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ARTH 367 Studies in 20th Century Art and Architecture - Performing Space: Art, Architecture, and Movement

  • Mondays, 11:45am - 2:15pm
  • EV 1.605
  • Instructor: Didier Morelli

This course explores post-war movement-based performance practices in relation to North American built environments. Students will learn about bodies in movement in art events from the 1950s onwards as subjects and objects of performance in various urban, suburban, and rural sites. We will consider the potential of aesthetic, kinesthetic actions and embodied knowledge to engender new spatial subjectivities in the city and its peripheries. Students will grapple with issues connected to past and present sites of complex and conflicting power relations, flows of bodies, architectural structures, and social dynamics, such as the dances of Françoise Sullivan in Montreal’s east end oil refineries, the media-savvy Los Angeles based Chicano artist collective Asco, and Adrian Piper’s Catalysis series in New York City, amongst many others.

This course is addressed to students interested in dance and movement studies, performance art/theory, urban interventions, site-specific/responsive art, feminism, critical race theory, decolonial thought, as well as traditional and contemporary spatial theory. Every week we will work our way through the decades, moving across geographic regions and critical frameworks/social movements to explore how performance art, bodies in movement, and site-specific interventions coalesced differently according to architecture, context, and culture across the continent. Questions we will seek to answer include: What constitutes movement and how is it enacted and represented in Art History and Architecture? How do political and social economies of built environments and design dictate the trajectories and shape of bodies in particular contexts?

Considering how motion is conceived, challenged, and changed in daily rituals and/or artistic events, students will develop individual research projects that engage their own fields of interest, through reading, writing, and in-class workshops. A research-creation option around enacting your own urban art movement-performance and reflection on it will be made available as a major assignment.

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