Carrie Lambert-Beatty (Department of History of Art and Architecture and of Visual and Environmental Studies)
Freshman Seminar 30X 4 credits (spring term) Enrollment: Limited to 12
Note: This seminar is for anyone interested in contemporary art and culture, extremes of human behavior, or willpower and its limits.
Write down everything you do. Every day. Forever. Tie yourself to a friend by an eight-foot rope. Stay tied for a year. Cry, daily. These are not behavioral science experiments, spiritual practices, or psychiatric symptoms, but works of art. In the period 1960 to the present, artists have frequently taken up everyday life as an artistic material akin to paint, language, or stone. This course will introduce contemporary art as a kind of research in its own right by exploring this quasi-genre, the Life Project. We will compare projects in contemporary art with a long and wide-ranging human history of extreme manipulations of living habits, spaces, and identities, and explore them in light of contemporary thinking about brain, behavior, and social relations, while considering the specific ways of knowing made possible by projects designed as art works. We will also learn by doing as each student prepares and undertakes a month-long Life Project.