LICA200: Critical Reflections
- Terms Taught: Full Year course.
- Also Available:
- Michaelmas Term only.
- NOTE: If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
- US Credits:
- Full Year course - 8 Semester Credits.
- Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits.
- ECTS Credits:
- Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
- Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
- Pre-requisites: Secure background in twentieth century art history with a good understanding of the major movements and their aims. This course can only be taken in the Michaelmas term.
This course aims to develop analytical and critical skills in the study of contemporary artworks (buildings, installations, paintings, sculptures; documentaries and films; sound works, scores and musical performances; and dance works, plays and theatre performances) specifically relevant to the Art discipline. Students develop appreciation, knowledge and understanding of key theoretical concepts common to the analysis of all contemporary artworks from a variety of disciplines and forms.
This module aims to:
- develop analytical and critical skills in the study of contemporary artworks (buildings, installations, paintings, sculptures; documentaries and films; sound works, scores and musical performances; and dance works,plays and theatre performances) relevant to each students specific subject discipline (Art, Film, Music,Theatre)
- make students aware of analytical and critical skills specific to other subject disciplines
- develop appreciation, knowledge and understanding of key theoretical concepts common to the analysis of all contemporary artworks from all artistic disciplines and forms.
This course provides an introduction to critical theory in the arts and its application to aesthetics and art. The first term concentrates on 'structures' in artworks and the second on 'identities'. The structure of the course is six three-week blocks, following an introductory lecture:
- Block 1. Form and Structure- Composition the Pleasures of Form: The lectures and workshops in this block will look at how we describe and analyse works of art, especially inrelation to different art forms, and how different disciplines can learn from each other. Students are also introduced to the main developments in aesthetics, from Plato to Kant and onto various kinds of formalism and contemporary means of analysing artworks.
- Block 2. Semiotics and Authorship - the art work as a sign system that critiques authorial authority: The lectures and workshops in this block look at the idea of the artwork as a system of signification, using the principles of semiology (i.e. the science of signs). Originally applied to linguistics and anthropology, semiology offers a powerful set of tools with which to understand and engage with works of art in everydiscipline from the visual arts to music to dance and performance. More recently it has also come to inform the work of practitioners in all fields. No attempt to understand the debates and issues in contemporary arts can take place without a basic grasp of this area.
- Block 3. Phenomenology and Spectatorship - Structures of lived experience: The lectures and workshops in this block celebrate and consider the lived experience that artists and audiences have of an artwork, and in particular places bodily experience at the heart of the ways in which artworks attempt to understand the world. The sessions ask: what is the relationship between the viewer or listener who experiences an artwork and the artwork itself? What is the relation between intuition and concept? Is it possible to reflect on the prereflective sensations that a listener or viewer has of an artwork asit unfolds through time in the gallery, performance space or concert hall? The sessions test methods by which it is possible to describe how an artwork might distil the essential qualities of its source material, how it is possible to describe the viewers or listeners consciousness of that artwork, and the hidden meanings which are disclosed through both processes of description.
- Block 4. Sexuality and Gender - Feminism, Queer Theory and the Deconstruction of Gender and Sexuality: Among the more pressing questions asked by theorists in relation to art is how our experience of artworks, whether as producer or consumer, is inflected by gender and sexuality. Some of the most powerful analyses of art have been motivated by such questions. The lectures and workshops in this block will introduce students to the basic concepts underlying those analyses as well as some of the ways they have been mobilised in relation to art and culture.
- Block 5. Race and Ethnicity - the arts in a post-colonial and multi-racial society: Questions of race and ethnicity, like those of gender and sexuality, have also become a means by which some of the presumptions underlying the arts have been questioned and deconstructed, especially as a reaction to the dominance of white, western cultural ideals. The lectures and workshops in this block engage with some of the principle debates and ideas in this area, especially as they relate to art and culture.
- Block 6. Class and Society - Marxist, Post-Marxist and other materialist critiques of art works: No attempt to understand contemporary culture and the arts can take place without engaging with the workand influence of Karl Marx. Though originally concerned mainly with questions of economics and politics, Marxs ideas have been employed in powerful ways as means of understanding the relation between art and broader social structures and relations. The lectures and workshops in this block introduce the most relevant concepts of Marxism and looks at some of the ways in which they have been used in relation to the arts.
- Coursework: 50%
- Exam: 50%