York University ñ Faculty of Fine Arts

FACS 1900C 6.0

Arts and Ideas

F/W 2003-2004


I will make every effort to follow the syllabus as outlined, but reserve the right to make scheduling changes when further discussion of a given topic is required or to take advantage of unforeseen events and opportunities.
Web resources may be added throughout the term to reflect studentsí interests.




Week 1    September 12

A constellation of ideas: From Gesamtkunstwerk to the digital era
Disciplinarity, interdisciplinarity and why are we all here?
View: Art21: Consumption: http://www.pbs.org/art21/series/seasonone/consumption.html
(you can check out clips online)

To do this week:  - fill out an index card with your name, contact information, your picture and thoughts about ëarts and ideasí ñPLAY. Have fun. Fill the entire card. Bring it next week.
- set up computer access and establish personal e-mail account at York.
- purchase books and course reader for FACS 1900 Section C
- review course outline, schedule, class projects, and methods of approach outlined in the first class meeting. Begin to think about the first assignment.  Check the lecture schedule for special events at the galleries that you may wish to attend. 
- check out the class webpage


Community event


17 September,
7 pm

International Lecture Series: Liam Gillick


One of the 2002 finalists for the prestigious Turner Prize, British  artist Liam Gillick traverses the fields of architecture, design and  information systems to create spaces designed for discussion, delay,  neotiation and conciliation. He will discuss his diverse range of work  and writing.


Studio Theatre, 235 Queens Quay West.

Free to members. Non-members $15. Call (416) 973-4000 to reserve.

(note: attendance not required as part of this course)

Performing interdisciplinarity: ideas, methods, examples


Week 2    September 19

Michael Huxley and Noel Witts ìIntroductionî Twentieth-Century Performance: The Case for a new approach (Performance Reader)
Laurie Anderson The Speed of Change (Performance Reader)  
Antonin Artaud Theatre and Cruelty (Performance Reader)


lecture notes available on webct

Last date to enrol in Fall Term and Fall/Winter Session courses without permission of the course instructor.

Event of possible interest

Saturday 20 September,
2 pm

Artist's Talk: Jo“o Penalva


Portuguese-born, London-based artist Jo“o Penalva will introduce his work and discuss his narratives of translation, memory and imaginative misinterpretation.

The Power Plant.  Free with admission.

Week 3    September  26

Robert Wilson: Interview

Additional information on Robert Wilsonand his partnership with Philip Glass here


lecture notes available on webct

Week 4    October 3rd

Richard Foreman: How To Write a Play (in which I am really telling myself how, but if you are the right one I am telling you how, too) (Performance Reader)

More on Richard Foreman here:



Merce  Cunningham: You Have to Love Dancing To Stick To It (Performance Reader)
"There's no thinking involved in my choreography...I don't work through images or ideas --I work through the body...If the dancer dances -- which is not the same as having theories about dancing or wishing to dance or trying to dance everything is there. When I dance, it means: this is what I am doing"
Merce Cunnigham
more about merce cunningham here:

Community event


Wednesday 8 October, 7 pm

Power Plant

The Talking Creature


A participatory event examining the art of conversing with strangers in public, The Talking Creature explores this anxious dynamic with the conviction that unfettered and fearless conversation between strangers is fundamental to freedom. Presented by the theatre group Mammalian Diving Reflex.


Week 5    October 10th

Ken Hollings The Solar Myth Approach: Sun Ra, Stockhausen, P-Funk, Hawkwind: the live space ritualî (Undercurrents) 

View: Last angel on History

lecture notes available here

Community event of interest

The Power Plant.  Free.

Wednesday 15 October, 6:30 pm

Curator's Tour: Philip Monk


Philip Monk, director of the Art gallery of York University and curator of Liam Gillick and Jo“o Penalva provides his expert perspective in a tour of these complex and evocative exhibitions.



