Course Lists

Interdisciplinary Sculpture Course List

IS 200 Introduction to Sculpture

Introduces the 3D format and exposes students to an overview of processes, tools, and materials used in sculpture. Students explore the relationship of ideas to materials and construction techniques.

Prerequisite: FF 130 A/B

IS 202 Introduction to Wood

Presents an opportunity to manipulate wood as a sculptural material. Slides, photographs, and books of contemporary wood sculpture are presented and discussed. Exercises in scale drawings and models help to understand and realize projects. Quick fastening and building construction techniques are covered as well as experiments with shaping, laminating, and finishing wood. The goal is to further individual creativity.

Prerequisite: FF 130 A/B

IS 206 Material Transmutation

Uses evolution as a metaphor for a particular process of working through materials. “A periodic table” of elemental techniques particular to each material is discovered/uncovered. Then these techniques are used “molecularly,” in combination to make forms that as the weeks go on become more and more complex. The work is evolved over many generations through the selection and reproduction of “accidents.” Craft, for the purposes of this class, is defined by the ability to reproduce accidents. As the work evolves and fluency is established with the material, intention and accident become confused and it is more difficult to distinguish at any given moment between which aspects of the work are the result of the artist’s hand and which are the way they are due to the qualities/limitations of the ever-changing material.

Prerequisite: Earned credit or concurrent enrollment in FF 130

IS 266 Introduction to Newer Genres

Offers a studio-laboratory environment for transdisciplinary, cross-media experimentations in time-based, performance, relational, video/electronic arts, installation, light/space, and locational/spatial practices. Students are encouraged to develop new methods and sites to realize their ideas and concepts through material, process, form, and technology. Through rigorous critiques, students investigate their artistic intentions and how these are executed through the work to create meaning. The objective of this course is to guide students toward a thorough understanding and articulation of their work within larger cultural, theoretical, and historical contexts. Importance is also placed on developing skills to documenting these genres through photographs, video, and other techniques.

Prerequisite: FF 130A/B and FF 140A/B

IS 272 Intro to Figure Sculpture

An introduction to the fundamentals of making both figures and portrait heads from models. Small quick clay sketches, bas-relief, and plaster waste mold techniques are covered. At the end of each exercise students are encouraged to photograph their work.

Prerequisite: Earned credit or concurrent enrollment in FF 130

IS 285 Metal Fabrication

Introduces students to various metal working processes and materials where students develop their technique by exploring steel fabrication, welding, and various other hot and cold metal working skills. It is expected that through mastery and the application of these processes as a means to an end, students combine formal and conceptual subject matter to articulate their own artistic direction. For students enrolled in a second or third instance, it is an expansion upon the knowledge and techniques learned during their first completion of the course. Students become an integral part of the studio and are expected to work toward developing a more cohesive body of work through more specific investigation and research.

Prerequisite: IS 200

IS 286 Intro to Biofabrication

In the thousands of years since humans left the stone age, we have developed an astounding collection of skills and technologies for fabrication. Nature, however, has employed billions of years of R&D to develop far more sophisticated means of making things. Biofabrication is the combination of these technologies. In this course, students learn about natural growth systems and explore ways of making, not just from, but with nature. Through visiting scientists, visiting artists, readings, and hands-on experimentation, students gain a scientific understanding of fundamental principles of biological materials. Students use a variety of organisms, such as bacteria and fungi; combine these with different biotechnologies, like genetic modification, and fabrication processes. This allows students to create objects in a range of materials such as bio cement, microbial cellulose nanofibers, fluorescent proteins, or mycelium-based composites. These complex technological practices are driven by artistic sensibilities and put into action through material exploration and studio projects.

Prerequisite: FF 111/112

IS 308 Installations

Focuses on the multiple histories involved in site-specific works that include architecture, media, and landscape, among others. Consideration is given to aesthetic, political, and poetic concerns that are part of the creation of “place”. Students are encouraged to explore beyond traditional art exhibition sites in order to understand how the content of work cannot be separated from its context. Model making and drawing are used as tools in the development of ideas and processes before full-scale work is created. Students need to be highly motivated and use their initiative in order to work in this context where focus is on creating a spatial experience rather than an individual object.

Prerequisite: Earned credit or concurrent enrollment in FF 130

IS 316 Baltimore Urban Farming

This course focuses on the artistic, social, political and ecological issues of growing food in the city. Mid-winter seeds are prepared indoors. A seminar on historical and present day issues of food production is conducted to evaluate how this activity has been approached by artists historically and look at the vast amount of new work in this area. This project-based course asks students to respond to the information with either a single or series of projects. With a partnership between 6 and 8 urban farms, students have an opportunity to learn practical gardening skills and each farms unique strengths and challenges.

IS 320 Intro to Digital Fabrication

Digital fabrication is literally reshaping the our world. Digital modes of designing, thinking, and making are embodied the buildings we inhabit, the clothes we wear, the artworks we experience, and even the food we eat. The integration of design software, precision robotics, and innovative systems of making opens up exciting new possibilities for artists and designers. It also introduces fundamental shifts in our ways of making, our economy, and our society. It demands our consideration as citizens and our thoughtful use as makers. In this course, students develop a proficiency in computer aided design (CAD) working in Rhino, and learn to safely and effectively use laser cutters, 3D printers, and the CNC router. Through research, discussion, and practice students learn to think about and through these tools to develop a personal relationship with these technologies in order to integrate them into their practice.

