Utopia/Dystopia Subject of Interdisciplinary Symposium this Friday

Utopia/Dystopia Subject of Interdisciplinary Symposium this Friday

Norwich University’s School of Architecture + Art culminates its 2015-16 Lecture Series with a symposium on Utopia/Dystopia across the arts, Friday, April 15, from 3 to 5 pm, in Chaplin Hall Gallery.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will convene a panel of scholars and artists for a wide-ranging discussion on the complex workings of Utopian/Dystopian themes in design, creation, interpretation, and imagination. The topic is rich with possibilities: Do artists and architects work against the backdrop of an ideal? Does political or economic realism limit creative work to mere coping or survival strategies? Is there something inherently utopian in the American project and, by extension, in work pursued with American identity at the forefront? Is ecologically driven design partly indebted to idealized conceptions of nature threatened by runaway industrialization and globalization? What are the pedagogical benefits and risks of utopian/dystopian themes as focal points for design education?

Such themes will be discussed by our panelists, opening the conversation to the attendees:

David Jenemann teaches film and television theory, critical theory, genre, and global cinema at the University of Vermont. He has published essays on the film theories of Gilles Deleuze and Theodor W. Adorno as well as on the poet and novelist Kenneth Fearing. His areas of research interest include film and television, critical theory, modernism, and twentieth century literature. Jenemann is Co-Director of the Humanities Center and Associate Professor in Film and Television Studies.

Erin Moore is Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture and in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Oregon. She works in teaching, research and practice on the life cycle environmental context of building construction and on the way that buildings shape human perceptions and constructions of nature. Moore uses her architecture practice FLOAT as a testing ground for designing with explicit intentions for the life spans and life cycle environmental context of materials with a focus on small structures for inhabiting ecologically unique sites around the world.

Judy Natal is a Chicago-based artist and Professor at Columbia College Chicago. Author of EarthWords and Neon Boneyard Las Vegas A-Z, Natal has been awarded many artist residencies that have taken her to Iceland, the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon, and the Biosphere 2 where she established an artist residency program to invite artists to create a cultural response to this man-made wonder of the world. Natal’s photographs explore the visual narratives landscapes hold, particularly landscapes that have been altered by scientists, engineers, designers, and utopians. Most recently, she has ventured into the world of robotics to examine our complex relationship to machines built in our own image, which ultimately raises questions of what it means to be human.

Kerry Shea is an Associate Professor at Saint Michael’s College where she teaches courses on early literature, theory and speculative fiction. She writes on women and gender in medieval romance, genre fiction and science fiction and fantasy. She is currently working on a book-length study of feminist sci-fi writer Sheri Tepper and a hiking memoir.

The NU School of Architecture + Art Lecture Series is supported by a generous grant from the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation. For more than 10 years, the Byrne Foundation has partnered with Norwich University to bring eminent national and international architects, designers, artists, and writers to campus. Events are free and open to the public.

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