This class explores the intimate relationship between the practice of drawing and technological media. The intimate relationship? Yes. Without drawing we would not have writing. Without drawing we might not even have the modern world. These outrageous statements are not my own words, we’ll read a fascinatingly dense text about writing as drawing, and another about the influence of drawing on engineering later in the semester.
First off, it is not important that you have any experience drawing. In fact it is perhaps better that you do not. We will examine drawing from as fundamental view as we can discover.
This class does not focus on the specifics of any particular technology- as far as programming goes, we’ll discuss at a fairly high level how vector graphics libraries work, as far as physical computing goes, we’ll take a look at things like the now obsolete pen plotter. The point is, if you’re looking to hone your programming chops, that’s fine by me, if you’re not, that’s fine by me as well. In the past some students have developed intricate projects with OpenFrameworks, others have built projects that don’t involve electricity in the slightest.
So while the glow and hum of technology is certainly alluring and seductive, in this class we’ll mostly be examining again and again the fairly low-tech act of drawing. Why this stubbornness of focus? Because drawing (I believe) is the most fundamental merging of intuition and intellect, of chance and will, of gesture and structure, of duration and an instant, and most importantly of the World and the Self. Merging? Perhaps I mean the most fundamental feedback loop.
Feedback loop. Many children give up drawing at a young age because they are unwilling to face their own sense of inadequacy. Of course this inadequacy is not real, it is an assessment built on false ground – “that doesn’t look right.” Yet as we get older- we still appreciate the childish doodle. Yet how many can appreciate a painting? What is so magical about drawing? There are many interpretations, many possible answers, the point is can we bring some of this great magic into the cold, logical world of computer vision, audio synthesis, mobile applications, embedded technology and programming languages? Perhaps not. Perhaps so.
In the beginning of the semester you will make some drawings. We will share all of these with the class. You will also be assigned three readings a week. I suggest you do not wait to read them. I suggest you read them more than once. I suggest you put all your assumptions aside and you perhaps even read a particular text a third time. Every week one of you will lead a discussion. Each week there will be a straightforward text, a difficult text, and something inbetween.
You do not need laptops in this class. If you do, I’ll let you know and you can take them out. Keep your cellphones turned off.
Do your readings and do your assignments. Be prepared to really lead the discussion. If you don’t prepare for that, you can guess that I will be unhappy. And what the hell was the point of taking this class? If this class seems like a lot of work, take something else. If for some reason you cannot fufill your part of the bargain please let me know well in advance.
Whether you pass or fail is a function of your participation. This is a graduate level course so really this should be well understood.
Finally, while I am the instructor, I am here to learn as well. I have my opinions, my insights and my perspective, but personally I see no point in teaching if I am merely hold onto them. I look forward to lively discussion, disagreements, and new insights to this vast topic.
Week 1: Introductions
- Make 3 drawings that explore line & contour according the instructions given in the Nicolaides reading.
- Photograph an image that explores line & contour.
- Describe an abstract process that explores line & contour.
- Paul Klee, Section 1 – Pedagogical Sketchbook
- Nicolaides, The Natural Way To Draw – Exercise 1
- Walter Benjamin, Paintings or Signs and Marks
Week 2: Line
- Make 5 quick studies that explore gesture
- Create a digital piece that explores gesture
- Describe an abstract process that explores gesture
- Nicolaides, The Natural Way to Draw – Exercise 2
- Avis Newman/Catherine de Zegher, The Stage of Drawing: Gesture and Act pp 75-82
- Mick Barr, Drawing Densities for Guitar
- Michael Newman, Theater of Gesture
Week 3: Gesture
- Take a photograph of a form you like
- Make a drawing of a form you like
- Make a digital peice about form
- Write a hand written paragraph describing an imaginary form
- Nicolaides, Weight And The Modeled Drawing
- G. Spencer Brown, The Laws of Form – The Form, Forms Taken Out of the Form
- Roger Callois, Mimicry and Legendary Psychasthenia
- Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (read only Memories of Theologian and page 293 at the paragraph break to the paragraph break on page 294)
Week 4: Form
- Make a hour long extended drawing. Take a photo at 10 minutes intervals. You may use something from life.
- Draw for hour. You may not use something from life.
- Write two paragraphs. One describing the sensations/thoughts experienced in 1. The second description the sensations/thoughts experienced in 2.
- Nicolaides, The Natural Way To Draw – Extended Study
- Bersgon, Time and Free Will – Chapter 2
- Tony Conrad, Duration
Week 5: The Extended Study
- Make a colored drawing.
- Create a simple physical drawing machine. You can combine this one with #1 if you wish. Make some drawings with your machine.
- Henri Michaux, Miserable Miracle – Introduction & Chapter 1
- Walter Benjamin, A Child’s View of Color, Notes for a study of the beauty of colored illustrations in children’s books
- Joost Rekveld, The Transformations of Colour, http://www.lumen.nu/rekveld/wp/?p=60
Week 6: Color
- Find a drawing that you like by an artist. It’s preferable if it’s not something you found online. Add it to the Flickr group.
- Include a short description of why you chose the drawing.
- Midterm – Outline a final project or a personal course of study for remainder of the semester. Be prepared to give 5-8 minutes presentation explaining the what and why.
- Paul Klee, reread the first reading
- Joseph Beuys, Artists Talk – Joseph Beuys
Week 7: Humans Drawing
Week 8: Machines Drawing
- Work on your project and give a brief status presentation.
Week 9: Guest
- Agnes Martin, On the Perfection Underlying Life
- Sol Lewitt, Sentences on Conceptual Art
- Geroges Perece, Excerpt from Life: A User’s Manual
Week 10: Praxis
- Make a drawing.
- Sol Lewitt, Sentences on Conceptual Art
Week 11: Poesis
Week 12: Workshop
Week 13: Final Presentations
Week 14: Final Presentations