ART of the MOOC: Activism and Social Movements
This course is for activists, artists, and thinkers who wish to better understand and participate in social change. We will focus on the prolific and exciting overlap between socially engaged art and cultural practices generated by recent social movements around the world. Rather than assess the political efficacy of activities like mourning, listening, organizing, dancing, or partying, the lectures examine such cultural activities next to, and within, contemporary art practice. Included in the course are guest presentations by key artists, activists, and scholars, like: Rebecca Gomperts, Chido Govera, Gulf Labor, Hans Haacke, Sharon Hayes, Jolene Rickard, Gregory Sholette, Joshua Wong, and many more. Designed by artist and Duke professor, Pedro Lasch and co-taught by Creative Time artistic director, Nato Thompson, the course challenges learners to treat the MOOC itself as a social and artistic form. This happens mostly through the practical components, local project productions, global exchanges, and critical feedback. While no prior art making or activist experience is required, projects also offer challenging options for advanced learners. For other course offerings or language versions in this series, just search ‘ART of the MOOC’ inside the Coursera course catalogue. Syllabus Introduction to Activism and Social Movements This short module includes an overview of the course’s structure, working process, global community, and overall guidelines. Make sure to read it right away and refer back to it whenever needed. Activism and Social Movements: Lectures, Guest Presentations, and Quiz This opening segment is dedicated to the prolific and exciting overlap between socially engaged art and cultural practices generated by recent social movements around the world. Environmentalism, AIDS activism, Queer movements, Zapatismo, immigrant rallies, alter-globalization, the World Social Forum, Occupy, the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement, museum boycotts, and democratic uprisings in the Middle East will be seen in dialogue with cultural producers who participate in these movements or are inspired by them. Rather than assess the political efficacy of such cultural activities, we will examine their place within contemporary art practices. Based on Listening, Organizing, Dancing, or Partying, each student’s contribution will respond to a particular social movement of their choosing. Activism and Social Movements: Project and Peer Review The prompt, lecture and guest presentations will provide a foundation and inspiration for students’ own experiments. Aesthetics, Art History, and Cultural Institutions – Lectures, Guest Presentations, and Quiz Just as recent social movements have transformed contemporary art and culture, activists have relied on ideas developed in more specialized cultural circles, sometimes without knowing it. Starting with an exploration of the ways in which socially engaged public art has been included and excluded from particular narratives, theories, institutions, and events, we will use this lesson to follow social practices as they question conventional art and art history. As we do so, students will be invited to create projects that directly engage with Cultivating, Farming, Cooking, or Eating—activities that are fundamentally social but traditionally seen to contradict serious artistic production. Aesthetics, Art History, and Cultural Institutions: Project and Peer Review The prompt, lecture and guest presentations will provide a foundation and inspiration for students’ own experiments. Embodied Knowledges – Lectures, Guest Presentations, and Quiz This lesson will use the notion of ‘embodied knowledges’ to link activism and socially engaged art to performance art, gesture, and ‘writing without words.’ Recognizing that knowledge is inseparable from one’s lived, physical, and social experience, ‘embodied knowledges” challenge the Western paradigms that separate information from matter, reason from affect, mind from the body, the worker from her labor, the individual from the collective. This lesson’s practical components will ask students to actively think ‘from’ their particular site of enunciation and ‘through’ their particular embodied knowledge. Guest presenters: Mujeres Creando, Regina José Galindo, Mariam Ghani, Sharon Hayes, Chemi Rosado-Seijo Embodied Knowledge: Project and Peer Reviews The prompt, lecture and guest presentations will provide a foundation and inspiration for students’ own experiments.
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