sci-arc’s MediaSCAPES program

(oh lord the typography!)

I wanted to put in a word here about a new Master’s program my friend and mentor Ed Keller is launching at sci-arc this coming Fall (’07), called Mediascapes. I may have the honor and excitement of playing some supporting role in this program, including teaching. Regardless, it will be a very interesting experience for anyone wishing to get involved. The program is currently accepting applicants — go for it.

The website has a decent description of the program, but I think you’ll get a better sense of it by reading this thread from archinect. In case you don’t have the time to find the meat in the blather, it’s really in Ed’s few responses, as well as Juan Azulay’s (“I believe the program will clearly have a materialist bend – if not a constantly bending materialism.”). Let me quote this description from Ed:

The MediaSCAPES program will rethink a set of interdisciplinary connections between what are often- mistakenly, in my opinion- considered separate disciplines. The entire point of the mediascapes concept as we adapt it, and as Appadurai articulates it in his _Modernity at Large_, is that our world today could be seen to be driven by two main forces- media and migration. The concept of the ‘scape’ is merely a useful term to provoke more technical subdivisions that ultimately challenge previously respected disciplinary divisions like ‘architecture’, ‘film’, etc.  Nonetheless- for example- game designers will be able to benefit from a process which may include them in preproduction design work on a game, that is simultaneously theorized [whilst in production] in accompanying seminars. Without simple distinctions between game designer, architect, film maker. A strong critical agenda will be brought to this. We will merge the MIT Media Lab model of production and sponsorship with a great deal of questioning and investigations which typically have only occurred within hardcore history theory programs or thinktanks.

And also:

…and also provoke some important questions about the disciplinary boundaries of architecture and other techno-cultural practices. The whole point of the program is to do that. MediaSCAPES is GROUNDED in architecture as a kind of ‘UR-Discipline’- and
that is a classic way to ground it- but then opened up radically through film, gaming, technology, and
contemporary political debates.

It’s a pretty ambitious brief, but I’m sure it’s possible.  I like the optimism it has about architectural education (the critical studio model, etc.), which jibes very well with the absolutely transformative experience I had in Columbia’s M.Arch. program.   I know many key ingredients are in place already (institutional support, good faculty).  Perhaps the only major outstanding question is students (what kind, what caliber).  Well, and, for myself, “how can I materially afford to get involved?” given that I am just barely (within $1K) breaking even on life right now, and live in Brooklyn.  But of course the reason I’m posting this is because I’m hugely psyched about it.  If I become formally involved I will post more about how it develops!

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