This course explores the many ways in which artists and activists use art (performance, mural paintings, graffiti, writing, music) to make a social intervention in the Americas. We begin the course by examining several theories about art and activism (from Plato and Aristotle to Brecht, Boal, Buenaventura, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, and Foucault, among others) and then focus on issues of agency, space, event, and audience in relation to major political movements (revolution, dictatorship, democracy, globalization, and human rights) as seen in the work of major practitioners. Jesusa Rodriguez will lead an intensive one-week performance workshop as part of the course. Lorie Novak will discuss the use of the Internet as a site for activism, doumentation, and research, and will assist students in conceptualizing and realizing web-based projects. Performances, video screenings, guest lectures, and visits to FOMMA, Chiapas Media Project, a Zapatista community and other activist projects will provide an additional dimension to the questions raised by the theoretical readings and discussions. Students are encouraged to explore possibilities for practice-based research, develop their own sites of investigation, and share their work in a final presentation.
Students from all member institutions of the Hemispheric Institute are encouraged to apply. NYU students can take the course for 4 pts of graduate credit through the Department of Performance Studies, and students from other institutions can take the course for credit as independent study in their home universities. Students from non-member institutions will be considered for admission, though priority will be given to graduate students from member institutions.
Although bilinguality (English-Spanish) is a plus, it is not required. Students are encouraged to bring laptops and digital cameras to use for their projects.
A lab fee will apply to all—$1000 for students in the U.S. Canada, and Europe, and $250 for those in Latin America. While housing and travel costs are separate, the Hemispheric Institute is negotiating very reasonable costs for room and board. All local expenses (performances, lectures, travel to local sites, etc., will be covered by the lab fee).