UTNS 5143 Critical Studio
Selena Kimball & Pascal Glissmann
Wednesday 9:55am – 11:45am
Academic Entrance 63 Fifth Ave
Room: 200

Week 10
Workshop #12 Final Archive Pitch
Pitch a final project in class on Nov 8: What do you record? What’s your methodology of recording? How do you record? How does it get seen? Make sure all your recordings so far are collected in a single google drive folder (no subfolders) and be prepared to use the grid view to support your pitch/ proposal.

The only requirement for the final archive is the inclusion of 24 recordings. The choice of media or channel, whether it be a publication, magazine, map, installation, performance, …, is entirely your call and should reflect your research inquiry/ object.

For your pitch, it could be helpful to include printed records to explain your approach to dissemination. Don’t hesitate to reference relevant projects (whether in physical form or as web links), works by artists, designers, or scientists that serve as sources of inspiration or align with your planned final project.

Week 9
Workshop #11 Forensic Board Workshop

Next Steps

1. Look at all the records you generated thus far and choose the most interesting twenty five. Assemble these (only one per page) into a PDF.

2. Choose one methodology (such as planetary diagrams, time/ frame instructions/ anthotypes) and do it again. Add these records to the PDF.

4. Take a photo of your research object and add it (full spread) to the PDF.

5. Pull three quotes from the reading, add them to the last page of the PDF.

6. Email the PDF to us by Tuesday Oct 31st at noon

7. We will use the prints to create “forensic object boards” in class next week. We will bring tape and thread — feel free to bring any additional material.

Week 8
Workshop # 10: Planetary Diagrams: Captioning Autographic Records

Based on similarities in the Google Earth recordings you brought in, you collaborated with 3-4 others to create a “chapter” by captioning your images around a common theme.

Thematic Examples:
Time: How long did it take to create the visual trace? (How do you measure time? What are non-human perspectives?)

Material: What materials are part of the visual traces? How did they change?

Actors: Identify first the human, then the nonhuman operations that serve as triggering conditions of the autographic process

Next Steps

Finalize the grid of methodologies and upload it to your google folder. Collect notes from at least two readings. We will use these as jumping-off points for
our midterm conversations next week.

Take note of your midterm timeslot — zoom meetings in groups of two

Update your archive on google drive — make sure it includes recordings coming out of all workshops so far.

Week 7: Anthotypes

Workshop #9: Anthotype
Making the Anthotype photogram (as groups)

— 1 —
List four physical objects related to the substance of your emulsion, particularly those that are interesting in terms of your research. Can any of these be placed on your emulsion for the period of time it will take to make the anthotype photogram?

— 2 —
What type of arrangement/ composition might heighten or create interesting question?

— 3 —
How does the idea of “exposure” relate to your research?

— 4 —
Siting the exposure: Given that anthotypes need sun to make an image and require from a few hours to several days to expose, is there a place you might leave your anthotype which is interesting for your research (ie taped in the window of the American Museum of Natural History, etc.)

— 5 —
How can you document the process of taking the exposure?

— 6 —
For next week, bring in a documentation (digital images) of the process and upload to google drive folder week.

— 7 —
Also, upload an image of the emulsion sheet you created  in class.

Recording Instructions for week 7:
Apparatuses of sensing the Earth as an ever-changing archive of human-altered planetary dynamics

— 1 —
Planetary Diagrams: Towards an Autographic Theory of Climate Emergency (Photography Off the Scale) by Lukáš Likavčan and Paul Heinicker

— 2 —
In the context of your research inquiry, how is the earth’s surface recording human behavior related to your research inquiry and depicting “human-altered planetary dynamics?” For example, where is your working object produced (industries), how is it transported (infrastructures), what kind of energy is needed, or is nature/ geography impacted in general?

— 3 —
Use Google Earth (or any other satellite imagery archive) to capture 5 recordings (screenshots)

— 4 —
Print and crop five recordings (7×7 inches) and bring them to class. (Or send via email before Oct 17th, noon.)

Photography Off the Scale: Planetary Diagrams: Towards an Autographic Theory of Climate Emergency, Lukáš Likavčan and Paul Heinicker


The One Hundred Circle Farm, Emmet Gowin 
PACE Gallery:

Necessary Lines, Marco Cadioli

Square with concentric circles, Marco Cadioli

A Simulacrum of our Constructed Home, Seher Anand

Week 6 Matrix of Instruments

Workshop #8: Matrix of Instruments
In class, you used a matrix combining instruments with objects to create new recordings of your research object. You chose the most interesting of these and translated it into an instruction.
Please upload the visual documentation of your recordings to your google drive folder and add the instruction to this google doc.

Prepare for next week:
Prepare next week’s workshop: Recording Nature with Nature/ Anthotypes. Create an emulsion following the steps in the instruction sheet “Preparation for Anthotype Workshop” shared in our google drive/ readings folder. Create about 6oz of the substrate and bring it in a glass container/ jar.
There is also additional information about the process: Anthotypes.pdf.

