Fall 2023. Archive as Method: Radical Records of Nature

Archive as Method: Radical Records of Nature

Faculty: Pascal Glissmann and Selena Kimball

CRN: 14672 UTNS 5143

Weds 9:55am – 11:45am

Field notes, cyanotypes, sound recordings, frottage, virtual simulations—the history of observing and documenting nature through creative practice involves manifold methodologies using the senses, specialized instruments, and speculation. Most recently, human behavior–individually and as a global species–is causing radical change to natural systems. This demands an equally radical shift in the way we observe and document nature, and a rethinking of how we might circulate newfound knowledge to inform the conversation and instigate change. This studio class is structured around a range of form-finding and form-making workshops to record the natural world (from historical analog processes such as anthotypes to evolving uses of digital algorithms). In addition, students will develop their own unique methodologies for observing and generating radical records. Applying transdisciplinary practices of observation to instigate new ways of seeing and documenting nature, we will build an archive of unconventional records. These growing collections of individual observations will become resources for collaborative critical inquiry to respond to current socio-political issues and remake the ecological imaginary. Is a record radical when it is visually disruptive, or when it manifests an aspect of nature previously unseen or ignored? Is it radical when it introduces a new method of seeing into our visual vocabulary, or contradicts an existing idea of the natural world? Or is a record radical when it refuses existing modes of publishing and circulation? Students will use their recordings to further their individual research questions and circulate their resulting archives in a format of their choice ranging from publications on screen or paper to performances and installations.