4.344/5 Advanced Photography and Related Media: Fluid Forms: River/Image/Movement/Story

Instructor: Jesal Kapadia

TA: Ryan Aasen

From the Charles River just a few meters away from our campus to the
Mississippi River basin across the country, the Nile delta, and the Narmada valley, the
Seine, Ouse and Yangtze…what do these rivers embody? What revolutions have they
seen, what has remained, what has disappeared? What sediments, feelings and
memories do they carry, what forms of life do they reproduce? What can be learned
and un-learned, cleaned and regenerated, restored and reclaimed through these flows,
floods and the riverbanks?

This course is an invitation to examine the relations between photography,
philosophy, ecology, feminism, material history, the commons and the care and reading
of riverscapes that tell a story. Using both analog and digital image-making tools, it is an
exploration of materiality and movement that is felt through invisible forces of the river
as testimony: up-, middle- and down-streams of consciousness, mythology, fables and
untold stories; migration, fugitive time, planeteriety and climate change; feminist waves
of Ni Una Menos; and voices resonating with the sans papiers and anti-colonial

Each week, we will closely study works by artists, filmmakers and photographers
who have experimented with commoning, poetic expression and empirical research that
use aesthetic means to characterize the present epoch. Coursework will center on
student-initiated projects and responses to the course topic, with an emphasis on
theoretical, conceptual as well as technical development. We will follow an organic
workflow to review and discuss project ideas, along with regular readings, collective
exercises, critiques and local field trips. Artist visits and presentations will further
acquaint students with contemporary art practices and the potential of mixed media and
long-form photographic work.

Students are required to produce a final project at the end of the semester. 35
mm and digital SLRs, medium formats and more cameras will be available for checkout.
Students from various disciplines are encouraged to enroll. Graduate and undergraduate
workload and evaluation criteria vary accordingly. Lab fee: 75$. Limited enrollment
based on portfolio.




  • Units: u 3-3-6 g 3-3-3
    Lab Fee: 75
  • Schedule: T 9:30-12:30
    Location: e15-054

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