Week 6    October 17th


"Acceleration is the one constant in our experience of modernity. . . . Speed is not so much a product of our culture as our culture is a product of speed,"

Whitechapel Art Gallery and the Photographers' Gallery catalogue for the ëSpeedí show

F T Marinetti: The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism (Performance reader) -- you can also access it online -- see lecture outline below for url
Roselee Goldberg: Performance Art from Futurism to the Present (Performance Reader)
 Destroy All Music: The Futurists' Art of Noises by Mark Sinker (Undercurrents)


more information about the futurists here:


Last date to enrol in Fall/Winter Session courses with permission of the course instructor.


lecture outline available here

Community event of interest

The Power Plant.  free with admission.

19 October,
2 pm

p.o.v.: Kerri Sakamoto on Jo“o Penalva


Author of The Electrical Field and the newly published One Hundred Million Hearts, Kerri Sakamoto will give a point of view talk on the themes of cross-cultural translation, unreliable narrators and poetic memory in the work of Jo“o Penalva.



Tuesday October 21, noon

Works by John Cage, performed by the University of Toronto Percussion Ensemble,

Robin Engelman, Director.

Power Plant


22 October,
6 pm

The Church of Craft

With groups active in New York, Los Angeles, Stockholm and Montreal, The Church of Craft is a non-denominational community built on creation and skill-sharing. They aim to create an environment where any and all acts of making have value to our humanness.  This evening, participants and passers-by will contribute individual elements to a collective creation.

Week 7    October 24th

Dada and Surrealism
Hans Richter: How Did Dada Begin? (Performance  Reader)
Bill T. Jones: A Conversation  (Performance Reader)


lecture outline here.

Notes on modernism/postmodernism (a very useful chart developed by Kathy Walker)


Community Event

Power Plant
Wednesday 29 October, 6 pm


The Media Collective
A think (and do)-tank for people who want to promote social justice through creativity, The Media Collective holds monthly social gatherings to plot, imagine, and develop projects as well as share ideas and resources.  Possible topics for discussion include: street art, guerilla theater, video activism, culture jamming, indie-media, free schooling, and alternative economies.

Week 8    October 31

Form and Function: The Bauhaus experiment in Weimar Germany.
îexploration and discussion of the function of design in the forms of and used in our everyday habitat. designs for easy, efficient, maintenance-free, mechanized living emerge.î J. Gillespie

Whatever Happened
to Total Design?
by Mark Wigley


Walter Gropius, "The Theory and Organization of The Bauhaus" (unfortunately this article is no longer available online. Please read the above article instead)



Oskar Schlemmer: Man and Art Figure


Field assignment due at the beginning of your tutorial session.
No late assignments can be accepted

lecture outline


Community Event

The Rivoli, 334 Queen St. W.  Free.

Tuesday 4 November, 8 pm


The Power Plant's riveting prime time rumble at the Rivoli, Hubbub! is a variety show of creative people discussing new ideas and work bursting forth from the box of contemporary visual art.  Presented in conjunction with the citywide soundtracks exhibition and Rodney Graham's Power Plant installation, this evening will focus on obsession, expression and transcendence in pop music.  Music and video share the stage.


Week 9    November 7

CAGE and Black Mountain College

John Cage: Four Statements on the Dance

Christoph Cox ìThe Jerrybuilt Future: The Sonic Arts Union, ONCE Group and MEV's live electronicsî (Undercurrents)

"Black Mountain College was as many places as there were people who were there. Unrestrained by conventional structures and rigid guidelines, it changed year by year, reflecting the dreams, the ambitions, the personalities and the abilities of those who comprised the community. That is not to say that it could not become "set in its ways," committed to its own ideologies, resistant to new ideas. The founders knew they were not creating a utopia, and personality and ideological conflicts often culminated in schisms. Still, in its essence,the college remained throughout its history, a unique experiment in American education with an uncommon vitality and responsiveness."

from: http://www.blackmountaincollege.org/

associated artists:

John Cage
Merce Cunningham
Albert Einstein
Buckminster Fuller
Robert Rauschenberg


