Historically, industrialisation triggered the end of craft and design that in turn divided the makers from the thinkers. Modernism allowed this transition. As a result it made the concept of an arts education complicated. With Modernism ruling the market, a college education dominated this thinking, allowing years of psychological self regard to reaffirm the individual but unfortunately created a hermeticism that disconnected us from lower Middle Class/Working class America/UK, making education suspect and irrelevant.
The artworld retreated thinking of itself as superior, believing that it could survive through the private sector. And the private sector somehow conquered the education market, with university colleges costing more than $40,000 a year. This fact alongside a turbulent job market makes the choice to attend higher education a difficult decision that continues to help maintain the inequalities that burden our society
Bois Groys suggested in a text concerning art education that an arts education today, specifically, has no definite goal, no method and no particular content that the students can be taught. In a liberal arts education the student tends to make or research work that gives them hope in revealing the struggles of modern day life in an attempt to positively change their landscape with socially charged work. This “change” rarely can be achieved through a private educational sector, but rather we should leave the capitalistic institution and to go into the community itself and heal the world from there.
Structures do not take to the streets”
“It is never structures that make history; it is men.” – Goldmann
There is a pleasure in taking part in a counter-education, a splinter to the institution, to bask just in the love of learning. It makes me feel like I am back in the late 60’s, where revolutionary hope tinges the air.
But more interestingly so is the actuality of the existence of counter-educational institutions. Why do they exist? Why aren’t there more of them? Why don’t we know of them in an everyday sense? Do these splinter-educational institutions teach better than the official educational institutions? And where exactly do they get their funding from? These are all the type of questions that plague our minds.
We think of institutional critique when we think of alternative education. Institutions, in a word—transcends into assuming great political divides that lay in between anticapitalism and antisocialism being only the most obvious. Institutions were understood to be the means by which authority exercised itself and were thus by deﬁnition—regardless of the politics of the institution in question—the embodiment of conservation and constriction, of untruth and unfreedom, of illegitimate authority.
The principle of institutionality itself reverts back to the heart of the bourgeois. We can see historically the resentment of institutions from 1968. Blake Stimson in his introduction of his book institutional critique suggests that “That dream of becoming social, becoming institutional, of becoming governmental in its larger (pre- Foucauldian, pretendance Groucho) sense, ultimately, was also always the dream of becoming human, of self- realization”
Meaning, as humanity we always strive to find or be something bigger than ourselves, thus when we become part of an assembly line, a party, a class, an institution—as the original Karl Marx famously said, “he strips off the fetters of his individuality, and develops the capabilities of his species”
What is interesting, however, are institutions that are set up to be reactionary to the institutions before them.
How counter institutions are more genuine? What makes them less like the other institutions?
Some people throughout Chicago, the US and Europe have used their frustrations with institutions to good and created their own “institutions” to educate the people for free, with relevant content, for real ‘learning’.