In this course, students will utilize primary and secondary sources to explore language and language use in Vermont and surrounding regions. Our exploration will span from the pre-Columbian era till present, and address the diversity and inter-relationships of the languages and language varieties utilized in and around Bennington, and how these link to broader phenomena in the construction of personal and communal identities. We will also devote significant attention theories of linguistic variation and change, as well as societally-embedded questions of language equity and access.
Through this course, students will develop practical and theoretical familiarity with the essential “toolkit” of sociophonetic methods and analytical techniques, including but not limited to: principles of experimental design, ethical field practice, acoustic analysis, and statistical techniques in language research. Students will refine and advance these skills via their application to naturalistic language data gathered through the work of the Bennington Sociolinguistics Laboratory, as well as to available archival and legacy data relevant to contextualizing and understanding this corpus.
Spatial Justice is concerned with how space produces and is a product of power. All social movements deal with some aspect of spatial injustice which makes it a useful way for movements to find possibilities for solidarity. There is also a growing constituency of artists—from socially engaged artists, to sculptors, scenographers, musicians, etc.—who are incorporating ideas from the concerns of spatial justice into their artistic practices. How do artists and makers work ideas like these? In this course we will both learn about the origins and thinkers behind spatial justice and learn how artists are influenced by and work with these ideas as well. Students will be expected to produce writings, performances or works of art that are somehow in response to the concerns surfaced within spatial justice as a body of thought.
Students enrolled in this course will meet weekly with the instructor to design and deliver programming for a spring term diversity conference. Enrolled students will be expected to familiarize themselves with readings provided by the instructor and will submit weekly updates of proposed conference activities. The final product will involve independent or collaborative programming activities for the conference and the submission of a written summary for compilation in a conference proceedings.
This course will examine social psychological approaches to promoting inclusivity. Content will include review of basic psychological processes that contribute to, and maintain bias in contemporary society; and on methods that can promote collaboration across difference. Topics will include: confirmation bias, tokenism, intergroup dynamics, social justice, and related concepts. Students will be expected to participate actively; examine, understand, and articulate different perspectives; and engage fully with the assigned readings and materials. Weekly assignments include 1-2 readings and short reflection papers. Students will also submit a final project that addresses a current area of exclusion at Bennington College.
The aim of this 7-week course is to provide students with the knowledge and skillsets necessary for acquiring financing for start-ups and existing entrepreneurial firms. Beginning with Title III of the JOBS Act (2012), the environment for financing organizations, including arts and culture and socially-responsible initiatives, was broadly liberalized. In the context of that new financing environment, you will learn how to adequately capitalize social, value-oriented enterprise. Importantly, we will eschew conventional models of financing and focus on building new and existing enterprise with this important, contemporary, value-oriented twist: utilizing only minimal debt and no venture capital. In this course you will acquire a depth of understanding regarding pertinent securities law, learn how to prepare the documentation for both selling intrastate stock (and why that is a good idea) and raising capital through existing crowdfunding portals with specific reference to Form C of Regulation CF, determine how much capital you need to raise, as well as how to match organizational legal form choices to your financing requirements.
Futures studies—also known as futurology—has been used by businesses and the military as part of a strategic planning toolkit. This framework of speculating about the future in systemic ways has been adopted by many contemporary artist collectives, in order to challenge assumptions of the present about outcomes in the future. These futuristic models are based on constraints—design limitations— that can spark wild imaginaries liberated from business-as- usual predictions. In this 7-week workshop we will create possible future scenarios in the forms of invented artifacts, writing, and framing devices. The features of these futures will draw from Investing in Futures, the artist-created constraint-design card deck (Mattu/Rothberg/Zurkow) which explores topics such as governance, living conditions, food, climate, technology, and range from possible to absurd.
In weeks 1-5, students in group collaborations will design and prototype pieces of specific future scenarios. In weeks 6-7 students will focus on collectively designing a futuristic EPCOT- like exhibit, which will be open to the community.
References and readings about future scenario design thinking, speculative design, and design fiction will also be explored in class. Learning outcomes: Introduction to futurology, speculative design, and systems thinking. Students will participate across media in constraint-based design, writing, and prototyping in a variety of media in rotating groups.
This course introduces students to the basic language of 3D animation and modeling. Students will be expected to become familiar with the basic principles of the MAYA program. A series of modeled objects placed in locations will be created. The emphasis will be on becoming proficient with modeling forms, texturing using Arnold Renderer, adding lights and cameras.
