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LOOP has developed into a learning model. The project evolved. There was a structure from the beginning a page a day every day and the use of incremental levels of technology in the design of each page.

From the beginning I insisted that the project was a collaboration - phrases I used were "a collective sketch book" "a group learning project" "collective art project".

Every day I set an instruction as to what the group would be doing for each day. This is included in the document source of my pages as well as here. These instructions also applied to myself and the other lead artists.

I set about trying to create an atmosphere and approach that blurred the boundaries between who was a desginated teacher and who was learner. The environment allowed me to explain that I was also learning too - literally - ascii, flash, are two examples of programs I had never used at all and my general use of PC systems was very vague. If someone asked me a question about how to do a particular task that I knew someone else in the group could also do I told them to ask that person instead encouraging people to reinforce their newly acquired knowledge. Sometimes I did not know the answer at all - but others did.

I had a number of phrases or slogans that I used "If in doubt - muck about", "there is no wrong" and I insisted and sometimes demanded that people asked me "stupid questions" on a regular basis. I would always make sure that if I did not understand something I would visibly say so - to help break the idea that people who knowabout a field never admit to their lack of knowledge particularly true of people working with technology I have found.

One day I asked each person what they thought they were leaning about on the project ten different answers : html; web building; team work etc. Waiting for the "real", answer I told the group every answer was correct.

I felt very strongly that this project was not about technology. For people working with technology the model of the "apprentice", who learns a skill from an older person, and practices and practices and reaches their peak after years of practice, is irrelevant. The valuable skills are conceptual, skills that breed thinkers that can adapt, be flexible, inventive, work within restrictions and work instinctively.

I made it clear that LOOP was building into a resource or a reference point for other people to learn about building sites and learning html - and that it was also a place for them to return to and steal their own or others code from the source. We wrote the code in Simpletext and Word Pad.

I also reminded the group that LOOP was going to be a repository of a particular time - a portrait of where we were, who we were and the technologies we were using in 1998.

I also did not hide my perspective on the project which was rooted in systems, organisation and the dynamic of the group in relation to each other. The Gallery 37 structure of the project was Lead Artist, Senior Apprentice Artist, and Apprentice Artist.

The only way I could explain any sort of strucutre was by sketches which described the shape of the project.

When the project was running and people asked me about it, I was reluctant to use the terms education or training as I felt they did not accurately reflect the approach and the kinds of skills that were being learned. I kept saying that LOOP was a "sloppy" or "vague" or "non- specific" or "general" learning. I accidently used the phrase "loose learning".

Pete Gomes 1998

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