Pedro Sorto, Research Coordinator, Universidad Dr. Jose Matias Delgado
This project attempts to analyze the curricular application of a performative art and visual culture education model. Based on Judith Butler’s concepts of performativity, this model suggests that the critique and self-production of visual culture and design, and the language in it, have formerly contributed to the transformation of pejorative words into identity terms (e.g. ‘queer’). Likewise, the redefining of terms can influence popular culture, enhancing the social and performative power of public pedagogy. Such power, infused with Paulo Freire’s vision of language as the only means to develop people’s voice, can help discriminated communities in their fight for freedom.
The first curriculum under this model followed the wayfinding approach for curriculum design, created by Lynn Beudert and Marissa McClure, which includes the definition of six elements: pre-history, research, project hypothesis, learning pathways, documentation and assessment, and reflection. The pathways in the initial design, implemented with a group of LGBTQ participants in Tucson, Arizona, encouraged them to critically analyze the used, disused, and misused LGBTQ-related language in their contexts in order to produce pieces of different forms of street art, which, as part of their visual culture, helped to vent feelings, reclaim meanings, and transform definitions.
Although the original implementation promoted critical thinking and produced original designs, in terms of performativity, more applications are necessary to analyse impact. From an action research perspective, it is advisable to design a new version of the curriculum adaptable to different contexts, contents and media. Therefore, this project calls for design and art educators around the world to implement this curriculum design within their own communities and LGBTQ participants. As more and varied curricular implementations are developed, more qualitative data will be collected to analyze the bilateral relation between language performativity and visual culture.