Spring 2018 Advanced Practice: Sculpture Lab: Materiality – H. Lan Thao Lam

Sculpture Lab: Materiality

H. Lan Thao Lam

Wednesdays 9 – 11:40 AM

CRN: 6309


Image: Dario Robleto “At war with the entropy of nature / Ghosts don’t always want to come back”, 2002. Cassette: carved bone and dust from every bone in the body, trinitite (glass produced during the first atomic text explosion, circa 1945 from Trinity test site, when heat from blast melted surrounding sand), metal screws, rust, typeset. Audio tape: an original composition of military drum marches, various weapon fire and soldiers’ voices from battlefields of various wars made from E.P. recordings (Electronic Voice Phenomena: voices and sounds of he dead or past, detected trhough magnetic audiotape).2 1/2” x 3 3/4” x 5/8″

Sculpture Lab will bring special emphasis on issues of matter, material, materiality, stuff, and substance, its modes of production and assimilation in contemporary sculpture. For over two thousand years, Platonic theories have influenced our way of making and understanding art, in which the goal has been to overcome matter in order to arrive at a pure form or idea, a process that favors the metaphysical over the physical. Is as if materials have been waiting for a form to redeem them. Belittled as related to the natural world, coded as “feminine”, and labeled as passive, matters of matter have been ignored. This class is an invitation to work in an experimental way in order to discover the agency of materials, understanding them as a dynamic entanglement of relations (physical, energetic, historical, social, emotional) rather than static and submissive carriers of information. We will be able to explore, for example, foam, dust, white bread, commercial wood, tree barks, trash, plastics, wax, jello. Complemented with workshops on mold-making and metal welding, we will make sculptures whose materiality can engage in touch, smell, produce uncanny ensembles, aggregate, decompose, ooze, speak, and “be themselves”. Taking inspiration from current materialist theories (Jane Bennett, Karen Barad, and Elizabeth Grosz) we will disentangle the politics and ecologies embedded in our materials and study how contemporary sculptors are working within this frame (Jimmie Durham, Abigail de Ville, Nina Canell, Dario Robleto, Theaster Gates, Cecilia Vicuña).

H. Lan Thao Lam is Assistant Professor of Fine Arts, in the School of Art, Media, and Technology at Parsons. Born in My Tho, Vietnam, she holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts, was a Whitney Museum Independent Study fellow, and considers her experiences in refugee camps and housing projects also part of her education. Their practice is at the intersection of research, object-making, installation, film, video, writing and performance. Since 2001, they been active as artist duo “Lin + Lam,” producing projects about immigration, sites of residual trauma, national identity and historical memory. Lam’s work has been exhibited and screened internationally at venues, including The Kitchen, The New Museum, Queens Museum, NY; 3rd Guangzhou Triennial; Arko Art Center, Korean Arts Council, Seoul, Korea; Taiwan International Documentary Festival, Taipei; rum46, Denmark; Cold City Gallery and Lennox Contemporary, Toronto. She has been awarded the Canada Council for the Arts – Media Art Grant, Vera List Center for Art and Politics Fellowship, H.L. Rous Sculpture Award, and James Robertson Environmental Design Award. Lam’s work has been reviewed in numerous publications, including Art Forum, the New York Times, Art Journal, The Huffington Post, Time Out Hong Kong and Art Asia Pacific.

Registration: MFA Fine Arts Students. Grad students by permission. Please write the MFA FA Program Director Simone Douglas douglass@newschool.edu