Winter 2015 and Spring 2015 quarters
- Robert Leverich visual arts, architecture , Sarah Williams feminist theory, consciousness studies
- Fields of Study
- architecture, art history, consciousness studies, cultural studies, gender and women's studies, visual arts and writing
- Preparatory for studies or careers in
- visual and environmental arts, cultural studies, architecture and art education.
[T]raditional ornament was not meant only for pleasure. [I]t participated in the expression of social values, hierarchies and order. – Antoine Picon from Ornament: The Politics of Architecture and Subjectivity – Architectural Design Primer
Why do we like some objects plain and others ornamented? Does ornament arise out of the making of the thing or is it applied afterward? What are the personal and political dimensions of ornament within different historical and cultural contexts? Are our possessions—and our possessions’ accessories—themselves a form of ornament? Is thinking always mediated by, alongside,and through objects? From an evolutionary perspective might the ornament of reason be mere embellishment?
We will consider how things—plain or adorned—shape our mental as well as our physical landscapes. Possible sites for our investigation of the cognitive life of vibrant matter are many and diverse: beads (abacus to jewelry), classic Greek running patterns, Islamic interlaces, cursive writing, Native American figure/ground relationships, Bach’s well-ordered table of musical ornaments, the poetics of Gertrude Stein, Louis Sullivan’s System of Architectural Ornament, Rudolf Steiner’s sequenced instruction in form drawing, or Henry Goodyear’s The Grammar of the Lotus.
Program creative work will be centered in three interrelated studios: one focused on materials, tools and making; another on writing about materials, tools and making, from evolutionary and poetic perspectives; and a third studio practice in experimental drawing. Individual and peer project assignments will address how forms and patterns of ornamentation arise from nature, abstract systems and cultural imperatives. Winter work will develop skills and understanding of what it means to think with and through ornament. Small group creative and research projects will lead to opportunities for substantive independent projects in the spring.
Through these projects, as well as lectures, workshops, peer presentations, seminars and field trips, students will develop abilities in drawing and design, low-tech tools and materials, and experimental forms of expressive, expository, and reflective speaking and writing. Book possibilities include: The Thinking Hand (Pallasmaa), The Language of Ornament (Trilling), Thinking with Things (Pasztory), Ghana: Where the Bead Speaks (Adoo), Redrawing Anthropology (Ingold), Imagining Language (Rasula and McCaffery), and The Cognitive Life of Things: Recasting the Boundaries of Mind (Malafouris and Renfrew).
- Campus Location
- Online Learning
- Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online
- Greener Store
- Required Fees
- $35 in winter and $135 in spring for entrance fees and studio supplies.
- Special Expenses
- Students will have an opportunity in winter quarter to do field research on forms of ornament, with related travel expenses.
- Offered During