Course Title:  Wanderings, Musings and the Art of Getting Lost
Faculty:  Jean Marie Casbarian    
Course Description:        
Through daily excursions we will approach the poetics of walking as a medium for studio production. We will wander in and out of urban space and along its edges and ask ourselves what it means to get lost in or on the square, the park, the wood, the river. Finding inspiration from the flaneur of the 19th century to the current day walking artist, we will walk together and we will walk alone, we will make and we will write,  culminating in our shared imagination of experience. We will explore a wide range of artists, writers, and walkers including the Situationists (Guy Debord, Simon Sadler), Andre Breton, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Eugene Atget, Edward Muybridge, Bruce Nauman, Simon Pope, Sophie Calle, Richard Long, Nicolas Dumit Estavez, Henry David Thoreau, and Walter Benjamin, among others.
Course Goals:            
To increase and incite ideas surrounding perception and awareness of one's body in relationship to surroundings and provide a deeper context for students' on-going studio practice. To develop an understanding of cross-polination through a variety of mediums.
Detailed Content:        
“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” Friedrich Neitzsche
Through daily excursions we will approach the poetics of walking as a medium for studio production. We will wander in and out of urban space and along its edges and ask ourselves what it means to get lost in or on the square, the park, the wood, the river. Finding inspiration from the flaneur of the 19th century to the current day walking artist, we will walk together and we will walk alone, we will make and we will write, culminating in our shared imagination of experience.
DAY 1
Morning Lecture: The Urban Screen and discuss works of Cardiff/Miller, Calle, Debord/Sadler, Alys, Sarah Cullen, Tim Knowles, etc. Discuss the readings of Walter Benjamin,
Afternoon
Walk #1 / TBD in class
Last Hour: Present findings
Homework: Create an audio file that describes how to travel from Ufer Studios to a destination of your choice. (minimum of 1 mile / no more than 3)
DAY 2
Morning Lecture: The Edge. Screen and discuss works of Tim Brennan, Abramovic, Alec Finlay, Rudy Burkhardt, Bas Jan Ader, Edweard Muybridge, Osckar Fischinger, etc. Discuss the writings of Herzog,
Afternoon
Walk #2 / To be identified in class
Last Hour Present findings
Homework: Take the audio walk your colleague prepared for you. Document along the way.
DAY 3
Morning Lecture: The Wood. Screen and discuss works of Richard Long, Hamish Fulton, Tacita Dean, Sharon Harper, John Gossage, etc. Discuss the readings of Thoreau,
Afternoon: Walk #3 / To be identified in class
Last Hour: Present findings

 

