in an Effort to Re-Examine Process in Glass Flux
Content in this issue is motivated by the theme of PROCESS and examines the role of "being at work" as an artful gesture in and of itself . For this issue I wanted to highlight the "Glass Flux" project facilitated by Hyperopia Projects during the Fall of 2018. Members of the group had invited various degree-earning glass programs around the world to participate in a series of experimental exercises in the hot shop as part of a research project. The exercises were asked to be documented and submitted to the group in order for them to assess and present at the 2019 Strattman Lecture during the Glass Art Society Conference hosted in Florida this past March. This issue of GASnews was originally proposed to publish during the dates of the Conference. In turn, I saw this piece as an opportunity to promote and advertise the Hyperopia Projects' lecture in addition to fitting within the issue's focal point on PROCESS.
Below is the draft I submitted to my Editor in its full, unedited version to serve as supplemental material to what is seen in the Spring 2019 issue of GASnews:
In fact, the 2019 Wayne Strattman Critical Dialogue Lecture at the St. Petersburg Conference promises to specifically address the topic of redirection, risk and discovery as it relates to process within educational programming. The collaborative alliance of Hyperopia Projects once again has been selected to present the 2019 Strattman Lecture titled “Glass Flux: Disrupting Craft.” In their presentation, Hyperopia members C. Matthew Szösz (independent artist), Kim Harty (artist and Assistant Professor and Section Head of Glass at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan) and Sean Salstrom (artist and Assistant Professor of Glass at the Rhode Island School of Design, Term Replacement) will address the development and findings of Glass Flux, a hot shop process-based educational intervention facilitated over the past academic year.
Secondly, Hyperopia is recognizing a pattern in how artists engage the hot shop, whether their practice resides in the experimental or seeks proficiency in blowing glass. Regardless of whether the end of the slot culminates in the vessel or a hot mess, both camps of practice are in love with their respective approaches to process. It’s the activity - the creative engagement of “doing” - that Hyperopia takes interest in as an artful gesture on its own.
“We are hoping to generate a bit of synergy between these two notions,” states Hyperopia. “To take the idea that the core of a practice may be the physical act of making and marry it with intellectual strategies that employ physicality, experimentation and improvisation to drive creativity.”
Aimed at students within college programming, Hyperopia reached out to various educational entities across the globe in the Fall of 2018 to seek Glass Flux participants. For those who agreed, Hyperopia distributed a pamphlet of 29 instructional activities, scores, games, recipes and exercises for the hot shop that were based on spontaneity, obstruction, ambiguity and/or limitation for student participants to choose from.
Some options within the Glass Flux pamphlet extend from historical sources of improvised creation such as “Alarm Clock”, adapted from A Book of Surrealist Games. An option where players set a stopwatch to a random time, tasked to create something within that time and, when the stop watch goes off, players then attaching their improvised piece to one another’s in an equally unscripted manner.
Other options were adapted from a contemporary glass artist’s approach to the unorthodox such as “Reassemble”, a nod to Peter Ivy. A task asking participants to blow a two-gather tumbler as large as possible and to then forego annealing it. To let it deconstruct before them after its making and then go about re-assembling the fractured object using strictly mechanical means.
And some options in the pamphlet were created by Hyperopia Projects themselves, such as “Predicament.” A hot shop challenge asking players to essentially join all hot-working tools together on a large key ring and to devise a way to still use them - amidst the complication and interference of all the other attached tools - in the making of a hot glass thing.
The spectrum of risk and restriction within the Glass Flux pamphlet of process-based challenges are incredibly diverse. Exploratory ventures that students were not only asked to engage in, but to record and document in whatever means necessary. Participants were then asked to submit their documented experiences back to Hyperopia through an online submission process; findings that will be gathered, assessed and presented by Hyperopia as the 2019 Strattman Lecture at the upcoming Conference.
“We are hoping that [Glass Flux] might be associated with a discussion of how making happens, how do we define creativity, what the relationship of artist to process [is],” adds Hyperopia. “We are also hoping to expose students to activities that may cause them to examine their values in the hot shop setting, their approach to making, or help to free them from the constraints that formal ideas of success may have placed upon their creativity.”
Join members of Hyperopia Projects in St. Petersburg as they unpack what’s been discovered in the experimental intervention of Glass Flux from glass programs all around the world on Saturday, March 30th.
Glass at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York.