Gediminas Urbonas
Christopher Joshua Benton
3-3-3 or 3-3-6
Lab Fee
TR 7-10

Instructor: Prof. Gediminas Urbonas

TA: Christopher Joshua Benton

Research Affiliate: Louis Volont  

Visiting Artist: Dr. Adesola Akinleye


This course focuses on the production of artistic experiments in public sphere. Conceptually it deals with new modes of art production, that shifts the discussion on public art towards critical engagement on civic and environmental scales. Choreographing The City class will look at an emerging lexicon (for movement in urban space) that connects to ideas shared across dance-making (choreography), to building/city-making (community) under the new climatic regime. Developed in dialogue with Theatrum Mundi, prof. Richard Sennett and CAST supported MIT visiting artist and choreographer Dr.Adesola Akinleye the class asks the question: how do we become attentive to a community’s emotional, cultural and corporeal memory in order to move beyond the scripted spaces and codified routes? The urban domain has become the main site in which the climate crisis is felt, but also the place where alternative futures are imagined and performed. Therefore, the class explores how the corporeal experience of space might help us to communicate the climate-induced changing structures of the city and to inform more sustainable forms of city-making. 

The aim of the course is to explore how transdisciplinary research and creative collaboration between choreographic and spatial practices can respond to the urgencies of this time and create new techniques, lexicons, and ways of engaging the community to produce more just (public) spaces. Participants will use artistic research tools to design a score exploring somatic body presence in the city
; and in dialogue with community members they will develop a public artwork – collaborative performance (dance).

The class will be structured with a help of three conceptual lenses through which we will look into the Urban domain: The ForestThe River and The Swamp. As such these conceptual lenses would (A) connect with pressing concerns on climate crisis – making bridge between community / injustice / climate change, and (B) help to un-earth the underlying (pre-Columbian, indigenous) landscape in the city, affected by a settler economy and colonization.

In addition to lectures, class discussion, outdoor exercises and individual studio meetings the class will host Soma-sessions: special workshops facilitated by visiting artist Adesola Akinleye that will involve the bodily (such as some group movement to begin a discussion, somatic practices including yoga breathing, being physically present in unexpected geographic locations beyond MIT campus, and etc.).
The class will meet Tuesdays 7-10PM for main input: lecture, visits from artists and scholars, and discussions of readings, with a Lab work scheduled on Thursdays, when individual meetings and/or studio visits and desk crits with the instructor would be organized upon the request. Thursdays time slot would be reserved for workshopping of students ideas, field trips, or library/archival research.
Choreographing the City Podcast