Representing Place: Art + Geography

Representing Place: Art + Geography
(spring 2010 graduate seminar)
GEO 5934-01 / ART 5929-01
Wed 9:30-12:00
Room: Bellamy 317

Dr. Phil Steinberg (Geography)
Owen Mundy (Art)

Class blog:

Course Description

This course seeks to stimulate a dialogue between art and geography. On the one hand, artists increasingly are sensitive to issues of space. Formerly taken for granted as the context in which things happen, artists (and scholars from throughout the humanities) are problematizing space as something that is constituted by connections across distance, by continual transformations of nature, by the experience of the individual in-place, and by multiple subjectivities. This rethinking of space as dynamic, subjective, and multi-dimensional has led visual artists to reconsider whether space can be represented and, if so, how this representation should be achieved. In asking these questions, artists have turned to the insights of geographers who have long been intrigued by problems in the (non-)representation of space and, in particular, its visualization through the map.

At the same time, even though the paradigmatic tool of geography – the map – is an explicitly representational tool, geographers increasingly are influenced by work from outside the discipline that asserts that representation may not be the ideal means for understanding a world that is forever “in progress.” Spurred by this insight, as well as by technologies that are making alternate modes of geographic visualization possible, geographers are turning to the visual arts as a source of inspiration in their efforts to rethink (as well as redraw) the map.

This course seeks to fuse these two lines of inquiry by spurring a dialogue between faculty and graduate students in the two fields. Although most students will probably have some background in either art or geography, others with an interest and a perspective on the changing nature of space, its visualization, and/or its (non-) representation are welcome.

*Image: Francis Alÿs, “Sometimes Doing Something Poetic Can Become Political and Sometimes Doing Something Political Can Become Poetic” (2005)

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