Contemporary Past: tracking a postcard

Image by IP 2011 participant Stefan Asafti


10-24 June 2012

The third intensive summer course Contemporary Past will concentrate on the issue of message transfer in visual arts: How does a piece of art communicate with the viewer? What codes, strategies or methods are used in this communication? Does it matter what the artist wants to say and what the viewer gets? What happens to a coded message while it travels from the artist’s head to that of the viewer? Is it possible to materialize the process of thought through visual signs? Should one avoid or make use of the volatility of meaning and subjective truth? How close can means of visual communication get to those of a language? How to challenge the viewer’s habits of reading visual messages?

The main subject of the course refers to the location of the IP: Nida Art Colony is on the Curonian Spit, which served as a shortcut of the 19th century mail road connecting Koenigsberg and Riga (or Paris, Warsaw and St. Petersburg on the bigger scale). The course links communication by post to communication by visual representation and suggests the participants to reflect on travelling, be it a message travelling from a sender to a receiver, an idea, an object or a person.

Contemporary Past seeks to offer different approaches to the chosen subject: participants will have an opportunity to deepen their knowledge in visual semiotics, to discuss selected art works with their creators, to get to know the history of the old mail route, to watch relevant documentaries and fiction.

Five advanced students and a tutor from each partner school can attend the course. It is conducted by 4 tutors from partner schools and four guest speakers (artists and art researchers, who present their personal strategies and insight into communication by means of visual representation).

Contemporary Past consists of theoretical lectures, discussions, workshops, guided field trips and independent research. The first week is devoted to lectures discussions and field trips; the second – to individual research and workshops. Public review and discussion of created works will take place on the final weekend. All student participants are awarded 5 ECTS credits.

The project is fully funded by the LLP/Erasmus Programme.

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