Project Goal: The installation artwork should stimulate dialogue or another response of engagement with the work/artist. The intertextual interpretative work produces or transforms a situation.

Intertextual House Project in A ED 323 Spring 2007
INTERTEXTUAL HOUSE exhibition in the Diversity Room of the Penn State Pattee Library
Exhibition Opens: March 22, 2007
Install: March 5-20, 2007

At Home’s theme is domestic spaces as experienced by both men and women. The project explores what it means to be at home for women, men and children; historic changes in the home; marital conflicts and compromises; childhood fears; aging; eating disorders; sibling rivalry; abuse; rape, prejudice of race, religion and gender, meditation in the home and gender issues. Judy Chicago and Donald Woodman employed participatory art pedagogy informed by feminist principles in facilitating this project.

The Diversity Room Exhibition’s theme is Intertextual House. The At Home miniature house is the pretext, and involves students in creating intertextual responses (visual, textual, physical, and virtual) to the metaphor of house. Adapting Judy Chicago's participatory art pedagogy, Dr. Karen Keifer-Boyd will guide students in her course, Visual Culture and Art Education (Art Ed 323), to work with the showcase spaces to present intertextual associations and palimpsest tracings of house and house spaces.

Dr. Martina Paatela-Nieminen, at the University of Art & Design in Helsinki, will guide her art education students in her seminar, Intertextual House, to create 2-dimensional intertextual responses that will be displayed in the Diversity Room. Students in Finland and the U.S. will also blog exchanges. Two computers in the exhibition space will be available for others to add to the blog while looking at the exhibition, and to showcase a multimedia presentation of the teaching methodology used in the Interxtual House project and the At Home project.

Dr. David Ebitz, with his students in the Cultural Institutions Practicum ( A ED 488) will conduct museum education assessments and present their documentations, insights, and findings toward the end of the exhibition. The process and critiques will be document visually, textually, and with podcasts for future art education examples.

Professor Richard Kabiito with his three colleagues (Sematimba Joseph, Dr. Vennie Nakazibwe and Ritah Nabuyungo) and students in the Department of Painting and Art History at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, will send two-dimensional work for one of the panel areas in the exhibition space with a theme of "African House," in which they visually tell about the qualms of everyday life in an African home. Participating Ugandan students include: Oluma Patrick, Bukenya Dennis, Natukunda Patricia, Asiimwe Brenda, Kyakabi Lillian, Nalubega Maria, Mugizi Hillary, Ssali Gerald, Kamanyire Brian, Kawooya Tony, Ntege Oscar, Abdallah Zein, Kibondwe Ann, Naggawa Grace, Kasekende Shafiki, Nambalirwa Susan, Musena Pricilla, Namutebi Jacqueline, Muhima Gideon, Namubiru Pricilla, Katumba Andrew.

Dr. Martina Paatela-Nieminen developed an intertextual method to art education in her doctoral thesis, Alice and Wonderland applied to English and German texts in her hypermedia work, On the Threshold of Intercultural Alice (2000/2001). We (students in Martina’s class in Helsinki, Finland, Richard Kabiito’s colleagues and students in Uganda, Africa, and those in Karen’s A ED 323 course in the U.S.) will apply it to the concept and metaphor “house,” and particularly to the At Home house that will be in the Penn State Library’s Diversity Room. The At Home miniature house is our starting text (our pretext) and will be physically in the center of our exhibition of intertextual responses to include two-dimensional works by Finnish and Ugandan students, and showcase installations by this class that surround At Home. Intertextual interpretations (i.e., an assemblage, trace, web, interlace) are open-ended and subjective, and result in a plurality of meanings.

Paatela-Nieminen’s intertextual approach for use in the field of art education has been adapted from the field of linguistics in the study of how meaning is created through symbolic signs, signifying practices/processes, and significations/inscribed cultural codes), and particularly from the theories of Gérard Genette on paratexts and hypertexts, and from Julia Kristeva on genotexts (underlying sources that culturally ground meanings, the site of poetic and metaphoric germination of the cultural code) and phenotexts (conscious defining or classifying/the perceivable signifying system). Genette’s theory of paratext focuses on open-ended history and hypertext, i.e., on visual palimpsest (visual continuum traces) of the history and culture of what is perceived as original (hypotext) in the project at hand. In our case the original is your notion of house. Therefore, we begin with a visualization to draw out what you mean when you think “house” and use the term “house.” That will be your starting point.

