Course Description

This course is meant to be a space for you to examine and deepen your relationship to the field and your own practice through readings, discussions, and presentations.  The readings are meant to expand your perspective on the field of jewelry and metalsmithing, to define its particularities and concerns in relation to the discourses of the contemporary art world.

Together we will explore a series of seminal theoretical texts, seeking ways to relate them to our own practice.  Through these texts we will encounter a series of themes and historical perspectives that are crucial to the field of jewelry, while also delving into fields and areas of inquiry, that have not commonly been related to our field, but perhaps should or could be.  Our aim is to get a historical and interdisciplinary perspective on where we are as artists/makers today, how we got here and where we could go from here. The course aims to bring up critical questions on why we make, whom we make for and the meaning of our practice beyond the studio and the jewelry and metals world.

This is a chance to practice your skills in connecting theory, reading and writing to your work and to build a vocabulary and ground of reference around your ideas, interests and intentions. It’s a chance to take part in an intense discourse around your field, which you might be asked to do many times in the future of your career.

The Wednesday meetings will adopt the form of a reading/talking circle. Your role in the group is important and the success of our conversations will be based on your participation and engagement. We will all take turns in presenting and leading the discussion and also examine what “research through practice” might mean for us, by exploring some ways of connecting theory and making. 

Dec 6, 2009

Orphan of Omnipotence

Orphan of Omnipotence
a manifesto by Courtney Salazar

My manifesto discusses how art is a product of religion, and that over time art has taken itself out of a dependent role and turned the tables. But , I'll give you a hint, in the end, art wins!
Art was born out of the need for mankind to connect and quantify his existence through religion. Religion gave humans a reason to transcend beyond a mere menial life and an unknown beginning. Although, at the same time it did require submission, and placed us in a self-inflicted subordinate role (but you know, that did call for some skillful creative imagination on the part of the creators of these beliefs). By visualizing a relationship with their deity through a means of formal making, man further justified his belief in a higher power and materialized a connection . This tool of spiritual imagery became known as 'art', although not very similar to art as we know it today. Art has evolved over the past several hundred years, and has moved further and further from its religious roots. It no longer exists as a tool for religious propaganda, or to rationalize a cultivated belief. Its purpose now is to embody unique aspects of specific cultures, social ties, personal experience, relationships, beliefs, humor, sarcasm, and everything else that exists. Religion now, merely acts as a subject matter to art, a theme or just another institution to be mocked. We don't have to fear punishment for blasphemy, nor do we have to make art in the name of anything other than ourselves. Art is a strong, proud, happy, and independent orphan of spiritual omnipotence. It was born and shaped and manipulated and then set free by the selfishness of the people who enslaved it. Art has not replaced religion, but it is on the other side of things. It is running the show as the ultimate embodiment of anything and everything that exists. This is unlike religious deities, who are seen as the embodiment of the supreme creator of living things. Art gives us the control to manifest and create our own opinionated versions of anything we like, moving beyond the tangible into ideas and experiences. The artist and his voice could not remain anonymous forever. The selfish tendencies of the human race won out over serving a higher power. We are our own baker and religion is a very small piece of the pie, surely not large enough to dictate any parameters for creativity. So now we mock it and use it as a figure of speech and offend others with it and use it to sell products and use its imagery to tell our own stories. Art is now the omnipotent tool, the one thing that transcends mere existence. And we are so lucky to be wielding this tool, right where we are in the middle of it.

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