The course explores the nature of seeing and expression through three lenses - identity, documentary, fantasy and desire. These lenses are intended to provide students with an invitation to explore modes of observation and expression, and the relation of expression to culture. Reading assignments occur weekly. Three papers are assigned throughout the term; the first of these must be revised one week after it is returned to the student with comment. Three visual sketches lead to the development of a final project. Proposals for the final project are required; final projects will be shown in the final exhibition. All written and visual work will be critiqued in class. Participation in critique sessions will be reflected in the final grading.
Some examples of student work are included on this page with permission of the authors.
Visual Self Portrait or Portrait
Posted Ses #1; Due Ses #6
Students create a portrait of themselves or another in the medium of their choice.
A Sense of Being There/Making a Sequence
Posted Ses #11; Due Ses #18
Create a sequence using video that conveys a sense of being there.
Cinematic Narrative Story Board
Posted Ses #16; Due Ses #23
Working in a team of 2, develop a visualization for one scene in your written treatment of a cinematic narrative (see below).
Report on Museum Visit
Due Ses #5
Write a 2 paragraph report on your museum visit; detail which works you will research further.
Personal Experience and the Visual Imagination
Posted Ses #4; Due Ses #10; Rewrite Ses #16
Recall a social ritual/event (with as much sensorial detail as possible) in which you have participated. Imagine how you might represent the event and make it shareable using visual representation. Now, frame and defend a hypothesis concerning the relationship visual experience/memory and narrative imagination. Use theoretical perspectives drawn from your reading assignments and class lectures to bolster your argument. The paper should reference at least 3 specific works that have been presented in lectures, are on view in the collection of the MFA or Isabella Stuart Gardiner Museum in Boston, or that are discussed in the readings. Grading will reflect both the expression of the hypothesis and the ability of the writer to invite the reader to sense (see, hear, touch, smell) both the ritual/event recalled and the selected artworks. This assignment will be revised and resubmitted after written comments and class discussion.
Samples:"Experience and Art." (PDF)
Cinematic Narrative Written Treatment
Posted Ses #16; Due Ses #23
Students work in groups of 2 to develop a story framework and treatment for a cinematic narrative. The narrative can be documentary or fiction based. Define the story nugget: situation including main character, goal, obstacle, action and outcome. Create 4-5 scenes that represent the character's journey. Describe each scene in terms of the visual detail: what do we see/know? Final written submission should include a high-level short summary and a 3-5 page treatment. The assignment is paired with the development of a story board for one scene.
Samples:Screenplay #1 (PDF)
Drawing on a remembered event/ritual (writing assignment 1) or the story treatment (writing assignment 2), develop a visual work. Frame the proposed work in a proposal for your final project. The proposal should include an introduction that situates the project relative to different forms and media; it should reference related work, and provide a clear narrative concerning the concept and implementation. The proposal should conclude with some observation about what you will learn from the project. The proposal will be pitched in Ses #29. Students can work in teams of 2 but should be clear about who wrote what parts of the proposal.
We have looked at seeing and expression from several perspectives this semester. In an effort to integrate some of the themes we have discussed, please select a "fine art" artifact from the past that resonates with your project. In class, you will briefly introduce the work and discuss how you can draw meaning from this work that relates to your current endeavor.
Individual consultation with instructor is encouraged prior to realizing the work.
Proposal due Ses #29; Related image due Ses #33; Project due Ses #37