The Culture Now Project focuses on cities beyond metropolitan areas or in remote rural areas—Midsize America: a vast area of the American terrain, the venue for change where initiatives create measurable effects. In an inherently volatile state, between connective tissue and dilapidation, these places are in constant redefinition, often, and especially recently, with long periods of uncertainty. Landscape is the medium of uncertainty, Midsize America its contemporary state.
This seminar contributes to the Culture Now Project initiated by Thom Mayne and Karen Lohrmann at UCLA/A.UD in 2010. Since 2011 the project expands into a collaborative platform linking 13 universities across the country. The Culture Now Project is an immersive investigation into the intersection of public policy, urbanism, contemporary culture and its spatial manifestations.
Over eight sessions, this seminar will identify, study, elaborate and disseminate the notion of uncertainty. Laying cross-disciplinary groundwork including urban, visual, and cultural studies it will further complement the overall Culture Now initiative. It will study the connective matter, strange networks and spatial manifestations through critical introspections, speculations, alternative visions – the foundations of contemporary culture as they spread over postindustrial, foreclosed and otherwise defaulted areas. It will be focused on the identification, translation and broadcasting of places of uncertainty, their relevance to the productive cultural landscape and a social and environmental equilibrium.
A typical seminar session will consist of an introductory lecture, the presentation and discussion of reading/research assignments and, at some times, conversations with guests relevant to the fields of urbanism/landscape/environments and curating/cultural production.
All research results will be regularly edited as contributions to the www.culturenowproject.org website. They will further result in a final collaborative collection of writings, references, and visual material. Evaluation will be equally based on contributions during seminar sessions and written/editorial etc. contributions to the final collection.