Course Title:  The Role of Chance
Faculty:  Michael Bowdidge   
Course Description:     This three day practical workshop seeks to explore the role of chance (and its corollary - control) in art-making and their continued relevance to contemporary creative practice. It begins with an examination of the historical origins of chance as an acknowledged mediator (or collaborator) in the artistic process before moving on to examine the ways in which artists have incorporated chance occurrences in their work. We’ll then move on to considering the workings of chance in our own individual practices and conduct an ‘audit’ of the workings of contingency and control in our respective processes, in order to ensure that the two are functioning in a well-balanced and considered way. We’ll also be examining the difference between chance and randomness, and exploring how ideas from physics, philosophy and art intersect and inform our understanding of these concepts. Artists and theorists who inform this workshop include William Anastasi, John Cage, Marcel Duchamp, Anthony Eagle, Max Ernst, Helen Frankethaler, Eva Hesse, Margaret Iverson, Ellsworth Kelly, Lee Krasner, Jackson Pollock, Dieter Roth, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Kazuo Shiraga. Each day consists of a longer individual or collaborative practical assignment, backed up by presentations and class discussions of relevant artworks and readings, along with shorter exercises intended to bring the implications of the readings into sharper focus.
Course Goals:        
To allow participants to gain a deeper understanding of the historic and contemporary use of chance and randomness as creative strategies To give participants the opportunity to audit and examine the extent to which chance operations play a role in their individual practices. To explore the creative possibilities which arise when we consciously decide to open our practice to chance or randomness.
Detailed Content:    
DAY1
10.00 – 10.15: Course introduction, course aims, course ethos and protocols.
10.15 – 11.00: Short exercise: Reverse Beuys Sticks
11.00 – 13.00: Class presentation and discussion of readings: an overview of the historical origins and contemporary manifestations of aleatoricism, incorporating student provided examples of artists who have worked with chance or randomness. Be prepared to talk briefly about your chosen artist/artwork and your reasons for that choice.
13.00 – 14.00: Lunch
14.00 – 14.30: Working in pairs, further discuss the example of an artwork by an artist other than yourself that you feel makes use of chance or randomness as an integral part of its process and how you might further develop it by the same or a related approach, i.e. you could use chance to work on or with this artwork to make something new. Use each other as a sounding board for your ideas.
14.30 – 15.30: Begin some initial explorations of your idea, make sketches and try things out in whatever media you are working in.
15.30 – 17.00: Group discussion of initial ideas. 1 minute presentation and 4 minutes discussion/feedback of initial results. Take notes on the feedback you are given. Keep your responses brief and to the point!
Assignment: Continue to develop and refine your project on Tuesday in order to be ready to present it to the group on Wednesday morning. The work produced should reach a level that reflects a substantial investment of time and energy on it during the day.
Bring to class: an example of an artwork by an artist other than yourself that you feel makes use of chance or randomness as an integral part of its process and is also open to being further developed by the same approach, i.e. you could use chance to work on or with this artwork to make something new.
Readings to prepare:
press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/9780936316277_blad.pdf
http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/19/gamboni.php
DAY 2
10.00 – 10.30: Short exercise: working collaboratively on the large roll of paper on the floor draw with your eyes closed for 30 minutes. Interact with those around you who are also working in the same way and allow the chance occurrences, thoughts and sounds that surround you to inform your passage of your line across the paper. Negotiate movement through the creative and physical space without speaking as far as you can. Don’t open your eyes.
10.30 – 13.00 Presentation and discussion of assignment results.
13.00 – 14.00: Lunch
14.00 – 14.30: The Audit: working in pairs, and using the documentation of your practice which you have brought to class, take the time to examine and discuss in detail the points in your own artistic process at which there is an opening to (or openness to) chance. Similarly, investigate the points at which you exert explicit (or implicit) control over the process. How might you make this artwork more open or more consciously open to chance? Use each other as a sounding board for your ideas.
14.30 – 15.30: Begin some initial explorations of your idea, make sketches and try things out in whatever media you are working in.
15.30 – 17.00: Group discussion of initial ideas. 1 minute presentation and 4 minutes discussion/feedback of initial results. Take notes on the feedback you are given. Keep your responses brief and to the point!
Assignment: Continue to develop and refine your project on Thursday in order to be ready to present it to the group. The work produced should reach a level that reflects a substantial investment of time and energy on it during the day on Thursday.
Bring to class: an example of an artwork by yourself that you feel is open to being further developed by the use of chance or randomness.
DAY 3
10.00 – 10.30: Short exercise: TBA
10.30 – 13.00: Presentation and discussion of assignment results.
13.00 – 14.00: Lunch
14.00 – 17.00: Class discussion of themes and issues raised during the course, preparation for workshop results and workshop results.
 


