This is a studio-based seminar that calls upon graduates from different disciplines to collaborate, conceive, make, and prepare a fully realized strategy for the appearance of studio projects in the world. Students are given a rigorous series of tasks designed to spur collaborative work. Examples include an assignment that challenges students to pursue failure, rather than resolution, in their work. Another asks students to exchange meaningful technical information then merge their ideas in a single "invention."
Several visits to New York City introduce students to practitioners collaborating as well as creating, distributing, and writing about work that falls between disciplines. Past visits included the design firms Pentagram and SMART, galleries White Columns and Monya Rowe, artists Lisa Yuskavage and Mathew Brannon, studio collectives Flux Factory and The Old American Can Factory and institutions such as The New York Times, the Whitney Museum, MoMA and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Substantial readings - ranging from the Frankfurt School to Geoff Dyer to Zygmunt Bauman - supplement the visits and provide focus for in-class discussions. Campus-wide studio trips and critiques from a diverse roster of visitors including Martha Schwendener, Michelle Kuo and Brian Sholis, among others, take place throughout the semester.
As at most art schools, Rhode Island School of Design?s individual departments, and particularly its art and design wings, traditionally are kept at arm?s length from each other. While the focus on a single discipline is highly effective at creating specialists within each field, the complexities of contemporary cultural practice ? people working in fluid groups, jumping from one field to another, dealing with projects that involve multiple disciplines - creates a great demand for cross-disciplinary training. This is particularly true among graduate students, many of who are returning to school from working precisely in these kinds of complex situations. Working across fields allows students not only to work across skill-sets, but also to become accustom to the different ways of thinking that accompany different disciplines. For designers, the possibility of looking for questions - so typical of art practice, opens up new territory for exploration, while for artists, the challenge of working towards specific problems is often surprisingly fruitful.
Course website link: http://departments.risd.edu/adcolab/