photograph by Sina Baykal-Rollins
The following is an excerpt from an interview with 2010LAB by Anne Weshinskey, published under the title "Continuing Education: Jeffrey Baykal-Rollins Navigates Istanbul", November 2011 (www.2010lab.tv/en/blog/continuing-education)
AW: I see what you do as a teacher as the more integral and effective way to create not only development in contemporary art, but to increase audiences as well.
JBR: I had the honor in graduate school to not only study under Ann Hamilton, but to also work as her studio assistant on major installation projects. It didn’t take long before I began to realize that I was learning far more from working along side Ann in the studio than I was listening to her in the classroom. Not that she was a bad teacher mind you, but participating in her own creative process gave me the valuable opportunity to understand how she develops an idea, how she works through it, struggles, fails, and then learns from those failures and transforms them into something truly remarkable. The problem is that most students will never get to observe this from any teacher, because the structure of a classroom (as opposed to a workshop) usually keeps this from happening. Joseph Beuys addressed this problem by seeing the classroom as a creative laboratory. His idea that “Everyone is an artist” did not mean that art is so easy that anyone can do it. It meant that all of society has the potential to contribute creatively. If every student in the classroom is genuinely participating in a quality creative collaboration, the idea of audience is turned on its head. The audience is actively in the process, the students are contributing to a museum-quality work of art and the teacher (now me) is learning just as much from the students as the students are from the teacher.