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Working in Different Ways - I Talked to Michael Beutler About His Class

Strolling through the Fortress corridors, one might hear how the installation classroom looks a bit chaotic. Although this claim might appear true at the first sight, the seeming chaos is actually a picture of perpetual creation. Taught by Michael Beutler, the installation class has turned into a symbiotic organism in the first two weeks of existence through which the students are introduced to the idea that through the material, through the process and through making things they can connect to each other. Even though the collaborative approach is welcome and encouraged, it’s not obligatory. Still, everybody is responding to it and sharing visions, while still preserving their own ideas and approaches. It’s about “making your world a little bigger than it was,” said Michael Beutler in a short talk earlier today.


Tools on display at Beutler's classroom


Known for artistic creations that reexamine the space, Beutler admits that his previous teaching experiences were smaller and different. This is the first time he is not conducting his idea via community, but enforcing other spirits to react. One of his major observations is that the level of dedication and concentration is exceptionally high, as he happily observes the ongoing work, looking forward to taking home the good experience.


Shorter workshops, not long like this. Everybody is very dedicated and focused, he hasn’t seen this level of concentration in other workshops.


You not only have cozy areas, you mostly have places to work in different kind of ways, and to think in different kinds of ways, to work with your hands in different kind of ways and to eat, to feed yourself and others,” he told me, explaining the studio space.


After the first week of solo experiments and presentations, the group has changed the entire room by introducing new furniture (I see a new kitchen counter), and storage-like units. “This storage is for all the objects that are coming off the table, like products, experiments, and try-outs. There, they find another presence in this structure somehow, they’re like the collective brain of the workshop,” Beutler explained. The display enables everybody to learn about others’ work and to find parallels and connect. “It’s important that everybody tries to leave their zone a little bit and to pop out into other people’s zones,” he continues, emphasizing the importance of openness in this generally “process-based workshop.”


Guiding a group of 23 people with the help of his co-teachers Ida and Martin, Michael doesn’t see himself as a leader, but rather an organizer. Looking towards the end of a three-week experience, he says that he hopes “that everybody leaves with a really high density of new experiences and maybe also revelations.” He hopes that his students will continue to ask different questions, about their work as well, and learn from the interactions experienced during this class, feeling that they have played a role within this group of creative people.


Workspace with storage shelves behind
Inspirational mess
Spinning thread 
Spinning thread as a form of meditation
Ida and a student
Watch your finger!



Today is the start of my last week at the Summer Academy. The day was good, the weather really nice and I enjoyed the classes and the evening talks. Tomorrow I might actually get a glimpse of Distruktur's filmmakers shooting outside. Keeping my fingers crossed!





21/08/17 22:45 Summer Academy 2017

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