This section describes the pedagogy and logistics of the course, and describes the background of the instructor.
This subject engages a dialogue with architecture and urbanism from the perspective of the visual artist. Initially, a historical overview of artistic and urbanistic work and themes is undertaken, from early modernist practices to the most recent examples of contemporary production. Art making as an adjunct and assistant to the design process is challenged by both synthetic and critical models of production. Visual art practice is examined as a conceptual prologue to architectural and urbanistic thinking, as an integrated part of the design process, and as a critical epilogue.
This semester, the course was required of all first year architecture students at MIT, and was taught in conjunction with their studio, which also dealt with issues of urbanism, mapping, and territory. The field trips were held in conjunction with the studio, to emphasize similar topics of discussion. Lectures, in-class critiques, visiting artists, and the study of film and other works lead to the development of realized projects, coordinated with the architectural studio. The final project took advantage of this in-depth study to produce innovative and clever design proposals related to the soon to be open space of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, the space beneath the former elevated highway in Boston. The use of this space has been a subject of much debate, and this class proposes solutions for it that are thought-provoking.
In order to fully study the range of urban conditions, this class makes two field trips during the semester, to two urban locales that are very different in nature. The first trip is to New York City, to attend lectures given at Yale on Urbanism and to visit two modern art museums (in conjunction with the architecture studio). More importantly, the urban condition of New York City is studied, to serve as a counterpoint to the second and longer field trip, which is to Brasilia, the capital city of Brazil. Sketches, photographs, and film are taken in both cities, and the results are discussed in class as they relate to art and urbanism in general and the final project of the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
The other classes throughout the semester will serve as discussion of the general topics. Visiting artists will be invited, to discuss their work and art in general. Other visitors will discuss the history of Boston and the history of the Central Artery project, and the possibilities for the Greenway. The last few classes will serve as discussion and critique of the final projects, with an emphasis on developing them and their final production (media, display, and content). The last class will include all of the previous guests, invited back to critique the final projects.
Antonio Muntadas, born in Barcelona, Spain in 1942, has lived and worked in New York since 1971. His work addresses social, political and communications issues, the relationship between public and private space within social frameworks, and investigations of channels of information and the ways they may be used to censor central information or promulgate ideas. He works in different media such as photography, video, publications, internet and multi-media installations.
He studied at the Escuela Tecnica Superior de Ingenieros Industriales in Barcelona and the Pratt Graphic Center in New York. He has taught and directed seminars at the University of California in San Diego, the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Bordeaux and Grenoble, the CAVS at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the San Francisco Art Institute, the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts in Paris, the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, Cooper Union in New York and many other institutions.
He has created works commissioned by the Centre Nationale des Arts Plastiques in Paris, the Fonds d’Arts Publiques in Marseille, the Public Art Fund in New York, and he has been resident artist and consulting advisor in several research and education centers including the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, the Banff Center in Canada, Arteleku in San Sebastian, Spain and the University of Western Sydney in Australia.