Artist: Annette Krauss
Curators: Tea Hvala, Iva Kovač, Sara Šabec
5. 10. at 7 pm: viewing of the exhibition with artist Annette Krauss (in English)
14. 10. at 6 pm: viewing of the exhibition with curator Tea Hvala (in Slovene)
4. 11. at 6 pm: viewing of the exhibition with curator Iva Kovač (in English)
Link to the programme of the 27th International Festival of Contemporary Arts – City of Women.
The line between artistic creation and art education is barely noticeable, and opinions vary as to where it actually runs. In the words of British artist and educator Felicity Allen: “There are artists and artist educators who think teachers sell art short; teachers and artists who think artist educators are weak artists or poor pedagogues; teachers and artist educators who think artists’ ‘pedagogical’ practices naïve or exploitative; or art critics who tend only to acknowledge art as pedagogy if it is mediated through an exhibition-based model.” Such opinions probably coincide with the fact that teaching (of any kind, not just art) is not considered one of the most respected professions, while the profession of artist is retaining at least its symbolic capital. Perhaps they are also connected with the impression that school, as an ideological apparatus of the state, tends to repress rather than emancipate, which makes it best for an artist wanting to collaborate with the young to steer clear of it and find them outside its walls.
For Dutch artist, educator and writer Annette Krauss and her project Hidden Curriculum, however, school is the exact place where she wishes to go. She is asking who is being emancipated and who is being repressed by education, how and when, without presupposing that the two activities are necessarily separated or happening in different circumstances. She is addressing these questions to herself and her primary audience (numerous young people with whom she collaborated in the project) as well as to the visitors of this exhibition, which only holds a few works from this copious oeuvre that has been in the making since 2007.
Hidden curriculum is a technical term for all factors in educare on which the pedagogue has no influence (e.g. the institution’s equipment, the organisation of space, the number of children in a group or the number of students in a class) although they fundamentally define the process of education, the role of the child/young person in it, and their interaction with the teachers. Hidden curriculum is a delicate subject. Even though it is produced by society not by an individual, it is mostly reflected in the unconscious behaviour of adults and in indirect messages that children in preschool and young people in school get about themselves and about others. And since educators – just like everyone of us – have grown up in the world full of borders and divisions, these messages are often full of stereotypes and prejudice; messages that, in practice, translate as favouring the majoritarian culture and language or as discriminating the minorities.
Annette Krauss focuses mostly on the hidden curriculum in high schools. She understands it as an umbrella term for numerous unnoticed and mainly unwanted skills, know-how, capacities, talents, and values that the students pick up during their studies although we would search for them in the written (formal) curriculum, programmes, and textbooks in vain. They include uncritical adaptation, subservience, obedience, diligence, dependence, passivity, alienation, fatalism, and acceptance of social inequality as something self-evident, but also knowledge on how to resist all these states.
Hidden Curriculum is a research and participatory project, as the exhibited (and other) works have been made through several workshops engaging young people aged 13 to 17. The workshops designed as regular meetings spanning a few months have so far been organised in several Western European countries; when she was preparing the Ljubljana exhibition, Annette Krauss collaborated briefly also with students from Slovenia. In her long-term collaborations, the artist played the role of the “ignorant schoolmaster”, who assumes that everyone has equal intelligence. She proposed to the young people to begin exploring the hidden curriculum of their own school in every way that they can without explaining to them what this term means. One would expect that the teachers and the students who agreed to collaborate during regular school hours reacted differently to this approach. However, both groups were repeatedly bothered by the fact that the artist came to class with no exact plan and prearranged goals. Annette Krauss sees the discomfort of the teachers as an expression of a wish to avoid any risk or tensions, but most of all the loss of control in the classroom. What about the young people? Some of them impatiently demanded her to finally tell them what a hidden curriculum is. When she replied that she knows as much about it as they do, she was rejected and told to stop these “weird games”.
The incertitude to which she stuck proved to be unbearable for some participants even though wandering in the dark is a key element of researching and creating. Other students accepted her challenge and dived into the unknown. The artist writes on their varied and witty artistic expressions in her essay “To be hidden does not mean to be merely revealed”, and summarises them with a lively mind map on the walls of the gallery. The different responses of the participants are perhaps the best testimony to the level of the school’s discrepancy between contradictory expectations: “Notions of ‘potentiality’, ‘individuation’, ‘collaborative learning’ and ‘dialogic education’ are common on the left, while in the mainstream education is pragmatically associated with skills, jobs, social mobility and economic success”. Isn’t‑ there a similar discrepancy in the case of (pedagogically oriented) contemporary art?
Annette Krauss is an artist, educator and writer. In her conceptual-based practices she addresses the intersections of art, politics and everyday life. Her work revolves around informal knowledge and the normalisation processes that shape our bodies, the way we use objects, engage in social practices and how these affect the way we see the world and act in it. Her artistic work emerges through the intersection of different media, such as performance, video, historical and everyday research, pedagogy and writing. She has helped set up various long-term collaborative practices, such as Read-in, Sites for Unlearning, School of Temporalities, and Hidden Curriculum. These projects reflect and build upon the potential of collaborative practices while striving to disrupt self-evident “truths” in the ways we imagine and live forms of collectivity.
 Allen, F.: Introduction. In: Allen, F. (ed.): Education. (2011). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press / London: Whitechapel Gallery, pp. 16–17.
 Rancière, J. (1991). The Ignorant Schoolmaster. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
 The essay was published in two parts: Krauss, A. (2015). “… To be hidden does not mean to be merely revealed – Part 1: Artistic research on hidden curriculum”. Medienimpulse, 53(3). https://doi.org/10.21243/mi-03-15-15 (last access 9. 9. 2021). And: Krauss, A. (2015). “… To be hidden does not mean to be merely revealed – Part 2: Artistic research on hidden curriculum”. Medienimpulse, 53(4). https://doi.org/10.21243/mi-04-15-25 (last access 9. 9. 2021).
 Allen, F. (ed.): Education, p. 17.
English translation: Sonja Benčina
Slovene proofreading: Barbara Cerkvenik
English proofreading: Špela Bibič
Cover image: Excuse Poems by Hidden Curriculum contributors, 2013, 2021
Brochure design: Lea Jelenko
Exhibition view: Klemen Ilovar
Assistant: Anouk de Kruijff
Exhibition design: Vesna Bukovec
Video adjustments: Julie Yu
Executive production: Eva Prodan
Acknowledgments: Museum of Modern Art – Ljubljana, Institute for Contemporary Arts Processing – Cona, Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Glej Theater and Urša B. Potokar.
Produced by: Škuc Gallery and City of Women, the latter as part of the European project BE PART co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
The Škuc Gallery programme is supported by the Ministry of Culture and the Municipality of Ljubljana.