpress.com/

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