Whether it’s in your community, your state, your country or in the world, understanding the impacts of global warming and how to participate in future policy decisions has become an essential role of the citizen. This Fall 2019’s Public Policy Forum @ CAPA presents an opportunity to learn from policy makers, academics, and leading thinkers and activists on many aspects of the climate crisis from energy and food to water, and soils.
In this 7-week workshop we will uncover aspects of Bennington, perform research, tell stories, and design booklets using the familiar form of the field guide. A field guide is a manual used to identify things (birds, trees, minerals and more) in their natural environment. It follows certain rules, such as an identification system, a grammar, a map, and a how-to use section. All of these structured “conventions” are designed to encourage participation. Because its form is recognizable, one can employ the field guide format to do all kinds of things in the world. For instance, there are field guides to civic participation, stereotypical high school types, and artisanal cheese.
With the Bennington campus and/or the town as our “field,” students will individually identify, design (or create) and produce a printed field guide to a system that is present in this environment. Focuses could include campus waste, town heroes, local ghosts, the library and more. As a group, these guides will form a collection of uniquely expressive, artistic approaches to the idea of “field guide,” while following tight constraints. In addition, students will observe participants using their field guides, and conduct public tours. In order to enlist a public, students must answer a fundamental question about participatory design: “What do you want your field guide to DO?”
Class final: Students will user test their field guides on the campus and in the area. Final printed guides will be submitted to the Crossett library. Learning outcomes: Students will be introduced to systems thinking, constraint-based design, semiotics, and participatory design, and will conduct research, play-testing, zine production, interface and graphic design.
How do you discern if your desired social practice art project is ethically sound as well as aesthetically relevant? This class will survey a series of social practice art projects, from high profile “art world” ones to small community-generated gestures, with the goal of evaluating if the project was properly thought through ethically and aesthetically. The class will also include diverse perspectives from the field of social practice art, social activism and art / literary criticism. The goal is not to supply students with a simple framework as much as it is to surface debates about the ways intended or unintended social practice art could exploit the populations or communities it intends to benefit.
A readings course centered on the Usdan Gallery survey of fictional twentieth-century Czech architect Petra Andrejova-Molnár, created by artist Katarina Burin as a feminist meditation on the absence and erasure of women designers within the modernist canon. Exhibition components such as biographical texts, staged photographs, drawings, furniture, décor, and models provide the setting for texts on themes including gender, authorship, the fictive archive, and the mythos of “the architect.”
This course looks at the Presidential candidates for 2020, their platforms, and how these platforms would impact American society. Additionally, the course will work to examine and conclude what issues are most important to Americans and how Americans view politics and the American Presidency at this time in the country’s history. In addition to required readings and writing assignments, student will be responsible for conducting significant research largely through the interview process.
In this course, college student mentors will work with high school student mentees to develop college aspirations and contribute to mentees’ knowledge about the college application process. Each week college students will travel to Mount Anthony Union High School to meet with their college student mentees for an hour. We will then return to Bennington College campus for the remaining class time during which we will discuss literature about mentoring and college access, as well as the plan for meeting with the high school students next week. Mentors will share their college access stories with their mentees and invite their mentees to discuss their own educational aspirations in shared storytelling sessions. Possible topics we will cover with the high school student mentees include the college application process, including searching for colleges and writing a personal statement, as well as the process of applying for financial aid. In this course, Bennington College students will have the opportunity to put a personal face on the often mystifying college application process and will develop mentoring and leadership skills as they do so.
This course is designed to introduce students to the processes involved in casting Iron and Aluminum. Students will work with foundry wax and learn how to produce a sculpted object either by hand or that of some other method covered in class. These additional methods could include machining parts, 3d printing objects or casting from the body. After a form has been produced the student will create molds that will be used for casting in both Iron and Aluminum. The first couple of weeks will be focused on producing molds that will be included in an intercollegiate iron pour in Salem New York. Participating among other Colleges allow for large scale participation experience to the world of artists casting in metal. This first pour at Salem shows rigid scheduling and teaches safety practices that we will then bring back to Bennington to prepare for our own Aluminum pour here at the College.
Processes used include but not limited to: Developing sand part molds with Silbond, casting wax with alginate and plaster , lost wax methods, and proper safety measures are taught through out each step.
