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Breathing: On Language, Capital, and Possibility

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Survey opens October 18th, 2021 and closes at 5:00 p.m. on October 21st

Breathing: On Language, Capital, and Possibility

Breathlessness is all around us. We are in a grip that is suffocating social respiration on every level imaginable. Franco “Bifo” Berardi in 'Breathing: Chaos and Poetry', asks, “How do we deal with the suffocation that abstraction has produced in the history of humankind? Is there a way out from the corpse of financial capitalism?” His answer is a call for poetical reactivation of the “erotic body of the general intellect” as the only pathway of liberation. The Breathing studio will test Berardi’s position as well as some of our own. It will concentrate on the instrumentality of disciplines of design: specifically, their capacities, limitations, techniques, and potential for speculation on important issues shaping the world and its people, issues that are often held outside disciplinary boundaries. Students will produce speculative work that orbits Berardi’s thesis and, in so doing, test our disciplines’ capacity to contribute to discourses on language, capital, and possibility. Students will engage sociopolitical agendas beyond our disciplines’ primary interest which, for some, is the training of future designers for the professional market. Encouragement of innovative research that is academically rigorous, and which yield imaginative and unconventional responses (not solutions) to complex social, geographic, political, cultural, and environmental concerns should be expected. While viewing the world through the lens of design, we seek to re-define the agency of our disciplines for the future by encouraging a full range of representational modalities, i.e., performance, installation, costume, sound, drawing, fieldwork, collage, portraiture, sculpture, poetry, etc. There will be 3-4 initial exercises followed by a major project. Students enrolled in this section can expect to achieve greater insight into the cultural agency of creative practices, and how designing a practice of the self is of equal urgency in the 21st Century as is engaging oneself in the practice of design.

Course Credit
  • 6
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
  • No Poverty
  • Zero Hunger
  • Good Health and Well-Being
  • Quality Education
  • Gender Equality
  • Clean Water and Sanitation
  • Affordable and Clean Energy
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • Reduced Inequalities
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Responsible Consumption and Production
  • Climate Action
  • Life Below Water
  • Life on Land
  • Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • Partnerships for the Goals
Will this course be cross-listed?


Days/times for the course

MWF 1:10 - 5:20 in person

Field trip locations

London, UK (spring break)

Field trip schedule


Suggested course fee

undetermined at this time

Course fee justification

field trip expenses

Teaching faculty name(s)

Mitchell Squire

All ISU Majors
  • Seniors and graduate students
Maximum enrollment