Community event:




Jackman Hall, AGO, free admission, call 416-968-film for information

Re-play Programs at 5 locations


Presented in conjunction with Cinematheque Ontario


Wednesday November 12, 6:30

Location: Jackman Hall, AGO

The Independents ñ Programme 3

Michael Snow New York Eye and Ear Control ,

Kelly Egan, Breath and Bodies of Knowledge ,

Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof, Her Carnal Longings ,

Stan Brakhage, Passage through: A Ritual


The programme presents five inspired examples of sound/image relationships in film. Michael Snow's classic New York Eye And Ear Control "contains illusions of distance, degrees, divisions of antipathies, polarities, likenesses, complements, desires" (Snow) and a soundtrack by a group of jazz musicians selected by Snow. Toronto filmmaker Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof's Her Carnal Longings is a visual meditation on human flesh and the medium of film itself. Kelly Egan's aesthetic makes use of collage on the surface of the strip of celluloid. With Breath she layers flowers on the image area and words from haiku poems directly onto the optical track. Bodies Of Knowledge bears a loose metrical form; its textured sepia-toned imagery of nudes is accompanied by percussive sound created by the collage of names placed directly onto the optical soundtrack area. The programme concludes with the glorious Passage Through: A Ritual , a rare example of a sound film by Stan Brakhage. The film is set to Philip Corner's "Through the Mysterious Barricade, Lumen 1 (after F. Couperin)" which, in turn, was inspired by Brakhage's The Riddle Of Lumen .


Week 10  November 14

The 1950s ñ Warhol and the Beats
Peter Wollin ìNotes from the Underground: Andy Warholî (kit)
View: Age of Anxiety

lecture outline here

Week 11  November 21

Happenings ñ early 60s

Guest artist: Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof

Allan Kaprow: Assemblages, Environments and Happenings (Performance Reader)
Higgins, Dock. ìFluxus and Intermediaî in Art Action 1958-1998

Nouvelles edition polaires nepe; Montreal (kit)

Week 12  November 28 ñ last class of the term


Collaborative group project  due (first group)ñ the day will be set aside for you to display and share your work.  Please be available for the entire class time.

Photo gallery now online!

Last day of undergraduate classes is December 2nd.

The midterm exam will be scheduled during the formal examination period December 4-19th. The exact  date, time and location TBA.


Week 13   January 9th



View: Art 21 Place


"America is a country made of places," writes Thelma Golden in her essay for the Art:21 Companion Book. "Not just the places marked by road signs and maps, but also the less tangible but no less meaningful places forged in the crucible of memory, longing and desire. 'America' is the strange, beautiful mosaic of these places, reflecting the roots of its citizens, their origins as well as their wanderings." This episode of Art:21 explores these roots through the work of six artists. Shot on location in New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, San Juan, and Bilbao, Spain.





no reading

Week 14   January 16

Automation and automata

ìYet at the same time --human-computer interaction would profoundly affect aesthetics, leading artists to embrace collaborative and interactive modes of experience. Not just interdisciplinary art works, but collaborations between artists, philosophers, scientistsÖ.î

Peter Wollin  ìModern Times: Cinema/Americanism/The Robotî In P. Wollin  Raiding the icebox London.NY: Verso, 1993 (kit)

Stellarc ìInterviewî (Performance Reader)

David Toop ìHumans, Are They Really Necessary?: Sound art, automata, musical sculptureî (Undercurrents)

view: Metropolis or Modern Times

further exploration:

STELARC is an Australian-based performance artist whose work explores and extends the concept of the body and its relationship with technology through human/machine interfaces


library research seminar:

Kathryn Elder showed films by Oskar Fischinger

Week 15   January  23

Collagist practices of knowledge


"This new artist is an architect of the space of events, an engineer of worlds for billions of future histories, a sculptor of the virtual." ñ Pierre LÈvy

George P. Landow ìHypertext as Collage Writing in P. Lunenfeld (ed)  
Digital Dialectic: new essays on new media Boston: MIT Press, 1999
Edwain Pouncey ìRock ConcrËte: Counterculture plugs into the academyî (Undercurrents)

Listen: Plunderphonics

lecture outline

Week 16   January  30

Interdisciplinary spaces
- Louis Martin ìInterdisciplinary transpositions: Bernard Tschumiís Architectural Theoryî

-- I'm very sorry but this article was not included in the kit.

