Artist / Student (Full Time)*
The ambition of the course is to help participants understand the mechanisms of activist art and provide an overview of the most inspiring and thought-provoking actions of politically-minded creative practioners. The sessions will also be designed to leave space for debates and reflection over contentious and ambiguous questions relevant to contemporary society.
Each week, the first half of the course will look at a particular political, cultural, technological or ethical theme that is the source of growing concern in society. Namely: the anthropocene, the persistence of colonialism, the rise of intelligent machines, the new forms of life engineered in laboratories.
Each theme will be illustrated by artworks and public actions that have engaged successfully (and also not successfully because we can always learn from our mistakes) with the topic examined. These case studies will be mostly contemporary, with several incursions into historical precedents: anti-slavery activism in the 19th century, social upheaval in Ancient Greece, liberation struggles in the 60s and 70s, etc.
The other half of the course will explore strategies, tools, and ideas to keep in mind no matter what the topic of the week will be.
Each week, an assignment will invite participants to reflect on an ambiguous issue and to articulate an opinion based on their position or inability to take a clear position.
Week 1 Part 1: From Tintin to Trump Footprints of colonialism. Part 2: The Tools. The books, online resources, venues and other allies of socially-engaged practices. Debate of the week.
Week 2 Part 1: The Anthropocene Western ideas of ‘progress’ versus Planet Earth. Part 2: Instrumentalization, Misinterpretation and Other Pitfalls Because sometimes the most cunning plan can go wrong. Debate of the week.
Week 3 Part 1: Automation Robots ‘stealing’ our jobs and getting not only more intelligent but also possibly more creative than us. Part 2: The Others Fashion, product design, craft and other disciplines that are critical and successfully embed struggle
Week 4 Part 1: Chimera and Bacteria GMOs and dodos. New fears and challenges raised by technologies that affect our understanding of what nature is. Part 2: Where to Find Your Audience The subway, the supermarket, the internet, etc. Even museums and tra
Politically-minded artists, designers and makers who believe that their ideas, concerns and beliefs should be heard outside of the usual white walls of cultural institutions. Activists looking for inventive strategies to get their message across. And pretty much anyone worried about the state of the world.