The Popwalk app has been used in art and art history instruction in many ways. It is a powerful tool for helping art students to understand principles of art and site-specificity. We have received a lot of questions from instructors about how Popwalk might be used in this setting. We have made a broad list of potential themes or ideas that might be employed for developing assignments that use Popwalk in (well, out of) the classroom. So here is a list of ideas to help you develop class projects using Popwalk:
Teaching a lesson on site
First we must distinguish one important idea on this list: who makes the content. Popwalk can be used by the instructor, to leave instruction on site. This kind of learning happens most effectively when the course information being taught has resources for instruction that are available for students to go to within geographic proximity to the classroom. The students, as part of the curriculum, would be asked to go see the instructional materials (the Popwalk video) onsite. The instructional materials would need to connect with the site and be enriched by being taught at that location.
Here is an example. In this video, the instructor teaches a lesson about drawing that is best taught on location. This video is found at the bridge, Ponte Sant’Angelo in Rome, Italy.
Popwalk can be used by the instructor to leave instruction on-site, but but also consider how Popwalk can be used as part of the student’s work, to create their own Popwalk video. In this case, there are probably many different ways to form these kind of assignments.
Record a performance
Performance art often takes into account the architecture, situation, audience, and environment of the performance. The Flatlands Dance Company performed such a work in the Arts District in Lubbock, Texas
In this performance, audience unwittingly become participant. This performance to be seen in the original location through the Popwalk app. When viewed on Popwalk, it can charge the architecture with meaning of the event that occured there.
Give a Voice to the Location
The idea of giving a voice to a location is a way to address the peculiarities, history, or culture of a site. There are layers of meaning that exist in any location, and often these layers are waiting to be vocalized. This video, by Heather Warren-Crow, gives a voice to an ATM machine inside a bank, and is located a inside a bank. An interesting trend in technological innovation is intorduced, leaving us to wonder at the layers of culture in the simple financial transaction.
Instruction to move through a location
The way that we move through a location may be just as important to our experience of a place as any other aspect of that location. By creating a set of instructions for how a person might move through a space, we are creating notes for a happening that might take place at any time. Here is an example by the artist Carlos Lewis of instructions on how to move through the Glade theater on the campus of Texas State University.
Abstract impression of a Location
The aesthetics of any location can be an inspiration for a work that will then reinterpret, reconstruct, or contectualize those aesthetics in a new way. The reasons behind such aesthetic recontextualization could be many. In this video, by Alberto Sosa, interprets the location through a lens of music, paying homage to the lived experience of this place in suburban Houston.
These are just a few broad suggestions for ways that Popwalk might be used as a tool for helping students to understand and make work within site-specific contexts. The advantage and power of this tool is its ability to exhibit video work in just about any location.
If you are thinking of developing a course project, we invite you to contact us with questions about how this might be incorporated into your curriculum and pedagogy.