Special Topics for Fall 2014

Special Topics 

Please note: this page will be updated as information is confirmed. In case of a discrepancy between this page and InsideEC, the information on InsideEC will be deemed correct.

  • Additional information on these courses is available at https://inside.ecuad.ca
  • Most credit courses have prerequisites that are clearly outlined on the website.

Spring 2015

AHIS 333 S001 – Interdisciplinary Forums (3)

Thursday, 3:50pm – 7:40pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: Cameron Cartiere + Phil Smith

Topic: Psychogeography: The Art of Finding Place 

This course will examine the “long horizons” of art and psychogeography. From the Situationists to Geocaching, we will examine how artists have embraced this approach to geography that utilizes mapping, playfulness, and the practice of getting lost. Throughout the course guest lecturers will present on subjects addressing place, urbanism, drifting, and site-specificity. Topics will include: a brief history of psychogeography, artists working in the environment, navigating through urban/suburban/rural terrains, the map as narrative, and site as historical core-sample.

AHIS 401 S001 – Topics in Curatorial Projects (3)

Monday, 8:30am – 11:20am, Spring 2015

Instructor: Kimberly Phillips

Topic: EMILY CARR @ ACCESS GALLERY: Curatorial Project 2015

This fourth year three credit course gives students an in-depth experience with curatorial projects. Building on the third year SOCS 310 Studies in Curatorial Practices, students develop their knowledge with a focus on contemporary examples, case studies and the key components necessary for organizing an exhibition. In this course students will investigate a specific topic or issue relevant to a variety of practices and critical concerns related to curatorial projects. They will develop writing projects directly related to proposing and installing an exhibition with the potential to realize a project. The emphasis will be upon the development and articulation of critical and speculative thinking that will encourage personal research and prepare students for further study or practice whether through future curatorial studies, self-curating or curating in relation to one's own practice and curatorial projects with one's peers. Potential assignments and outcomes may include an exhibition plan, curatorial proposals, grant proposal writing, and criteria for curating a space or a virtual exhibition.

Seminar Focus

Students in this seminar will be focused on collaboratively developing and realizing a curatorial project at Access Gallery, a Vancouver artist-run centre devoted to supporting the work of emergent artists and cultural practitioners. This curatorial project will be part of Access' official programming and will be open to the general public from March 14 - 27, 2015. Under the instruction of Kimberly Phillips, who is Director/Curator of Access Gallery, seminar participants will develop hands-on knowledge and experience of all elements related to realizing a project of this nature, working with a tight budget and time constraints, as all curators face. Core elements of the seminar will include developing a curatorial premise, sound decision making, exhibition writing - including the exhibition and grant proposals, press releases and didactics - developing and realizing timelines, public programming, studio visits, correspondence with artists, promotion, installation and deinstallation. Critical thinking and discussion, supported by a series of assigned readings, will guide the process of this exciting curatorial opportunity.

AHIS 404 S001 – Art Now: Topics in Contemporary Art (3)

Monday, 1pm – 3:50pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: Patrik Andersson

Topic: The Art of Appropriation
Art Now: Topics in Contemporary Art is a senior academic seminar aimed at introducing students to current issues in contemporary art. The Spring 2014 session is titled "The Art of Appropriation" and will focus on one of the most prominent features but also one of the most controversial aspects of contemporary art: the art of appropriation. Looking at a number of contemporary art practices and considering what historically underpins these avant-garde acts, "The Art of Appropriation" asks questions about agency and creativity within our image driven and copyrighted world.

AHIS 404 S002 – Art Now: Topics in Contemporary Art (3)

Monday, 4:30pm – 7:20pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: Patrik Andersson

Topic: The Art of Appropriation
Art Now: Topics in Contemporary Art is a senior academic seminar aimed at introducing students to current issues in contemporary art. The Spring 2014 session is titled "The Art of Appropriation" and will focus on one of the most prominent features but also one of the most controversial aspects of contemporary art: the art of appropriation. Looking at a number of contemporary art practices and considering what historically underpins these avant-garde acts, "The Art of Appropriation" asks questions about agency and creativity within our image driven and copyrighted world.