Course Title:  Line Beyond Drawing
Faculty:  Angeliki Avgitidou   
Course Description:    
This practice-based workshop will explore how lines a. outline territories of power and mark visible and invisible borders, b. represent subjective perceptions of space in everyday life and art and c. delineate trajectories in the public space in performance art. The political, performative and conceptual potentials of the line will be explored though group exercises and one-person assignments.
Course Goals:        
An understanding of the ways line can demarcate political spheres of power, represent ideas of space and conceptualize trajectories, borders and paths. A greater body and space awareness, practice in abstract thinking and in the processing of ideas through a participatory process. An understanding of the variety of media and means that can be used for the investigation, manipulation and representation of space, their ideological sub-context and their potential power as intervention tools.
Detailed Content:        
DAY 1 –Maps
10.00-12.30 Short introductions of the students. On the first day we will explore the use of lines in abstracting space and delineating territories of power in maps. Maps will be discussed as interpretations of space relations that pertain to systems of knowledge and power. We will also discuss mental maps as subjective experiences of space and readings of the city (as discussed by Kevin Lynch) and psychogeographic maps as introduced by the Situationists. Lastly I will be presenting artists who use mapping techniques or incorporate maps into their work. In exercises we will explore mental maps and map drawing as a subjective experience of the space of the city.
12.30-13.30 Lunch break.
13.30-16.00 Assignments description. Students will work on the following assignment to be presented during the last day: Choose your own condition in order to create your own map of space. The final piece can be a performance or an actual map, diagram, design, 3-D map etc.
DAY 2 Inside the Line: content and void
10-12.30 Line as border and creator of space. Line as outline of a “thing”. What is inside the outline? Content and void: empty space. Relation of emptiness to loss, mortality and de-familiarisation. Why can’t we identify with an empty space? How does presence alter emptiness? (exploration through exercises). What narratives does space hold? Methods of introducing narratives in space (exploration through exercises). Artists and works presented: Bruce Nauman, “Walking in an Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square”(1967-68), Rachel Whiteread, “House” (1990).
12.30-13.30 Lunch break
13.30-16.00 Exercises
1. Work in a group of two in order to interpret “line as border” through movement with the optional use of masking tape. Take into account the dynamics of space (work with space or against it). Everyday activities and gestures may form part of the movement repertory. Duration of piece 1-5 minutes. Keep notes of your experience.
2. An empty square is created. Participants are asked to inhabit the empty square by creating static images/scenes with their body and/or the use of objects/furniture. Participants are given the option of building onto existing scenes. A narrative can be introduced at any time in the duration of the assignment.
DAY 3 – Walking the line
10-12.30 During the last day we will be discussing the conceptual, political and subjective perception of space in performances and durational pieces/actions that have taken place in the public space or in the landscape. We will observe how artists have used visible and invisible lines in order to create trajectories or mark their presence. We will discuss the idea of the artist as flâneur and the notion of “derive” according to the Situationists.
Artists discussed: Francis Alÿs, Evangelia Basdekis and Richard Long.
12.30-13.30 Lunch break
13.30-16.00 Presentation of the assignments from the first day.

 

Course Title:  Skin
Faculty:  Wolfgang Suetzl    
Course Description:    

