How does the action of making reflect, produce, enhance, aggregate, and/or suspend the beliefs of authors and audiences? This hybrid production-theory course merges training in artistic production strategies and methods with grounding in contemporary art practices, ideas, and histories. A seminar course intended for MDes students in the Art, Design, and the Public Domain concentration, but open to all students, MAKE/BELIEVE emphasizes project-based inquiries focused on the intersections of materiality, expression, and public engagement. From modernist debates over politics and aesthetics to post-truth parafictions of The Yes Men and “Arte Util” counterpoints of Tania Bruguera, to the wending “post-medium” tensions of Object Oriented Ontologies (and feminist and interspecies critiques thereof and therein), MAKE BELIEVE will move beyond the proposal to foreground actual material fabrication with a historically- and theoretically- substantive evaluative framework. In particular, we will place a great emphasis on the ethics of engagement: how does one work with public constituencies, when should one be formal vs. informal, who is benefitting from your project, how does what we make express what we believe?
We aim to undo, or further complicate, an endless set of triangulations: Subject-Audience-Publics, Affect-Aura-System, Space-Object-Idea, Science-Fiction-Abstraction, Studio-Site-Territory, Land-Parcel-Terrain, and Being-Making-Doing. We will meet weekly in a format that will include outside reading and production endeavors, field work and site visits, group crits, individually-focused project work, occasional guest visitors, and general exploration of various cultural positionalities: curator, producer, activist, scholar, organizer, entrepreneur.