Spring 2021 Courses

4.301 Introduction to Artistic Experimentation

4.302 Foundations in Art, Design and Spatial Practices

4.314/5 Advanced Workshop in Artistic Practice and Transdisciplinary Research: Art and Agriculture

4.320/1 Introduction to Sound Creation: Sonic Interventions and Immersive Acoustic Environments

4.341/2 Introduction to Photography and Related Media

4.344/5 Advanced Photography and Related Media

4.354/5 Introduction to Video and Related Media

4.356/7 Cinematic Migrations

4.368/9 Studio Seminar in Art and the Public Sphere

4.373/4 Advanced Projects in Art, Culture and Technology

4.388 Thesis Preparation

4.390 Art, Culture and Technology Studio

4.s32 Animation

4.s33 Circulating Circuits: Enacting Intersections and Diffusion in Print, Matter, and Forms

4.s34 Artistic Methodologies: Art, Science and Experiential Aesthetics  

 

4.301 Introduction to Artistic Experimentation: Bootlegs & Bastards
Marisa Jahn
TR 2-5, E15-283a (hybrid)
Prereq: None
Units: u 3-3-6

This course is an introduction to artistic practice and critical visual thinking. Through hands-on and maker-kit demos (sculpture, mould-making, sewing, cold connections), quick brainstorms, readings, guest lectures, presentations, and project-driven explorations, students explore topics that interest them and that relate to the theme. Students will develop initial curiosities and interests through two final projects with iterations along the way. Seniors are invited to access labs and facilities for technical instruction, the creation of their projects, and feedback from course instructor and TA. Students from other years will receive Maker Kits to expand their facility with artistic production techniques and also supported through ample one-on-one feedback from the course instructor and TA. Open to undergraduates only.

This course takes inspiration from the following:

·         According to the logic of the bootleg — the knock-off, simulacra, or pirated work — the greater the infidelity, degradation, and remove from the originary object, the more valuable the bootleg in fact becomes. Here, the new mark of authenticity becomes the messy trail of the bootleg as it wrests away from its signifier. Make way for versionhood.

·         Born from irregular or dubious origin, a bastard questions (il)legitimacy, (im)purity, and sanctity itself. Excluded from normative customs, a bastard operates via a different logic.

 

4.302 Foundations in Art, Design and Spatial Practices
Azra Aksamija
TR 9-12, E15-283a (hybrid)
Prereq: 4.02A or 4.021
Units: u 3-3-6

Develops an introductory foundation in artistic practice and its critical analysis, and develops artistic approaches and methods by drawing analogies to architectural thinking, urbanism, and design practice. Covers how to communicate ideas and experiences on different scales and through two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and time-based media in new genres. Uses artistic methods that engage the public realm through spatial, sculptural, performative, and process-oriented practices. Instruction components include video screenings, guest lectures, visiting artist presentations, and field trips. Instruction and practice in written and oral communication provided. Limited to 18; preference to Course 4 majors and minors.
Open to undergraduates only.

 

4.314/5 Advanced Workshop in Artistic Practice and Transdisciplinary Research – Common Ground: Art and Agriculture
Nida Sinnokrot
TR 9:30-12:30 (virtual)
Prereq: 4.301, 4.302, or instructor permission
Units: u/g 3-3-6

Annexation, greenwashing, and destructive notions of progress have all but wiped out the memory of an indigenous mythology once deeply rooted in an embodied, balanced stewardship of nature. How can the merging of artistic methodologies with agricultural practices address this loss of cultural capital?

Common Ground is a transdisciplinary experiment in learning from the land, seeking to develop a new field of inquiry at the intersection of art, science and agriculture. The history of art is also a history of agriculture, marking humanity’s complex relationship with the environment. This course will examine historic typologies of indigenous architectural and agrarian technologies, bringing them into conversation with contemporary techno-scientific and artistic discourses. Through this synthesis, our class will explore artistic methods to decolonize the social, political, economic and narrative structures that govern our relationship to nature. Following the semester, project documentation and research developed over the semester will contribute to a publication.