AHIS 410 S001 – Topics in Global Art (3)

Wednesday, 4:30pm – 7:20pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: April Liu

Topic: Difference and Dislocation: Encountering the Other in Contemporary Art

This course examines major creative movements originating from the "non-Western" regions of the world over the past thirty years, with a special focus on works from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Central America, and South America. We will critique the various discourses used to make sense of these works and the cultural Other(s) connected with them, including influential postcolonial writings on cultural difference, dislocation, and globalization. We will deconstruct the widely circulated archetypes of the Other in an era of globalized art making: the native, migrant, nomad, alien, subaltern, guerrilla, or terrorist. Why do these figures have such a hold on the Euro-American imagination?

CCID 200 S001A & CCID 300 S001A – Community Projects (3)

Thursday, 12:30pm – 3:20pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: Sarah Van Borek

Topic: EcoMUSICology

EcoMUSICology is a dynamic public education project in partnership with Canada's leading environmental organization, the David Suzuki Foundation and the Vancouver Maritime Museum. Students will have exciting outdoor adventures and collaborate with local musicians and a sound engineer to create original songs and music videos promoting habitat protection and conservation of the ecologically significant yet threatened Howe Sound region. Song compositions will include sounds sourced from underwater hydrophones in the region. Students will learn the basics of sound recording and editing and may record site-specific, unique, musical sounds using found materials in nature, to contribute to the song creation process. Students will also learn basics in camera, lighting, art direction and editing for music videos while working collaboratively in teams to produce music videos that further develop key messages of songs. The project will provide students with an opportunity to participate in a radio show on Emily Carr’s radio station and have their work exhibited at the Vancouver Maritime Museum (VMM). The course will culminate with a public screening, concert and dialogue event at the VMM. Students will develop professional relationships with project partners at the David Suzuki Foundation and the Vancouver Maritime Museum. Students in Film, Video, Photography and Animation are encouraged to apply but students from all disciplines are welcome.

CCID 200 S002B & CCID 300 S002B – Community Projects (3)

Monday, 1pm – 3:50pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: Zoe Kreye

Topic: Immigration / Spaces of Belonging

In partnership with MOSIAC (a local non-profit settlement organization) students will work in dialogue with immigrants living in Vancouver to create relational art works and documentaries. This course will consider the diversity of the ECUAD international student community in relation to the continued increase of immigration to Vancouver. In our ever-changing intercultural society we can experience inspiring multiplicity as well as the challenges of dislocation for both citizens and new comers. This course provides a forum for the university and its students (Canadian and international) to explore issues of belonging, using art as a vehicle to unpack the complexity of Canadian “multiculturalism”.
Referencing students’ own experiences, local community relations and national politics, students will research and produce projects that investigate home, 'integration', social isolation, attachment and community building. Using a dialogue methodology students will gain skills in cross-cultural communication, dispute resolution/conflict mediation, anti-racism and dialogue facilitation skills. The goal of this course is for students to learn how art can be used to challenge the dynamics of difference, and foster agency for negotiating spaces of belonging.

CCID 201 S001C & CCID 301 S001C – Social Practice + Community Engagement (3)

Wednesday, 1pm – 3:50pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: Hannah Jickling & Helen Reed

Topic: Communities of Practice: Art + Pedagogy (in partnership with the Vancouver School Board)
Together with the Vancouver School Board, this course will allow students the opportunity to explore their practices through the design and delivery of an art-program for students within a K-6 environment. Support for will be provided for project development, classroom management and age-appropriate planning.  Course material and preparation will draw from current discourse surrounding “the pedagogical turn” allowing students to consider: the classroom as an exhibition space, curriculum design as a form of curating and the presence of young people in the co-creation of contemporary art discourse.

CCID 300 S003 – Community Projects (3)

Wednesday, 8:30am – 11:20am, Spring 2015

Instructor: Cameron Cartiere

Topic: Engaging Site: the Social Practice of Public Art and Community Design

Working in the public realm as a creative practitioner is rich with opportunity and fraught with contentious territory. What is the relationship between public art and socially engaged practice? Where does design come into the equation and what is the role of community art? Can these ways of working overlap and is an adaptable practice attainable or even desirable? 

