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With each writing project, we will focus on a different aspect of writing. Like an art studio, this should be considered a writing studio.

UNIT 1. LAND - Jan 25

500 - 100 words, double spaced, 12 point type, 2 - 3 sources minimum
With this assignment, you will write an expository essay using the supply chain of an everyday object. By researching it's manufacture, raw material and the source of that material, you will learn about the environmental, social, political and cultural impacts of that object. Like pulling a thread from a piece of fabric, you will uncoil the story of environmental modernism.

Learning Objectives:
  • fact-finding research
  • evidence based writing
  • increased consciousness of the environmental path of everyday objects
Writing Worksheet - include these points:
Refer to SOURCES page, especially the EBSCO dateabases on Industry and Environment, for articles that will help.
  • Choose any object or material, maybe something that informs your art, or something you use every day.
  • Visual analysis - Describe it physically, line, color, texture, formal qualities...
  • Manufacture analysis - What community makes it? Where is the factory? Does the production process create any waste or byproducts?
  • Material analysis - What is it made from (petroleum, steel, wood)? How is that raw material extracted? Where is it mined or farmed (it doesn't matter that your mine is the exact one your manufacturer uses)?
  • Social analysis - What communities are sustained by its extraction and production? What communities absorb the pollution or environmental impacts of its extraction, of its production? Does the object reflect the culture that produced it?
  • Refection. What did this object research tell you about the world today? How does the "story" of the object reflect broader systems?
  • This is a story about an object that you use, so start with it's everyday use rather than further up the supply chain. For example, begin your narrative about tee-shirts, then take us from there to manufacturer in China and the the cotton industry in India. Take us on a journey.
  • If in the US, phone a manufacturer or raw material supplier: "I am a college student writing a supply-chain research paper on folding chairs. Can you tell me where you get your raw materials? Who works at your factory? How many employees are there? What impact do you have on your local economy? What do you know about your raw material sources? How do you like working there?"
  • Don't forget your reflection. What is the moral of your story?

IN CLASS - Jan 18

Bring your sources to class, along with the above completed outline. We will review them and discuss research analysis.

UNIT 2. CITY - Feb 20

500 - 1000 words, double spaced, 12 point type, 2 - 3 sources (use source articles assigned throughout the unit)
This is an exercise in evidence-based writing. It is different than the expository writing you did for the first paper. You are welcome to incorporate other research sources (books, articles, data) but you must include at least one of the readings from this unit in your sources. Evidence may serve to prove a thesis. Evidence can suggest or persuade readers that the writer’s approach (or artists approach) is a fruitful one. Since a good thesis must be arguable, you might be obligated to consider counter-evidence, to grapple directly with facts, patterns, or passages that resist or complicate your main argument.
Learning Objectives:
  • develop and define new ways of understanding the city
  • expand research skills from fact-finding into critical theory
  • use evidence to develop and defend a critical statement
  • persuasive writing
Some of the articles in this unit talk to each other (e.g. Koolhaus and Waldrep). You can write on the different perspectives of a common critical issue.

IN CLASS - Feb 13

We will do an in-class session in which we will break into groups for 20 minutes and explore different modes of organizing your essay.
BEFORE CLASS, write the following:
In outline form, write your critical position and list the evidence you intend to use to support it. In groups, lay out your arguments, focusing on which one should come first, second etc. Ask your group to find the holes in your logic and test your sources. You should be able to define and defend your critical position with evidence. Having a critical discussion should be very helpful in understanding how to write a critical essay.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR PAPER BETTER: Use one of these organization schemes for your paper:
  • CHRONOLOGY- A chronological pattern of organization arranges information according to a progression of time, either forward or backward. When a topic is best understood in terms of different segments of time, a chronological format works well. For example, topics of an historical nature are best organized using this pattern.
  • SPACIAL - A spatial pattern of organization arranges information according to how things fit together in physical space; i.e., where one thing exists in relation to another. This pattern works well when a writer wishes to create a mental picture of something which has various parts distinguished by physical location. Topics involving geography, for example, are often best organized using a spatial pattern.
  • THEMATIC - A thematic pattern joins together the references and information around a theme. The process of illuminating the details of the information in synthesis with the theme serves to enhance understanding of the theme or thesis being described.


This assignment is due at 5pm Monday, March 22.
800-1000 words in combination with hyperlinks, embedded audio or video. 4 sources, unit readings encouraged but not required.
LIST YOUR SOURCES - even the hyperlinks and embedded material should be labelled.
You will be working in groups of 2 to build a multi-modal online essay. Like the previous paper, this is still a work of critical writing and will fall under the same grading rubric on the SYLLABUS page. This means you must work with your partner to define and strengthen a critical issue. Here, to be "critical" means to understand an issue in the context of current thought (such as the readings in this course). It is not a thumbs up/down opinion piece. Each student must contribute equally in the form of written analysis, original images or video, hypertext, or sourced video, still images and audio recordings. Linkages between all contributions must be contextualized in the writing of the main essay, rather than all appear at the end. Your wiki online paper should be interactive, well organized and look interesting.


Each student will pitch a topic pertaining to our readings or related to digital culture. Through election, you will form groups of 2. Your multi-modal essay will be created collaboratively online, outside of class. You may choose a subject of your own or a theme from one of the class readings.
Some examples of topics for your online collaborative paper:
  • What was the cultural impact of reproducibility and remixing on the internet?
  • Choose any one of the readings assigned in this unit, and expand it's critical perspective onto another subject, experience, environment.
  • Discuss the infrastructure of the internet, it's physical impact on the environment, what was revealed in your visit to the data center?
  • Are there any themes addressed in your own artwork that relate to digital culture, and how can they be researched and discussed here?