Applicants from across artistic and scientific disciplines are highly encouraged. Interested students should attend the first class. Additional work required of students taking the graduate version.

 

4.320/1 Introduction to Sound Creations: Sonic Interventions and Immersive Acoustic Environments
Rasa Smite/Raitis Smits
MW 9-12 (virtual)
Prereq: None
Units: u 3-3-6, g 3-3-3 or 3-3-6

Develops a critical awareness of how sound art as a field for artistic exploration is performed, produced, and distributed. Explores contemporary and historical practices that emerge outside of purely musical environments and investigates specific compositional developments of post-war modernity and electro-acoustic music, as well as non-musical disciplines related to the psychophysics of hearing and listening.

Sound is a powerful force in organizing space; it is sound not visuals that mark dramatic shifts from one world to another. Technologies for sound creation have changed over time from analogue to digital, from waves to data, but the physical acoustic properties remain the same. What we hear can be very different from what we see. Sound is capable of simultaneity and non-linearity. It surrounds and immerses us, but above all, it resonates, allowing things to respond to each other in non-linear ways. Acoustic vibrations resonate inside the body, creating different emotions, pleasure, or fears. Sound helps to expand our external world too – the urban environment, nature, outer space. Scientists and artists listen to the universe, and radio signals radiate far beyond our planet after transmission.

Lectures, screenings, readings, and discussions with guests and faculty contribute to the development of group and individual projects. Additional work required of students taking the graduate version. Limited to 20.

 

4.341/2 Introduction to Photography and Related Media
Lara Baladi
TR 2-5 (virtual)
Prereq: none
Units: u 3-3-6, g 3-3-3 or 3-3-6

This introductory course in photography and related media provides practical instructions in the fundamentals of digital imaging.
Through lectures, readings, projects, film screenings, visiting artists’ presentations and critic sessions, the course introduces students to the history of photography and the use of images in contemporary art practices. It fosters, both theoretically and practically, media literacy, from analogue to digital imaging.

Throughout the semester, students work on assignments on individual and collaborative projects. They explore a range of traditional, contemporary and experimental visual art practices, while developing awareness of the history of technological and cultural production of images. Students from various disciplines are encouraged to enroll. Limited to 12.

 

4.344/5 Advanced Photography and Related Media
Lara Baladi
T 9:30-12:30 (virtual)
Prereq: 4.341/2 or equivalent
Units: u 3-3-6, g 3-3-3 or 3-3-6

This advanced photography course is designed for students who wish to explore photography, images and archives, as tools and resources for artistic practices.
The course focuses on the use of archival images in photographic practices while encouraging students to explore analog, digital and new technologies.
Through lectures, readings, film screenings, student-driven projects, visiting artists’ presentations and critic sessions, students experiment with a range of artistic strategies, while engaging in cross disciplinary research and working on collaborative and individual assignments. Across a diverse spectrum of themes and historical contexts, students read and discuss theoretical texts related to the use of archives in artistic practices.
Students from various disciplines are encouraged to enroll and to work with a diversity of media and formats, including video, sculpture, multimedia installations and more, providing images remain central to their projects. Limited to 12.

 

4.354/5 Introduction to Video and Related Media
Georgie Friedman
MW 9:30-12:30, E15-070 (hybrid)
Prereq: none
Units: u 3-3-6, g 3-3-3 or 3-3-6

Introduction to Video and Related Media examines the technical and conceptual variables and strategies inherent in a contemporary video art practice. Students are instructed how to analyzes structural concepts of time, space, perspective, and sound within video art and experimental narrative. Building upon the historical legacy of the language of film and other time-based media, students render self-exploration, performance, social critique, and manipulation of raw experience into an aesthetic form. This class introduces practical knowledge of video capturing, audio recording, lighting, and editing, while emphasizing individual concept development.
Class time will shift between screening and reading discussions, technical demonstrations, in-class work time, and critiques of students’ projects. Exhibit visits and artist lectures may be included based on the current availability. To show mastery of the course’s content, students are required to create a self-designed final project that demonstrates their understanding and ability to integrate their concepts, filming, audio recording, and editing techniques, into a cohesive piece that clearly communicates their idea to their viewer. Limited to 8.

