Gediminas Urbonas
Nathaniel Elberfeld
3-3-6 u, 3-3-3/3-3-6 g
Lab Fee
$ 75
MW 9:30am-12:30pm
e15-001 (act cube)

This course focuses on the production of art for the public sphere. Conceptually, it deals with new modes of public and environmental art production, programming, and publication that shifts the discussion on public space towards discourse on the new environmentalisms by exploring the imaginary of a swamp—a critical zone (Latour) of the terrestrial Earth, in which borders defined by social, political, and cultural factors are porous and permeable.

Understanding the swamp as a critical zone constructed of networked interactions that combine heterogeneous forces and multiple layers into complex, brain-like biosystems requires techno-ecological engagement. To grapple with and measure a “criticality of a swamp” and its connotations with “critique” and, in a broader sense, of being fragile, threatened, and in need of attention and care, this class proposes to explore sensorial devices. From scientific instrumentarium developed for measurement, sensing, and viewing to devices for action and activation of a sensory experience, this class will interrogate how instruments produce and construct the environment. Within this exploration, the class is encouraged to tinker and experiment with artistic, poetic and political devices as a way to destabilize (and swamp) the scientific regimes of governmentality aiming at a production of alternatives in times of new climatic regime. The research should radically expand the way we think, feel and operate within the new climatic regime through an entirely new set of intellectual, theoretical, aesthetic, and sensorial tools (”devices”) for coping with it on different levels and spatio-temporal scales. Best projects developed in this class will be included in the SOS: Swamp Observatory School as part of Critical Zones exhibition curated by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel at ZKM Karlsruhe.

Readings related to this subject include those by Bruno Latour, Dimitris Papadopoulos, Donna Haraway, Isabelle Stengers, Jennifer Gabrys, and others. Visitors to the class will include Dora Garcia, Carlos Garaicoa, Jenna Sutela, Steffi Hessler, Armin Linke, Pelin Tan, Glorianna Davenport.

Professor: Gediminas Urbonas,

RA: Nomeda Urbonas,

TA: Nathaniel Elberfeld,

NOTE: First class meeting is February 3 in E15-001 (ACT Cube).

Students from all backgrounds are encouraged to enroll.

Class limited to 12 students.

This class is open to undergraduate and graduate students.  Additional work is required at the graduate level, which includes a variable unit option. 

Students taking a production-based ACT class will be charged a $75 lab fee after the add date on a semester basis. The fee covers the cost of student production materials used as part of the class. SMACT graduate students are exempt from the lab fee.