Prerequisite: FF 130A/B and FF 140A/B

IS 345 Sound Installation Art

An introduction to the sonic possibilities of a three dimensional space while also considering sound as an independent sculptural medium. This course addresses the use of sound in a variety of media including photography, drawing, video, performance and sculptural materials. Concepts of interactivity, site specific sound art, networked sound installation and kinetic sound sculpture are also be covered.

Prerequisite: IA 202 or IA 230

IS 346 Grow the Future

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Nearly a half-century since this motto inspired inventors of the personal computer, perhaps the best way to predict the future now is to grow it. Advances in biotechnology are outpacing digital technology as new knowledge and tools open astonishing possibilities. Artists have a vital role to play here; to grow a better future we must first understand emerging technologies and their contexts, imagine possibilities, speculate on their unfolding, and then test our ideas. Through interdisciplinary collaboration, this course combines biotech research, speculative thinking, and creative application to explore how to possibly grow the future. This course participates in the BioDesign Challenge, a competition of top art, design, and research institutions from around the world. The BDC inspires students to imagine innovative applications of emerging biotechnologies. Through informed and creative thinking, small groups of students in this class will research, design, and prototype such a project. The strongest project in the course is chosen to represent MICA at the BioDesign Summit during the summer at the MoMA in NY.

Prerequisite: IS 286

IS 349 Repetition/The Copy/The Clone

The culture of the copy has existed since antiquity. A fascination with the reproduction of a likeness has spurred numerous inventions from casting methods, to the camera and printing press, to 3D scanning and 3D printing to name a few. In this course, students examine a myriad of social implications of reproduction and replication including, originality, mass culture consumerism and the authority of the object. Students are introduced to a variety of processes of mimetic reproduction including traditional mold making techniques, digital printing and 3D scanning.

Prerequisite: IS 200

IS 353

In a digital era where everyone is always connected yet always still processing, how do we learn who we are without becoming compressed into an file? As artists, how do we continue to test the diminishing boundaries between our bodies and a world in which virtuality is ubiquitous and the surreal is increasingly normalized? In navigating our 21st century digital landscape, what part do artists play in reshaping the reality of our world today? This course examines the construction of gender, race, and reality in hopes to find balance between embracing heritage and resisting the restrictive flattening often accompanying identity politics. Students spend the semester demystifying the colonial gaze through examining its counteragents (science fiction, queer theory, and antiracism) and creating work that embraces our ever presence in our virtual world. Together, they unearth, breakdown, and challenge real and imagined systems of power through fearless material inquiries, analytical digesting of films and literature, and generously rigorous peer critiques. Working the time-based mediums such as sound, video, performance, and the internet, students author their own narratives to cultivate the agency to rewrite the code that has brought them to where they are today.

Prerequisite: IS 200, or IS 206

IS 372 Inter/Adv Figure Sculpture

This course is a direct continuation in the development of figurative modeling using all applied principles from Introduction to Figure Sculpture. Advanced students are encouraged and instructed to model a life-size figure over the entire semester. Options for intermediate students are to focus on two, three and four week lessons of portrait and half life-size figure studies.

Prerequisite: IS 272

IS 380 Bastardize Machines: A Romance

Develop strategies of relation, liberation, and creation suited for life on a planet circumscribed by and interwoven with computing machines. Students bastardize machines and create machines that bastardize; rejoice in the dubious offspring of the digital and physical. Students hack machines, learn to whisper commands, roam as nomads across all borders, fold the pre-modern into today, write poetry in code, and dance through Cartesian coordinates.

Prerequisite: IS 320

IS 399 Special Topics in Sculpture

The learning objectives of this course are geared toward a specific topic of current interest generally not covered in other courses offered by the department. These courses, typically not offered continuously in the department, provide students and faculty the opportunity to explore new content and course formats. The specific topic is announced in the course schedule.

IS 450 Co-Lab

An experimental class bringing students and faculty together around a common research project. The course is informed by other research-based courses, but parallels structures found more commonly in university scientific research labs. The primary direction of the research is determined by the faculty leading the course, and varies each semester. Though this differs from the sort of autonomy typically afforded to students in a studio course, students are empowered as collaborators on a larger research project. Elements of the research are assigned to students individually or in small groups, aligned with the project goals and the students’ particular interests. Students work closely with the faculty leader to build a foundational understanding of the research area, determine research objectives, execute research, document process, integrate findings, and apply this new knowledge. Though closely supported by the faculty leader, students are expected to exercise agency, informed decision-making, and a personal commitment to the collaborative research project.

Prerequisite: IS 320

IS 498 Senior Independent

Students develop a coherent body of work completed during the senior year for final presentation to a jury selected from the sculptural studies faculty. Periodic critiques to discuss progress, content, and process are conducted by faculty and invited critics.

Prerequisite: SS 300

IS 499 Senior Independent II

This course is a continuation of IS 400 leading to the final senior show. Periodic critiques.

Prerequisite: SS 300