ARCH 3308/6308
Land Art and the City

A white square set within a larger white square separated by rocks

Robert Smithson, Mono Lake Nonsite, 1968.

  • Instructor: Gesa Büttner Dias
  • Time: Th 2:30–4:25 p.m.
  • Location: 261C East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Discourse, Architecture and Ecology, Architecture and Urbanism

Can we think of a city as nature? Can a place exist that is equal parts city and nature — and what would this be called?

The seminar will look at land art as a map for speculation on the dialectic between city and nature. Land art emerged in the 1960s with the creation of heroic scaled and remotely located sculptures. The artists questioned the institution of the museum and searched for a dialectic other, which they found in the raw elements of nature.

We will study the theory, tools, and creations of land art. We will catalog raw nature in selected cities. We will think, discuss, and write about concepts of dialectic urbanism, of architecture and nature. We will start an atlas of spaces that are entropic, peripheral, multi-perspectival, phenomenal, unproductive, and untimely.

This theory seminar will be organized through lectures, screenings, student presentations, and group discussions in class. Students will research selected land art projects and prepare case studies of selected cities/nature. In the final paper, students will present a topic developed over the course of the seminar.

Participation in the fall 2019 Preston H. Thomas Memorial Lecture Series symposium on November 7–8 will be expected.

Instructor permission required:

Students must attend the first class.

View a PDF of this class description.


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