This studio-based course is a unique opportunity to unpack the shared methodologies across the field of public practice within a site-based practicum. Working with a specific site in Richmond, students will have the opportunity to engage directly with city planners, developers, public art officers, parks department officials, the site biologist, the landscape designer, the city archivist and members of the city’s sustainability unit to develop in-depth knowledge of how communities are developed and the impact of change on environmental, social, economic, and cultural levels.

The students will work in teams to develop a substantial brief with recommendations for community engagement, design opportunities, and environmental considerations. The majority of studio work will take place on campus, with two fieldtrips to Richmond. The final brief will be presented in a public forum and will be used as essential source material for a public art competition. Students will be eligible to participate in the public art process following successful completion of the class.

This curriculum allows students to acquire direct experience working in the field and to participate across disciplines. Class sessions will be active; focused on workshops, presentations, site visits, and discussions of current practice. Assignments will integrate studio and professional praxes and be applicable for students across departments and levels.

This course qualifies as credit towards the SPACE minor

CCID 301 S040Z – Social Practice + Community Engagement (3)

Thursday, 9am – 11:50am, Spring 2015

Instructor: Helen Reed

Topic: The Educational Turn
The educational turn is a well-documented trend in contemporary art as evidenced by the proliferation, in the past 10 years, of artist-run schools and pedagogy projects, such as workshops, lectures, and discussion groups. More than just borrowing educational forms, artists are also adopting processes and methodologies that pedagogical frameworks offer, such as collaborative dialogues, action research, and experiential learning.
Though artists and educators may overlap in process, there are different criteria, expectations, and outcomes for projects that are invested in the world of art, and projects that are invested in the world of education. Is it possible that a good artwork amounts to a bad education? What are the expectations of each field, whose criteria will we use to evaluate these projects, and where is the convergence?
We will learn about the goals, values and methodologies of several critical pedagogues such as Paulo Freire, Ivan Illich, and bell hooks. Through discussions and fieldwork we will explore the ways in which principles of radical pedagogy apply to socially engaged art, as demonstrated by the work of Tania Bruguera, Mel Chin, Rick Lowe and Pablo Helguera.

CRAM 303 S001 – Ceramics Practices: Topics (6)

Friday, 8:30am – 3:50pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: Brendan Tang

Topic: HyperCraft
Both the Art and Design worlds are exploding with makers whose work employees a high level of skill and labor, resulting in hypercrafted objects. From sublime trompe l?oeil sculptures to twists on traditional classics to elegantly smooth vessels,  these hypercrafted objects transcend their maker's hand.
This course will build off the techniques and skills developed in Intro and Advanced ceramics, with a specific focus on hand building and wheel throwing techniques. There will be a number of assigned and open ended projects given which are intended to hone and stretch your ability. While this 6 credit course is an intensive study on ceramic processes, we will also be engaging in conversations around the current escalation of craftsmanship and its relevance to the art world and the general population. We will also be reviewing how ceramic artists and designers wrestle with these ideas.
This course is not for the weak of heart. It is designed to challenge students to improve their skill levels, to bring their "A" game, to become part of the conversation. Slackers need not apply.

FNDT 134 S001 – Directed Projects (3)

Tuesday, 8:30am – 11:20am, Spring 2015

Instructor: Zoe Kreye

Topic: Food + Art

This course will transform the classroom into a kitchen table and make art inspired by the ritual of sharing food. As a class we will cook, eat, talk, debate, taste, smell, trust and create art around the “kitchen table”. We will consider how these traditions shift between cultures and try to expand our own cultural lens. The classes will be active; developing offsite projects in public space, creative experiments at the “kitchen table” and discussing readings and artworks. As well, we will consider urban farming, food security, traditional recipes and take field trips to local restaurants, gardens, soup kitchens and dining halls. *(Food allergies, morals and preferences will be accommodated.)
Social practice is an art form that doesn’t make things, it makes things happen. It looks beyond the tradition of art as an object and instead proposes human relations as the material for art making. This course is open and relevant to all majors: film/video, media, design, studio arts, illustration, photography, critical studies. You will gain interdisciplinary skills towards your chosen major: idea development, creative research, community cooperation, ethics, collaboration skills, conflict mediation and short/long-term project planning.
*This course can count as credits towards a minor in Social Practice + Community Engagement (SPACE).

