Science, Technology, and Visual Culture

Lecturer in Critical Studies Program
California College of the Arts
Fall 2009
, Summer 2010

This seminar course is an interdisciplinary investigation into science, technology, and visual culture. Beginning with Alhazen's (965–1039) scientific proof that light travels through transparent bodies in straight lines only, we will explore the optical origins of the scientific method as a means of philosophical and material inquiry. With our primary focus on the impacts of science and technology on visual culture, we will address questions raised by science as a system of thought and explore technology as the means to trace the successes and failures of science in regards to the human condition. By tracing the histories of contemporary visual practices including photography, film, video, digital and new media art, the course will address the effects of science and technology on the transformation of identity, presence, power, and the body in the 21st century.

Students will explore the epistemological origins of visual perception through traditional academic and non-traditional, praxis-oriented research methodologies. Students will learn how to frame research questions, conduct research, and present the results in coherent and compelling ways. Our class format includes open seminar, lecture, presentations and engaged dialogues with a specific focus on student facilitated, peer-to-peer learning outcomes. As such, the course will address diverse approaches to arts-based research methodologies concurrent to, and in parallel with, written forms of intellectual inquiry. The course trajectory includes a significant research component culminating in a 10-15 page research paper and presentation.