From Self-Reliance to Civil Disobedience: Guerilla Transcendentalist Projects Aerie Treska English Department Roland Park Country School Baltimore, MD First, some context…. • AP English 11 • American Literature focus • Begin year with units on The Scarlet Letter and the American Transcendentalist movement • Hawthorne : role of women in society (Hester Prynne) • Emerson and Thoreau: dead white male (?) • Students have already written one major essay at this point; now it’s time for a more creative project. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self Reliance” (1841) alh Waldo Emerson Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” (1849) Essential Questions: • What do dead-white-Transcendentalist-males have in common with modern artist-activists? • How can students convey their knowledge of Transcendentalist ideas to their peers? • How can we use Emerson’s and Thoreau’s concepts to encourage individuality and self-confidence in young women? “Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis” Ralph Waldo Emerson “It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about?” Henry David Thoreau Translating ideas (text) into action (public art installments): CONTEMPORARY EXAMPLES Banksy British street/graffiti artist who uses guerilla art to convey his political messages to the masses Images Images from the West Bank Barrier, 2005 Yarn Bombing (noun): the activity of putting knitted coverings on statues, posts, seats and other public objects, especially secretly and without official permission YARN-COVERED TANK, COPENHAGEN, DENMARK, 2004 Billboard Liberation Front Stella Artois Billboard: Midtown Manhattan, 2010 BLF: “establishing a new paradigm in street marketing” The assignment: 1. choose a quote from one of the essays we read. 2. create a visual response that conveys the meaning of your quote. 3. craft an Artist’s Statement that explains your process, your finished product, and what you hope to profess through your project. 4. post/perform/install your project in a public space on campus. “The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet.” “The voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks.” Images Cited Banksy. West Bank Barrier Graffiti. theguardian.co.uk. n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2012. BLF. “Improved” Stella Artois Billboard. Graffiti. billboardliberation.com. 30 Sep. 2010. Web. 4 Feb. 2012. Maxham, Benjamin. Portrait of Henry David Thoreau. Daguerreotype. thoreau.eserver.org. n.d. Web. 4. Feb. 2012 Moore, Mandy. Yarnbombing. Photograph. yarnbombing.com. n.d. February 2012. Southworth and Hawes. Photograph of Ralph Waldo Emerson. eastmanhouse.org . Photograph. n.d. Web. 4. Feb. 2012. With appreciation for my Roland Park Country School AP English scholars and my colleagues Sara Rollfinke (Dean), Ereni Malfa (Principal), and Jean Waller Brune (Headmistress).