How are combinations of knowledge between fields creatively interpreted and recombined by artists to open additional forms of perceiving by practitioners in a variety of fields? The focus of this seminar is on the thinking processes that are conveyed through language, in its broadest sense, by those who are engaged with visual and audio forms of production. Fictional, speculative, essayistic, documentary and hard to classify forms of writing in relationship to varying visual, audio, filmic and spatial forms can be thought of as recombinant operations created and articulated by artists using language. We will examine contemporary art as a form of investigation and knowledge production via the historical exploration of the aforementioned terminology and an examination of writings by artists whose work exists in complex relation to other fields, including mathematics, computer science, philosophy, natural science, physics, chemistry, anthropology, geography, psychology, and psychoanalysis. Work by various artists working across visual, audio and cinematic media will be explored. These include Mel Bochner, Allan Kaprow, Robert Smithson, Hollis Frampton, Jean-Luc Godard, Andrei Tarkovsky, Marcel Broodthaers, Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Clark, Oyvind Fahlstöm, Yvonne Rainter, Chantal Akerman, Yoko Ono, Trinh T. Minh-Ha, Art + Language, Adrian Piper, George Lewis, Harun Farocki, Mary Kelly, and Mike Kelley.
We will explore both primary and supplementary sources, in addition to viewing films, videos, and listening to audio manifestations in addition to meeting one or more guest artists engaged with language, writing, and diffusion of ideas. Exhibitions, screenings, performances, and publications will also be suggested for analysis, discussion and pleasure. The class will in part develop based on the interests and backgrounds of students inscribed in the seminar, to be determined during discussions in the introductory meetings.