Art, Media and Conflict: Embodied Borders

NMDS 5588 A / CRN 6130, Fall 2017

Thursdays 4:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.
Location: 6 East 16th Street, Room: 611
Instructor: Prof. Nitin Sawhney, Ph.D.

Course Description:

How do artistic practitioners, designers and media makers engage in moments of conflict and crisis? In what ways do creative and participatory modes of production using art, theater, film, performance and networked digital culture critically interrogate, invoke or transform the memory and traumas of violence, injustice, war and socio-political struggles? We examine these questions through the work of socially engaged artists and practitioners including Ai Weiwei, Wafaa Bilal, Sherin Nishat, and Krzysztof Wodiczko. We reflect on how such artistic practices, tactics of engagement or antagonistic aesthetics may critically resist, subvert or disrupt prevailing perceptions and social conditions. In particular we will explore the notion of “Embodied Borders” and how artists and activists have responded to the recent crises around migration and oppressive border policing within the U.S. and abroad. We will also consider the many “invisible borders” emerging in everyday urban and social spaces, and the role of individual and collective embodied actions to subvert them. Students will be expected to investigate and develop both conceptual and site-specific artistic projects using film, networked digital media, performance and critical design inquiry.

Participating in Activities outside the Class:

We have setup a custom WordPress Blog for students to regularly reflect on readings, share illustrative examples, and ongoing progress on their production work. Please feel free to post and contribute on the blog any updates on your project, events, movies, or material you feel are pertinent to the calss.

Besides the weekly sessions, we expect students to engage in informal workshops and hands-on sessions at the New School Making Center and around the city in museums and afterschool programs throughout the term. https://www.newschool.edu/parsons/making-center/

Zotero will be used as an online course repository for sharing suggested articles and write-ups among class participants: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1655795/art_media_conflict_2017/items