Speculative descriptions of the future reveal a magnified — or distorted — reflection of the fears and desires of the present. Conventional history has tended to hold the polemical or programmatic utopias of artists, architects and designers at a distance from those science fictions intended merely as literature or entertainment. This studio, by contrast, will consider all such texts as a continuum, freighted with the same critical energy; and with the potential to reveal possible futures beyond the strictures of the contemporary predicament.
Short stories and extracts from novels will be counterposed with theoretical perspectives to gain insight into the nature and purposes of envisioned futurities. Fruitful connections between speculative, fictive, propositional and critical modes of enquiry will be investigated, and a role for fiction within the history of creative disciplines will be unearthed. A relationship between an anticipated future, and the material form of the objects intended to grow old in it, will take shape; alongside a wider perspective on the use of 'other worlds' to articulate marginalised narratives.
The syllabus pairs fictional texts with theoretical ones (although in many cases both texts are in a liminal space between one and the other).
- Rem Koolhaas’s Junkspace with Philip K Dick’s Pay for the Printer
- Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto with JG Ballard’s Crash
- Richard Jeffries After London with Emily St John Mandel’s Station 11
Learning and teaching
Seminars will investigate the reading of latent futurity in objects and images as well as texts, and will encourage the use of speculation as a tool. Close reading of texts and discussion is intended to generate an expanded sense of possibility in writing about art, architecture and design. Consideration of the purpose of fictive mise-en-scene will generate new perspectives on the reading of real objects and spaces.
- JG Ballard’s Crash (1973)
- Benjamin Bratton The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty (2016)
- Svetlana Boym The Future of Nostalgia (2001)
- Octavia Butler Bloodchild (1995)
- Philip K Dick Pay for the Printer (1956)
- William Gibson Burning Chrome (1982)
- Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto (1984)
- Frederic Jameson Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions (2005)
- Richard Jeffries After London (1885)
- Rem Koolhaas’s Junkspace (2001) and The Generic City (1995)
- Ursula LeGuin The Dispossessed (1974)
- Douglas Murphy Last Futures: Nature, Technology, and the End of Architecture (2015)
- Paul Scheerbart Glassarchitektur (1913)
- Ellen Ullman Close to the Machine: Technophilia and its Discontents (1997)
Studio 1: Another India
Studio 1: Another India will examine, reflect upon and critique the historic use of "exotic" motifs in design.
Studio 2: Contemporary Ecology
In Studio 2 we will explore environmental topics through the lens of art, architecture, spatial practice, media and design disciplines.
Studio 3: Music is the Weapon: Performance, Culture and the Music Industry
Studio 3: Music is the Weapon: Performance, Culture and the Music Industry is an exploration of race, gender, class and more in music.
Studio 4: Not allowed
Studio 4: What Not to Wear? will investigate the roles that dress and fashion play in our workplaces.
Studio 5: Imperfect Theories
Studio 5: Imperfect Theories allows you to critically examine any work that can be seen as theory or presents an interesting relationship with theory.
Studio 6: Curating as a Spatial Practice: From the Wunderkammer to Installation art
Nico de Oliveira
Studio 6: This dissertation studio is designed to help students who are interested in curating as a broad subject, as well as those who wish to contextualise their own practice within the scope of displaying art.
Studio 7: Souvenir
Dr Lesley Stevenson
Studio 7: This studio is concerned with those objects that are lent a particular enchantment because of their relationship with the past.
Studio 8: Post – card
Studio 8 will look at one element of that system – the picture postcard – from a number of different perspectives.
Studio 9: ‘The Form of the Text’
Studio 9: Together we will explore the space of criticism; acknowledging our point of encounter with objects, places, sites and processes and the relationship between text, writer and reader.
Studio 10: Constellating
As creative practitioners we digest and produce images every day – as citizens of the digital age we consume between hundreds and thousands of images each day. This dissertation studio will slim down your daily diet to one image.
Studio 11: Science Fiction Futurity
Speculative descriptions of the future reveal a magnified — or distorted — reflection of the fears and desires of the present.
Studio 12: Alternative Fashioned Modernities
Much is happening in the world today that foregrounds questions pertinent to our identities in a globalised world.
Studio 13: Desire, Trauma, History
How does the relationship of memory to fantasy affect history? What are the links between desire, sexuality and trauma? How are these relationships played out or negotiated in visual and written practice? These questions will form the beginning of our enquiries into artworks, films and literature.
Studio 14: Design and Nature: Forms of an Entanglement
We will look at how the idea of nature has been constructed over time and place, and study its impact on design practice in an age marked by the sustainability imperative.
Studio 15: Music, Technology and Ideas
Studio 15: Music, Technology and Ideas encourages you to explore how and why we make music, including its origin, relationship to technology and more.
Studio 16: Narrative and Storytelling
Studio 16: Narrative and Storytelling will see you produce storygraphs, storyboards and various forms of narrative analysis in the seminars.
Studio 17: Knowing Audiences
Studio 17: Knowing Audiences will encourage you to study an audience group using qualitative research methods in your investigations.
Studio 18: Time and the Image
This workshop will address some perennial problems of writing in the field of visual culture.
Studio 19: Material in Motion
Studio 19: This studio will explore a reading of objects focusing on the interplay between materials, the objects they form and their context.
Studio 20: The Liminal
This Dissertation Studio examines instances of the liminal as they occur in critical theory and culture, and is open to any topic and students from all disciplines.
Studio 21: Reading the library (and nothing but the library)
This year, Studio 21 will stage an unusual experiment. It will move, unpack, catalogue, and perform readings from one private library; and make this library, without exception, the single resource for all the research and writing in the studio.
Studio 22: Meaningful work
Studio 22: Meaningful work explores the value of making and the idea of craft as meaningful work.