Week 5 Time/ Frame(s) Workshops

Workshop #7: Time/ Frame(s) Recording Instruction
In small groups, share your time recordings and translate your individual process into instructions (under 25 words) that can be enacted by peers—upload the short instructions to this google doc.

Workshop #8: Exchanging and Enacting Time/ Frame(s)
Individually, you began recording your object through what you deemed an appropriate unit of time & ran mock-up experiments. Now exchange time frames: Choosing a peer instruction, experiment with your research inquiry seen through a different bracket of time.

Please document the in-class workshops by uploading images to your google drive folder.

Recording Instructions for week 6:
— 1 Choose three instruction from those submitted by your peers in class.
— 2 Enact the instruction
— 3 Bring your recordings to class and upload a copy to your google drive.

Fugitives: Anarchival Materiality in Archives Kate Hennessey and Trudi Lynn Smith

Prepare for next week/ Instruments for recording
— 1 Bring in an instrument for recording (not cell phone)
— 2 Bring in your physical object

Week 4 Time Workshops

Workshop #5: Gif Reflection 
As a group, you used the gifs to create thematic clusters and discuss how time is used in the recordings so far: as medium and as a subject.

Workshop #6: Time/ Frames
Individually, you began research into recording your object through time & run mock up experiments. Guiding questions: what is an appropriate time window (IE life cycle; seasons; one second; one hour; one year) to observe your working object/ investigate in your research? What are possible mediums/ methods for recording this window of time?

Recording Instructions for week 5: Time/ Frames

— 1
Use the references below to identify (1) an appropriate time window to observe your working object/ investigate in your research, and (2) a methodology for recording.

— 2
If possible, decide for a time window that allows you to create your own records this coming week. If your working object requires a longer period of observation (a year; a season; …) you can create a mock up using speculative/ expected recordings.

— 3
Bring your recordings to class and upload a copy to your google drive folder.


Jason Shulman
Shulman captures the entire duration of a movie in a single image with his series 
Photographs of Films (make sure to also read the interview on this page).

“Carrying an emotional depth, the acoustic hum of natural phenomena in Zimoun’s minimalist constructions effortlessly reverberates.” (Laura Blereau)

Maria Sibylla Merian
Her works on insect development and the transformation of insects through the process of metamorphosis contributed to the advance of entomology in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. She depicted complete life cycles on a single page.

Das Blumenwunder (The Miracle of the Flowers)
Max Reichmann (director), 1926
“(…) Das Blumenwunder presents the viewer with a deliberate return to the kinetic body as the medium of a shared, lived experience with plants.” More information / Trailer

Masanao Abe/ Helmut Völter
The Movement of Clouds around Mount Fuji, Photographed and Filmed by Masanao Abe
“In the late 1920s, the Japanese physicist Masanao Abe built an observatory with a view of Mount Fuji. From it, over the course of fifteen years, he recorded the clouds that surrounded the mountain.”

Tacita Dean  (The Green Ray)
The green ray is the slowest setting ray of the sun which briefly streaks across the horizon before the descent of darkness. Filmed off the west coast of Madagascar, Tacita Dean’s The Green Ray (2001) is a visualization of patience, the evanescence of time, and belief.
Read an interview in Bomb Magazine here
On Vimeo https://vimeo.com/38026163

Adam Magyar
On Kawara (Date Paintings)
Known collectively as Today (1966–2013), On Kawara’s Date Paintings record nothing more than the date on which they were made. For each work in the series—Kawara produced nearly 3,000 of them over more than four decades—the artist observed a strict set of rules, inscribing the exact date he created the painting in white letters and numbers on a monochromatic ground.

Roni Horn (LOG)
The works in LOG are a running series of documentations, flickers of casual speech and captured moments, each one hinting at an internal world beyond the artist’s often free-associative conceptual works.
Exhibition details at Hauser and Wirth

Reiner Leist (Window Project)
For over 20 years, Reiner Leist has taken a photo nearly every day from the window of his Manhattan apartment. His unique, long-term project “Window” reveals the evolution of the city – before and after 9/11.

Black Quantum Futurism (Time Zone Protocols)
Time Zone Protocols debuts a nonlinear map pinpointing sociohistorical events in the development of Western time consciousness. Focusing on the 1884 International Meridian Conference as a critical point on the Western timeline, the map illustrates the backward and forward-reaching impacts of time standardization and colonized time.
Lecture by Rasheeda Phillips 

Week 3 Typology Workshops

A typology is the study of or analysis or classification based on types or categories. This week you created several different typologies and approaches to categorizing your research records.

Workshop #3: Differences within Similarity
Beginning with a 5 x 5 grid of similar images (derived from students’ typology instruction), identify differences between these images (you will have lists of differences generated by the group). Choose one of these differences as a sequencing logic to make a physical stack out of your postcard-sized images.

Workshop #4: Collective Cognitive Map
A peer will select an image out of your stack that best represents nature (from their perspective)—this image will become the center of a cognitive map. To expand the reading of this image, your peers will respond to a series of prompts to add thoughts & connections to your map.

