Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth
Fall 2014, Winter 2015 and Spring 2015 quarters
Fifty years ago, Buckminster Fuller contemplated our planetary future and our limited ability to imagine alternative futures in his book, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth . In this program, we will consider what it means to be astronauts on our home planet and how to creatively imagine healthy and sustainable future scenarios. Guiding questions for the program will include: What shapes cultural values and how do cultures change, adapt and form new paths? How do we weave together various branches of knowledge into a healthy system and vision for the world? What do we make with the abundance of material goods that fill our daily lives? How do we design objects and spaces to create a more sustainable and fulfilling existence?
To address these questions, we will consider traditions of the past and present that demonstrate cultural responses to environmental limits and possibilities. Yogic philosophy, for example, offers critical guidelines for sustainable living and we will explore the principles and practices of this tradition. We will examine the ideologies of the Arts and Crafts movement, the modernist avant-garde, social sculpture and art as social practice. These will be connected with the environmental movement and current trends such as upcycling, cradle-to-cradle design and the resurgence in handiwork and traditions of craft.
Students will research and construct their own “Operating Manuals” over the course of the three quarters. This will include a critical look at alternative and utopian models for living, as well as engage with powerful sustainability and justice movements already at work in our community. This program will challenge students to engage through readings and weekly seminar discussions, field visits and research papers, as well as visual art projects and critiques.
In fall quarter, we will build vocabularies and skills for thinking about sustainability and community transformation. Studio work in two- and three-dimensional design and ceramics will emphasize redesigning, repurposing and reusing the proliferation of materials available all around us. Yoga labs will help us to integrate work in the classroom and studio with yogic thought and somatic experiences. Study and comparison of cross-cultural examples of sustainability practices will guide the development of our Operating Manuals.
In winter quarter, we will work to develop community projects and/or individual visual artworks. We will work with organizations such as Sustainable South Sound and The Commons to develop applied projects. Students will research and report on local and regional alternative, intentional communities. Our critical analysis of sustainability discourses will inform all of our studio work.
Spring quarter will offer opportunities to further develop and implement community projects. These may take the form of public art projects, sculptures or installations that enhance public spaces such as community or school gardens or parks. They may also involve facilitating public art processes that integrate the concepts and design principles central to this program.
Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies or careers in
Location and Schedule
Offered during: Day