Super Humans, July 2017

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An installation art project with sixty Year 3 children, inspired by British Sculptor and Artist Cornelia Parker.

Super Humans was a term-long project in collaboration with three Year 3 teachers and sixty Year 3 children at Alexandra School in Kingston. Coinciding with their summer term topic Super Humans, I taught the year group about installation art and specifically the work of British artist, Cornelia Parker.

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Inspired by Parker's extraordinary creative processes - including exploding a shed for Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View (1991) and crushing pieces of silver with a steam-roller for the piece, Thirty Pieces of Silver (1989) - the students and I decided to create two art installations for the International Youth Arts Festival. The students wrote a submission to the festival and got in.

The first installation was an exploding sculpture of found, broken, crushed and painted objects. Students scouted their school grounds for objects that were either broken or heading to landfill. Taking advantage of construction work going on at the school at the time I arranged with the foreman for a group of children to come on site, wear safety gear and hardhats, and watch chosen objects be crushed by a digger, similarly as Parker did by steamrolling pieces of silver. Found objects ranged from a rusty school chair, plastic pipe ducts, wooden cable drums, a broken spade, a flattened silver sieve, a one-armed dinosaur and a burst basketball.

I then led two workshops for the sixty children to each select an object and paint it in the style of American painter Jackson Pollock and in the colours of Yayoi Kusama's Obliteration Room. Once dry, all the objects went to the Rose Theatre, had holes drilled in them and were strung up under the staircase in the cafe using shark-strong fishing wire. The explosive installation opened in the Rose Theatre Cafe in Kingston, as part of the 9th International Youth Arts Festival.