4.330 / 4.331
Introduction to Networked Cultures and Participatory Media —Participation at the Edge of the Earth: Ecological Topologies in Tasmania

4.330 ⎯ undergraduate Subject
4.331 ⎯ graduate Subject

In addition to providing an overview of participatory art, net-activism, and current hybrid media practices in art and culture, this class will explore cultural, social and political impacts of mediated communication. We will examine how sensorial media and online communications have altered modes of collaboration, changed notions of authorship, and given rise to the collective.

This semester the class will design projects for an exhibition opening at MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania, Australia. The exhibition will address the severe contamination of the Derwent River, which in terms of heavy metal sediment, is one of the most polluted rivers in the world. This will serve as the starting point for our research. In addition to containing over half of Tasmania’s population, the banks of the Derwent play host to a rich cast: one of the world’s largest zinc refineries, a Cadbury chocolate factory, several psychiatric facilities, a pulp and paper mill, the shipwrecked remains of Joseph Conrad’s Barque Otago, and MONA itself, to name a few.

Students will develop work that critically engages this rich historical context and ecology through artistic interventions and tactical tools that support networked social engagement, civic agency and participatory action. We will network with scientists and agencies in Tasmania.

Through readings, field trips, screenings, and a lecture series participants will be exposed to an exciting pool of artists, designers, scientists, and ideas to support the development of discursive intervention. Readings will include work by Claire Bishop, Geert Lovink, Robert Smithson, Felix Guattari, Vandana Shiva, Elizabeth Grosz, Franco Berardi “Bifo“, Gerald Raunig, et al.

Students from all backgrounds are encouraged to enroll. There will be an application process if the class is over-enlisted beyond its 10-student capacity.

Lab fee $110.