Experimental Graduate-Level Education for Women

The Anhoek School is an educational experiment. It investigates alternatives to traditional American education at a moment in time when many experimental schools have closed (Black Mountain School and Antioch College) or ceased to develop inventive and/or radical methodologies.

In short, The Anhoek School is an experimental all-women's graduate school located in Brooklyn, New York. The curriculum is based on cultural production (political, aesthetic, and theoretical). Classes are small (5 to 7 people). Tuition costs are mediated by a barter system; that is students labor for the school in exchange for classes.

SEE http://anhoekschool.org FOR CORE DATA

The 'mother site' (http://anhoekschool.org) contains:

0 Mission Statement
0 Course Descriptions
0 Campus Locations
0 Exchange Economy/ Tuition
0 Samples of Student Work
0 Student Podcasts

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Anhoek-Austin '10: Class Exercise: The Human Bite

Today, in "Accidental Pornographies: Visualizing the American Women's Health Movement (After 1970), students were asked to turn and bite one another. It was not dissimilar to the manner in which Christian brethren might be asked to turn in their pew and greet their fellow worshiper with a brotherly handshake. Teeth substituted for fingers, mouth for palm.
All turned and bit.

After biting, they were asked to quickly make a sketch of the quickly diminishing bite mark. Next, the drawing of the bite mark was diagrammed; its main features keyed.
Lastly, the class was asked to describe the formal properties of the mark and its taste.

Here is the composite class list- the formal properties of the human bite mark:

razor thin
the thickness of bites
opening horizon
broken circle
imperfect symmetry
a normal
the spaces between individual ridges
temporariness and its color shifts
remote healing

dissolves/ blend
a forced scale dictated by physiology
crater (miniature)

How the bite tasted:

soft clean girl taste
delicate, breaking
tasted of opportunity
slightly salty

The students concluded that if we had licked the skin we would have had a much more specific sense of what the recipient tasted like but most did not even consider the tongue an option. The co-teacher asserted that the tongue is an unstable organ, in this context. It was glaringly absent in our descriptions and our actions. We realized that even within the absurd parameters of this exercise, protocols existed. Furthermore, distinctions were generated by the specific category of the sexual bite. It is a 'limited bite' or one may also categorize it as an "ethical bite". The lover only bites as hard as the other lover can take. They must parse out, must weigh in unequal parts their desire to devour or mark and their lover's threshold for pain as pleasure. How civil is this bite? And are these marks categorically sentimental? I remember your mouth was here that night. The biter is a sap.

Our report from the pedagogical fields, thanks for listening. We made our investigation empirical instead of simply theoretical. Here is the body we have-tasted and not consumed.


Anhoek School

p.s. correction: The biter may or may not be a sap. The happy recipient is the sap; lost in a revery after a glimpse of the mark. Some call this sort of mark a hickee...how to spell that?

The unwritten rule is that this word is only spoken, formed by the mouth and never the scribing hand. I'm with the ones who think there is dignity in eschewing the word hickee and calling any mouth made mark "a bruise'. I am not with the ones who forget themselves and bit too hard (and through), their recipient nursing a human bite wound in the emergency room.

Most human bites, at least those requiring medical attention, occur between 4-6 pm. But I'm not going to call it the Human Bite Happy Hour, even if it occurs at the same time as dusk and cheap drinks. Its a couple of hours where everything is coming undone; all of the institutions of the day folding.

Perhaps most of these bites were swapped between children after a terrible day at school and before a terrible supper with papa and mama and brother.

Adults use beer to forget work. Children bite like puppies to forget school? I like this logic.

I will bite food. I will bite humans. I will bite the bedclothes. To forget hunger and work. To forget school. To remember that I am an animal. A mouth full of hair or fruit. -mwb