CAH 6332. The Creative Space: Viewing & Reading. 3 Credits.
The emergence of Netscape and the Internet in the 1990s ushered in an important shift in our cultural sensibility surrounding the aesthetic apprehension of words and images. Instead of the meditative, contemplative approach cultivated by the Fine Arts and Literature, we were now asked to "browse" and adopt a more casual, less totalizing approach to our apprehension of mixed verbal and pictorial messages.This course presumes that the emergence and importance of "browsing" today is much more than a technological development limited to digital culture. Instead, it is a symptom of a larger shift in attitudes affecting aesthetic categories generally, part of the construction of a new cultural space "between viewing and reading," a space with its own attitudes and norms.To explore this potential space, and the attitudes and competencies associated with it, we will examine examples from artists' books, painting, sculpture, film, video and digital environments that mix words and images, and in doing so contest the dominant paradigms of viewing and reading and suggest an intermediary position or "betweenness". The course will begin with a theoretical overview of the problems facing works that combine words and images and suggest betweenness, problems of classification, value and meaning. After establishing a theoretical position, we will move through a series of readings and examples week by week that will allow us to cultivate a critical vocabulary. Graded assignments in this class will address both production and reception. Students will be required to produce two works that address the potential middle ground between viewing and reading and the phenomenon of browsing. Two papers analyzing a work or works that address the concepts of the class will also be required.