FNDT 134 S002 – Directed Projects (3)

Wednesday, 1:00pm – 3:50pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: Justin Langlois

Topic: Serious Play: Games, Participation, and Sport in Art and Design

Exploring the role of play in contemporary art and design has driven countless creative practices, from Dada to Fluxus, from John Cage to Lygia Clark, and from hacking and Atari to Cory Arcangel and contemporary indie video games. Games that occur across the table, on the screen, and in the field offer us a variety of models for thinking and making that have led numerous artists and designers to new ideas for activating the gallery and public spaces, often through divergent forms of social engagement and radical collaboration. This course will offer students the opportunity to work in a variety of media of their choice to investigate forms and expressions of play as a social practice through the lenses of games, participation, and sport. Students will have the option to enact projects in the school or in public spaces that will be driven by independent and group research and production.

FVIM 213 S090 Open Media Installation (3)

Online, Spring 2015

Instructor: Fiona Bowie

Topic: Marking Places / Virtual Geographies

This is a process-oriented course providing an introduction to integrated practices.  FVIM 213 returns in Spring 2015 with the thematic Marking Places / Virtual Geographies. This online section of FVIM 213 taking place on the ECU Wiki (wiki.ecuad.ca) will explore installation, performance and media based work specifically conceived to exist online. Possible directions to explore will include (but not limited to): Earth Works Online, Ephemeral Works Life Line, Interwebbed Interactive, Liberated Locations/Site Translations and Virtual Place Enhancement. The student will experience and research examples of work and develop their own project(s), realising the work online. 

With the prevalence of online platforms and social networks, artworks can be situated within a particular geographical or geo-sociopolitical context, but not bound to it. Students will consider how virtual placement and context shape the meaning of their content (or conversely how a particular theme or subject must be realised in this arena to logically reflect the work). Students will also consider how a web situated work or practice might internationalise their practices (and their imaginations).

Google earth, maps, second life, social networks, virtual geographies, data visualisation and other avenues may be explored and finally utilised so that the content of a ‘site specific’ work or sociopoliticized place (in the real/concrete world) is executed in a manner to best realise it’s intent. Whereas some students may elect to create their own virtual place from scratch without a ‘real’ site-specific geographical referent, others might create ephemeral works in situ that will, after a short period of time, persist only online.

The course page can be viewed here: 


HUMN 305 S090 – Studies in the Humanities (3)

Online Course, Spring 2015

Instructor: M Simon Levin

Topic: Walking as Knowing as Making

Through an investigation of walking, this on-line course will embody projects and methodologies for the mapping and recording of everyday spaces. Both a theory and practice course, students will use collection techniques and map making tools, to embark on ways of capturing and sharing our everyday walking patterns through neighbourhoods, campuses, streets, cities and trails. An emphasis will be on how the collection of ambulatory experience can offer programmatic ways to shape social and personal identity. We will work closely with the work of artists and scholars to conceptualize investigative methodologies, psycho-geographic derives, performative rituals and artistic production. Through journals and papers we will map our walking ways.

This class will explore the culture of walking, identifying its shifting roles and contexts. From meditation to fitness, through pilgrimage to protest, walking and its representations embody a purposeful engagement with our immediate environment that is seemingly the antithesis of a technologically mediated existence. Coursework will include audio and video walked lectures and independent walking assignments, reading and critiquing papers by Walter Benjamin, Henri Lefebvre, Rebecca Solnit, Jane Rendell, Rosalyn Deutche, Miwon Kwan and Yi Fu Tuan and an in depth exposure to various walking artists, such as Francis Alys, Richard Long, Hamish Fulton, Christian Philipp Mueller, Tom Maroni, Francois Morelli, Janet Cardiff, Francesco Careri, Basia Irland and Simon Pope to name a few.

