About Visual Culture

Course Description

How many ways are there to explore an idea? In Integrative Studio 2, students fact-find individually and in groups to explore all types of discovery and documentation. Research often requires moving out into the world through field work, experimentation, failure, and creative problem solving. Over fifteen weeks, you will engage with a wide variety of studio-based research methods – both digital and analog – through pursuing one overarching research question / problem through a project that you are also pursuing in the Integrative Seminar 2 through seminar-based research methods. Idea research and development is presented through the lens of one of four themes that align with the different schools at Parsons: Systems and Strategies, Constructed Environments, Fashion, and Visual Culture. The course emphasizes beginning to think about and do research through, for, and of design and art. Working in studio, students will use digital tools, online platforms, studio-based research (such as materials investigations, prototype testing, peer critique, etc.), and fieldwork to create a research question, investigate it through multiple means, and make a project that addresses your findings over the course of the semester.The studio integrates learning from other first year courses, especially in thematic links to Integrative Seminar 2. At various times in the semester, the two classes share concepts and assignments, bringing together reading, writing and making in a manner that is essential to the creative research of professional artists and designers. This section’s inflection is:


Class Description: Visual Culture

How is meaning embedded in (deeply set within/ surrounded by and part of) the images, spaces, and artifacts (interesting (old) objects) that make up visual culture? How, in turn, are photographs, videos, illustrations, performances, graphic novels, sculptures, technological innovations (new inventions) – and more – used to communicate an idea or position? And what might it mean to make something that doesn’t fit into any one category as we know it? Students will explore interdisciplinarity, collaborative (group/ working well together) making, the productivity (working well and getting a lot done) of creative failures, and more.

To address (face/deal) [with] those questions, we must first determine (figure out) what we mean by the term “visual culture.” In understanding what visual culture signifies (shows/indicates), we must also investigate (ask questions) the implications (effectes/results/suggestions) of a focus on vision – what some have called “the primacy (extremem importance) of sight” – and the assumptions (ideas (you think are true)) and biases such a focus may presuppose (believe (beforehand)), and sometimes obscure (unknown).

In studio, we will use written and constructive projects to thoroughly (completely) analyze (carefully study) and explore – through inquiry (question (or investigation)), excavation (digging) and investigation (asking questions) – the process of seeing and participating creatively (through thinking and making) in Visual Culture. We will explore how meaning and context (larger picture) can change through varying (different) types of materiality. The semester culminates (ends) in individual final projects shown in an open studio gallery setting.

This studio class is designed to activate self-motivated (driven to do things without needing pressure from others) and self-guided inquiry (question (or investigation). Your grade reflecting the risks you take and the change demonstrated (shown/proved) throughout the semester.


Learning Outcomes

By the successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate continued development of outcomes from Integrative Studio and Seminar 1, including a capacity to bring writing and making together through critical thought, and work iteratively. (Studio and Seminar)
  2. At an introductory level, explore visual representations of abstract ideas (using 2-D, 3-D and/or 4-D media). Employ visual and perceptual thinking as a problem-solving tool across multiple art and design applications. (Studio)
  3. Demonstrate an ability to utilize online tools individually and collaboratively in order to collect, organize and communicate research. (Studio and Seminar)
  4. Demonstrate an introductory capacity to collect, analyze, interpret and synthesize information through multiple research methods; discussion, writing, and making processes; and in studio and seminar outcomes. (Studio and Seminar)
  5. Demonstrate reflection on creative skills learned, choices made, and connections fostered, through the ongoing documentation and archiving of assignments in the learning portfolio. Students will use the portfolio to demonstrate an engagement with the idea of making as a form of thinking.(Studio and Seminar)
  6. Engage with art and design as a generator, embodiment and transmitter of cultural ideas. Demonstrate an understanding of value systems as social constructs.(Studio and Seminar)
  7. Demonstrate an ability to integrate concepts, material skills and techniques from other courses and experiences into project work.(Studio)
  8. Demonstrate an introductory ability to develop a research question or problem from a hunch or interest through contextual research and iterative research process. (Studio)
  9. Demonstrate an introductory capacity to use studio-based making and interactions to investigate, test, and hone a research question / problem using a range of methods. (Studio)




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