All posts filed under: teaching

Making and Doing: Cultures of Creativity

A graduate seminar I offered at Ryerson University in Fall 2015. DESCRIPTION This is a course about making. We will be thinking about making, but also making in order to think. We consider current trends around what has been described as “maker culture” or the “Maker Movement.” These communities of “makers” are reviving traditions of craft, the handmade, the open source, and the DIY through practices like knitting, weaving, or woodworking, but also 3D printing, hardware tinkering, and physical or digital hacking. But what is making? We will work through this question first by situating making in the broader history and philosophy of tools and technologies. Why do we make? The concept of critical making will provide us with a way to think about hands-on practice as a form of reflection and analysis, before we consider in particular craft, DIY, and hacking in the context of a renewed attention to materials, objects, and things. The question of community is woven throughout, as it propels the maker “movement” away from the myth of lone inventors. We …

Art in the Public Sphere

I taught this graduate course at OCAD University in Summer 2015. CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION As the mythic narratives of collective unity, nationalism and progress have faltered in the era of postmodernity, what then is the public role of art? This course will examine contemporary art and design as it critiques and reformulates the notions of monument, memory, audience and community. While art and design may serve the ideological interests of institutions, there also lies the potential for intervention and activism as well as a more critical relationship with popular culture. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION The central problematic of this course is the public domain as a zone of contestation, transformation, exchange, and participation. We will begin by examining the relationship between public art and the elusive concepts of “the public” and the public sphere. We will consider the role of public art as a prism through which to understand wider cultural, societal, and political issues and trends. Public implies more than moving outside the gallery, and entails new forms of interaction between artists, audiences, and communities. Some themes …

Cultures of Light from Sun to Screen

I offered this intensive graduate summer course in Spring 2015 at Sensorium, Centre for Digital Arts and Technology at York University. It was devoted to thinking about light in relation to our visual cultures and material practices, continuously exploring the relationship between optics and vision. Derrida described light as the “founding metaphor of Western philosophy”; it is the medium that allows us to see, but that also transforms the way that we see by compelling us to develop practices and technologies that extend our vision. This course explored different epistemological and phenomenological dimensions of light and how they have historically shaped our vision, perception, and knowledge, transformed our landscapes, formed our media technologies, and engaged the arts in myriad ways. The analytical framework developed in the course drew upon an interdisciplinary selection of writings from media studies, visual culture, philosophy, science and technology studies, and film and photography. Throughout the course we investigated light as a medium that is both “pure information,” as McLuhan argued, and invested with numerous other qualities: symbolic, aesthetic, therapeutic. To …