Interdisciplinary Art and Design Practices

The Interdisciplinary Art and Design Practices Seminar investigates art and design work in the interdisciplinary modalities of contemporary culture and the city. As artists and designers respond to global magnitude and local impact challenges, engage with cross-cultural and often conflicting conditions, and operate in disparate economic and societal realms, the need for increased engagement and collaboration is paramount. The complexity present in the context of action—economic, social, political, cultural, and ecological— frequently requires interdisciplinary approaches accompanied by cross-pollinating knowledge and skillsets.

Socially engaged art, relational aesthetics, and activist and emancipatory design practices challenge disciplinary boundaries not only in the art and the design worlds but as they crossover and interact with communities, policymakers, and various experts. They lead to expanding professional vocabularies, tools, and imaginaries and cultivates new forms of interdisciplinary knowledge. 

As art and design practices move from art in public space to art in public interest (Miwon Kwon), their participatory and relational makeup can generate platforms and agencies that question dominant culture, construct new practices, establish new subjectivities, and subvert existing configurations of power (Chantal Mouffe). Historical examples of such approaches include Dada, the Situationists, and other avant-garde movements, as well as contemporary art and design practices such as the Silent University, Philadelphia Assembled, Superflex, Critical Art Ensemble, Pink Bloque, Yes Men, the Institute for Applied Autonomy, or the Arctic Cycle. Such disseminated practices challenge the boundaries of art and design and their environments.

The seminar will navigate the evolving interdisciplinarity of art and design practices by engaging with the city, its communities, and the art world and addressing contemporary urgencies and societal concerns. Practice-oriented, the seminar includes lectures, workshops, and assignments dedicated to exploring artistic tools and methods as well as the context in which they perform.

Fundamental goals of the seminar are:
– to expose students to methods, techniques, and positions of interdisciplinary art and design practices;
– to explore how art and design practices can engage with the public domain;
– to creatively explore the potential of mediums in the realization of ideas; and
– to raise relevant questions and to test them through the development of projects;
– Student evaluation is based on assignments, participation in class, and the final presentation.
This semester, the seminar will focus on the theme of survival and survivalism in times of socio-economic, environmental, and institutional crises. The seminar will incorporate lectures and conversations with various practitioners and experts, including artists, curators, activists, and policymakers—priority enrollment to ADPD MDes students.

Course structure: The class will meet synchronously for 2 hours on Thursdays from 12 to 2 pm EST. Asynchronous presentations or open workshops will complement the synchronous teaching throughout the semester. 

Note: the instructor will offer live course presentations on 01/19-01/21. To access the detailed schedule and Zoom links, please visit the Live Course Presentations Website. If you need assistance, please contact Estefanía Ibáñez