Oblivious has never felt so liberating. One part of the Sonic Social calendar is Ignoramus Anonymous – a kind of support group for the ignorant. A time and place to unashamedly confess your unawareness. We talked with artist Malcolm Whittaker after the first ignorance therapy gathering held last week –
MCA: You’ve had the first session of the group at the MCA – How is it going?
MW: First session of Ignoramus Anonymous at the MCA was a fantastic meeting of a broad and motley crew of the ignorant, from both near and far. Obviously what happens in the meeting stays in the meeting. Topics of ignorance I think it would be OK to share included basic road rules, gentrification, the political system, air travel, how the internet and basic computer software/hardware works, our rights to privacy, our accountability to contracts, contemporary art and the so-called “art world” and what constitutes this art lark anyway.
MCA: Why did you feel the need to start this support group and what do you hope people will take away from an Ignoramus Anonymous session?
MW: Ignoramus Anonymous began when I needed to deliver a “community benefit project” at the culmination of a residency in 2012. I observed pedagogy and knowledge as a trending focus in contemporary art at the time and wondered about how an inversion of this could intersect. I decided to hold a “support group” to discuss matters of ignorance. It has since developed into a simple dialogical art project. It is a space for story-telling essentially, and through this story-telling I hope for us all to reflect on the cultural phenomenon that is ignorance and how much it pervades our everyday.
MCA: Is there such a thing as a silly question?
MW: What a silly question! Ignoramus Anonymous is a safe and supportive space to disarm and ask a group of strangers about whatever might be on your mind.
MCA: What is trending in Ignorance at the moment;, what are the current popular concerns?
MW: The machinations of the recent federal budget, including what it means and how it will really effect affect us. That has been a big one of late. Also, the situation in Crimea and how flight MH370 could vanish – although I have no idea how airplanes even become airborne in the first place!
MCA: Does Ignoramus Anonymous have its own multi-step program to overcoming ignorance?
MW: Like any support group the first step is acceptance. You are ignorant. Don’t kid yourself any longer. Ignoramus Anonymous won’t be able to help you overcome all that you are ignorant of, but it will help you realise that you are not alone in what you don’t know or understand. You will probably discover new ignorance that you have to accept in yourself, too. The conviviality of the support will provide us a joyous strength together in realising this and will propose intellectual emancipation and an equality of intelligence in all. #SonicSocial2014
Air out your own confessions of ignorance and cleanse yourself of social anxiety at the next Ignoramus Anonymous:
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