This scriptorium, a “place for writing,” functions as a class for writers interested in improving their academic essay-writing skills. We will read to write and write to read. Much of our time will be occupied with writing and revising—essai means “trial” or “attempt”—as we work to create new habits and strategies for our analytical writing. As we practice various essay structures with the aim of developing a persuasive, well-supported thesis, we will also revise collaboratively, improve our research skills, and study grammar and style. Our aim is to learn to write with complexity, imagination, and clarity, as we explore the genre of Ekphrasis, which can be simply defined as a literary description of a work of art or as a rhetorical device in which one medium of art responds to another. We will study classical and modern examples of ekphrasis and read critical theory about representation, influence, copies, modernity, verisimilitude, beauty, and truth. We will ask ourselves these pressing questions: How can we accurately and imaginatively describe a work of art? How can we capture a work’s meaning, form, and effect on the audience? What are the tensions and possibilities between literature and the visual arts? Readings may include texts by Plato, Berger, Wilde, Homer, Scarry, Benjamin, Ovid, Keats, Browning, Young, Loy, Auden, Coste Lewis, hooks, Dijkstra, Hall, Sontag, Mitchell.
The class will be concerned with investigating the interaction of projected imagery with an actor/performer/viewer.
Investigation will center on how projections can be integrated into, and bring further information to a location, a set and or a text. Various examples will be looked at and researched.
Two plays or texts will be used as a basis for two projects and for each, projections will be designed, and tested including different locations and on different surfaces.
The images can be created in a number of programs, with the content and how this works with the locations will be the main focus. Instruction on Qab and Madmapper will be included and used for the tests along with other software.
This course is directed at the student who is interested in furthering a visual vocabulary and conceptual enhancement through material introductions and demonstrations. The class will be based primarily on mastering methods of working with both thermo forming and thermo setting plastics. Often I have students come to me and ask how they can find some solution to the way a project may be leading them…the answer is never simple, on the contrary, this class will introduce you to learning around a problem. Observing close to what you were looking for however understanding that these decisions on material selection and their safe manipulation will create and develop new rich conceptual directions. Questions about questions like: Is this the most interesting solution? What is interesting? The foundation of this course is designed around the encouragement to experiment fearlessly towards finding a richer material language.
To most of you, the 1960’s might seem like ancient history. There wasn’t even social media! You might be surprised to find out that many of the problems confronted by the student movement during that time are the same as problems we see today. Although the student uprisings seemed focused on the Vietnam War, many other issues were part of the struggle: workers strikes, antiracist actions, the changing role of women in society, the question of violence/pacifism, and the ecological crisis. This seven-week class will use readings, discussions, guest speakers, and individual projects to examine the role of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) in mobilizing a national movement based on grassroots organizing, its part in generating antiwar sentiment, and its location within the broader terrain of ’60s struggles.
Auditions are an opportunity to develop your artistic voice and your confidence in that voice through self-critique. In this class we will work to demystify the process of auditioning and understand how to prepare and present work under challenging circumstances. We will cover cold readings, monologues and prepared scenes, with an in-depth look at each step of the process, from the artist’s point of view. We will address physical movement, text analysis, making choices, taking direction, interviewing, prep and post audition activity in order to experience the entire audition as a work of artistic expression. We will work towards developing a sense of self-evaluation that allows us to be independent of the need for feedback as well as the skills to participate in constructive feedback sessions. Students present work weekly.
In this course, based on the book Speaking of Earth, edited by Alon Tal, we will read twenty inspiring speeches by leading environmentalists around the world that examine a broad range of environmental issues. Included in the course is Rachel Carson’s defense of her ground breaking book Silent Spring, Prince Charles’s passionate call for sustainable agriculture, and the Dalai Lama’s explanation of a path to ecological harmony. The module will include participants in the class writing their own speech.
Marx’s ideas remain an important source of political and social science thought. This class requires students to engage in a close and critical reading of a number of Marx’s essays and to assess his work in the light of critical philosophical responses.
Privacy has long been regarded as important and yet claims to privacy have been frequently challenged and often overridden by political, economic, and technological considerations. Do we have a right to privacy? If so, what is its philosophical justification and what essential human goods and capacities does it protect? In what circumstances and for what reasons can we be asked to forfeit our privacy? This course examines these questions via a close reading of the philosophical literature.
The role of drawing has changed over the history of art, from primitive recording to preliminary sketch, from documentation to works that function independently. How can we expand these notions to include the remnants of the making process. Can the research done before a project, the many mistakes made in process, or the discards left after completion of an artwork be considered acts of drawing? What happens in the moments when we think we aren’t working? Can we analyze our interactions with the world that lead to a certain way of making things? What is the necessity or value of ruins?
In this course students collect, analyze, and employ the physical and conceptual detritus surrounding their making process. Topics include: idea generation and development, the use of memory, teaching and learning, and drawing as a way of thinking. In-class activities and discussions are complemented by readings, writings, and the production of an individual body of work, including an elaborate commonplace book. Students are expected to be engaged in a concurrent 4000 level studio/making course.