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Urgency Lab
Rhode Island School of Design
Spring 2019



One must continue to work for the possibility of a poetry of the future.
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

How do we address what’s truly urgent today? Urgent for whom? Crisis conditions have infused every aspect of culture and society with doubt, but the role and efficacy of art and design as a means for change is still debated. We’ll begin this studio course by defining what Urgency Lab is on our own terms, casting a wide view towards climate, gender, race, and oppression. Can artists and designers loosen hegemonic power? We’ll engage with a range of voices for guidance and inspiration through weekly studio visits and readings, both within and outside of art and design discourse, with a particular emphasis on queer methodologies and historically marginalized perspectives. We’ll draw upon Fred Moten and Stefano Harney’s concept of the undercommons as a way to imagine our own position within an institutional context, and as the course develops we’ll build an “urgency platform”—a network of tools, references, modalities, and scenarios—to help us speculate, imagine, and articulate a more just futurity.

What is urgent craft? The semester will be devoted to exploring how legacy art and design techniques might be subverted (altered, manipulated, destroyed) to produce new, non-normative forms. Urgency Lab will be a collaboratively designed space, so determining the studio’s criteria, scope, and output as a group will itself be an experiment in collective, peer-to-peer making as an act of resistance. Working in public, radical acts of publishing, research-based exploration, rapid prototyping, non-traditional tools and platforms, and experimentation will be encouraged.

#gender #race #power #bias #safety #privacy #privilege #resistance #climate change #algorithmic control #authority #violence #terror #trauma #human rights #migration #identity politics #geo-politics #postcolonial nationality #representation #protest #whistleblower #peer-2-peer #mixed reality #decentralization #decolonization #intersectionality #failure and refutation