Learn to Fail at ArtScience Museum

From the 27th of June to the 2nd of July 2017, and part of the Microbites of Innovation, a strange lab setup was installed at the top floor of the ArtScience Museum

Titled “Learn to Fail”, the exhibition promised to include “Participative Failure” as a medium. It meant that the exhibition (hidden behind the black curtain) would be populated by the artworks produced by the participants. The challenges set up for them promised that they would fail. The 3 stations included a Lego building station, a photography station and a bean-counting station. This is what the space looked like before any participant walked in:

 

And of course, the exhibition space behind the curtain was empty: 3 blank panels.

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Soon, participants came and – as long as they had at least 20 minutes ahead of them – were invited to take up one of the challenges: make a lego structure and photograph it in the booth; take a photograph of the building; count the number of beans in either of 2 jars.

The result was fascinating – the aim of course was to engage a variety of people into discussing their preconception about failures. How they might think they need it, how they avoid it or how they are disappointed by it – or how they go beyond it to get creative, with failure being a necessary step towards new ideas and creation.

The display shows the willingness of the participants to expose themselves to failure, and take the risk to exhibit their work next to strangers’ work. But what it doesn’t show is the actual emotions the participants went through as they worked towards getting a photograph out of a wonky pinhole camera, or teased an aeroplane out of a dubious Lego set, or calculated the number of beans despite the odds.

Lowering expectations, working in teams, openness to unfamiliar methods, embracing the present – and humour. Those are the keys to embracing failure and becoming creative in the process.

If you are interested in hearing about the event in more details, or hosting such a booth, either for a team-building, for teaching scientific method, or as an exhibition, do contact me: idesjeux(at)mac.com

 

 

 

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  1. […] reasoning, curating a hands-on exhibition at the ArtScience Museum, and even help to polish the “Learn to Fail” participatory […]



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