The classroom is probably the last place you'll imagine yourself naked...
Well, not in the case of University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Associate Professor Ricardo Dominguez, who reportedly requires his students to go completely au naturel for his visual arts class' final exam. Wait, what?
"It's a standard canvas for performance art and body art," Dominguez told 10News of the final requirement for his class, 'Visual Arts 104A: Performing the Self.' He finished, "It is [all very] controlled."
The activity apparently goes down like this: The students strip down, including the professor. Each class member is asked to make a "nude" gesture—what Dominguez calls a "performance of self"—in front of a dark room lit only by candlelight.
"The prompt is to speak about or do a gesture or create an installation that says, 'what is more you than you are,'" he explained.
It's been like this for the 11 years Dominguez was handling the class, until just recently, a concerned mother of one his students complained about the unorthodox method. She claimed that her daughter was driven into a corner; either she performs naked or she fails.
"It bothers me; I'm not sending her to school for this," said the woman who wished to remain anonymous. "To say you must be naked in order to pass my class… it makes me sick to my stomach."
Dominguez, for his part, said that his students are properly oriented of the final requirement, which the mother refutes.
"If they are uncomfortable with this gesture they should not take the class," he stated, adding that they have the option to bare themselves "figuratively." (Like how?)
Photo via University of California, San Diego
Dr. Jordan Crandall, chairman of UCSD's Visual Arts Department, already provided a statement, clarifying that "Removing your clothes is not required in this class. The course is not required for graduation."
"There are many ways to perform nudity or nakedness, summoning art history conventions of the nude or laying bare of one's 'traumatic' or most fragile and vulnerable self. One can 'be' nude while being covered," part of it read.
Crandall also suggested that those enraged by the provision listen first to students who have actually taken the class, to "clarify the matter quite directly."
As for the takers, one of them attested that the (unusual) final exam was in the syllabus, while another one said, "She could take another class if she really didn't want to get naked."
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