UNIT 4. SELF - Apr 5

600-750 words, double spaced, 12 point type, 2 sources, 4 images
Write individual papers on one artists' (or art collective), and discuss how it addresses one of the issues illuminated in this unit's readings (e.g. ethnocentrism, media representation, abject art, etc.). We will discuss the readings in class, so you will have a clear understanding. Try to focus on one body of work, rather than their entire career. You will spend some time discussing the formal aspects of the work, but the object of this paper is for you to draw linkages between the art work and one of the issues covered in class.
Discuss their artistic development and the art historical context of their work. How did they arrive at their methodology? What did the artist draw from their own personal history to create their work? It will help to choose an artist that has influenced your work at some point.

IN CLASS- March 27 & 29 & Apr3

For each reading in this unit, you will download and annotate the readings, and prepare discussion points. In class, 5 students will be drawn at random to lead class discussion. Your participation in leading and contribution to discussion will constitute 10% of your unit grade (90% will be your paper).
We will also have independent meetings to discuss the artist you wish to research for your paper.

UNIT 5. FINAL - Apr 17,19, 24

15 minute in-class presentation, and 800 word paper, double spaced, 12 point type
TIPS: STAY AWAY FROM ANIMATED PPT TRANSITIONS AND GRAPHIC ELEMENTS. The slides should focus on your work. Use good quality reproductions. You may link to video clips if you need to.
SAMPLE: Notice the points covered by El Antasui, as he talks about his work:
HELP WITH AMBIGUITY: Here's a helpful talk from Columbia, may help you think about your own art education.
Create a 10 slide ppt about your own work to be presented in class, and write an artist statement. What are you responding to inside / outside of the art world? What is the art historical context of your work? What major cultural movements or dominant theories prevail in your work? What decisions lead to your choices of material / media? How did you arrive at your methodology? What components of your personal history play a guiding role in your work? What are you trying to accomplish or say? Who is your audience? Use your text as a reference guide to describe your artwork with a specific historic movement, theoretical school of thought or philosophy.
This is a speaking and writing assignment. You will perform a presentation to the class and answer questions. You will submit the written statement.

Double-spaced, 1200 word minimum (approximately 4 pages), 12-point font
Write a review of an Atlanta exhibition at a non-GSU gallery, due at the beginning class on the final exam date.
Choose an exhibition from on of the following Atlanta galleries or museums. Please note that galleries are generally free, but museums have student discounts and free times:
Some art venues you can visit for your critical review:
1. Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (free) http://www.thecontemporary.org/
2. Poem 88 (free) http://www.poem88.net/events.html
3. Sandler Hudson Gallery (free) http://sandlerhudson.com/
4. Marcia Wood Gallery (free) http://marciawoodgallery.com
5. Whitespace Gallery (free) http://whitespace814.com
6. Gallery 72 (free) http://www.ocaatlanta.com/?post_type=programs&p=6158
7. Alan Avery Gallery (free) http://www.alanaveryartcompany.com
8. Jackson Fine Art (free) http://www.jacksonfineart.com
9. Hathaway David Gallery (free) http://www.hathawaydavid.com
10. High Museum http://www.high.org/ (reduced fee for students & FREE admission every 2nd Sunday of the month)
11. Museum of Contemporary Art, Georgia http://mocaga.org/ (reduced fee for students)
12. Museum of Design, Atlanta http://www.museumofdesign.org/(reduced fee for students)
13. Spelman College Museum of Fine Art (free) http://museum.spelman.edu/current-exhibition/
14. Zuckerman Museum of Art @ Kennesaw State University (free) http://zuckerman.kennesaw.edu
Some tips for your critical review:
  • Print the exhibition information from the venue’s website and include it with your review.
  • Select an exhibition to review. Begin your review by giving all pertinent descriptive information about the exhibition, such as artist(s), dimensions, media, dates, etc. State why you chose this exhibition—what about it seemed more interesting than the others you’ve seen? You can focus on a single work by one artist, or several works by one artist—but choose one artist to write about.
  • Illustrate your review with an image or images, either one from the gallery website or one that you take yourself.
  • How has this artist used the formal elements? These observations will be all that allow you to make subsequent assertions.
  • Observational analysis: line, shape (postive and negative shapes), value, texture overall compositon.
  • How much of the artist’s hand is visible in the final product? How much mechanical reproduction or machine processes are used?
  • How were the works made, and how important does this process seem toward the final meaning of work?
  • Is there discernible content in the works shown?
  • With what critical issues does the artist seem to be involved? In other words, does the work have modernist tendencies, post-modernist tendencies, or some combination of both? Here is where you can use your text as a reference guide to align the artwork with a specific movement, theoretical school of thought or philosophy.
  • How was the artwork installed? Was it installed in a professional manner? Did the mats, frames, or pedestals (or absence of mats, frames, or pedastals) seem appropriate? Was the artwork made to seem important? How?
  • Was the artwork presented as an object for contemplation or as a commodity? How?
  • What was your assessment of the exhibition space? Was the space conducive to viewing art? Did the wall/floor/ceiling colors seem appropriate? Did the staff behave in a professional manner? Did you feel welcome in the exhibition space?