DP2: Ground Up

The second semester of Dialogues & Practices deepens the contact and critical focus of the first semester and also serves as the central class that prepares the first-year students for their advancement review, which occurs at the end of the second semester. One of the central focuses of Dialogues & Practices 2 is on cultivating individual methods of experimentation within a students practices, with the aim of moving their work either conceptually, formally or materially well beyond the level and quality of work with which they entered the program. This course will focus on the student's work. But instead of looking at the final product and determining whether it is successful, this course will start at the other end - what might be called "the beginning". This course will explore the ground from which the artist?s project has sprung. It will be a research seminar in which the student, class and instructor will investigate operating principles, purposes, experiences and goals that generate the student's work. What that ground is, in each case, remains to be seen, and anything is possible. The conversation might delve into seminal experiences, the nature of the work of art, the capacities of the work of art, certain political and social commitments, religious or spiritual ideas, sexual and gender identifications, the sensual importance of the work of art, sexual engagements with an abstract audience, philosophical constructs, cultural differences and so forth. Because new beginnings, reformulations and radical self-consumption are the very stuff of interesting art, we will ask the student to propose and make the next step, however large or small, in the presence of a set of live interested viewers. There will be some minimal reading assignments that can be used to help think under and around this foundational material. There won't be time to directly discuss them in class, but students are asked to find ways of bringing them into their presentations when appropriate.