New Courses for Spring 2013: Topics in Modern/Postmodern Architecture and Avant-Garde Film

As registration for Spring 2013 academic courses begins soon, I wanted to provide more information about new courses I will begin teaching in January. Please see detailed descriptions below including a new special topics class in the History of Architecture (1700-present), and the History of Avant-Garde Film. If you have any specific questions that are not answered here or in the links I provide you to the registration for the courses, you can contact me directly. I look forward to another rich and engaging semester with both new and familiar faces.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (Mondays 4:00-6:50pm, Room Fir 3414)
Norman Foster, Reichstag interior, Berlin (1993)

This course traces the history of architecture from the period of the late Baroque in the eighteenth century through to the postmodern architectural styles associated with the contemporary present, approaching architecture as a unique medium with its own visual vocabulary and spatial codes. The various formal languages, designs, and theories that have shaped the history of architecture will be explored through the close examination of select buildings and spatial environments set within specific cultural, social, political and economic contexts of their planning and construction. The broader purpose of this course is to provide students with the ability to critically evaluate and recognize how the history and theory of architecture, especially as it evolved through periods of emerging nationalism, industrialization, urbanization, and modernism within the framework of a broader global visual culture and art history, continue to impact our collective spatial, visual, intellectual and cultural environments today.

All of the buildings under examination (which will introduce and cover aspects of architecture, spatial planning, and styles associated with the Baroque, Neo-Classical, Gothic Revival, Arts and Crafts, and Art Nouveau movements in Europe and North America, together with radical breaks seen in the turn to globalizing Modern and Post-Modern architecture in the practices of Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Frank Lloyd Wright, Robert Venturi, Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry and others) will be related to their original contexts, but also raise questions about the range of functions that architecture might fulfill within different societies. While the primary focus of the course will be on Western architecture and culture, the architecture of the Middle East, Asia, the Americas and Africa will also be explored through targeted readings and lectures. The course will therefore not just be about following a chronological and progressive trajectory of “great buildings” and “great architects” but will instead address broad issues related to political power, gender, sexuality, race, and the formation of individual and group identities. In this way, the ideas raised in this course will also draw attention to the dynamics and ongoing debates concerning what it means to make a building and design a space in any cultural context.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (Tuesdays 4:00-6:50pm, Room Fir 3414)
Andy Warhol, Screen Test (Edie Sedgwick) (1964)
The avant-garde movements of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries have been determining forces in shaping collective ideas about artistic practice and culture, social history, and subversive intent.  Not surprisingly, the technology of motion pictures has provided avant-garde practitioners with a dynamic new medium to explore a range of themes and philosophies, linking filmic experimentation with important ideas emerging in the modern and contemporary art of the past century.

Beginning with an examination of film’s critical role in the development of modern art and the history of the avant-garde, this course will draw from existing issues and debates concerning art history and the expanding field of visual culture linked through a number of filmic subgenres (such as abstraction, collage, Dadaism, appropriation, surrealism, structuralism, duration, parody, camp, autobiography and expanded cinema). In this way, the course also offers a critical examination of selected films in connection to key theoretical and historical turning points in art history and critical theory and will roughly follow the history and theory of visual arts as it moves from the emergence of the modern period in Europe through the demise of modernism following WWII and into the areas of post-modern intervention leading to our contemporary present. Artists and filmmakers under examination include, but are not limited to, Germaine Dulac, Marcel Duchamp, Sergei Eisenstein, Jean Cocteau, Hans Richter, Man Ray, Jean-Luc Godard, Stan Brakhage, Akira Kurosawa, Shirley Clarke, Robert Smithson, Chantal Akerman, Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, David Lynch, Doug Aitken, Stan Douglas, Doug Aiken, Matthew Barney, Pipilotti Rist, Kenneth Anger and Matthew Barney.