Martina Paatela-Nieminen describes her method that she will facilitate with the Finnish participants in the project as starting by "linking the text open-endedly in three different contexts: history, genre, and culture."

Intertextual Methodology Developed by Martina Paatela-Nieminen

The students chose a work of art (text) that interested them and studied it in three different contexts:

First they related the text open-endedly to its own history by asking a question that interested them subjectively. Gérard Genetteęs paratexts offer a way to study history open-endedly and ”knit” the text studied to its historical context.

Second the students studied the text in relation to other similar texts in their genre. In this way it is possible to find out differences between texts and learn about them in their own context. Gérard Genetteęs hypertexts offer a way to study texts palimpsestically from the newest to the oldest, thus relate the texts to a visual continuum and find out differences between them.

Third the students studied the meanings of the differences culturally. Julia Kristeva has geno- and phenotexts according to which it is possible to study texts open-endedly in culture and between cultures.

© Martina Paatela-Nieminen, 2007

Keifer-Boyd suggests the following questions to guide research of genotexts, phenotexts, and paratexts.

Genotext type questions to guide your research in situating a selected cultural artifact in African House, Finland House, or USA House (i.e.,) At Home in Kentucky:

Phenotext type questions to guide your research and response:

Paratext (defined by surround) & palimpsest (traces) type questions:

Locate the fibers that woven together form or are in service of communicating, representing, and expressing the cultural values of your notion of house.

Use or to set up your own blog that includes images and text to which others can comment upon. The blogs are from Ugandan, Finnish, and U.S. participants in this project.

From Content to Form: Judy Chicago's Pedagogy

There are three stages to Chicago's pedagogy that were named and renamed between June and October 2003 as Judy and I discussed the best way to describe the practice she knew intuitively and I had observed. The sequence moves from preparation, to process, and then to artmaking. Preparation involves the sharing of readings, research, and self to ignite the power of the art created by the group. The dynamics of the group motivates the individual to search deeply and set significant artmaking goals. The process continues with discussions between facilitator and participants about individual choices of work mode, media, and format. A difficult stage is to change the ideal to the real by navigating limits of time, space, and resources. It involves transformation of personal experience and researched content into a tangible visual form. A support structure develops from meeting these challenges together and sharing individual experiences and goals. The process would not work if the participants were not selected for their commitment to discovery. Artmaking moves from material samples, sketches, and models to creating the artforms. Judy Chicago suggests that the problem for some of the artists is to create something with a clear vision. The participant often struggles at this stage to accept some of the challenges that arise from the content-based critiques. The issue of audience is important to consider in creating art that sustains viewers' attention to the work and the issues informed by it. The audience response is one element in the evaluation of the worth of the work.

© Karen Keifer-Boyd, 2004



  1. House visualization as pretext on 2/26
  2. Palimpsest Performance Video Art: Dadaist Exquisite Corpse House Traces on 1/30, 2/1, & 2/13
  3. Discuss cultural artifact in class on 2/6 and on ANGEL by 2/8.
  4. Visit At Home in the Diversity Room on 2/20
  5. Readings, sketches, discussion



1. Begin Feb. 13: Create storyboards, concept maps, sketches, or other types of visualizations that convey your developing ideas for your installation. Document the exchange of ideas with your collaborators (if it is a collaboration). The process, expressing your thought process in a tangible way, is critical to the success of the collaborative artwork.

2. On Feb. 15 set artmaking goals.

3. On Feb. 22 decide of mode, media, & format. Set limits.

4. On March 6 set up mock installation, and on March 8 this mock installation is critiqued by two librarians.

5. On March 20 begin blog exchanges with Finnish students.

6. On March 20 set up final exhibit and on March 22 the exhibition opens to the public with discussion and critique.



The art installation should stimulate dialogue or another response of engagement with the work/artist. Enactment of the work produces or transforms a situation.




