Art, Mind, & Diversity

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ARTS(AM)400

Credits: 3
Offered: Fall, Spring
Prerequisite: None

This studio course represents an opportunity for art students to approach some key moments in the history of interpretation of the human mind while developing multidisciplinary art projects in collaboration with a daily therapy center in Florence.

An overview of ideas on human nature begins with the 19th-century context of the Florentine Museum of Anthropology. Myths and fairy tales are approached as a repertoire of universal images, followed by a brief history of psychoanalytic ideas. The elements of art practice in relation to psychiatric treatment are observed through the analysis of Outsider Art and the concept of “horror vacui.”  Political aspects of the treatment and isolation of mental patients are approached through the writings of Michel Foucault and Thomas Szasz. The practical part of the course may include a variety of approaches to art, such as (collaborative) painting and drawing, assemblage, performance art, and documentary photography or video, as well as “discursive” methods and community-based art forms.

The course is largely based on a creative dialogue between the students and the regular participants of the therapy center as well as collective outdoor activities and museum visits. Activities also include occasional dialogues with poets, visual artists, and theater directors whose work is associated with the course themes.

Course Syllabus Fall 2016 (Dejan Atanackovic)