Please document the in-class workshops by uploading images of the typologies and the cognitive maps to our shared google drive/ folder week 3.

Recording Instructions for week 4: Time/ Frames

1 — 25 Frames
Use a selection of your 25 typology images to create a digital loop (at least 3 images, we will use animated gifs for this). Think about the characteristics of your research object/ research inquiry to identify an appropriate timing for the frames. For example, you can create a “flashy animation” showing all frames with “no delay.” You can also display frames using different durations to focus on specific content. Don’t hesitate to experiment.

2 — Written Reflection: Research inquiry into Nature (one page)
What is your current interest in the feature, process or product of the earth itself you have chosen to research? Consider your 25 Frames a jumping off place for writing about this current phase of research. What was the “research object” you initially chose to investigate?
How has it been reshaped by your research into the history of representing your subject (workshops #1+2), and being categorized through typologies (workshops #3+4).
Incorporate at least two of the readings into this reflection.

Upload your animated gif and your writing to your google drive before class.


(1) How to make an animated GIF in Photoshop (Tutorial)


(1) Simon, H. A. (1996). The science of the artificial. (Chapter 1: Understanding the Natural and Artificial Worlds)

(2) OPTIONAL: Miltner, K. M., & Highfield, T. (2017). Analyzing the Cultural Significance of the Animated GIF. Social Media + Society, 3(3). https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305117725223

Week 2

This week, we clarified your working object(s) by recategorizing its historical records:

Workshop #1: How Mediated is the Historical Record?
Printed records of your research object are arranged in a sequence from least mediated to most mediated. Image caption indicate how you decided degree of mediation.

Workshop #2: What is a Radical?
Two peers sequence the images of your working object from traditional to radical. Note their reasonings and why certain historical records are deemed more “radical” than others.

Please document the in-class workshop by uploading the two images you took of the final sequences in class to our shared google drive/ archives/ yourname.

Recording Instructions for week 3: Typologies as Form-finding 

1 — Write an instruction to create a typology (or system of classification) for your research object.

2 — Enact the instruction, creating a grouping of records with shared attributes.

3 — Print & crop 25 records in postcard-size (4*6 inch)

Readings & References

(1) Daston, Lorraine  (2017) Third Nature from Science in the Archives.University of Chicago Press.

(2) Bernd & Hilla Becher
Tate Modern: Who are Bernd and Hilla Becher?
SF MOMA: Interview with Hilla Becher
MET: Virtual Opening

(3) Penelope Umbrico
Studio Website

(4) Lorna Simpson
Studio Website
Tate Modern: Studio Visit

Week 1 | History of Recording Nature

Recording Instructions

Identify an initial research inquiry into a specific aspect of nature–a feature, process or product of the earth itself. We will call this your “research object” even though it might not be a literal object. Use this working object to:

1 — Create two recordings using the Instructions that were developed in class (select 2 out of 4). Find them below.

2 — Contextualize these two new recordings with samples from the past:

2A — Find 12 previous recordings of your research object using institutional archives. Go back in time as far as possible and think about different geographies and cultures.

2B — Print these 12 recordings of your research object. In color, size 8.5″ x 5.5″ (that is a half-letter size which means you can fit two recordings on one page). 


Tsing, A. L. (2021). The mushroom at the end of the world: On the possibility of life in capitalist ruins. Princeton University Press. (Part I)

Demos, T. J. (2017). Against the anthropocene: Visual culture and environment Today. Sternberg Press.  (Chapter 1)

Vis, Dirk, (2022). Research for People Who Think They Would Rather Create. Onomatopee.  (Optional)

Course Description

Field notes, cyanotypes, sound recording, frottage, virtual simulations—the history of observing and documenting nature through creative practice involves manifold methodologies using the senses, specialized instruments, and speculation. Most recently, human behavior–individually and as a global species–is causing radical change to natural systems. This demands an equally radical shift in the way we observe and document nature, and a rethinking of how we might circulate newfound knowledge to inform the conversation and instigate change.

This studio class is structured around a range of form-finding and form-making workshops to record the natural world (from historical analog processes such as anthotypes to evolving uses of digital algorithms). In addition, students will develop their own unique methodologies for observing and generating radical records. Applying transdisciplinary practices of observation to instigate new ways of seeing and documenting nature, we will build an archive of unconventional records.

These growing collections of individual observations will become resources for collaborative critical inquiry to respond to current socio-political issues and remake the ecological imaginary. Is a record radical when it is visually disruptive, or when it manifests an aspect of nature previously unseen or ignored? Is it radical when it introduces a new method of seeing into our visual vocabulary, or contradicts an existing idea of the natural world? Or is a record radical when it refuses existing modes of publishing and circulation? Students will use their recordings to further their individual research questions and circulate their resulting archives in a format of their choice ranging from publications on screen or paper to performances and installations.

UTNS 5143 Critical Studio
Selena Kimball & Pascal Glissmann
Wednesday 12:10-2:10pm

More information:
The New School Course Catalog

Photo by Galen Crout on Unsplash