Interdisciplinary Initiatives Course Archive - University of Houston
Skip to main content

Interdisciplinary Initiatives Course Archive


IART 3395/6395 Cargo and Carriers: Sites, Zones, Borders
Prof. Abinadi Meza (Director of Interdisciplinary Initiatives) with visiting artists and scholars CEPRO Music, Mariam Ghani, Ed Keller, Jacob Kirkegaard, Brandon Lamson, Jill Magid, Geoff Manaugh, Roberto Minervini, Nameless Sound, Jeff VanderMeer, and Eyal Weizman.

This interdisciplinary seminar explores spatial practices and projects engaging poetic as well as political sites, speculative worlds as well as concrete geographies, forms of spatial agency, interventions and crossings. The two central figures involved are 1) the carrier - someone or something who by choice or by accident crosses 2) a space, and intentionally or unintentionally brings something, leaves something behind, and/or carries something away from the space they cross. The carrier is an agent in this scenario (traveler, architect, artist, scientist, burglar, cartographer, virus, documentarian, writer, wanderer, refugee, smuggler), as is the space (site/zone/border). The space becomes an active agent as it intervenes, obstructs, populates, colonizes, infects or influences the carrier. We will pay particular attention to how both site and carrier can become cargo - how each can transform or release some thing as cargo that the other then carries/hosts/shelters/incubates/absorbs. We will also investigate the interfaces at work - the instruments, equipment, vehicles, apparatuses, etc. As planned as every expedition is, as intentional as the instruments are, there is always potential for accident or failure, and necessary improvisation. Cargoes and carriers both demonstrate fragility as well as durability, and variously outlast, resist, undermine, abandon or conjoin with each other.


IART 3395/6395 Diagrammatic Visualization in Art and Theory
Prof. Natilee Harren (Art History) with visiting artists and scholars Eric Alliez, Blake Rayne, and Matthew Ritchie.

What is a diagram? What role do diagrams play in the creation and manipulation of human knowledge? How are diagrams employed in creative disciplines (visual art, music, theater, dance, poetry, architecture, design), and what do these diagrams look like? What characterizes diagrammatic thinking? Guided by these questions, this exploratory seminar will survey and examine creative uses, definitions, and theories of the diagram from the early modern period to the present, with emphasis on cultural production in the 20th and 21st centuries. From Leonardo da Vinci and Copernicus to digital visualization after the internet, seminar participants will collaboratively construct a visual encyclopedia of diagrams as we engage a range of theoretical propositions about diagrams by thinkers and practitioners including C. S. Peirce, John Bender and Michael Marrinan, Frederik Stjernfelt, Gilles Deleuze, Éric Alliez, Rosalind Krauss, Lawrence and Anna Halprin, Hannah Higgins, Anthony Vidler, and Fredric Jameson, among many others. Seminar participants will collaborate with artist Matthew Ritchie in presenting a public performance-lecture in the atrium of the Philip Johnson-designed Hines College of Architecture building. Additionally, seminar participants’ research on diagrams will culminate in an exhibition on view at the School of Art’s Third Space Gallery.


IART 3395/6395 The Archival Impulse
Prof. Nick Flynn (Creative Writing) with visiting artists and scholars Regina Agu, Gabriel Martinez, Paula Matthusen, and Raphael Rubinstein.

 This project-based studio and seminar utilizes the Houston artist-run space Alabama Song as a laboratory to examine concepts and processes of the archive as both an imaginative as well as a generative space. Three organizing frameworks—time, sound, and space will be the lenses through which participants will examine questions of the archive. Participants will develop collaborations that will, in some ways, address these conceptual frameworks across various artistic practices including visual art, film, writing, sound, installation, and performance. Participants will perform, present and exhibit their work at Alabama Song, 2521 Oakdale Drive, Houston, TX 77004.