HUMN 306 S001 – Studies in the Humanities: Design (3)

Thursdays, 8:30am – 11:20am, Spring 2015

Instructor: Glen Lowry

Topic: Listening to vinyl: a spin ontology

This special topics course looks at the 12 inch long-playing record album (vinyl LP) as a vital cultural object. Both product and producer of important 20th century design innovations, LPs remain key points of focus for cultural thinkers to understand contemporary society. As the loci of critical analysis, LPs/record albums can be approached through the discourses of communication design, industrial design, sound engineering, fashion, marketing, mass media and cultural production (among others). To highlight a variety of methodological approaches and different cultural histories, each week revolves around an exemplary LP, chosen from a cross-section of musical genres, historical periods, and social geographies. Asking what a particular LP is? what it has been? what it does? what it has done? and how it sounds? weekly discussions and course readings will hone in on the intersections of social history, identity formation, aesthetics, technological innovation, and cultural materialism. Prioritizing sound recordings , spinning outward from our direct experience vinyl LPs, this course provides a forum to think about what it means to listen critically—to consider sound and popular music alongside texts and other forms of visual culture.

HUMN 311 S001 – Visual Art Seminar (3)

Mondays, 8:30am – 11:20am, Spring 2015

Instructor: Jordy Hamilton      

Topic: Painting

“To paint is to foresee, to foresee what is going on in the whole composition of the painting when a certain form or color is introduced, and to foresee what it suggests as reality to someone seeing it.  Therefore it is in the role of spectator of my own work that I discern the subject of a painting.” - Juan Gris

“I’ve always been interested in the tension between artists using photography and photographers making photographs—in other words, conceptual art vs. straight photography. How that plays out in an institutional discourse is related to architecture and power.” -Christopher Williams

 This course will attempt to process the tensions Williams addresses here, but rather in relation to the problems of painting. We will attempt to contrast the self-forgetting impulse with that of the self-remembering - the subject that consistently reports objectively upon its actions, interests and motivations (critical/ political/ therapeutic/ romantic) and perhaps more importantly upon the contradictions that play out in our relationships to the architecture and power that act upon us.  Painting seems a valuable medium in its ability to represent time/work, types of vision and emotion.  The problem is how do we employ it in the service of a message amongst so many messages, histories and audiences?  To this end we will be looking at painters and artists who deal with the desires and forces that inform the process of engagement and transformation that is the making of art and thinking about the ways in which this comes to be embodied in the day to day lives of artists too.  

HUMN 311 S002 - Visual Art Seminar (3)

Wednesdays, 1:00pm – 3:50pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: Randy Lee Cutler

Topic: Figures, Tropes + Metaphors

Figures, Tropes + Metaphors examines the different ways in which visual representations have shifted the terrain of our corporeal and psychic realities. Looking at a range of approaches this course will consider the various models for how images operate in the communication of emergent states of the human body, the creaturely animal and thing power. How are these forms rendered and visualized in Modern and contemporary art as well as the related cultural theories of these periods? Designed around the instructor’s own research based practice on figurations and metaphors, this course looks at a range of artistic endeavors that visualize the phantasmagoria of bodily, creaturely and material incarnations.

HUMN 311 S003 – Visual Art Seminar (3)

Wednesdays, 4:30pm – 7:20pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: Justin Langlois

Topic: Don’t Go It Alone: Collectives and Collaboration in Contemporary Practices

How can we organize ourselves to become more resilient?  How might we work together to simply get more done? How could we gather as an expression of political resistance? Across a range of contemporary practices, we can see the (re)emergence of collaborative and collective methodologies fostering new interdisciplinary projects, artist-run-infrastructures, and artworks that engage activism and social change. Whether considering our individual impacts on material resources or the political challenge that an individually-focused society fosters, we can find an urgency in considering how, why, and when we can work together. In this course, the exploration of artistic practices, models for organizing, and the production of collaborative artworks and collective entities will provide students with a variety of opportunities to think, learn, and work alongside one another. This course will also offer a practical and theoretical exploration the role of collectivism and collaboration in visual arts and professional practices, culminating in a variety of writing, studio, and hybrid projects, supported by readings, workshops, and presentations. 