Skin is without doubt one of the most pervasive concepts in contemporary culture: as a surface, it makes the boundary between the self and the world, between what is outside and inside. Skin is the object of powerful aesthetic, political, medical, and metaphysical discourses, and its story is told in ancient myths as well as in the latest scientific advances. Commenting on the drive to superficiality in modern culture, James Joyce noted that “modern man has an epidermis rather than a soul.” But skin is much more than an interface between a perceived inner and outer sphere, between surface and content, appearance and meaning. It is also a site of signification and as such has recently received a great deal of attention in theory and artistic practice, as for example in Jens Hauser's work Sk-interfaces. Any serious engagement with skin will force us to re-think familiar concepts, and it might create moments of uncanny nakedness.
Course Goals:     
The course provides an opportunity for an exploration of skin and its rich spectrum of meanings, discourses, and metaphorical uses in contemporary culture. At a time when skin continues to be used as a screen for ideological projections, this elusive, mutable, delicate, and most visible part of our bodies offers a treasury of aesthetic and
theoretical figures for critical thinking. The goal of the course is to develop an awareness of these possibilities, and of their relevance to contemporary artistic work.
Detailed Content:    
DAY 1
Morning: Surface
We typically think about our skin as a boundary between self and the world, as the organ that separates our inside from our outside. This makes skin an ambivalent phenomenon, begging questions of substance vs. surface, and consequent difficulties of understanding skin in a non-metaphorical way. As both the most tangible part of our bodies and the location of our sense of touch, skin is literally hard to grasp. It may be precisely in these specific difficulties where thinking about skin begins to yield its own unique rewards.
Reading: Benthien, Claudia (2002). Skin. On the Cultural Border Between Self and the World. Chapter 2: Boundary Metaphors. New York: Columbia University Press.
Afternoon: Symbolism
The scientific study of skin, as its own organ and as part of the body, is a relatively recent phenomenon, almost as if the very visibility of skin rendered it invisible to medicine. On the other hand, this very visibility made skin a bearer of cultural symbolism. In this session, we explore how the scientific study of skin has been conditioned by cultural narratives, and the specific role art has played in the process.
Reading: Connor, Steven (2004). The Book of Skin. Chapter 1: Complexion. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
DAY 2
Morning: Color
Where does the importance of skin color in racism come from? Why is the adjective “colored” used only for dark skin? We look at historical narratives of racial difference, how they survive in contemporary western culture. The investment of western culture in skin color may reveal just as much about that culture itself and about whiteness as its taken-for-granted condition than about the arbitrariness of racial prejudice.
Reading: Benthien (2002), Chapter 8: Different Skin.
Afternoon: Canvas
Almost as long as we humans have possessed bare skin we have used it as a canvas for visual symbols. Tattoos, war paint, body art, piercings—there are rich cultures of visually modifying the skin. In the current cultural climate, aesthetic surgery is claiming its place next to these long-standing techniques, targeting the visible signs of aging appearing on the skin. How to the various forms of visually modifying skin relate to one another, and how have artists responded to this question?
DAY 3
Morning: Nudity
While we may think of skin as something that covers and protects us, we tend to feel exposed when we are without clothes, when our skin itself is uncovered. Where does this feeling come from? What kind of condition is nudity? Agamben's essay takes us back to theological construction of nudity that has come to shape our experience of it. Accordingly, nudity is different from a mere absence of clothing: it may be an event rather than a state, impossible to extricate from a narrative of grace.
Reading: Agamben, Giorgio (2011): Nudities. Chapter 7: Nudity. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Afternoon: Touch
Why are we not allowed to touch artwork in museums? What do we mean when we find an experience to be “touching?” Why do we shake hands and kiss on cheeks? In this concluding session, we will discuss aspects cultures of touch. Located in the most visible of organs, the sense of touch has been overshadowed by vision in the modern era. And like a shadow, it has been impossible to shake off.
Reading: Classen, Constance, The Deepest Sense. A Cultural History of Touch. Chapter 6: Tactile Arts. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

 

Course Title:    PolyPlot
Faculty:  Lynn Book    
Course Description:    
In this 3-day workshop we will conduct an investigation of bodies in migration, interaction, challenge and exchange modes with a focus on sounding, singing, speaking, listening and proposal. In the studio we’ll co-create focused experiments around the threshold nature of the voicing body, then enlarge our inquiry into the polyglot status of the nomadic subject* as we engage the cityscape. Attention will be directed to the polysemic qualities of ‘plot’ as a fluid organizing principle for critically engaging mapping, meaning and methodology.
Course Goals:    
Our aspiration will be to create new prospects for futuring polybodies in radically changing environments.
Detailed Content:    
DAY 1 we’ll engage in deep dive studio experiments that activate intimate and emergent voices through a range of bodied practices. 
DAY 2 we’ll move to alternative sites to tender both staged and discovery encounters in the city. 
By DAY 3 we will have developed polyplots that result in maps, scores, texts, instruction and/or live conduction frameworks for performance.

