VISA 480 Week 1 Lesson Plan


Class Activities

Lecture consisting of an overview of types of nothing in art from early part of last century to present day. 
(1 hour)


Malevich, Raushenberg, Friedman, Sugimoto, Nauman, Fontana, Ross, Whitread, Baldessari, Klein, Creed, Eichhorn, Hein, Art & Language, Kapoor, Cage, Zittel, Camitzer, Douglas, Ligon, Woodcock

The very first class exercise is not only an introduction to the course syllabus and topics and to each other, but also a point wherein I can grasp an understanding of my students’ prior knowledge, frames of reference, assumptions, and problem-solving methods.

Divide the class into 6 groups of four, and ask each group to brainstorm responses to the following prompts:

  • All the ways one might imagine nothing to be.
  • All the ways nothing could appear, or look like.
  • All the questions one can ask about the nothing.
  • All the ways nothing might act.
  • All the ways you might produce nothing.
  • All the ways nothing might feel like.

On a large sheet of paper, each group creates a concept map of main ideas, topics or areas that represent all the directions they discovered in their answers. Once completed, we take a walk around the room to see how many ways we’ve figured out how to name, describe or sense “nothing.”

At the end of the course after six approaches of theoretical dissection, I bring out their mind maps and ask them to update tacit references with particularities learned in the course, in part to see their own growth and expansion of ideas, but also because articulating the depth of abstract concepts is a meta-cognitive realization of their process with theory over the term.


Online Group Journal Questions – Due Next Wednesday at 5pm

Heidegger The Thing – Each person in the group should contribute a post that defines how the jug is:

–  Jug
–  Thing
–  Object
–  Representation
–  Making Process
–  How do they relate?

Compare each other’s answers and identify the discrepancies and common understandings, reply in the same forum.

Please chose on question each and respond in the discussion below. 

  • How does Peter approach the idea of ‘decision’ in art-making?
  • What is Heidegger’s idea of ‘indifference’ and how does it compare to a ‘binary’?
  • Describe the ‘space-time’ and what it opposes.
  • Why is ‘affirmation of art’ relevant in the arguments set by Peter about art?
  • What does it mean if ‘unknowing’ as affirmed?
  • What does Heidegger mean when he refers to the ‘work’ of art?
  • What is the difference between Hegel’s ‘Spirit’ and Heidegger’s ‘Being’?
  • How does Ranciere describe the destruction of unknowingness?

Please each post an answer to this question, feel free to comment to each other’s posts after the Wednesday deadline in preparation for Friday’s in class discussions.  

In Gary Peter’s Ahead of Yes and No:  Heidegger on Not Knowing and Art pick from a concept mentioned in the reading, and relate it to how you might activate the space of ‘not knowing’ in your own artistic practice. Please elaborate on specific details that relate to the approach you’ve chosen.