In a seminal book written in 1964 – Gesture and Speech – French archaeologist André Leroi-Gourhan suggested that for millions of years, human culture and technology must have evolved entirely without complex language, rational planning or abstract thought. Instead, mankind seems to have progressed in a rhythmic state, gently moving along, animated by continuous and endlessly repeating performances of what the author calls "embodied minds in dialogue with the material affordances of their environment."
In today’s networked, hyper-organised and satellite-encircled world, where knowledge and information is stored and shared everywhere and in a myriad of forms, where people in distant places appear to speak to us in real time from our computer screens, stockmarkets crash, drones conduct warfare, and politics plays out on TikTok, this kind of ‘immediate’ experience – an existence without instant communication, not shaped by our intellect and will, is hard to imagine. Yet at the same time, the longer we look on from a distance and watch the global hive make its acrobatic turns, like a million of synchronised swimmers, the more plausible it seems.
Listening to some of the most urgent, radical and provocative voices of the present and recent past, Studio 10 explores the strange space between individual and collective, ‘ecological’ action. It embraces the idea that we think, remember and decide in the world, rather than in our heads; that we are connected in unexpected ways; and that this connection may be a key to navigating life in an increasingly paradox present.
True to its premise, the Studio sees writing as an expanded field of experimental acts in which ideas materialise not through reasoning, but répétition (practice) and manipulating ideas to see what may emerge – like philosophical play. It encourages unorthodox approaches to research and promotes the notion that our imagination has as a counterpart in, and is activated by material and formal expression – writing essays in the form of maps, and apparatuses, text as structure and place.
- Agamben, Giorgio, Homo Sacer. Sovereign Power and Bare Life, trans. by Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1998)
- André Leroi-Gourhan, Gesture and Speech (MIT Press, 1993)
- Barad, Karen, ‘Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter’, Signs, 28.3 (2003), 801–31
- Bennett, Jane, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (London: Duke University Press, 2010)
- Cioran, Emil, The Trouble with Being Born (Seaver Books, 1986)
- Fanon, Franz, The Wretched of the Earth (London: Penguin Books, 1967)
- Flusser, Vilém, and Louis Bec, Vampyrotheutis Infernalis: A Treatise, with a Report by the Institut Scientifique de Recherche Paranaturaliste (Minneapolis, Minn. and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2012)
- Freire, Paulo, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (London: Continuum, 1970)
- Haraway, Donna J., Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene (Durham: Duke University Press Books, 2016)
- Hayles, N. Katherine, Unthought (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017)
- Heidegger, Martin, Poetry, Language, Thought (New York: Harper & Row, 1975)
- Kohn, Eduardo, How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology beyond the Human / Eduardo Kohn.(Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013)
- Latour, Bruno, Reassembling The Social: An Introduction To Actor-Network-Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005)
- Lowenhaupt Tsing, Anna, The Mushroom at the End of the World (Princeton University Press, 2015)
- María Lugones, Pilgrimagess (Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003)
- Thom Van Dooren, Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction, Critical Perspectives on Animals. Theory, Culture, Science, and Law (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014, 2014)
- Timothy Morton author, Being Ecological (London: Pelican, 2018)
- Tomlinson, Gary, A Million Years of Music: The Emergence of Human Modernity (New York: Zone Books, 2015)
- Valéry, Paul, ‘Course in Poetics: First Lesson’, in The Creative Process, by Brewster Ghiselin (New York: New American Library of World Literature, 1955), pp. 92–106
- Warburg, Aby, ‘A Lecture on Serpent Ritual’, Journal of the Warburg Institute, 2.4 (1939), 277–292
Studio image: Li Binyuan, Drawing Board 100 x 40, 2017. Banner: Hans Op de Beeck, Staging Silence (3), video still (detail), 2019
Dissertation Studios 2021–22
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: The Critical Thinker’s Guide to You: Making Sense of Writing in Creative Cultures
This studio focuses on the relationship between creative practice and criticism – and how theories and cultural and social networks help shape and define the creative process.
Studio 03: Fashioning the African Diaspora
Elli Michaela Young
Exploring the fashioning of the African diaspora and with a particular focus on the Caribbean Island of Jamaica, this studio aims to think through how fashion and dress is used to grapple with ideas of self.
Studio 04: 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 05: Thinking with Ruins
Thinking With Ruins begins with the idea that to think about ruination allows us to approach subjects that are of interest materially, aesthetically and politically and it allows us to work across scales - from dust to debris to object to landscape.
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: Suck it up
This studio takes a sideways looks at the intersection of youth culture and late capitalism considering the impacts and influences of desire, the cartoon, consumerism and cuteness in shaping our lived contemporary experience.
Studio 08: 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 09: Paths of Desire
“Design needs to be plugged into human behaviour. Design dissolves in behaviour.” Naoto Fukasawa
Studio 10: The Hammer without a Master
Studio 10 explores the strange space between individual and collective, ecological action. It embraces the idea that we think, remember and decide ‘in the world’, rather than in our heads; that we are connected in unexpected ways; and that this connection may be a key to navigating life in an increasingly paradox present.
Studio 11: Sport and Aesthetics
Dissertation Studio 10 will examine the concept of aesthetics as applied within that most everyday activity: sport.
Studio 12: Curating Interiors: The Studio Becoming Museum
This studio explores key concepts of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries – from questions of knowledge, history and nationhood, through to authenticity, agency and value – by means of an exploration of the particular interiors worked in by artists, makers and other practitioners.
Studio 13: Visualising the Future
Cultural history, from high art to kitsch, is littered with visions of the future; some inspiring, some ridiculous, almost all of them wrong.
Studio 14: Technical Pitches: Outside is free
Outside is indeed free, but you need the skills, the kit, the knowledge and ideally ‘the look’ to fit into this world. This Studio will investigate how architecture, furniture, clothing and product design shape the work, living and leisure cultures they support. How these have influenced our relationship to our environment and indeed how this relates to resources at a local and geo-political level.
Studio 15: The Voice of Things
This studio will offer a challenge to the idea that objects are unruly things and need to be brought to heel by labelling, categorising, taxonomising. Instead, it offers an invitation to give voice to the mute and invisible, by listening to objects and treating them as allies.
Studio 16: “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 17: A History of Efficiency
There is nothing inevitable about the way we organise our societies, and we now recognise that transnational and historically embedded structures of economic efficiency are killing the habitable planet. This Studio explores the trade-off between efficiency and creative flourishing in structures of extraction, production, property, commerce and law; and asks where these efficiencies sit in our bodies, behaviours and feelings as both long-standing cultural legacies and contemporary harms.
Studio 18: A Material World
The Studio will consider how textiles in fashion, furnishing, art, and beyond are embedded in our cultural traditions and give us insight into ourselves and our society. We will ask about their relevance in terms of the environment, gender issues, wellbeing and consumption.