SHOWCASES: Cultural artifacts contextualized in At Home On Tour and extended intertextually in cultural contexts to include literary/library materials, popular culture, and in local community and larger social issues.


CONSTRUCTED HOUSE: Using 2 panels to partially enclose a space, create a space that can be transformed by audience participation with the materials provided (sheets, clothespins, pillows, boxes). The outside of these two L-shaped panels will be filled with photos of the transformed space by the 9 students and their friends in A ED 323 prior to the opening of the exhibition. Also signage will convey the purpose and process of this house site.


PANELS: One panel near the entrance provides information on At Home On Tour, and the other side will include information on the pedagogical process involved in At Home and Intertextual House. Another panel will be used to present African House from the Ugandan participants, and another panel for the Intertextual House art responses from the Finnish participants.


TWO COMPUTER STATIONS: One computer will run the At Home On Tour documentation presentations. The other computer will present the Palimpsest House video, the Participatory Art Pedagogy Web site, PowerPoint presentations used in A ED 322, and blog exchanges amongst Finnish, Ugandan, and U.S. students. The entry portal page connects to all of these areas. Audience members are encouraged to add to the cross-cultural blog exchanges on Intertextual House.

Components for Evaluation (Criteria & Rubrics for evaluation to be developed with students)

March 6: Mock Installation Set-up in the Pattee Library's Diversity Room.

March 8: Mock Installation Critiques in the Pattee Library's Diversity Room

March 20: Intertextual House installation set-up

March 22: Intertextual House exhibit open—students present/guests critique.

March & April: Blog exchanges

The exhibition involves posting “cultural artifacts” in a blog with text, audio, and images that critiques and contextualizes these artifacts within diverse views of house and are extended intertextually in cultural contexts to include literary/library materials, popular culture, local communities, and larger social issues. A blog has been set up for a cross-cultural text and image exchange during the exhibition concerning the concept “house” by art students at three universities in the United States, Finland, and Africa, as well as open to others online, and visible to all in the Diversity Room exhibition.

April 3 Intertextual House: A Presentation in the Foster Auditorium open to the Public by Karen and students

April 3, Tuesday/1-2pm: Intertextual House

House is associated with a lived body, a social body, a body image, a social space, a physical space, and a metaphysical space symbolic of human experience. The metaphor of house provides opportunities to explore gendered spaces, the body, society, power, and privilege. Many artists have played with the metaphor of house in their work. An intertextual interpretation emphasizes the social context of an image as the necessary framework for understanding its meaning and function. This presentation draws on the theories of Gérard Genette and Julia Kristeva in guiding explorations of intertextual interpretations of the metaphor of house by art students in Uganda who situate “African House” in local narratives and their lived experiences, Finnish art students who trace Finnish concepts of house, and Penn State students who situate their selected cultural artifact in the At Home on Tour exhibition in ways that trace metaphoric germination of its cultural codes and how meaning is created through the surrounding signifying practices.

April 17: Content-based Art Pedagogy: A Presentation in the Foster Auditorium open to the Public by Karen and students

April 17, Tuesday/1-2pm: Judy Chicago’s Content-based Art Pedagogy

Internationally renowned artist Judy Chicago coined the term “feminist art pedagogy” in the 1970s during her search for a pedagogical approach that encouraged content searches intimately connected to individual passion and perspectives. The creative work and the careers of artists and art students who have participated in Judy Chicago’s feminist teaching projects have advanced in significant ways. During Keifer-Boyd’s observations of Chicago’s pedagogy and in her conversations with the artist about her teaching projects, as well as observing her teach her pedagogical approach to others, she sought to find out how successful it is in different contexts and used by different facilitators. This five-year study culminates in a project at Penn State in which Keifer-Boyd guides students using Chicago’s content-based art pedagogical approach. Keifer-Boyd will present the approach along with nine art education students involved in the process, who will present their experience of it.