Performance and Performance Studies MFA Elective Courses – Spring 2022

PPS-660S:  Deep Listening 

02—Julia Steinmetz; HYBRID / Tuesdays (9:30 AM - 12:20 PM)

3 credits

Originally developed by composer Pauline Oliveros, Deep Listening is a practice of “listening in every possible way to everything possible to hear no matter what one is doing.” This practice leads to an extended consideration of the involuntary process of hearing contrasted with the voluntary, selective act of listening. How do we perform listening? What is the performativity of the act of listening? This course will engage practices of sonic meditation, interactive performance, listening to the sounds of daily life (nature, one’s own thoughts, dreams) and listening to listening itself. In parallel, we will explore theories of listening emerging from music, psychoanalysis, and sound studies and apply Deep Listening as a Performance Studies methodology. 

PPS-661S:  Dance Improvisation

01—Jennifer Miller; HYBRID / Fridays (9:30 AM - 12:20 PM)

3 credits

In this class we will develop skills and approaches used in improvising movement both for research and performance.  We will work to expand movement vocabulary, interrogate impulse,  develop sensory awareness, and build collaborative skill.  We play with how we engage space, time, weight, and energy in making movement and movement choices. We will explore how performance scores serve us in making real time performances, and we will work to build an environment that brings out the unique dancer in each of us.  

HMS-531S:  Magic, Art, Religion & Science

02—Ira Livingston; IN PERSON / Mondays (9:00 AM - 11:50 AM)

3 credits

In this course, we will explore how magic, religion, science and art differ as practices and as belief systems, how they interact with each other-- and most importantly, the resonances, intersections, points of contact and hybrid formations that are possible among them.  The course will involve readings in all these areas, some short writings, and a final project in which students will be invited to invent their own religions.

HMS-540F:  Women in International Cinema

01—Amy Guggenheim; HYBRID / Tuesdays (9:30 AM - 12:20 PM)
02—Amy Guggenheim; HYBRID / Tuesdays (2:00 PM – 4:50 PM)

3 credits

This course considers the vision of prominent and pioneering films, with particular attention to the gaze, subjectivity, ambivalence, multiplicity of perspective, identification and disruption, as cinematic vocabulary and subject. We will look at films-- in the works of artists such as Agnes Varda, Lois Weber, Claire Denis, Marguerite Duras and Alain Renais, Julie Taymor, Susanna Bier, Rainer Fassbinder, Wong Kar Wai, Ang Lee and Todd Haynes-- with an emphasis on identity, sexuality and gender.

HMS-541A:  Global Cinema

02—Amy Guggenheim; HYBRID / Tuesdays (5:00 PM - 7:50 PM)

3 credits

In this course, we will explore visions of iconic contemporary filmmakers from global cinema notable for their innovative cinematic representation of modern life. Through their works, selected for their capability to go beyond national and cultural boundaries, we will examine how the invention of new cinematic language is used evoke poignant insight into human experience, and potentially bear influence on our perceptions of reality. In modules organized by genres, we will develop methods of analysis through in-depth formal and thematic study of several films, extend our investigation in small research projects by students, and based on these studies and integrate theory with practice in applied creative workshops. A guest filmmaker may be invited to hold a post-screening master class with students. Advance viewing of films is expected. Requirements include a midterm essay project and a final creative or theoretical project based on the films from the course.

HMS-590S: Sound Across the Arts

01—Mendi Obadike; ONLINE / Tuesdays (9:30 AM - 12:20 PM)

3 credits

This course is an introduction to sound across the arts. Students will encounter works created in the fields of experimental music, sound art, sound installation, film sound, and audio literature. We will discuss the project, techniques, theories, and other intersections between and among the creative contexts for artists working in the medium of sound.

HMS 592A – Animation Narrative

01—Ellery Washington; ONLINE / Tuesdays (2:00 PM - 4:50 PM)
02—Ellery Washington; ONLINE / Thursdays (2:00 PM – 4:50 PM)

3 credits

With an eye towards short animation, Animating Narrative focuses on the fundamentals of storytelling and how to employ strong narrative elements in visual work. While analyzing and deconstructing archetypal narrative forms, from classical mythologies to modern stories and post-modern hyperrealist tendencies, students will write and workshop their own stories, emphasizing how these stories might translate to a concise visual format.

HMS-630S:  Psychoanalysis and Art

01—Julia Steinmetz; HYBRID / Thursdays (9:30 AM- 12:20 PM)

3 credits

This course examines the relationship between psychoanalysis and art from different perspectives, including the centrality of art and language to the development of psychoanalytic theory and the integration of psychoanalytic theory into the cultural critique of art, literature, and cinema. The course will provide an introduction not only to major psychoanalytic theories, including those of Freud, Jung, and Lacan, but will demonstrate the myriad and complex ways psychoanalysis has become inextricable from contemporary art criticism and theory.

