Harvard Art Museums

When: November 13, 2015
Where: Cambridge, MA, USA
Institution: Materials Lab, Harvard Art Museums
Facilitator: Doris Sommer 


An introductory workshop to Pre-Texts was held on November 13th at the Harvard Art Museums. Participants played with the text Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus.


Pilar Vicuña shares her reflections on the workshop:


On November 13, I participated in my first Pre-Texts workshop. Having heard about Pre-Texts, I was excited but also quite afraid because I do not consider myself to be an artist or even a creative person. I joined a group of mostly native Spanish speakers to work with “Prometheus Bound” by Aeschylus. Although some participants knew very little English, they were still able to understand the text by the end of the workshop.


By the end of the workshop, I realized that reading, playing with the text through art-making activities and sharing one’s creations with the rest of the group were more important than one’s level of artistic aptitude.


There are no pre-conditions or requirements for participating in Pre-Texts. The playful and supportive environment of a Pre-Texts workshop is rarely found in a conventional classroom which often centers on answering questions set by the teacher. During the workshop, I began to realize that play, hearing and asking a multitude of questions constructed by the participants, and focusing on multiple interpretations was actually a very interesting and innovative way to learn. I realized that participants learned not only from the challenging classic text “Prometheus Bound,” but also from their peers and the realization of their own capabilities. Pre-Texts showed me, that reading and learning can be fun, especially when practiced in a warm and cooperative space.