MATTERS: Connecting Arts + Design to Materials, and Materials to Labor + Land


Kaitlin Pomerantz

Tuesday, 1:45PM-4:45PM

How does matter transform into material, and back again? What hidden labor, sites, social and ecological costs and processes go into the production of a “blank” canvas and other “raw” materials? And why-- for artists, designers, architects, preservationists, creative educators, builders, and anyone working with materials-- do these realities matter? This course connects arts and design learners to considerations, sites, and cycles around production and disposal of the defining materials of their creative fields (ex. paper, wood, glass, pigment, "the internet"), laying groundwork for creative practice rooted in social and ecological awareness, repair and care. A hybrid research seminar, field exploration, and studio investigation, the structure of this course alternates between reading/response/research, field trips and guest visitors (including a partnership affiliation with RAIR Philly), and time for responsive “making” and material experimentation/synthesis. In this course, students will collaboratively define key terms and concerns around material sustainability, discard studies, land and labor relations vis-a-vis creative work. Students will experience local sites of material extraction, production and disposal (through approx 5 field trips taking place during class time). Students will formulate individual or group questions around a specific material, leading to a final independent project, and class exhibition. This course will engage students in forming a material ethics to guide future creative work.

Spring 2024