Sensing the City

Parsons Paris: Paris Art/Design Hist/Theory

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Degree Students

Sensing the City

Fall 2019

Taught By: Joseph Heathcott

Section: PC1

CRN: 7569

Credits: 3

The city reveals itself to us through our senses. In the most naked way, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching all transpose signals from beyond the body into the neuroplastic channels and chemical receptors of the brain; together, they work in a multisensorial matrix to produce affect, emotion, and response, eventually helping us to locate and define a self amid a world awash in noise. But while our senses are superlative evolutionary systems, they are at the same time dumb circuits limited by their corporeality. Much of the world around us sputters under the fault tolerances of our physiology. Some of the world takes grossly misshapen form amid neuropathways disordered by prejudice. And yet more of the world simply recedes undetected into shadows, from where it haunts us in the uncanny spaces of our dreams. And why not? After all, the urban environments where the majority of humans dwell are bewildering and fragmentary, and the pictures we build of them are necessarily incomplete. As Baudelaire wrote, ""we are enveloped and steeped as though in an atmosphere of the marvelous, but we do not notice it."" This course takes up Baudelaire's implicit challenge to notice the city. Students explore the urban through sight, sound, smell, touch, and, taste, cataloguing how the senses simultaneously reveal and limit what we can know of the world around us. Through the practice of urban mindfulness, we confront the everyday environments in which we live, paying close attention to the ways in which our senses process information into routines of navigation and understanding. We also query the interconnection of biology and ideology in the co-construction of perception, looking for patterns in how our senses map ""the real,"" as well as for moments where we might disrupt these patterns. Where our senses fail us, we turn to the prosthetic machines and cyborg sensory extensions designed to gather in more of the world, from cartography, telecommunication, and geocoded data streams to vast remote sensing and planetary surveillance. Finally, we study the variety of uses made of sensory apparatus by planners, designers, artists, activists, police, military, and others with a vital stake in the urban.

College: Parsons Paris (CP)

Department: Paris Art/Design Hist/Theory (APHT)

Campus: Paris (PC)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 14

Add/Drop Deadline: September 9, 2019 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 17, 2019 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

*Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 11:18pm 2/28/2020 EST

Meeting Info:

Days: Thursday

Times: 4:20pm - 7:00pm

Building: Parsons Paris

Room: 502

Date Range: 8/29/2019 - 12/12/2019