Led by Mitchell Squire, Architecture 

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 and impact 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 credits:6
Meeting days and times:Monday / Wednesday / Friday, 1:10 p.m. – 5:20 p.m.
Variable course fee:N/A
Field trips:Los Angeles, CA; Joshua Tree, CA 
Maximum enrollment:12-16
Enrollment open to:All seniors and graduate students in all Iowa State University majors

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