SLADE_ART: Slade School of Fine Art (Miscellaneous)

Slade School of Fine Art - Facilities, Buildings & Safety 2020-2021

The great problems lie in the streets (Friedrich Nietzsche)


This course focuses on a set of issues concerning art in and about urban space. These include: public art commissions and their communities; protest; graffiti; homelessness; collaboration and alternative spaces; gentrification; Boricua identity and culture; and the relationship to the other spaces of the suburb and the net. Through these topics we will explore cross cultural encounters, particularly between racialised ‘street’ culture and high art; meet less-than-well-known artists and critics sparring with the canon; and look at exciting ways in which practice has been – and might be – undertaken. Needless to say, this is an art history that traces and yet substantially reframes established histories of art in the United States in the period after 1975.


This ten week course begins with an introductory session, an overview of the weeks and a discussion of course requirements. The final week will be dedicated to essay tutorials. Essay questions will be released on week six.

This course introduces the current and emerging discourses of the Anthropocene era, which now recognises humans as the dominant influence over planetary change. The course will present a brief historical overview of art and activism with specific focus on participatory practices and the intersection of art and life. This will lead into an introduction to the current discourses of the Anthropocene and its influences on art theory and practice. 

Drawing on my own research into climate science and interdisciplinary practice (working with the Electrochemical Innovation Lab at UCL), the course will investigate how historical influences can inform current and future artistic responses to human impact on the planet. 

Due to its entanglement with social, political and cultural fields the Anthropocene demands a broad and diverse response to ecological issues; environmentalism becomes embedded in the fabric of interdisciplinary critique. This course aims to address how artists and theorists are making contributions to this discourse. Group work will explore how we situate ourselves within these discussions and might imagine our own archaeologies of the future


This course begins and ends in understanding the title, ‘the animal as subject’. Within the seminars, we will be consuming a large number of materials including artworks and writings that discuss histories of animal consciousness, the nexus of the law and art, practices of re-enchantment, and frames of representation in the context of animism. As each of these are quite large topics individually, I intend the seminar to function as an introduction into these lines of thinking, introducing a wide range of artists, writers, and theorists to which may be unknown presently; including Anselm Franke, Paul Auster, Lewis Carrol, J.M. Coetzee, Tue Greenfort, Matthew Brandt, Louise Lawler, Ted Hughes, etc. The goal of this course is that this exposure will open new lines of inquiry which will be stimulating and possibly offer further support in the participants’ practices.