HMS-631S: Staging, Space & the City

01—Christoph Kumpusch; HYBRID / Tuesdays (5:00 PM - 7:50 PM)

3 credits

This course is an experimental and research oriented study of space and performance space. The goal of the course is to explore new aspects of architectural thought and practice as it relates to performing and performance architecture.  We will study basic techniques of performance and architecture and will invent new ones.  We will remove conventional limits, understanding reality and projecting fantasy. We will not only design performing elements, but explore the design of systems, provocative visions of possible realities

HMS-631S: Queer Sensorium

02—Jayna Brown; IN PERSON / Thursdays (9:30 AM - 12:20 PM)

3 credits

Through speculative fiction, queer ecologies, new materialism, performance art and queer of color critique, this course refuses the dominant binaries we live under in our heteronormative world:  thinking/feeling, man/woman, reason/emotion, human/animal, human/nature, work/pleasure.  As well as melting the boundaries between these, this class focuses on destabilizing the hierarchy of the senses, which situates thinking above feeling and vision as the foremost sense.  Instead, we focus on the sense of touch, sound, smell and other perceptions, as well as on the full range of the senses felt together.  Such embodied knowledge allows for alternative ontologies to arise, and different ways of feeling ourselves and others, enmeshed in wider ecologies.

HMS-640S:  Who Owns Prehistory?

02—Cecilia Dougherty; HYBRID / Thursdays (9:30 AM – 12:20 PM)

3 credits

A cross-disciplinary course that studies ways we have tried to understand who we are as a species by considering who we might have been in the distant past. Our investigation begins with a discussion of Paleolithic art as evidence of artistic sophistication and complexity of thought, mark-making, and ritual practice in the old stone age. Theories of human migration, concepts of race and the meaning of what is an ‘anatomically modern human’ are integral to this investigation. We are not studying this era as scientists, but rather are examining critiques of how knowledge is acquired and how perspectives brought through scientific communities come to us already embedded in assumptions and practices that represent social and political perspectives and discourses of power. We would like to find ways to address the aspect of non-scientists being shut out of the discourse of ancient times, which those who research the past from our perspectives as artists, writers and philosophers rather than as scientists experience as our default position. This course critiques past and current trends in the study of the distant past on the American continents as well, with a focus on the field of Indigenous methodologies of decolonizing ancient times. And finally, we’ll look at configurations of the Paleolithic in the popular imagination, covering a range of sources that includes cartoons and animation, fan art and speculative fiction, pop-science documentaries, museum dioramas, and representations of prehistory in the narratives of fictional films and literature. Coursework includes two collaborative presentations and one final presentation/project.

HMS-653P: Gender, Media, Racial Capitalism

01—Jonathan Beller; HYBRID / Thursdays (2:00 PM - 4:50 PM)

3 credits

This interdisciplinary media theory course explores the co-articulation of media platforms, gender and gender theory, race and critical race theory, and film and media theory, and their situatedness in global capitalism, or what this course will conceive of as racial capitalism. Students will come to terms with the theoretical frameworks for colonialism, imperialism, globalization, and financialization, while also exploring modes of domination and oppression along social differentiations including gender, nation, race, and class. 

HMS-654P  Creative Practices in Afrosurrealism

01—Jeffrey Hogrefe; HYBRID / Tuesdays (2:00 PM - 4:50 PM)

3 credits

This course focuses on afrosurrealism as a creative practice that repositions Blackness as central to surrealism, a movement that aims to usher in a new world connected organically to this one. The course weaves together the critical works of the Caribbean nationals who found liberation from European colonialism in surrealism in the middle of the twentieth century and the late twentieth century work of creative practitioners such as Amiri Baraka and Kara Walker. As an introduction to aesthetics and poetics in the African diaspora, the class operates as a community that gathers collective and individual impressions in the landscape and language for shared and individual projects. 

HMS-655P:  Serious Games

01—Ethan Spigland; HYBRID / Tuesdays (5:30 PM - 8:20 PM)

3 credits

This is a production class in screenwriting and film. The emphasis is on game-playing and experimental approaches to storytelling. In his seminal work, Homo Ludens, the Dutch historian Johan Huizinga explored the profound affinity between art and games. In this course, games and experiments will be employed to spark students' creativity and develop strategies for generating narratives in various media.

HMS-656P:  Situationists

01—Ethan Spigland; ONLINE / Wednesdays (2:00 PM - 4:50 PM)

3 credits

A revolutionary, theoretical, political, aesthetic, social movement that originated in Europe in the late 1950s, the Situationists International (SI) was concerned with conducting a penetrating critique of post-war capitalist consumerism and its effects on everyday life. This course will seek to critically address and re-frame the relevance of the SI within the context of contemporary debates surrounding aesthetics, digital capitalism, social media and the transformation of urban space.