Practices of Observation

University Liberal Arts: University Lecture Program

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Graduate Course

Degree Students

Practices of Observation

Spring 2022

Taught By: Pascal Glissmann and Selena Kimball

Section: A

CRN: 11914

Credits: 3

This course aims to provoke dialogue about practices of observation, and invent new ways of looking. What exactly does it mean to “observe”? Observation is neither neutral nor passive—the very process of looking can both shape the thing being observed and change the person who is doing the looking. This course will explore the ways that the very act of structured attention changes the perceiver(s) and by extension creates new experiences and understandings. We will investigate how past practices of observation have actually defined what we know about the world and how structured and documented observations might instigate change. Students will explore new ways of observing in order to deepen their existing research. Inspired by precedents—e.g. the archives of everyday life created by the British Mass Observation Movement; practices used by German polymath Alexander von Humboldt; current research of the Observational Practices Lab: objectamerica.org.—students will develop their own experimental ways to observe an object, from the rigorously structured to the playfully absurd. These new practices of observation—including senses, specialized instruments, and speculation—will be developed, conducted and recorded in the conceptual framework of Fluxus event scores linking back to John Cage’s teaching at The New School during the 1950s. This collection of “Observation Event Scores”—brief verbal or visual notations—will inspire students to apply different ways of looking at their object of investigation.

College: University Liberal Arts (UL)

Department: University Lecture Program (ULIB)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: February 6, 2022 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 17, 2022 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Open*

* 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: 6:57am 1/20/2022 EST

Meeting Info:

Days: Wednesday

Times: 12:10pm - 2:50pm

Building: Johnson/Kaplan 66 West 12th

Room: 517

Date Range: 1/26/2022 - 5/11/2022