 

4.356/7 Cinematic Migrations
Renee Green
T 7-10 with additional screenings (virtual)
Prereq: 4.301, 4.302, 4.354, or instructor permission
Units: u 3-3-6, g 3-3-3 or 3-3-6

Cinematic migrations will be a multi-faceted look at the role of cinema’s transmutations over time and its worldwide and circuitous shift, which include the integrations of its form into online video and television, spatial installations, performance and dance, as well as its appearance in many formats and portable devices. The course explores how cinema has been transformed by a combination of operations, including the “production of subjectivity,” contextual and theoretical shifts, in addition to the many changing formats and forms of diffusion. Recurring questions will be: “What is generated?” “What is evocative?” and “How do we care?”
Desire for cinema perhaps existed before its creation. Questions regarding this speculation and the variety of ways this longing has been addressed in the past and present form the basis of inquiry in this workshop. Cinema can now be thought in the present as the umbrella term used for the variety of moving image and time-based forms that currently circulate and which have intersecting, yet specific histories of emergence.

The course will examine the transformation caused by online video, television, spatial installations, performances, dance, and many formats and portable devices, as well as the theory and context of film’s categorization, dissemination, and analysis. Presentations, screenings, field trips, readings, visiting artists, and experimental transdisciplinary projects broaden the perception of present cinema. Additional work required of students taking the graduate version. Limited to 12.

 

4.368/9 Studio Seminar in Art and the Public Sphere
Gediminas Urbonas
MW 930-1230 (virtual)
Prereq: none
Units: u 3-3-6, g 3-3-3 or 3-3-6

Focuses on the production of artistic interventions in public space. Explores ideas, situations, objects, and materials that shape public space and inform the notion of publicness, with an emphasis on coproduction and cooperative ethics. Examines forms of environmental art in comparison to temporal and critical forms of art and action in the public sphere. Historical models include the Russian Constructivists, the Situationists International, ecosystematic aesthetics, conceptual art, and contemporary interventionist tactics and artistic strategies. Helps students develop an initial concept for a publicly-situated project. Includes guest lectures, visiting artist presentations, and optional field trips. Additional work required of students taking graduate version. Limited to 12.

 

4.373/4 Advanced Projects in Art, Culture and Technology
Tobias Putrih
TR 930-1230 (virtual)
Prereq: 4.301, 4.302, or instructor permission
Units: u 3-3-6, g 3-3-3 or 3-3-6

Investigates conceptual and formal issues in a variety of media. Explores representation, interpretation and meaning, and how these relate to historical, social and cultural contexts. Helps students develop an initial concept for a publicly situated project. Includes guest lectures and visiting artist presentations. Additional work required of students taking graduate version. Limited to 20.

 

4.388 Thesis Preparation
Mario Caro
F 730-9, E15-207 (hybrid)
Prereq: Instructor permission (First-year ACT graduate students only)
Units: g 3-0-6

Provides assistance to students as they select a thesis topic, develop a method of approach, prepare a proposal, and develop an outline for their thesis. Explores artistic practice as method of critical inquiry. Examines artists’ writing and clarifies academic requirements and standards. Regular group meetings, including peer reviews, supplemented by independent study and individual conferences with faculty.

 

4.390 Art, Culture and Technology Studio
Azra Aksamija and Gediminas Urbonas
M 2-5, F 930-1230, E15-001 (hybrid)
Prereq: Instructor permission (ACT graduate students only)
Units: g 3-3-12

ACT Studio explores the theory and criticism of intersections between art, culture, and technology in relation to contemporary artistic practice, critical design, and media. Students consider methods of investigation, documentation, and display and explore modes of communication across disciplines. Students develop projects in which they organize research methods and goals, engage in production, cultivate a context for their practice, and explore how to compellingly communicate, display, and document their work. Regular presentation and peer-critique sessions, as well as reviews involving ACT faculty and fellows, and external guest reviewers provide students with ample feedback as their projects develop.