HUMN 311 S004 – Visual Art Seminar (3)

Thursdays, 12:30pm – 3:20pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: Paul Mathieu

Topic: Issues in Contemporary Ceramics
This course will look at recent development in contemporary ceramics as it relates to contemporary culture and current art practices. Fired clay as a material is very resistant to time and objects made with this material today will be around for a very long time. The ceramic objects we make today will thus become “The Art of the Future”. Why make ceramics now? What is its relevancy? How is ceramics related to other art forms? We will look at contemporary examples from all over the world and attempt to answer these important questions. Each week, a reading will be assigned and a visual presentation will take place and both will be discussed the following week. Students will research and prepare (individually or in small groups) a 20 minutes visual presentation (PowerPoint) on a subject of interest and relevance to the course and the studio work of the student(s). These presentations will start on after reading week and go to the end of the semester.
Readings, researches, presentations, discussions and critiques are an integral part of this course.

HUMN 311 S005 – Visual Art Seminar (3)

Tuesdays, 8:30am – 11:20am, Spring 2015

Instructor: Damian Moppett

Topic: Repurposing Modernism

It’s easy to say that nothing new can be done. It’s just as easy to say that everything old is new again. Perhaps everything new is old again. These statements grant permission and encourage an involvement with history, its riches and especially its unexplored tangents. As our context shifts so does the very way we understand our experiences. Art and its history are continually brought into focus anew; this is why a work done 100 years ago can still shock and delight, or even better, look fresh. We constantly see historical moments, both canonical and obscure, in artwork made today. Making work outside of history is not possible, while making work ignorant of its referents is a missed opportunity! This class will be comprised of studio projects supported by discussions, readings, slide lectures and field trips. We will look at the history of Modernism, from its advent to the present, and focus on contemporary practices that use and/or reference that history. There will be a special focus on the ‘cross pollination’ of media and the multi-disciplinary nature of artists’ practices from today back to the end of the 19th century. We will look at and encourage painters who sculpt, photographers who paint, printers who perform and any other combination or deviation from one’s primary media.

HUMN 311 S090 – Visual Art Seminar (3)

Online, Spring 2015

Instructor: Merritt Johnson

Topic: Image, Object, Action, Land: Conductors and Intersections

This seminar focuses on historical and contemporary making of objects and images intersecting with material, action, and land. The image/object is an intersection for value: inherent in material, imbued through action, and in relation to culture and land. This course will explore traditional and contemporary uses of material and meaning, emphasizing Indigenous North American materials, and practices.  Students of all backgrounds are invited to engage in exploring the intersection of material, action and land in image & object; connecting to the course through their own practice and experience. This seminar will help develop critical awareness of content, context, and cultural production in relation to a range of practices. Students working in varied practices are encouraged to participate as the course is not media specific; students will be determining their areas of research in relation to relevancy to their own work.

ILUS 306 S001 - Illustration Practices: Topics (6)

Tuesdays, 8:30am – 3:20pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: Daphne Plessner

Topic: Changing the World: Illustration as Activism
This project-based course will explore a range of formats such as the poster, the public mural, street art, interventionist events etc. and situate one's artwork (i.e., ‘intervene’) in public spaces and contexts, from the level of the street through to communication media. The course combines creative project work with readings and discussion. It examines interventionist and activist art practices and invites students to create their own artwork and present it within the public space. This course also introduces students to some of the literature on citizenship within art and activist/social art practice.

ILUS 306 S003 – Illustration Practices: Topics (6)

Mondays, 1pm – 7:20pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: Nick Conbere

Topic: Reportage: Interpreting Your World

This course promotes looking into current experiences as well as the artist’s own history for subject matter to be developed into larger creative projects. We will consider how artists have explored these ideas through forms such as editorial illustration, graphic novels, and artist books.

