4.344/345 The Camera, Social Reproduction and the City: Advanced Photography and Related Media

Instructor: Jesal Kapadia

Images help to construct our vision of the world, and are implicated as forms of technical production in maintaining a certain reality. This course will take the camera as a potential tool to reverse this, re-visualizing the processes by which we produce and reproduce our lives on a daily basis. Using images that reflect a transformation or reclaiming of spaces — urban, domestic, private, and common — we will attempt to inhabit the idea that art be seen as a space of political relations that is not separate from life.

Techniques from Fluxus, performance art, early video art, as well as experimental cinema and appropriation art strategies will be explored throughout the course. Through weekly readings, screenings, slide-lectures and group discussions, students will collectively negotiate the capturing and framing of images, and analyze both theoretically and conceptually the problems of representation in order to create a new visual language. Focus will be on the political implications of non-linear narratives and development of ideas in order to re-arrange signs and construct new meanings. Selections from writings by J. K. Gibson-Graham, Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, Stuart Hall, Gayatri Spivak, Michel de Certeau, Guy Debord; and works by Black Audio Film Collective, Harun Farocki, CAMP, Allan Sekula, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Chris Marker, Lygia Clark, Adrian Piper, amongst many others, will be discussed.

Assignments will be geared towards shooting a roll a week, to be continuously presented and discussed in a critical forum. Prior knowledge of photography required. Production outside class time essential. Images will be printed using the plotter in the digital lab and the darkroom for analog b/w prints. Both digital SLR and 35mm film cameras will be available for checkout each week.

Attandance on five Mondays to the ACT lecture series is madatory, as part of the course requirements. Additional Monday recitation time will be used for printing and/or reviewing work. Advanced students encouraged. Graduate students complete additional assignments.



  • Prereq: 4.341 or 4.342 or permission of instructor
    Units: 3-2-4
    Lab Fee: $150
  • Schedule: MT 7-10pm
    Location: e15-054