Spring 2018 AMT Elective: Utopias – Rit Premnath and Abou Farman


Rit Premnath and Abou Farman

Thursdays 3:50—6:30 PM

CRN: 7843, 6970

乌托邦地图 Map of Utopia

This course will be cross-listed between NSSR and Parsons and co-taught by Professor Abou Farman and Professor Rit Premnath. Utopian projects are often discredited as unrealizable or as preludes to dystopia, yet they continue to be a vital force in motivating political movements and social change especially under the threat of economic collapse, refugee crises and climate change. Combining readings and visual materials from art, literature, history and social theory, we will explore both imagined futures and actualized projects. We will attempt to rethink traditional categories of private and public through spontaneous collaborative imaginings of space during times of economic or political crisis. How do artists, writers and citizens reflect upon and imagine those “other spaces” that have been and can still be inhabited or embodied in our present time? Weekly readings, writing assignments, in-class discussions and studio projects will introduce students to diverse methodologies from research and writing, to visual art and performance.

Sreshta Rit Premnath  works across multiple media, investigating systems of representation and reflecting on the process by which images become icons and events become history. He has had solo exhibitions at Ace Gallery, LA; Kansas Gallery, New York; Gallery SKE, Bangalore; The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; Tony Wight Gallery, Chicago; Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin; Art Statements, Art Basel; as well as numerous group exhibitions at venues including The Logan Center, Chicago; Queens Museum, New York; YBCA, San Francisco; Galerie Balice Hertling, Paris and 1A Space, Hong Kong. He is the founder and co-editor of the publication Shifter. Premnath is Assistant Professor of Fine Arts at Parsons.
Abou Farman is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the New School for Social Research. Professor Farman is interested in secularization processes, especially in relation to technology and aesthetics. His ethnographic research has focused on technoscientific projects in the US attempting to achieve physical immortality. He is working on a book, Secular Immortal, examining three such ‘immortalist’ strategies: cryonics, biogerontology and artificial intelligence. His first book was Clerks of the Passage, an extended essay on movement and immigration. He has taught Anthropology at Bard College, SUNY Purchase, Hunter College and Princeton. As part of the artist duo caraballo-farman he has exhibited internationally, including at the Tate Modern, London, and PS1, NY, and received several grants and awards, including Guggenheim and New York Foundation for the Arts fellowships.

Open to: All university graduate and upper-level undergraduate degree students. Some seats have been reserved for MFA Fine Arts students and Graduate Students in Anthropology.