 

Course Title:    Resistance: defying the self
Faculty:  Elena Marchevska    
Course Description:    
In 2011, Time Magazine named the “protester” person of the year, arguing that protest has become “the defining trope of our times” and the protester as “a maker of history”. More than anything, however, this form of resistance is a creative process. As an example Fluxus was a form of resistance, which is inevitable if you want to draw something out or interrogate something different that goes against the mainstream. Resistance is often used in the context of politics, but it is also a form of artistic expression and an artistic tool. During this workshop we will aim to research the topic of “resistance” in a variety of ways and seek to explore how we as artists are able to use this tool for our own artistic practices. In addition to theoretical framework, we too will face our own personal resistance towards ideas, concepts and the other. We will have discussion about ethical doubts or simply about the matter of taste, by looking at artists and theoreticians like Fluxus, Karen Finley, Teddy Cruz, Dusan Makavejev, Tehching Hsieh, Ron Athey and Rocio Boliver.
Course Goals:     
We will look on the artistic process to discover ways out of the conventional path students use in their studios. Resistance always has a form and during the workshop we will experiment with other artistic and non-artistic forms to prove where resistance can open a new space instead of just being resistant/defying/ challenging. The spectrum of the offered exercises, tasks, experiments and assignments will provide an intensive and direct approach to use resistance as an artistic tool. The space of and around Uferstudios, will be explored and examined in various ways and it is there that we will attempt to place ourselves and our works on resistance.
Detailed Content:    
DAY 1: Resistance within
Resistance is the repelling force preventing us from doing our work. It’s invisible – but it can be felt. It manifests itself in ways such as procrastination, instant gratification, excuses, victimhood, waiting for perfection, jealousy, criticism of others and fear. In the West, we are indoctrinated in over-thinking, over-planning and perfection. How to work with/against this?
10-12: We will look at the role of resistance in art practice and resistance as obstacle/force in art. We will discuss the reading (Karl Jung and Amalie Jones) and look at the work of Fluxus, Karen Finley etc
12-1: Lunch break
1-5: Practical exploration on resistance within. We will write, discuss, explore internal mechanisms that stop or pivot us into a creative process. The motto of the day is: Don’t think. Act!
DAY 2: Counterculture
Cultural resistance focuses on raising awareness of an issue and calls for justice; it does not exist for the sake of pity or sympathy. Creative cultural resistance can include very dramatic and high-risk acts such as painting controversial murals, occupying a privately owned or disputed space, performance art that criticizes the government, or pageants. Lower-risk resistance also exists in smaller scales, including posting stickers, banging pots and pans or flickering lights from inside homes, or even speaking a specific language.
10-12: Creative cultural resistance can take a variety of forms at both large and small scales. We will look into and discuss successful acts of cultural resistance such as installations, museums, reclamation and occupation of contested sites, puppet shows, and videos of solidarity. We will discuss the reading (Francis Fanton and bell hooks) and look at the work of Teddy Cruz, Dusan Makavejev and Tehching Hsieh.
12 -1: Lunch
1-5: Practical exploration of counter-actions and cultural resistance. We will explore invisible acts, short-lived actions, small interventions. All of this will be done in small groups and you will be able to work in studio or around Uferstudios/Berlin. As part of this session we will discuss documentation and importance of documentation in counter-cultural activities.
DAY 3: Occupy myself/ Occupy the world
10- 12: Humor can be used as a powerful tool to captivate a wide range of audiences, attract media attention, support,
generate dialogue, as well as provoke thought. On the last day we will look at links between humor and resistance. The effect of the audacity of humor on the audience also has an immense effect. By combining the elements of audacity with humor, the chances of provoking thought and contemplation are increased. We will discuss the reading (Judith Butler and Sean Cubbit) and look at the work of Yes Lab, Spartacus Chetwynd, Keith Piper, Assemble etc.
1-3: Workshop/ proposition to follow this questions through practice: How can we occupy our own debilitating resistance to change obvious internal obstacles? Can we challenge the audience to join us on this journey? Can we do a bit of "laughtivism"?
3-5: Prepare the space for the audience to discuss and see some of the work that was created during the workshop