Fall 2018

Sensual things are elegies to the disappearance of objects.

Tim Morton, Realist Magic, 18. 

Effects (as visual, optical, spatial, experiential and cultural phenomena emerging from interactions between light, space, objects, materials and people, as well as between existing contexts and new interventions) are fundamental to developing contemporary practices, pedagogies, and theories of design including interior design and architecture. The primary question underlying Productions is: How can ephemeral and subjective visual, environmental and atmospheric effects (emerging primarily through relations between light, material, and form) be both the result of and inform or drive the design, fabrication and installation of objects?

Productions focuses on exploring contemporary methods and manifestations of an emerging and evolving focus on effects (particularly visual and optical effects emerging from engagements with light) as both by-products and affective generators of form, surface and subjective, experiential conditions. These conditions are often associated with what we might call Atmospheres and Environments.

To address these issues, investigating and defining Productions as both process and outcome becomes critical. Particularly projects, concepts, theories and practices associated with interiorities are of interest. To that end, we explore conditions found primarily within the context of spatial, effects-oriented interior design, architecture, theatrical, cinematic, and installation-art practices.

Productions may be fundamentally defined through a few general observations. 1. Productions are primarily understood through the objective, rational design of things such as as objects, forms, surfaces or other materials projected as interventions into contexts.  2. These interventions and constructions have the capacity to generate a range of ephemeral and subjective effects that extend beyond and through the objects, surfaces and materials that generate them. 3. Effects generally have immersive, atmospheric or environmental qualities and are para-theatrical / para-cinematic while also being highly subjective. 4. Therefore, Effects have the capacity to Affect both intereventions and contexts.

As both terminology and concept, the term production has certainly been core to the development installation art, as well as theatre and film, where it is most commonly used. These fields encompass what I call Production-Oriented-Practices. The projects these practices create are typically designed to yield a range of subjective material and ephemeral experiential conditions rather than singularly objective, rational outcomes.This type of effects-oriented design can also be traced back into history. Antecedents range from the immersive, atmospheric painting from artists such as JMW Turner and JM Whisler to the development of theatrical effects, magic and cinema that were developed through the 19th through the early 20th century. Contemporary artists such as Olafur Eliasson and Tomas Saraceno certainly are exemplary of these Production-Oriented-Practices, and the generation of subjectivities and multiplicities of effects are now common aspirations for other spatial practices such as Architecture and Interior Design.  Through reading and reference, we will survey a range of historic and contemporary precedents throughout the semester to further situate and define Productions

Our work this semester critically questions the role of the objects in the production of effects (light, space, experience etc.) The role of objective interventions (forms, surfaces, materials) and subjective effects (expanding beyond containment into atmosphere and environment) are the core of this question. We will be concerned with sensorial, experiential and shared conditions which coalesce as both individual and collective understandings. This is also extended to issues of autonomy and contingency related to interventions, and how these issues frame critical, effects-oriented relationships to contexts. 

Students will be able to define and discuss effects production in regard to objective and subjective criteria. They will be able to theoretical situate their work. They will be able to generate a set of explorations which will culminate in final project (a small booklet and final production object outlining and synthesizing their work).

For example: We will start with fairly straightforward, observable, objective conditions related to objects, atmospheres, environments and how effects production influences them. Then in subsequent classes we will move to more specific subjective and spatial dimensions followed by contextual explorations of space and objects. (Refer Jean Beudriallard’s ‘System of Objects’) Through this work, we will explore ‘influence and affect…as a conceptual issue…recurrent and repeatable; that is, transmittable’ (del campo p8) To follow we will ask, How do we generate systems that produce effects and how do we transmit these production systems through design? 

This seminar is designed to be a platform for focused exploration, speculation and (even) dreaming. the course has an agenda but will open to discovery and discussion as issues and opportunities emerge. Our class is diverse in terms of experience, discipline, and background, and it is hoped that we gain from this diversity of experiences, and abilities. To assist with this, there will be a number of short introductory tutorials for certain content. In addition, the seminar is a place to combine the irrational with the rational -to move between and through design based and theory-based research - in pursuit of insight and discovery. Ultimately, it is a place to situate these discoveries into the world through design and speculative making or application.

The seminar will be organized into 4 broad phases. Foundations/ Projects (reading based), Processes / Methods (techniques), Explorations (doing) and The Future (synthesizing/final). Each class will have readings and work associated with it. Each class will also include an outline of the class for that day along with readings and assignments for the next class.