Art for a New School

Photo mobile – to encourage integrative thinking

By Roland Böhringer, Germany

Roland Boehringer is a co-founder of the educational association Palette M in the Westerwald and the Template Network Germany. He helps to design new templates for cultural, social and inter-personal domains that are tailored for these times and their rapidly changing requirements. He worked for many years as a photo-designer, and his training included artistic photography at the Cologne Technical College with Professor Arno Jansen. He recently designed a mobile for a new element ary school that has been built in Raubach in the Westerwald, with the approval of the Municipality of Puderbach.

“Artistic design has its source in a basic need for beauty, harmony, value and meaning. Art wants to encourage, raise questions, convey aesthetics and trigger impulses. How can one cause these ideas to flow into a piece of artwork for an elementary school? What kind of object could one create that is up to date, modern and conveys a clear message to children? What message would be meaningful? What regional influences need to be considered? How could something be designed to still be interesting and attractive to children and teachers several years later, and that addresses as many senses as possible? Something that perhaps proposes questions that could be discussed between the children and teachers?”

This is how the idea emerged for this unusual mobile, consisting of 24 enlarged photos, which can support integrated thinking in children through visual stimulation:

Besides pictures of the local environment, which can easily be recognised by the children, the mobile also shows an aerial photograph of the school. As the school is located close to the geographical centre of the European Union (Kleinmai-schscheid), there is a picture of children with the European flag. Because many foreign children visit the school there is a photo of a Turkish and Mennonite girl. There are also photographs of animals, flowers, butterflies, the Alps, the parliament building in Berlin as well as double decker buses in London, because the children learn English. Last but not least is a picture of our planet as seen from space.

The first response to the artwork is positive all round. Perhaps this piece of art will inspire others to do something like it elsewhere.

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