Land Arts of the American West is a field program investigating the intersection of geomorphology and human construction. Land art or earthworks begin with the land and extend through the complex social and ecological processes that create landscape. Including everything from petroglyphs to roads, dwellings, monuments and traces of those actions, earthworks show us who we are. Examining gestures small and grand, Land Arts of the American West directs our attention from potsherd, cigarette butt, and track in the sand, to human settlements, monumental artworks, and military-industrial installations. The program creates opportunities to develop work in direct relation to the complex of forces that define the American West.
LAND~SCAPE: operating at the intersection of geomorphology and human construction
This course will investigate our relation to the landscape of the American West through the creation of situated works. Particular attention should be paid to the examination of material and conceptual edges, limits, and thresholds. The specific nature and scope of the works produced will be determined by each student’s research trajectory and be evaluated in context with the transdisciplinary range of our journey and dialog.
A.2 Design Thinking Skills: Ability to raise clear and precise questions, use abstract ideas to interpret information, consider diverse points of view, reach well-reasoned conclusions, and test alternative outcomes against relevant criteria and standards.
A.3 Investigative Skills: Ability to gather, assess, record, and comparatively evaluate relevant information and performance in order to support conclusions related to a specific project or assignment.
C.1 Research: Understanding of the theoretical and applied research methodologies and practices used during the design process.
The course will provide time for students to develop and realize works in the field. Progress will be discussed during seminar sessions and individual meetings with the instructor. Students must define their own research trajectory.
Materials required for this course may be collected on site or introduced as required. No record or trace of the work will be left on site.
The scope and quantity of assignments will be determined in consultation with the instructor. An iterative process of making will be supported and approximately six finished works must be completed for final submission and consideration for the end of term exhibition. All field works must be documented, disassembled, and the site remediated to its original condition. Care must be taken in the production and scheduling of works to insure the completion of this process.
PLACE-LESS~PLACE: mining the shift from unknown to acculturated space
This course explores the process of making space into place through an examination of occupation and intervention with the land. We will develop multivalent definitions of place that span continuums of time and culture to find potential in questions located between disciplines and definitions, between land, art, architecture, infrastructure, industry, and use. We will investigate, analytically and generatively, the presence of habitation and questions of place that extend beyond programmatic performance and shelter from the elements to engage the multivalence of our existence in the particular landscape of the “New West.”
The specific nature of how the American West has been mapped, marked, and divided will serve as an introduction and a point of departure for the creation of a set of documents that will test our methods of seeing, measuring and recording. Particular attention will be paid to operations at different scales. The primary objective for this set of documents will be to record conditions of visited and constructed site-based works, our experience of travel, and human occupation within landscapes. The documents will take whatever forms necessary and should include (at a minimum) photographic imagery, drawing, and written texts.
A1. Professional Communication Skills: Ability to write and speak effectively and use representational media appropriate for both within the profession and with the general public.
The course is structured as a seminar with physical documentation seeking to value the integrity of our thoughts and dialog parallel to our actions and constructions. There are three primary components:
The program reader will be provided and additional outside research is recommended (see Land Arts Bibliography as well as supplemental readings available in the mobile lab). The primary research of our field experience will anchor this course; in addition traditional ‘library’ research completed on campus will also prove helpful.
A journal, sketchbook and field notebook are required. While the journal and sketchbook can be conjoined it is important that clear distinctions be exist between the acts of chronicling documentation and process in the journal and sketchbook and the generative resource of the field notebook.
Readings and seminar contributions, daily journal writing, sketchbook entries, daily field notebook entries, documentation of your work in the field and work created by others, and contribution to the program archive. Submission of work for inclusion in the Land Arts exhibition is also required. All photographic images from the field and of finished works, and scanned PDF copies of journal, sketchbook and field notebook must be submitted at the end of the term for inclusion in the archive of Land Arts of the American West.
PROGRAM READER & BIBLIOGRAPHY