Learning
do it (australia)

Engage with do it (australia) and explore groundbreaking contemporary art with these learning resources, designed for use at home or in class.

Each resource introduces key themes from conceptual art practice through hands-on activities and prompts for discussion and research, aimed at students of all levels.

New downloadable resources will be posted each week from 13–27 May 2020.

Lesson 1

Do...what? Instructions as artwork

To launch do it (australia), we look at the history of do it, investigate the use of instructions as an artistic medium, and reflect on the role of the audience in interpreting the artist's work.

Watch

Watch do it (short), a short animated video on the history of do it. (Duration: 5:03 mins).

React

After watching the video, write down your immediate response to this question, in 5 words or less: Where is the artwork?

Do it

  1. Read carefully through the artists’ instructions from do it (australia).
  2. Choose at least one instruction, and enact it as precisely and thoughtfully as you can.
  3. Document your interpretation of the instruction, using whatever medium you like.
  4. Ask your friends and/or family to enact and document the same instruction.
    Hint: Let them interpret the instruction in their own way. There’s no right or wrong!
  5. Ask your friend/s or family member/s to share their documentation with you, and ask their permission to share with other people.
  6. Collate all the documentation, using whatever format you prefer.
  7. Repeat the process with a different instruction.

Reflect

  • Why did you choose that specific instruction? Where did you enact it, and at what time? Were there specific reasons for your choices of time and place?
  • Think back to when you first read the instruction, and imagined acting it out. How did this compare to physically enacting it? What changed in the process? What was unexpected?
  • Look carefully at all the different responses that you have gathered. Compare your version to your friends or family’s version/s. What do you notice?

Lesson 2

Rules of the game: Language and text in art

Artists often use language and text to communicate ideas. But is the idea of an artwork more important than the end result? What happens in the process of translating or realising these ideas?

Watch

Watch the video documentation of John Baldessari’s Thirteen Colorful Inside Jobs, 2013, from Kaldor Public Art Project 27: 13 Rooms, which shows a team of painters carefully following the artist’s instructions. (Silent, duration 1:13 minutes)

React

After watching the video, try to imagine that this artwork is like a recipe.

Brainstorm a list of ingredients required to make the artwork (including people).

Do it

  1. Find examples of written instructions or rules from everyday life – such as recipes, IKEA assembly guides, sports rules, road signs, government regulations, or school rules.
  2. Look closely at the language that is used to communicate these rules.
  3. Take a sheet of paper. Write 10 examples of verbs that you find in your everyday rules. (These can be positive or negative, eg. “Throw” or “Do not park”). Cut out each verb, and place these pieces of paper in a container.
  4. Write down 10 nouns that you find in the rules. (These can be things or people, eg. “cucumber” or “teachers”). Cut out each noun, and place in another container.
  5. Write 10 measurements that you find in the rules. (These can be measurements of time, distance or quantities. They can be precise or descriptive, eg. “5cm” or “until golden brown”). Cut out each measurement, and place in a third container.
  6. Pick one piece of paper from each container in order – verb, noun, measurement. What do you find?
  7. Shuffle the papers in each container, and pick another verb, noun and measurement. What new combinations can you make?
  8. Can you act out these new instructions that you have created? Can you add illustrations or diagrams?

Reflect

  • What do you notice about the language used to convey instructions and rules? Who are the “authors” of these rules? How do they convey authority or expertise?
  • What happens when you shift that language into a different context? How might these shifts affect the audience’s perception of authority and expertise?

Lesson 3

Not a sprint, but a marathon: Time and space

do it is the longest-running exhibition in the world. But what is an “open-ended” exhibition? Can an artwork be repeated in multiple locations, by different people, at different times?

Watch

Watch Counting Rice Exercise, a short animated video by the Marina Abramović Institute. (Duration: 1:12 mins).

This video illustrates one of several exercises created by artist Marina Abramović, which aim to develop patience, concentration, self-control and willpower.

React

After watching the video, write down a list of 5 words to describe your immediate reaction: How would you feel doing this exercise?

Do it

  1. For this activity, you will start by working alone, then exchange work with a partner.
  2. Choose a simple everyday action, such as walking in a straight line, brushing your teeth, or opening a drink bottle.
  3. Perform this action as quietly and slowly as possible, with complete focus.
  4. Pay attention to your senses as you perform the action. If you are holding an object, how does it feel in your hand? How does weight shift as you move? What sounds do you notice?
  5. Repeat the action 10 times without stopping. Try timing yourself with a stopwatch or phone.
  6. Write a set of instructions for this everyday action. Be as detailed and specific as possible.
  7. Swap instructions with your partner, and follow each other’s instructions as closely as possible.

Reflect

  • How did it feel to give so much attention to an everyday action? What did you notice?
  • What was the effect of repetition? What happened to your movements?
  • What emotions did you feel? Did you become more aware of different senses, such as touch or smell? More aware of your breathing?
  • Was there a difference between your sense of time and the actual time passing?
  • What happened when you swapped with your partner? Did it have the same effect? Was your interpretation the same as your partner’s? Discuss the reasons for these differences.
Learning
do it (australia)

Supporters

Bloomberg Philanthropies is committed to supporting cultural institutions and empowering artists across the physical and digital worlds. Kaldor Public Art Projects is grateful to Bloomberg Philanthropies for its support of this project, the tenth commission generously supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Kaldor Public Art Projects is proud that do it (australia) is supported by founding patrons The Balnaves Foundation and Naomi Milgrom Foundation. Their long-term support has allowed Kaldor Public Art Projects to continue through its 50th anniversary and beyond.

Our Government Partners Create NSW and City of Sydney continue to provide invaluable support.

Our learning program do it (homework) is supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.