Khôra, Topos and Praxis: Diverse Concepts and Meanings of Contemporary Art Education.
Place of publicationRotterdam/Boston/Taipei
SourceMediterranean Art and Education.Navigating Local, Regional and Global Imaginaries through the Lens of the Arts and Learning.
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Khôra (meaning space) and topos (meaning place)i could be described as concepts with multiple and diverse meanings in which personal, social-cultural, historical, and aesthetic dimensions coexist. It seems that no single theory or conceptualisation could exhaust the diversely rich implication of these concepts, especially in what might inform art education theory and research. This seems to remain the case even when most scholars who have done extensive studies of the concept of place (as khôra and/or topos) would possibly agree that understanding the multiple meanings of such concepts is key to understanding wider concepts about the world, including: our relationships with ourselves, with each other (across generations, distances, cultures) and with our surroundings. This paper situates art education in contemporary discourse where khôra and topos are considered essential aspects of Mediterranean art and art education as praxis. It is argued that both concepts should be considered as essential components of Mediterranean art education as they have the potential to create a dialogue and form an independent voice. In the first part, philosophical considerations of khôra in a sense of belonging, based on Timaeus (Plato, 1975) and its current formulation by Jacques Derrida is discussed. Space-place is also examined in relation to its social cultural perspectives to support the human potential to transform spaces and places. It is argued that if according to Derrida et al. (1997) khôra is “the spacing which is the condition for everything to take place” (pp. 9-10), space and place are fundamentals for art and learning. Various perspectives connecting place, identity and cultural experiences put across the contextuality, subjectivity and multiplicity of meanings of khôra and topos that are exemplified through the work of three Mediterranean artists: Kyriaki Costa, Khalil Rabah and Maria Pademitriou. The second part of this paper refers to khôra and topos and their value to art education through learning processes that are based on praxis. An argument is made of an alternative “third space” in the Mediterranean area, giving the potential for a dynamic creation and recreation and its prospective to reinforce Mediterranean art education, creating the necessary conditions for change to occur.