“The drum is the voice of the landscape from which it came— experienced in relationship to its surroundings and in a constant process of transformation. The same could be said of water. Water is constantly transforming, responding, listening, sounding. Water is the connective tissue of our planet, and, like rhythm, it requires constant cooperation.” Lindsay Dobbin, “Water Music” (2015-ongoing), http://www.lindsaydobbin.com/water-drumming/
CULT 3016 Poetry as Social Practice Fall 2018
Prof. Karin Cope
Tuesday evenings 6-9; class begins in the Art Bar and ends in S410
Poetry As Social Practice approaches poetry as a forceful, critical and often activist or political form of making; it is explicitly designed as an arts-based approach to poetry and poetic practice.
Visitors, workshops and other work (including readings, recordings, performances performance documents, etc.) mobilized by the course will reclaim poetry as a contemporary resource for and sibling art to sculpture, architecture and other dimensional practices, including craft (notably weaving and textiles) and performance, as well as time-based work such as music, film and sound art. In particular, given the formative, even sculptural, role of poetry in many 20th and 21st century radical social and nation-building movements, course readings, documents, examples and invited guests will emphasize the contributions of artist-poets to anti-racist, geographical, feminist, queer and decolonial struggles.
The Poetry as Social Practice course will begin each Tuesday evening in the Art Bar with a lecture, performance, presentation or discussion that is open to the public. Enrolled members of the class will then adjourn to the classroom for two hours of closed workshop/studio/discussion time where students will explore poetry’s resources for their practices and develop their own projects. These projects may involve writing and/or studio and social practice projects; the semester will conclude with final public readings/ showings/ engagement with student projects.
Course Description: Centered on the notion of arts-based “fieldwork,” this research/creation course is designed as a critical engagement with contemporary environmentally-focused social practice, land-based, and activist art on the one hand, and the rapidly expanding fields of ecological criticism, feminist materialism and environmental justice, on the other. What is the history of the notion of “ecology”? What about the “Anthropocene,” the “more-than-human” sphere, or “geologic time”? When we speak of the arts and culture as “sustainable” undertakings are we right? (Sustainable for whom? When? Where?) How might we measure our carbon footprint(s), or think through our relations to water? What is “plant-thinking”? Why should thinking about race, class, gender and poverty be at the center of contemporary reflections on the environment?
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