Learning to See

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSDe2SD1114

Semester and Year Offered: Semester 1 (Monsoon)

Course Coordinator and Team: Venugopal Maddipati

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: None

Course Objectives/Description:

This course provides important insights into how sense and sense-making are constituted. The course will also explore how transformations in the very nature of one’s own perspectivalism, brings about a transformation of one’s experiences. The students will be expected to:

  1. Explore how sense is constituted, in particular cases, in particular individuals, with respect to distinct objects and spaces.
  2. Make explicit the sense-making process by the means of resorting to basic, elementary forms of recording observations, be these in the form of drawing, sketching, photographing or even embodiment.
  3. Become more rigorous and disciplined in maintaining a record of one’s own observations so as to observe how one’s perspectivalism changes over a sustained period of time.
  4. Become more solicitous towards new and divergent ways of experiencing the same material.
  5. Develop the confidence to create and flesh out new sensory experiences and perspectives so as to begin to think like designers
  6. Become prepared for the more advanced courses later in the program which attempt to explore specific problems from the vantages of the peculiar sensibilities produced by the way societies make themselves hierarchical in terms of caste, class and gender.

Course Outcomes:

On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Approach representation and field-research iteratively. Draw
  2. Become fearless in representing ideas in paper or by other means such as models, photographs or video shorts.
  3. Curate their own visual representations in an exhibition and to label images and also work on labels, composition and colour.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

  1. The course will begin with classroom sessions exploring the theme of perspectivalism and sense making in conjunction with some preliminary readings relating to the various ways in which art historians, sociologists and philosophers have attempted to draw attention to sense-making.
  2. The next section of the course will also provide practical assignments. In these assignments, which will involve still-life drawing, sketching, photography, model-making and videography students will explore objects as compositions, that is, as specific configurations of elements in interaction.
  3. The course will then move from an object oriented approach, towards a space-oriented approach and encourage students to use the representational means at their disposal to systematically map out the nature of the elements in interaction within that space. The space will be confined to the Ambedkar University Campus.
  4. Following representing the space and its constituent elements, the students will then proceed to redefine the elements within that space, and the nature of the relationship between them, so as to produce an entirely new set of sensorial experiences.
  5. The course will end with the documentation of the whole process and reflecting on the learnings.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • Regular assessment based on classroom exercises and field assignments- 30%
  • Classroom discussions and reflection sessions- 20%
  • A major assessment towards the end of the semester including final presentation and documentation communicating the scope, methods, tools, data collection and analysis and research findings- 30%
  • Semester end jury- 20%

Reading List:

  • Michael Baxandall: Patterns of Intentions
  • AmitaBaviskar: What the Eye Does Not See: The Yamuna in the Imagination of Delhi
  • Erwin Panofsky: Perspective as Symbolic Form
  • Additional Reference:
  • VidyaDehejia: Aniconism and the Multivalence of Emblems
  • Susan Huntington: "Early Buddhist Art and the Theory of Aniconism"
  • VidyaDehejia: On Modes of Visual Narration in Early Buddhist Art.