Lighting design has the powerful ability to shape the experience of an audience. Its practice incorporates elements of artistry and craft, and should interest those working in all aspects of visual and performing arts. In addition to hands-on work with theatrical lighting equipment in and outside of class, awareness of light, play analysis and conceptualization, color, angle, composition and focus are explored in class demonstrations and in a series of individual and group projects. Some reading (including two plays) and short writing assignments are also included, as is an introduction to lighting design documentation.
This course will be offered the first seven weeks of the semester.
The physics of light and color initially appears simple: light is a wave and the wavelength of light determines color. While this basic physical description of light is easy to state, going deeper quickly opens up large range of questions. How do different wavelengths of light combine to make colors? How does light from different sources interfere? How does light change path when it travels through different materials? How do humans sense light both in and outside of the visible spectrum? How does our perception of color affect how we interpret our world? Each question reveals a deeper level of detail and more complexity. While the fundamentals of this course will address the underlying physics of light and color, student interest will drive experimental projects in a variety of areas that extend the ideas of the course.
Students with an artistic interest in light and/or color who are interested in developing a deeper understanding of the physics that underlies our visual perception should find this class particularly interesting.
A brief history of animated images from the 1500s to the present day. The class will be split into watching documentaries and animations along with discussions. A quiz and short responses will be required.
This course introduces artists to Adobe Creative Suite via Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Together we will explore the individual capabilities of each program and how to bridge between them. We will also learn best practices in creating and managing digital files.
Students will apply skills learned to their own creative projects and ideas. They will also have the opportunity to work with the laser cutter and large format printers, translating their digital ideas into physical objects.
What does it mean to be “rooted,” “uprooted,” “living in translation”? Can a language, literary tradition, or far-flung literary republic be one’s homeland? Does “cultural authority” derive from being considered “native”? How is it that immigrant literary translators have been met with apprehension on the part of publishers? Might this stem from definitions of “fluency” and “expertise” that are themselves full of anxiety, confusion, political vexation, and even bias? What about the age-old debate between “domesticating” texts from elsewhere and making the reader aware of the palpable signs of “foreign-ness” in the original? Should a language have a legitimized “standard” usage? These, and other questions, will fuel our discussions.
Course-Connected Visiting Translator Series: “Immigration and Diaspora” Attendance at Guest Readings is mandatory.
This class is part of the Lexicons of Migration Consortium with Bard, Sarah Lawrence and Vassar. There will be opportunities for exchange with the students and faculty from these partner institutions
This is a seminar, screening and production half-semester course, based on themes within Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction as means to imagine a different future. In the first half we will be viewing films, from big budget to experimental and performance-based video art, while also listening to music, audio plays, and reading experimental and theoretical texts to support weekly thematic discussions. We will contrast Hollywood narratives against historical films like Born in Flames, Space is the Place, Fresh Kill, and Flaming Creatures, alongside the work of many contemporary artists. Further, we will be reading texts by Gayatri Spivak, José Esteban Muñoz, Laboria Cuboniks, and Fred Moten, among others – texts conceptualizing the urgency in reimagining the future to make room for identities in alterity in the present. In the second half of the course students will work towards a short self-formed project in either film/video, script, or critical/experimental text. Entry into the class is predicated on the professor’s permission, and those interested must submit a sample of recent work in either moving image or text.
If group work is both the most necessary and the most difficult endeavor of our time, what methods are necessary for collaboration in the visual arts? In this seminar and studio, students will focus on a method for group work that was developed by the video-artist (not politician) Paul Ryan between 1971 and the end of his life, in 2013. Threeing is “a voluntary practice in which three people take turns playing three different roles: initiator, respondent, and mediator.” Working in groups of three, students will use Threeing to create ephemeral installations, drawings, texts, and conversations while rotating between these three roles: initiator, respondent and mediator. This course takes as its archive The Study Center for Group Work, a library of collaborative methods that have been developed by artists: http://studycollaboration.com
Political corruption is broadly understood to involve the exploitation of public office for private gain. It is a longstanding problem, and it persists more or less in every society, including old democracies and developing countries. This course explores the definitions, drivers, patterns, effects and control of political corruption from a global perspective. Key topics include: a survey of major social science and public policy debates on the meanings, indicators, and causes of corruption; corruption in historical perspective across different political cultures and systems; contemporary political scandals and their ramifications for human rights, democracy, development, conflict, and international security; and national and international strategies to counteract or prevent the corrupt practices of public officials.
Students will learn the basics of sewing. Included will be various hand stitches used in garment construction and repair as well as learning how to use a sewing machine.