In using One Word Images, Elena Overvold in Portland has found that imagination and reality – harsh, real reality – intersect. It only reinforces my belief that is growing ever-stronger that in using images that are generated by the imaginations of the people in the room, we open our classes up to more reality. Think about it: In inviting imagination and fantasy into our classes, we actually open the space for more reality. In Elena’s class the other day, she was working with a OWI of a small, cracked, empty, black teacup who was sad. Why was the teacup sad? A Black student in class said, “He does not want to be black.” Oh my! A Novice class dipping into racial identity and feelings about color!
Similar depth of the human experience has been reported from Kathrin in Germany. Her classes created an image of a bunny who looks cute but is actually very dangerous. In Tina’s class, a student suggested that the class do an image of a machete who is actually quite a nice person inside but just looks scary and dangerous. These, too, are real questions of appearance and identity and how we appear to the world.
I am very hopeful that basing our classes upon students’ ideas and imaginations and the images that spring out of them will bring more reality and depth to our work.