Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding 13: Cultural Agents, Fall 2014: Final Projects

For the final assignment, students designed a creative aesthetic intervention that deals with a concrete issue (potentially in the field of the student) in an indirect and artistly (not necessarily “artistic”) way, through collaboration with outside institutions. While the interventions do not have to be carried out, feasibility is required. The final draft of the interventions were presented at the Arts and Science Fair and defended in a theoretical, academic essay. Here are a few examples: 

The Dream Book Project
The Body App
Project Discourse

Cultural Agents Fair, Fall 2015

Students from Professor Doris Sommer's course, "Aesthetic and Interpretative Understanding 13: Cultural Agents," each had to create a final project, proposing art interventions for social issues.

Cultural Agents' Fair

Students present their final project for the cultural agents course

Faith Jackson presented the project "TIME TRIES, TIME DIES" and she commented:

"Taking Cultural Agents ended up being such an incredible course for me, broadening my horizons. The fact that we are learning about art, we are learning about social change, we are learning about philosophy, we are learning about so many things and the intersection of these things which is such a great experience. I use to joke with my friends about how like walking into this class, it felt like the quintessential Harvard class that I didn’t get my freshman year just because you walk in and Prof. Sommer’s talking about plato in comparison with Aristotle, she’s cold calling using the socratic method and it was such a cool experience like I am really glad I ended up taking this class."

One student, Bluye Demessie, proposed "Creating Art Using Litter."

"Littering is something we all see every day. It puts everyone into the solution and it’s so simple. It's not some complicated social issue. It’s just that everyone needs to take care of their own waste. I see it every day.Something that we all experience. When I came up with the idea, I was first inspired by a trash mountain done some years at Harvard at the Science Center Plaza, and that was more about conservation, reducing our waste. It was shocking and created a discussion. The second thing was that there is an artist named Vik Muniz, and he takes trash and turns it into art. It doesn’t matter what object it is, you can still turn it into art. So I kind of combined those two ideas and turned it into my idea, where you take a plastic container shaped into a famous sculpture and substitute it as a trashcan."