I have been watching some Theory of Knowledge presentations by grade 11 students., and this afternoon saw a student discuss using the ‘found’ object as art, alluding to the works of Duchamp, Picasso, Carl Andre, Tony Cragg and Sarah Lucas.

She was exploring the nature and purpose of contemporary western art, and she brought in the possibilities (and the possible value and validity) of garbage, trash and rubbish art.

These ToK presentations require students to identify and explore the knowledge issues raised by a real-life situation that is of interest to them. Students can select the situation they will tackle from a more limited domain of personal, school, or community relevance, or from a wider one of national, international or global scope.

Each presentation has two stages: first, an introduction, briefly describing the real-life situation and linking it to one or more relevant knowledge issue, and then a treatment of the knowledge issue(s) that explores their nature and responses to them, and shows how these relate to the chosen situation.

A good presentation will demonstrate the presenter’s personal involvement in the topic and show both why the topic is important and how it relates to other areas.

Information about the presentation can be found through the ToK site on the OCC


Attitudes to (and occasionally misconceptions and preconceptions about) contemporary art often feature in student presentations, and a number of questions in the visual arts guide also address this issue – for example, is it important for artworks to be original? Why?

Is art simply an imitation of an idea?

Is the artist’s intention relevant to the viewer?

What do we expect from art? Truth? Seduction? Provocation? Beauty?


These are great questions, particularly if the student is taking IBDP visual arts: looking at art in context, and art from different times and cultures, could (should) throw up some interesting if not provocative issues.


Found object

Found object : a natural or man-made object (or fragment of an object) found (or sometimes bought) by an artist and kept because of some intrinsic interest the artist sees in it. Found objects may be put on a shelf and treated as works of art in themselves, as well as providing inspiration for the artist“.


Modern art is rubbish: conceptual works keep getting thrown out with the general detritus at the end of the day. Is it because it’s trash?


Is Modern Art a load of Rubbish?


A bag of rubbish that was part of a Tate Britain work of art has been accidentally thrown away by a cleaner.  (Friday, 27 August, 2004, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK )


The Bricks controversy and ‘Save the Stubbs