4.368 / 4.369
Studio Seminar in Public Art/Public Sphere

This advanced studio explores the variety of ideas, situations, objects, and materials that shape public space and inform notion of publicness by developing “embedded research” or in situ engagements with sites and publics beyond the MIT campus. It offers students the opportunity to expand the interrogative function of art: to develop art as a set of perspectives and means for addressing the social, cultural and ecological consequences of technology; to use art to build bridges between technics and life, industry and culture, representation and embodiment; and to challenge the boundaries between self and other, fiction and history, public and private, human and non-human, research and life.

The studio focuses on artistic action in the public sphere as a way of emphasizing coproduction and cooperative ethics in the arts. Broader forms of “environmental” thinking will be considered alongside historical models of art and action in the public sphere, including ecosystematic aesthetics, post-conceptual art, and contemporary interventionist tactics and artistic strategies. Asked to rethink remediation, repurposing, mitigation, and sustainability, participants will develop projects aiming to appropriate, hack, parasitize, remake, and bricolage existing technologies, tools, and materials, making them relevant to their intervention site and to contemporary critical discourses and practices in urban space.

The setting for this year’s studio is Brazil; hence there is a travel component to the class during the spring break. The itinerary will include meetings with scholars and artists, researching the technology relevant to the site, and modeling and implementing artistic intervention. Each student will propose an individual or collective project and develop it from an initial concept to an actual intervention in the public realm. Assigned readings, group discussion and individual meetings will support the students in developing their proposals. Writings and practice related to this subject include those by Gaston Bachelard, Bruno Latour, Donna Haraway, Timothy Morton, Vilém Flusser , Elizabeth Grosz, Cary Wolfe, Michel Serres, Jill Bennett, among others. Students from all backgrounds are encouraged to enroll. Class limited to 12 students.

Prerequisites: 4.301, 4.302, or permission of instructor
UG: Register for 4.368
G: Register for 4.369