Varför? (Sätt örat mot marken och berätta vad du hör)
26 november–11 december 2022
Konst i förskolan (art in the preschool) is one of Sweden's largest exhibition projects by and for children. The project has been carried out by Konsthall C since 2011 together with Farsta District.. Workshops are held for preschool staff and children's groups, and an exhibition is created by, with and for the children. Every year, Art in preschool involves about 1,000 children, of which 500 are artists. The aim of the project is to inspire the preschool in finding new ways of looking at and thinking about contemporary art and pedagogy and give children an early encounter with the role of artist.
The projects are thematically linked to the art gallery's artistic program and Konsthall C's artistic director Ulrika Flink chose to invite the artist Gabo Camnitzer this year. Camnitzer, who has long worked with art and children in various ways in his practice, has developed the project Varför? (Sätt örat mot marken och berätta vad du hör). The project celebrates children's curiosity, the ability to think independently and not least the question Why.
The starting point for the project is the fairy tale Warum? (1922) written by the pioneering Austrian author Hermynia Zur Mühlen (1883-1951) who was a tireless fighter against all forms of social injustice. The protagonist of the story is a curious orphan named Paul. Paul can't help but ask why? some things are as they are in the world. But everyone he meets dismisses his questions. One day he comes across a nymph in a birch forest. The forest nymph tells Paul that he is not the only one asking such difficult questions, and asks him to keep his ear to the ground. As Paul does so, he begins to hear voices from around the world asking why?
In the exhibition, we hear the story read aloud, through the earth, we meet children's voices and can take part in the dilemmas they have taken a stand on. This year's project challenges the conventions of what an exhibition of children can be, in that the main material is sound that carries the children's own thoughts.
26/11 at 12–17:
Opening with workshops for the whole family
14:00 Conversation with Gabo Camnitzer and Liza Haglund, researcher in educational science at Södertörn University
26 Nov, 4 Dec, 10 Dec and 11 Dec:
Why workshops for the whole family between 1pm and 4pm
30/11 at 14:30–16:
Behind the scenes show for people who work with children and/or art. Please register at firstname.lastname@example.org
The purpose of the project: Varför? (Sätt örat mot marken och berätta vad du hör) is to make children's voices heard in the preschool and art rooms. The project is part of Farsta preschool's overall theme - Children's voices in a sustainable Farsta.
What Camnitzer introduces in his project is active listening from adults, to leave room for children's ability to use their own voice and question the statements of adults, as a step in developing their own thinking. Gabo Camnitzer believes that we need to rethink children's place in society and the power relationship between adults and children.
For this project, Gabo Camnitzer uses methods from the educational orientation Philosophy for Children (P4C) which aims to facilitate children to develop philosophical reasoning and question their everyday experiences and environments.
Based on P4C, he created a workshop that puts children's thinking at the center. During workshops in the preschool, the children had the opportunity to take a stand on various dilemmas with the story Why as a starting point, and jointly reason about the alternatives and ask their own Why questions. The children's questions were recorded and form the basis of the exhibition Varför? (Sätt örat mot marken och berätta vad du hör).
In the exhibition, we hear the story read aloud, through the earth, we meet children's voices and can take part in the dilemmas they have taken a stand on. If your own why-questions come up, there is an opportunity to step into a radio studio and record them. The children's voices are then broadcast on local radio all over Hökarängen. This year's project challenges the conventions of what an exhibition of children can be, in that the main material is sound that carries the children's own thoughts.
Gabo Camnitzer is an artist and educator who works with experimental learning, installation and video. He makes art about education and the exchange of knowledge, often using ideas about childhood to examine how the society we live in shapes our view of ourselves and the world. He currently resides in New York, where he is Visiting Artist at the Queens Museum and Assistant Professor of Social Practice and Director of the Foundations Program at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Art pedagogues: Birgitta Adolfsson and Malin Dahlberg
Artistic director: Ulrika Flink
Managing director: Erik Annerborn
Technicians: Lisa Trogen Devgun and Mark Frygell
Consultant in Philosophy for Children: Liza Haglund
Thanks to all participating preschool departments with talented staff, Farsta district administration and culture secretary Marie Ehrenbåge.