Teaching Materials - Exercise

The art of orange-eating

Name of Artist Educator: Ellis Yip
Level:
Excercise Category: Photographer's eye, Self-awareness

What is an orange? What does an orange contain?

Visually, we can tell the colour of an orange; in terms of touch, we can feel the texture of orange skin; the taste of an orange is mixed, it is both sweet and sour.


Concept / Inspiration:

What is an orange? What does an orange contain?

Visually, we can tell the colour of an orange; in terms of touch, we can feel the texture of orange skin; the taste of an orange is mixed, it is both sweet and sour. How can we represent the State of Being of things? This exercise is inspired by a film class. When you are filming, you need to observe your subject’s State of Being in order to capture its essence or introduce different possibilities. Besides orange, we can also have basketball or volleyball as our subjects. For example, you can observe a bouncing, inflated basketball. What is its form? What sounds does it make? What is its shadow like at 12 noon? Does the shadow take another form when the ball is bouncing?

The exercise is all about observing things’ form, sound and light.


Goals:

  1. To give students a chance to observe things’ State of Being.
  2. To let students have an understanding of how far their senses and perceptions go, and work on the weaker ones, so as to break their habitual boundaries when they engage their creativity.

Materials / Equipment:

  • Camera
  • Orange
  • Different objects in class
  • Pen and paper

Location:

Classroom, different corners at school


Workshop Description:

Part One l Filming an orange (15-20 minutes)
Place an orange anywhere. Ask students to do anything to it, except breaking it; they may water it, put it in a plastic bag, put it on a red table, etc. Then, take a picture of the orange.

 

Part Two l Eating an orange (30-60 minutes)
Eat an orange, slowly. Students can do this outside classroom at school. They should be silent and concentrated when they peel and consume it. They must follow this rule. They should take their time in doing these, the longer the better. The reason would only be revealed in the end: to observe how they react to the outside world when they are calm and undisturbed.

 

Part Three l Sharing and discussion (5-10 minutes)
Students jot down everything that runs through their mind when they are eating the orange. They must write quickly and nonstop about their observations, feelings, sentiments, etc., just like they are writing a short composition. From this, instructor can learn of their ways of thinking and sensory perceptions. Instructor will then draw six cells A-F on the blackboard and name them in alphabetical order. Each cell represents a corresponding sense, for example, cell A represents sight, B taste, C touch, etc., but this arrangement is not announced in class. Students take turns to read their writing, whenever a particular sense is mentioned, for instance, when a student reads, “Orange has bright colour, like those we use when we draw,” instructor draw a line in cell A. No explanation will be given. By the end of the reading, instructor would explain the meaning of cells A-F and students wouldl be told the sense they utilise most.


Expected Outcome:

This exercise informs the students their sensitivity to certain sensations. In the future, instructor may encourage them to rely less on their stronger sensory perceptions, and explore others. For instance, if a student is sensitive to colours, s/he can take on black and write photography. Once colour is out of the picture, other elements which s/he seems to be weak at will have to be considered when observing and taking photos. For sentimental students, they can work on exercises which focus on rationality; they can do journalistic photography and explain the use of different senses in the image, they may end up telling a concrete story with a photo. If a student is rather rational and pragmatic, instructor may encourage s/he to explore expressions that rest more on imaginations than reality. All in all, students have to let go of their strengths and approach areas they are unfamiliar with.


Actual Outcome:

Students tended to be distracted during the exercise as they wanted to know what this was really about, as a result, they had no idea what they could write about. If they were very focused, instructor could identify their strengths and weaknesses. There were students who broke the rules too: while some peeled the orange in as early as part one, some simply finished the orange in 5 minutes and toyed with the orange skin for the rest of part two. Some students might also come up with interesting ways to savour the orange too.。


Work:

During class:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

 

Part One”Filming an orange” Student work:

11 12 13 14 15 16