 

4.s32 Animation
Lisa Crafts
W 7-10 (virtual)
Prereq: none
Units: u/g 3-0-6, or to be arranged

In contemporary moving image art, boundaries are often blurred between animation and live action, fiction and non-fiction, fine art and cinema. This course is a lively and rigorous studio class that explores strategies for creating and combining source materials to produce animation art that is experimental in both content and form.

Each class begins with a screening and discussion of short films that were created as fine art, music videos, installations or as an element in a feature film. They represent a diversity of voices and address issues ranging from cultural commentary to personal narratives. We work together on in-class tutorials to gain familiarity with a range of animation techniques. There are three short assignments and a final project due at the end of the semester. The software is primarily Adobe Creative Cloud based, with a focus on After Effects. We also experiment with rotoscoping and stop motion animation using real materials.

This is a course is for those who wish to expand their art practice to include animation, for film/video artists who want to incorporate experimental elements into their visual narratives, and for those who wish to gain a deeper understanding of the process of 2D animation and visual effects.

4.s33 Circulating Circuits: Enacting Intersections and Diffusion in Print, Matter, and Forms
Renee Green, Jesal Kapadia
W 7-10 (virtual)
Prereq: none
Units: u/g 3-0-6, or to be arranged

This course focuses on the agency generated and exerted in affective material endeavors, broadly defined as probing the myriad ways emotions felt in the body are linked to matter, and the forms that both emotions and matter may take. Despite a seeming dependency on the digital realm, as fatigue of digital forms increases with saturated use, and as distances are bridged by inevitable online exchanges, efforts to shift and incorporate attention in relation to matter and presence is noticeably increasing. The wish for palpable contact is becoming more apparent in forms that can circulate. These include the increased interest in matter, including printed matter, or matter in space, as in to be in space with others, for example. Books, journals, magazines, posters, vinyl records, cassettes, and hand-engaged processes continue to exist and thrive, amidst futuristic projections of the late 20th and early 21st century that seemed to doom these formats to obsolescence. Circulating Circuits will explore the ways in which agency and circulation continue throughout moments of confinement. Physical presence continues in new forms in books, publications, and printing, in voices, in bodies, in thought. Given our conscious self-isolation prompted by our current predicament, these experiments and enactments of forms are accompanied by explorations of emotions in conjunction with body-sense perceptions, as none of these have been paused by the pandemic. Participants are urged to explore these potential intersections in relation to works, writings, publications and forms they are developing and researching, wherever they are located. The course exists as a combination workshop/study group/seminar and will include case studies and guest participants involved with varied forms of publishing, exhibition, and diffusion.

 

4.s34 Artistic Methodologies: Art, Science and Experiential Aesthetics
Judith Barry, Rasa Smite, Raitis Smits
WR 2-5, E15-207 (hybrid)
Prereq: none
Units: u/g 3-3-6, or to be arranged

Challenging the contemporary conditions and the urgent need for a transdisciplinary dialogue, this course provides the methodology and tools for creating the art that deals with the topics of science, uses scientific data and technologies to create new aesthetic experiences.

This course focuses on histories, theories and practices of art and science collaboration, discusses how scientists conceptualize their work, and what ideas and aesthetics the artists use to relate to the world of science. The key approach will be to establish connections with scientists and researchers at MIT, explore facilities across the campus, access the laboratories, and get acquainted with new research agendas.  The students will use experiential storytelling, sensing and visualizing technologies, combine fieldwork and laboratory experiments, scientific data and artistic methods to create new aesthetic objects, data visualization projects, immersive environments, and other experiential art works in the context of contemporary socio-cultural discourses.