TESC, Spring '09 - THE LENS BASED IMAGE; theory, criticism, practice
“It's not enough, assigning to photography the task of documentation; the problem is more complex. In conceptual art, in its clearest moments, photography displaces or takes on the condition of the object or dismantles the traditional parameters of spatial and material organization… What I am doing, how it ends up as a sign, is all about language, but sometimes it becomes a physical thing, sometimes it is just photography.” - Gabriel Orozco

The Lens Based Image: History, Theory, Criticism, Practice
Info: This is not a photography class per se. The focus of this program will be on photographic theory, criticism, and practice as it relates to image making across disciplines (photography, video, painting, printmaking, sculpture, etc.). Photographic images pervade every facet of our society and affect almost all of our thoughts and emotions. Though their intentions can be elusive, and dependant on context, they are always present and should be approached with a critical mind and eye.

This program is designed for intermediate or advanced artists working in any medium and will emphasize seeing, thinking and creating with thoughtful inquiry in hopes of providing a better understanding of the construction and manipulation of an image’s meaning and form. All of the exercises, lectures, presentations, film screenings, gallery visits, critiques, etc. are designed to develop each student’s technical, theoretical and conceptual approach to the subject matter and his/her understanding of the connections between these three elements. Students will carry out art historical research as well as visual research to support personal artistic inquiry.

Students will be expected to rigorously pursue their personal studio work (in any medium) while participating in interdisciplinary critiques of their work and the work of others. Students will not be given “art assignments”.... That is, you will not be told what to be making art about, and you will not be told what tools to use. Consequently, students should begin the program with a central thesis and personal motivation for making provocative work. Some time at the beginning of the quarter will be used to help students identify these personal themes.

What to expect: Students should be prepared to do upper-division work in critical thinking, reading, writing, and most of all, art production. Though assignments will not be given, seeing, thinking, visualizing, and creating “exercises” will. Students should be prepared to actively engage in these exercises which might, at times, seem fundamental... making a photogram, for instance. Students should be prepared to complete a significant, but reasonable, number of assigned readings. Seminar readings will inform our understanding of aesthetics generated from lens-based images. Students should be prepared to complete a significant, but reasonable, amount of writing on the arts. Each week, students will be required to demonstrate active studio practice in relationship to their personal work.