ART07053 2019 Sculpture Studies: Land Art, Ephemera and the Site Specific.

General Details

Full Title
Sculpture Studies: Land Art, Ephemera and the Site Specific.
Transcript Title
Sculpture Studies: Land Art, E
80 %
Subject Area
ART - Art
YADA - Yeats Academy Art Dsgn & Arch
07 - NFQ Level 7
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Elizabeth Caffrey
Programme Membership
SG_AARTT_B07 201900 Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art SG_AARTT_H08 201900 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Fine Art

The fundamental aim of this module is to introduce the student to a direct ‘site specific’ engagement with the living landscape, establishing a closer forum by which the student can foster a dialogue with their natural surroundings. Consequently by way of making work which addresses site specific engagement, the student will gain a closer relationship and have cultivated a stronger empathy to this surrounding geography.

Sculptural in its focus this module will propagate and expand the students building skills, setting out to engender a knowledge of the character and properties of natural found materials, whilst simultaneously asking them to identify a understanding of their sense of place.

Over the semester it is hoped, through the use of seminars, workshops, site visits and basic fieldwork that the students awareness of ‘site specific’ possibilities prosper and broaden; redefining their notion/understanding of what sculpture is or can be?

Through this format/delivery it is hoped to cultivate a stronger awareness and understanding of contemporary site specific responses. Typical areas to consider are the Land Art Movement, Art and Ecology, Ecosophy and other such fields of practice which fit this type of engagement.

We will examine the role of ‘artist as advocate (environmental)’, provoking such questions around ‘what is a sustainable art practice’ and/or ‘how is such a consideration valid in contemporary visual arts today’? It is hoped that these and many other such questions will be addressed through both the seminars and the making process.


Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Realize the value of a broad and well informed Fine Art research; ensuring they have referenced relevant historical and contemporary artists in support of their choices. This must indicate a strong personalized engagement, with a clear sense of their individuality present in this research.



Achieve a high level of resolution within their finished work.



Understand how to site their work appropriately, in a manner which activates the works main concerns or narratives, illustrating clearly they understand the character of their chosen space.



Record the evolution of their chosen making process and deliver a suitable format(s) in the documentation of their work

Teaching and Learning Strategies

At the beginning of the semester the student is provided with a Project theme and to which they build their ongoing research. At the early part of the semester initial technical information is provided via a series of demonstrations, information hand-outs and DVD’S. Students' are asked to maintain a Visual Diary, Sculpture Notebook and a series of exploratory macquettes as they develop their ideas. Weekly one-to-one tutorials support the students’ ongoing research and ensure they are responding productively to the designated project brief .Collective discussions and group critiques further support the students learning throughout the semester.

The Visiting Artist Series, International Trip, Exhibition Visits and Field Trips all provide invaluable exposure to a variety of professional platforms during the academic year.

Module Assessment Strategies

The students’ progress is monitored throughout the semester via informal weekly tutorials. Students present their ‘work in progress’ for a Mid Term Review, usually six weeks into the semester. A formal exam takes place at the end of semester whereby the student mounts their finished work in an exhibition format for assessment.

Repeat Assessments

The student is given a set Project to respond to, with a list of requirements. Through this project the student must establish a body of work which will fulfil the required learning outcomes of the initial failed module.The student is given the use of the Studios for an extra two weeks, after their assessment, so they'll have the support and access to specialized equipment in order to complete the requirements of the Project.

Indicative Syllabus

Visual Research: This is an integral aspect to the student’s engagement, which provides all answers to their material and technical engagement. They are encouraged to realize the value of a broad and well informed research and asked to develop their personal interpretations and concepts. Their investigations should explore both technical and creative sources as well as making themselves familiar with all relevant historical and contemporary artists. A strong and rich research is required to meet their diverse learning challenges. Their repertoire of personal imagery and sources will be the basis for their work shared with the other Fine Art disciplines. They now have the opportunity to use the skills acquired in previous modules to help them articulate their concerns in more complex terms.

Introductory Seminars: Will provide a basic information field of works related to site specific sculptural responses. Through the format of lecture and discussion the student establishes a chronological overview of the origins and history of the Land Art Movement.

Studio Based Works and Material Form: As the primary focus of this engagement is sculptural, there is a heavy emphasis on material investigation and drawing, as a means of exploring the students’ concepts. It is important the student learns through experimenting with their chosen materials and is encouraged in the production of macquettes as a helpful platform to expand their initial concepts, thus helping them arrive at their resolved form.

Site Specific Engagement: By way of field trips, students will have the opportunity to discover a variety of natural spaces which provide both a place to site potential works and/or a space which inspires/informs, whereby found materials + data are harvested. By observing the relevant spaces first hand, responses can be recorded and documented relevant to each student concerns, creating their own definition of related field work.

