Sport is one of the most significant components of the everyday. From professional and semi-professional, to amateur; from competitive to non-competitive, each of us has participated in sporting activity in our lives. Sports have their own sections in every newspaper and every news report. Sports brands dominate both the high street and the catwalk. Sport is fashionable. Sports stars are prominent figures – role models, even – across a variety of media. Sport affects us.
Sport is affective. Every sporting moment is unique. Sport is transformational – for the spectator, arguably, more than the sportsperson. Sport is ritualistic and relies upon faith, passion, the warmth of the crowd, and of being present.
Sport is political, and is often used by those in power as social propaganda.
Sport is symbolic. Sport is classist and divisionary. Sport is subcultural. Sport is anti-intellectual.
Despite the fact that sporting competition is determined (in almost every instance) by the on-field activities, sport itself is a dialogue between its participants and its non-participants. The experience of the participants is shared back-and-forth with the experience of the non-participants.
Sport is catharsis: a collective purging of emotion.
This studio will examine the concept of aesthetics as applied within that most everyday activity: sport. In his work Homo Ludens, Johan Huizinga described language, poetry, and art as forms of "play". As with any artist, the sportsperson channels both instinct and practice, and working within the established methodologies of their chosen field, aims to create instances unique in all history. In moments such as those, the artist attempts to demonstrate the genius of man; the sportsperson, the limits of human movement. And yet we can discuss aesthetics not as a process but as an event: it occurs instantly, in the moment of viewership and is a shared moment. Sport never ends.
- Austin, J.L., (1975) How to Do Things with Words. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
- Barthes, R. (1964) Elements of Semiology. London: Atlantic Books
- Benjamin, W. (1936) "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" in Illuminations (2015). London: Bodley Head.
- de Certeau, M. (1984) The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press.
- Critchley, S. (2017) What We Think About When We Think About Football. Profile Books: London.
- Curran, A. "Brecht's Criticisms of Aristotle's Aesthetics of Tragedy", in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. Vol. 59, No. 2 (Spring, 2001), pp. 167-184
- Hickey, D. (1995) "The Heresy of Zone Defense", in Air Guitar (1997) Los Angeles, CA: Art Issues Press.
- Mumford, S. (2018) "The aesthetics of sport and the arts: competing and complementary", in Majumdar, B. (ed.) Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics (pp.723-733)
- Winner, D. (2001) Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football. London: Bloomsbury.
Studio image: Ajay Hothi. Banner: Hans Op de Beeck, Staging Silence (3), video still (detail), 2019
Studio 01: Another Place
Out of a direct treatment of place, whether subjective or objective, emerges another place. It is neither new, nor fixed in time, but it has remained unexplored, scarcely documented – piles of lime and useless cicadas.
Studio 02: Feminist Approaches
The Dissertation Studio 02 seminar series will address feminist practices within architecture, history and activism.
Studio 03: Narrative and Storytelling
This studio focuses on modes of storytelling and narrative conventions. We will particularly consider how narrative intersects with, and informs, identity.
Studio 04: The Conquest of Joy
This studio encourages dialogues around the cultural production at a time when narratives founded on certainty have ceased to make sense.
Studio 05: This is my truth; show me yours: Post-truth, propaganda and bulls**t
This studio will look at the emergence of the notion of "post truth" and explore links between other ideas around propaganda and Harry Frankfurt’s argument about "bulls**t". We will consider the usefulness of these ideas, and how they can be explored in creative practice.
Studio 06: The Practice of Space – Writing Atmospheres in Art and Architecture
Nico de Oliveira
Dissertation Studio 06 looks at space as practice, since each location is a mutable entity framed as a moment in time, populated by individuals and shaped by their actions as artists, musicians, curators, designers, architects, writers and spectators.
Studio 07: Meaningful Work
This studio will consider the value of making in itself, independent of the product or outcome, exploring the idea of craft as meaningful work.
Studio 08: Speak, Form.
Dissertation Studio 8 asks: How is it that form might speak? This studio looks at the power of rhetoric, of the medium as message, of the figure as discourse.
Studio 09: Thinking with Ruins
This studio pays heed to these cultural forms and persuasions but asks, how might we productively think with ruins in the present?
Studio 10: Sport and Aesthetics
Dissertation Studio 10 will examine the concept of aesthetics as applied within that most everyday activity: sport.
Studio 11: Le Marteau Sans Maître (The Hammer without a Master)
In a networked world where knowledge and information seems to be accessible everywhere and in any form; and where people in distant places appear to speak to us in real time from our computer screens, Studio 11 tries to imagine an ‘immediate’ and performative experience of the world – outside language and not shaped by our intellect and will.
Studio 12: Material Culture and Transcultural Exchanges
Dissertation Studio 12 is concerned with the increasing complexity of the material and symbolic flows of fashion, textile, artefact and commodity.
Studio 13: B(read)
Focussing on two of life’s key ingredients, reading and bread, this Dissertation Studio offers sessions that will encourage you to experience and experiment with both.
Studio 14: Rewilding
In this Dissertation Studio, we will examine some of the many ways in which art, architecture, and design connect to the discourse on rewilding.
Studio 15: “If I stay silent nothing will change”: Identity, Politics, Social Change and Creative Culture(s)
This cross-disciplinary studio considers how power, culture, politics, identity, representation, activism, social media, and mass culture theory intersect with a range of arts practices, including photography, architecture, design and fine art, film studies, fashion and music, sound, pop art, and theatre.
Studio 16: A Material World
This Dissertation Studio will be based on the processes that are intrinsic to the design and making of textiles, however it will also be looking at the materiality of these textiles as objects.
Studio 17: Souvenir
This studio is concerned with those objects that are lent a particular enchantment because of their relationship with the past. It considers the role of memory and how it is embodied in cultural artefacts.
Studio 18: Modes of Human Exchange (Being-with and without)
This studio considers the current (exceptional) conditions of human exchange in a broader historical/social context, highlighting how facial/bodily gestures and the decorum of their physical/ambient surroundings have provided essential clues to the way we respond to, and interact with, the ‘other’.