Description of Course Goals and Curriculum
VIS 300 is a project-based class where students will create dance/sculpture works that combine the two disciplines. Some topics in the course include materiality, traces, precision, and social interaction. Students will learn to challenge the boundaries between body and object.
Learning From Classroom Instruction
With no dance or sculpture background, I took a lot away from this course. From how to organize a performance, to how to use a hammer, this course gives students who are interested in dance or sculpture a great opportunity to explore their interests. You also learn how to work with other students in this class and how to thoughtfully involve other students in your project. The critique experience also challenges your analytical thinking, because you are constantly encouraged to think or at least understand a different perspective, and you also learn to defend your work and ideas in a productive way.
Learning For and From Assignments
There is no written assignments or exams in this course. Most of the class time is devoted to preparing for your project. The professors give you a lot of freedom to explore the topic that interests you the most. In addition, they also provide extremely helpful feedback both during the preparation process of your project and after the final performance of your project. You will grow both as a performer and as a visual art student.
Asking for feedback is the most helpful resource for this class. This could mean emailing your professor once you have an idea, or asking your classmates to help you decide little elements of your performance, or even asking a friend for an opinion. Since performance is very subjective and there is no right or wrong answer, it is always more helpful to hear from more perspectives. Another very helpful resource is Lewis Center for Arts staff. They are usually very friendly and you can ask them for help with ordering materials or learning how to use equipment.
What Students Should Know About This Course For Purposes Of Course Selection
This course is a great opportunity for students who are interested in both performance and sculpture. There is no pre-requisite for this class, but you need to have an open mind for artworks that might be unusual in the traditional sense. You also need to be willing to participate and maybe even step outside your comfort zone to get the most out of this class.
The feedback this course provides varies greatly from project to project. It could go from putting some extra nails onto this part of the sculpture, to “I think this project might miss some elements in the following aspects.” You improve by listening to their feedback and pick out what you feel like is right for your project (this is a very subjective choice and there is no right or wrong choice as long as you can explain your reasoning behind it). Genuine means you are doing what you believe is right for your project, instead of thinking about how you can do “well” in the traditional sense (getting a good grade, gaining compliments from other people). I believe that’s also the professor’s expectation. They are not here to categorize students into mediocre, good, and great categories. Instead, they want students to grow as performers by being original, creative, and genuine.
There is no good critique, or mediocre critique, or great critique. I think what’s beautiful about this course is that it is not that judgmental although you are constantly providing and receiving feedback. There is no one judging how “good” your critique is as long as you are saying what you feel/think/believe it’s right. And most of the time, there is no way of evaluating how good one’s critique or artwork is, since an art project is supposed to stimulate very different thoughts for different people. I think I figured a lot from this course because of the judge-free environment and how comfortable all the students are in this course with one another. It is hard to fit my feedback into the traditional course evaluation categories, because the most attractive part of this class for me is how different it is from the other courses I have taken at Princeton.