- Home Reconcling America
Lesson Outcomes: Students engage critical analytical skills to think about video art. They reflect on their lives and habits as both Americans and individuals though writing and discussion. Students attempt to represent themselves through a creative art project. See California Standards Covered list at the end of the lesson.
1. Ellen Lake’s videos or an internet connection to view The Rubber Band Ball on her website (under news at ellenlake.com)
2. Dina Danish’s videos or an internet connection to view All My Life I Had to Fit Cheese on Toast on YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xg120zPsS0)
3. DVD player (if showing dvd videos) 3. Pencil and paper for each student.
4. Art making materials: collage-making materials or drawing materials
Procedure: Video Viewing (Time: 10 minutes)
• View artist Ellen Lake’s five short documentary videos about people who have extraordinary collections of ordinary objects. (For teachers short on time, view The Rubber Band Ball) Discussion (Time: 10-20 minutes)
• Questions for discussion about Ellen Lake’s work:
1. What is going on in these videos? Can you describe the content in each? Why do you think Ellen Lake decided to make videos about people who collect things?
2. How is the style, or aesthetic, different in each video? Do you think that the aesthetic is a comment on the collector? The collections? How?
3. In Trina’s Collections, we never see Trina’s face. How does this effect the video? *
4. In Ian’s Collections, how does Ian define his collections? What does a “faith based” collection mean? How does this differ from Ann’s ideas about “collectors and hoarders” in Ann’s Hoard? *
5. Why do you think that the people in The Rubber Band Ball worked so hard on their creation?
6. Can you think of a reason that the collector in French Fries, chose fries as her item to collect? *
7. Is there something uniquely American about these collectors? Why or why not?
8. Let’s think about The Rubber Band Ball. Can you think of a thing that you use—and throw away—every day, or most days? If you saved everything you normally throw away for a year, how much space would it take up?
9. Can you think of an ordinary object that doesn’t seem valuable, but that you place a lot of importance on? Could you imagine being obsessed with it?
10. Can you think of an ordinary object that says something in particular about being American or some other aspect of who you are?
Writing Assignment (Time: 15 minutes) *
• You are a subject of one of Ellen Lake’s videos. Describe your collection. Video Viewing (Time: 2 minutes)
• View artist Dina Danish’s video, All My Life I Had to Fit Cheese on Toast, of sandwich making. Dina is originally from Egypt and is reflecting on the difference between what she thought America would be like and what her experience has been since she arrived here. Discussion (Time: 10 minutes)
• Questions for discussion about Dina Danish’s work:
1. Why is this artist making sandwiches out of these objects?
2. In her statement, Danish writes, objects at Walgreen’s seem to have a specific function. What happens when I only buy all the objects that are the same size as toast? What is the purpose of this experiment?
3. Why is the screen split in to four? What effect does that have on you, the viewers? * 4. Think about the objects we talked about with The Rubber Band Ball—objects that we may use (or consume, like a sandwich). Which ones would you make your sandwich out of? Hands-on Art Activity (Time: 10-20 minutes)
• Now students create their own food from everyday objects. Suggestions:
1. Make a pizza with toppings from your life. Maybe the more important objects take up more space?
2. Make a collage sandwich. Cut out objects representative of your every-day self. Are some of them condiments? Are others the main-filling?
3. Is there a performance quality to your food? Do you want to show the class how you assemble your sandwich? Should there be certain music in the background? Would you cut up your screen like Danish?
Plan your own performance food.
More resources for teachers:
www.ellenlake.com, from news, a downloadable video All My Life I Had To Fit Cheese on Toast at www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xg120zPsS0
California Standards Addressed: Visual and Performing Arts:Visual Arts Content Standards
1.0 ARTISTIC PERCEPTION
Students perceive and respond to works of art, objects in nature, events, and their environment. They also use the vocabulary of the visual arts to express their observations. Develop Perceptual Skills and Visual Arts Vocabulary
1.1 Grade Six: Identify and describe all the elements found in selected works of art (e.g. color, shape/form, line, texture, space, value).
1.1 Grade Seven: Describe the environment and selected works of art, using the elements of art and the principles of design.
1.1 Grade Eight: Use artistic terms when describing the intent and content of works of art.
1.2 Grade Six: Discuss works of art as to theme, genre, style, idea, and differences in media.
1.2 Grade Seven: Identify and describe scale (proportion) as applied to two-dimensional and three-dimensional works of art.
1.2 Grade Eight: Analyze and justify how their artistic choices contribute to the expressive quality of their own works of art.
1.3 Grade Six: Describe how artists can show the same theme by using different media and styles.
1.3 Grade Seven: Identify and describe the ways in which artists convey the illusion of space (e.g., placement, overlapping, relative size, atmospheric perspective, and linear perspective).
1.3 Grade Eight: Analyze the use of the elements of art and the principles of design as they relate to meaning in video, video, or electronic media.
2.0 CREATIVE EXPRESSION
Students apply artistic processes and skills, using a variety of media to communicate meaning and intent in original works of art. Skills, Processes, Materials, and Tools
2.1 Grade Six: Use various observational drawing skills to depict a variety of subject matter. 2.2 Grade Six: Apply the rules of two-point perspective in creating a thematic work of art.
2.2 Grade Seven: Use different forms of perspective to show the illusion of depth on a two-dimensional surface
2.3 Grade Six: Create a drawing, using varying tints, shades, and intensities.
2.3 Grade Seven: Develop skill in using mixed media while guided by a selected principle of design. Communication and Expression Through Original Works of Art
2.5 Grade Six: Select specific media and processes to express moods, feelings, themes, or ideas.
2.5 Grade Seven: Interpret reality and fantasy in original two-dimensional and three-dimensional works of art.
2.5 Grade Eight: Select a medium to use to communicate a theme in a series of works of art.
4.0 AESTHETIC VALUING
Students analyze, assess, and derive meaning from works of art, including their own, according to the elements of art, the principles of design, and aesthetic qualities. Derive Meaning
4.1 Grade Six: Construct and describe plausible interpretations of what they perceive in works of art.
4.1 Grade Seven: Explain the intent of a personal work of art and draw possible parallels between it and the work of a recognized artist.
4.1 Grade Eight: Define their own points of view and investigate the effects on their interpretation of art from cultures other than their own.
4.2 Grade Six: Identify and describe ways in which their culture is being reflected in current works of art.
4.2 Grade Seven: Analyze the form (how a work of art looks) and content (what a work of art communicates) of works of art.
4.2 Grade Eight: Develop a theory about the artist's intent in a series of works of art, using reasoned statements to support personal opinions. Make Informed Judgments
4.3 Grade Six: Develop specific criteria as individuals or in groups to assess and critique works of art.
4.3 Grade Seven: Take an active part in a small-group discussion about the artistic value of specific works of art, with a wide range of the viewpoints of peers being considered.
4.3 Grade Eight: Construct an interpretation of a work of art based on the form and content of the work.