Co-Lab: Urban Tactics & Media Ecologies in Harlem


NMDS 5593 / CRN 7522

Instructors: Nitin Sawhney (School of Media Studies), Melanie Crean (Parsons Design and Technology)

Wednesdays  3:50 - 6:30 pm (offered next in Spring 2016)

This collab is a cross-disciplinary design studio that brings together perspectives from art, technology, and activism, to inform participatory, site-specific critical inquiry into the nature of site and design of creative interventions. Students work in teams to research and design creative projects in two neighborhoods of Harlem in uptown Manhattan: Sugar Hill, an area of West Harlem between 145th & 155th Streets, where a new museum is currently under construction, and a former bank building on 125th Street & Park Avenue. Students will work with the non-profit No Longer Empty (NLE), community-based organizations and artist-activist collectives to investigate and inform the design of their own site specific interventions created in conjunction with an exhibition taking place this spring/summer.

The course examines issues emerging in contested urban contexts today, and how processes of social, artistic, media and design interventions may reframe issues, transform conditions and potentially lead to a change in our surroundings. Investigations include issues of urban spatial justice, or the politics of how urban space is utilized; urban eco-futures and alternate modes of greening the urban environment; alternate urban economies and living configurations; and artistic urban intervention, or utilizing the city as a political and artistic canvas.

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