Traditionally, reportage illustration has been the practice of recording events through drawn images, as a photojournalist would use a camera for a magazine feature. Examples have ranged from drawings done in response to visiting prisons to illustrated travel journals to documentaries of daily life. Drawing field trips to the Vancouver Aquarium, a courtroom trial, and other sites will offer opportunities to develop images and ideas through spontaneous observations and the unpredictable energy of being on location. Expanding on this, we will examine ways to use one’s past experiences and memories as a point of departure for storytelling and visual commentary. We will consider ways text and image can be paired to provide insights into the artist’s content. Projects will take inspiration from experience, and the results could range from reflective documentary to magical realism. The course will culminate with a self-designed investigative project that could take forms such as illustrated stories, comics, visual essays, or narrative paintings.

MHIS 405 S001 –Topics in Contemporary Photo (3)

Wednesdays, 4:30pm – 7:20pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: Howard Ursuliak

Topic: The Itinerant Languages of Photography

This section of Topics in Contemporary Photography takes its title, "The Itinerant Languages of Photography" from an

interdisciplinary research project and exhibition co-produced by Eduardo Cadava and Gabriela Nouzeilles, colleagues at Princeton University. Initiated in 2010 and culminating in the exhibition of the same title at the Princeton University Art Museum that closed in January 2014, "this large-scale experimental project sought to develop a photography research network to initiate new forms of international interdisciplinary collaboration". It brought together scholars, curators, photographers and artists from Latin America, Europe and the United States.

"The phrase "itinerant languages" refers to the various means whereby photographs not only "speak" but also move across historical periods, national borders and different mediums". Through lectures and readings, in class presentations, study groups and an exhibition field trip, this course will apply research methodologies to examine the scope and nature of the project and exhibition, paying particular attention to the types of professional roles engaged in the "international circuits of image production".

MHIS 429 S001 –Topics in Film/Video Theory (3)

Thursdays, 8:30am – 12:20pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: Harry Killas

Topic: The Image Before Us: Histories and Theories of Film in British Columbia

A survey of film and television produced in British Columbia from In the Land of the Head Hunters (1914) to present day.  British Columbia’s rich legacy and diversity of experimental, animation, documentary, short and dramatic feature film work will be featured, highlighted, presented and discussed. Screenings will be held at Vancouver’s The Cinematheque and open to the public. It is anticipated that a series of guest speakers will introduce the films and contextualize the screenings, with class time spent on following up discussions on the screenings and readings, with class presentations.  There will be no term paper this semester, but rather a series of 1-2 page response papers.

PHOT 306 S001 – Special Topics in Photography (3)

Tuesdays, 12:30pm – 3:20pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: Kyla Mallett

Topic: Photography and the Archive

This special topics studio course will focus on current discourses around the photograph and the archive in contemporary art.  Over the last two decades, ideas of collecting, accumulating and archiving materials have made their way into established art practices, from exhibitions like Deep Storage (PS1, 1989) and Classified Materials (Vancouver Art Gallery 2005), to Derrida’s Archive Fever (1995), Hal Foster’s "An Archival Impulse" (2004) and anthologies such as The Archive (Whitechapel Press, 2006).
Photography has played an integral role in the emergence of archive-based practices, from straightforward photographic portfolios and books by artists like Stephen Shore and Nan Goldin, to classification-resistant, unruly and fictional archives by artists like Walid Raad and Susan Hiller.  In this course, students will engage in readings and research, assignments and field trips, and the completion of a term project in which they consider traditional, creative and experimental approaches to ‘the archive’ with regards to their own art practice.  

Please note that while the topic of this course is 'photography and the archive', the archive will be considered in the broader context of contemporary art; students in 3rd year or above from all areas of Visual Arts who have an interest in exploring art, photography and the archive are welcome to take this class.

NOTE: This section of PHOT 306 can count as an elective for students taking the Art + Text Minor.


PNTG 315 S001 – Painting Practices: Topics  (6)

Mondays, 1:00pm – 7:40pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: Landon Mackenzie

Topic: Colour game, form + image

In this section of 3rd Year painting we respond to conceptual instructions, material trials and experiments as a complement to your ongoing regular projects in painting. We will question authorship, including ‘homage’ and quotation, and consider challenging the classic forms of presentation, representation, abstraction, scale, surface treatment, how paint-colour feels and how it’s applied. The typical rectangle with cotton canvas stretched around it serves us well but also how and when should we get away from it? Regular workshops and critiques complement production studio time.