Please take a look at the links below instead. Just browse the sites -- the lecture on Friday will provide you with a context within which you can situate these kinds of art/practices:

1. blur project


2. Bernard Tschumi's architectural practice.


Guest lecture: Christine Shaw

bibliography due

Week 17  February 6th


Beatriz Colomina ìReflection on the Eames Houseî

In A. Coles and A. Defert (eds.) The Anxiety of Interdisciplinarity (dis-de-ex- volume 2) London: Black Dog Publishing, 1998 (kit)


Rob Young ìWorship The Glitch: Digital music, electronic disturbanceî (Undercurrents)


Last date to drop a Fall/Winter Session course without receiving a grade.


lecture outline


Last day to drop F/W courses is February 6th

Week 18   February 13th

Ellen Lupton and Abbott Miller ìDeconstruction and Graphic Designî In Design Writing Research London: Phaidon, 1996 (kit)

(this is a difficult article ñ make time for it).

Trisha Brown: Trisha Brown: an Interview (Performance  Reader)


link to Kathy Walker's notes on Style, deconstruction, postmodernity, the whole shebang

Reading week is February 16-20th.


Week 19   February 27th


Susan Leigh Foster: ìChoreographing Historyî (Performance Reader)


follow up to the film here:

notes here

Week 20   March5th

Gaze and display

******CHANGE*******Thelma Golden ìMy Brotherî in T. Golden (ed.) Black Male : Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art NY: Whitney Museum, 1994. (kit) -- NOT AVAILABLE


Tourist gaze photo essay -- very short (download PDF file here)

IMAX Technology and the tourist gaze (download PDF file here)

View: Cannibal Tours ìDennis O'Rourke Depicts the interaction between tourists on a luxury cruise in the South Pacific and the aboriginal people of Papua New Guinea. Examines western culture's fascination with the exotic.î

Interdisciplinary research paper/critical work paper/project due

Week 21   March 12th   


Collaborative Projects working group day

**** CHANGE - NO LONGER REQUIRED**** Peter Wollin  ìInto the Future: Tourism, Language and Artî In P. Wollin  Raiding the Icebox London.NY: Verso, 1993

-- those students presenting projects THIS TERM will meet today during lecture time. You will have a chance to work with your group and meet with members of the teaching team to discuss your projects/options and make sure you're on the right track.

"I presented last term, do i still have to attend class or tutorial?" -- NO, of course not! Enjoy the sunshine and catch up on your reading.

Week 22    March 19th


Carson, Fiona. ìFeminist debate and Fine Art practicesî in
Carson, F and C Opajaczkowska (eds.) Feminist Visual Culture
Routledge: New York, 2001 (kit)

lecture notes

Community event


Retrospective of Rodney Graham's work, including The Phonokinetoscope , at the Art Gallery of    Ontario, opening March 24 through June 20, 2004. The exhibition, Rodney    Graham: A Little Thought, features more than 25 works, following the evolution of Graham's film, video and sound pieces from 1976 to the present. Props, scripts and notes related to the films, as well as selected multiples and audio works,    complete the survey. This exhibition is co-organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario,    the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. < http://www.thepowerplant.org/exhibitions.html>

Week 24    March 26th

Collaborative group project  due (second group of students)ñ the day will be set aside for you to display and share your work.  Please be available for the entire class time.

Week 25    April 2nd


Review class

review notes here

Study period before exams; April 3-13th.

The final exam will be scheduled during the formal examination period ñ date, time and location TBA.