The Center for Mediocrity is my invention as a homework assignment. I’m enrolled in “Art of the MOOC: Merging Public Art and Experimental Education”, a collaboration of Duke University and Creative Time New York.
This week’s module is Fictions, Alternative Structures and Mock-Institutions. We were asked to make up a country, church, or organization and create an event to invite members.
Click here to view The Center for Mediocrity BROCHURE
Click here to view The Center for Mediocrity EVENT
I’m so happy to be making this kind of art again, as I did in my well-wasted youth!
Art of the MOOC has a Facebook page where you can see work by my classmates. Someone posted my project, Remote Control, from Week 1, under “Displacement.” See if you can spot it.
My teachers, Pedro Lasch and Nato Thompson, urge you to show interest on Facebook:
Check out some of our student project selections on our Facebook page! Go to Albums and select the one called ‘Student Work’. Some from Module 1 are up already and are called ‘Displacement‘ and ‘Movement at Site of Tension’. We will add more every day. Please ‘like’ your favorites to celebrate your peers and also ‘like’ the ART of the MOOC page since this will bring more traffic and attention to all these projects.
Post Script: I wrote this after some reflection on my project.
“Your Mediocrity project scared the hell out of me. That’s my biggest fear, you know, that I am mediocre.” This comment came from an artist friend, referring to the fictional organization The Center for Mediocrity. Many people found it funny, which it was one of my intentions. I am compelled to write more, think more, and post about it because of a comment I received from one of my MOOC peer-reviewers, who said, “Mediocre is a deeply classist and insensitive term.” This comment baffled me, so allow me to explain my iteration.
The digital brochures were created on templates on a Word template. Templates: This is how society teaches us to live our lives. Just fill in the necessary spaces on the template and your life will look good. Your life will be familiar and recognizable to others, and you will have a better chance of finding acceptance and reward. Our community has a template. So does our school, family, gender, class, age, job, on and on. Templates create the status quo and the status quo creates mediocrity.
I understand the usefulness of following the rules, disappearing into the social norm and finding acceptance in the place I live. In our patriarchal world, many women who don’t “fill in the template” risk not only alienation and poverty, but also bodily harm and death. Subscribing to “The 10 Tenents of Mediocrity” can be a matter of survival, both economic and physical.
I believe that striving for excellence – the individual’s self-made standard of excellence – is the escape from mediocrity. This is where art comes in. When we create a gesture, a moment, or an object with intense dedication to an idea; we speak the language of art.
My project was a critique of the entrapment of mediocrity. I’ve been entrapped by it, longing for a meaningful conversation about anything, creating small beauties and rebellions to keep my art alive.