SOCS 300 S090 – Studies in the Social Sciences  (3)

Online, Spring 2015

Instructor: Sadira Rodriques

Topic: Global Exhibitions and the Art Market

Biennales and large-scale ‘global’ exhibitions have seen a significant increase in the last 20 years. Despite continued criticism launched at the exclusionary and problematic nature of these exhibitions, we see the creation of biennales throughout the world: in Dakar, Shanghai, Istanbul, Havana, Sao Paolo, Johannesburg, Athens and Taipei to name a few.  Why is this?  What historical precedents inform the ways in which contemporary international exhibitions such as Biennales emerge? What concerns motivate the funding and curation of these exhibitions? We will look at the function of these exhibitions, and their participation in issues of nationalism, globalisation and economics. Through the study of Biennales and other large-scale international exhibitions, we will examine touristic, cultural, political and economic ideologies.  While examining issues through a variety of theoretical positions, this course will focus on looking specifically at exhibitions, from their curatorial premise, to their funders, the layout of various projects and the subsequent reviews and writings in art journals.

VAST 305 S001 – Art + Text Studio (6)

Wednesdays, 8:30am – 3:50pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: Kyla Mallett

Topic: Art + Text Studio

The purpose of this studio course is to offer a practice based learning environment with an Art & Text focus. It will provide a context and framework for students to learn about, and explore how text operates within contemporary visual culture, and within their own art practices.  A core learning outcome is to examine current practices that engage with text in a number of ways; from text-as-image, to artworks that use the book form, to works that include text and employ alternative structures of distribution (libraries, online database projects, hypertext experiments, etc.) to sound and writing-based art practices.  By working on independent text-based art projects, students will actively engage with text within their individual art practices, while considering the current discourse and production within the field.This course will be a hybrid face-to-face/online course, with about 60-70% in the classroom and 30-40% online. While most weeks we will meet as a class, there will be assignments and activities that take place online instead of in the classroom throughout the term. The schedule will be flexible (changes will occur as we go), so students must be available to come to class every Wednesday during class hours, although some weeks we will work online (asyncronously) for part or all of the class. Students must have regular access to a computer and any software/resources required for the online components of the course.

NOTE: This is a required core course for students taking the Art + Text Minor.


VAST 310 S001 – Visual Arts: Special Topics (3)

Mondays, 1pm – 3:50pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: Kathy Slade

Topic: The Projects Class (2015)

This class is for students interested in experimentation, collaboration, translation, and reinterpretation in relation to the legacy of Conceptual art strategies and practice. For the class we will be remaking The Projects Class, taught at NSCAD in 1969 by David Askevold, in which artists such as Robert Barry, Mel Bochner, Jan Dibbets, Sol Lewitt, N E Thing Company, James Lee Byars, Robert Smithson, Doug Huebler, Dan Graham, Lucy Lippard, Joseph Kosuth, and Lawrence Weiner contributed projects, works or propositions for the students to produce.

For The Projects Class (2015), the classroom will become the site of a relational workshop that is a collective experimental project where students will interact with leading contemporary artists from afar by engaging in the translation and interpretation of their ideas into artworks. Confirmed contributors to date include Lawrence Weiner, Rita McBride, Alejandro Cesarco, Kota Ezawa, Lisa Robertson, Maria Fusco, Cullinan and Richards, and Gerard Byrne.

VAST 320 S001P & VAST 420 S001P – Visual Arts Thematic I & II (6)

Tuesdays, 8:30am – 3:20pm, Spring 2015

Instructor: David MacWilliam

Topic: Colour Projects

Colour is everywhere. This course will focus on the historical, cultural and social contexts which affect our perception, use and understanding of colour. We will examine the histories of specific colours and learn about scientific innovations and their attendant colour theories. “Case studies” of innovative colour use by contemporary artists and designers will be considered in relation to our own colour projects.