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
100 %

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Presentation of a body of work Final Exam Practical Evaluation 100 % End of Semester 1,2,3,4

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Ceramics Studio Sculpture Studies: Land Art, Ephemera and the Site Specific 1 Weekly 1.00
Workshop Ceramics Studio Sculpture Studies: Land Art, Ephemera and the Site Specific 2 Weekly 2.00
Site Visit Offsite Sculpture Studies: Land Art, Ephemera and the Site Specific 1 Weekly 1.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 4.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Required Reading
2015-06-11 Art in the Anthropocene
ISBN 1785420054 ISBN-13 9781785420054

Taking as its premise that the proposed epoch of the Anthropocene is necessarily an aesthetic event, this collection explores the relationship between contemporary art and knowledge production in an era of ecological crisis. Art in the Anthropocene brings together a multitude of disciplinary conversations, drawing together artists, curators, scientists, theorists and activists to address the geological reformation of the human species. With contributions by Amy Balkin, Ursula Biemann, Amanda Boetzkes, Lindsay Bremner, Joshua Clover & Juliana Spahr, Heather Davis, Sara Dean, Elizabeth Ellsworth & Jamie Kruse (smudge studio), Irmgard Emmelhainz, Anselm Franke, Peter Galison, Fabien Giraud, & Ida Soulard, Laurent Gutierrez & Valerie Portefaix (MAP Office), Terike Haapoja & Laura Gustafsson, Laura Hall, Ilana Halperin, Donna Haraway & Martha Kenney, Ho Tzu Nyen, Bruno Latour, Jeffrey Malecki, Mary Mattingly, Mixrice (Cho Jieun & Yang Chulmo), Natasha Myers, Jean-Luc Nancy & John Paul Ricco, Vincent Normand, Richard Pell & Emily Kutil, Tomas Saraceno, Sasha Engelmann & Bronislaw Szerszynski, Ada Smailbegovic, Karolina Sobecka, Richard Streitmatter-Tran & Vi Le, Anna-Sophie Springer, Sylvere Lotringer, Peter Sloterdijk, Zoe Todd, Etienne Turpin, Pinar Yoldas, and Una Chaudhuri, Fritz Ertl, Oliver Kellhammer & Marina Zurkow. This book is also available as an open access publication through the Open Humanities Press: http: //"

Required Reading
2010-01-04 Vibrant Matter Duke University Press Books
ISBN 0822346338 ISBN-13 9780822346333

In Vibrant Matter the political theorist Jane Bennett, renowned for her work on nature, ethics, and affect, shifts her focus from the human experience of things to things themselves. Bennett argues that political theory needs to do a better job of recognizing the active participation of nonhuman forces in events. Toward that end, she theorizes a vital materiality that runs through and across bodies, both human and nonhuman. Bennett explores how political analyses of public events might change were we to acknowledge that agency always emerges as the effect of ad hoc configurations of human and nonhuman forces. She suggests that recognizing that agency is distributed this way, and is not solely the province of humans, might spur the cultivation of a more responsible, ecologically sound politics: a politics less devoted to blaming and condemning individuals than to discerning the web of forces affecting situations and events. Bennett examines the political and theoretical implications of vital materialism through extended discussions of commonplace things and physical phenomena including stem cells, fish oils, electricity, metal, and trash. She reflects on the vital power of material formations such as landfills, which generate lively streams of chemicals, and omega-3 fatty acids, which can transform brain chemistry and mood. Along the way, she engages with the concepts and claims of Spinoza, Nietzsche, Thoreau, Darwin, Adorno, and Deleuze, disclosing a long history of thinking about vibrant matter in Western philosophy, including attempts by Kant, Bergson, and the embryologist Hans Driesch to name the vital force inherent in material forms. Bennett concludes by sketching the contours of a green materialist ecophilosophy.

Required Reading
2017-06-15 A Field Guide to Getting Lost
ISBN 1786890518 ISBN-13 9781786890511

In this investigation into loss, losing and being lost, Rebecca Solnit explores the challenges of living with uncertainty. A Field Guide to Getting Lost takes in subjects as eclectic as memory and mapmaking, Hitchcock movies and Renaissance painting, Beautifully written, this book combines memoir, history and philosophy, shedding glittering new light on the way we live now.

Required Reading
2016 Decolonizing Nature
ISBN 3956790944 ISBN-13 9783956790942

While ecology has received little systematic attention within art history, its visibility and significance has grown in relation to the threats of climate change and environmental destruction. By engaging artists? widespread aesthetic and political engagement with environmental conditions and processes around the globe?and looking at cutting-edge theoretical, political, and cultural developments in the Global South and North?Decolonizing Nature offers a significant, original contribution to the intersecting fields of art history, ecology, visual culture, geography, and environmental politics. Art historian T. J. Demos, author of Return to the Postcolony: Specters of Colonialism in Contemporary Art (2013), considers the creative proposals of artists and activists for ways of life that bring together ecological sustainability, climate justice, and radical democracy, at a time when such creative proposals are urgently needed.

Required Reading
2012 Ends of the Earth Prestel Pub
ISBN UCSD:31822039591383

"This catalogue to accompany the museum exhibition traces the emergence of the artistic impulses to use the earth as material, land as medium, and to locate works in remote sites, beyond familiar art contexts. Significantly, "Ends of the Earth" challenges many myths about Land art--that it was primarily a North American phenomenon, that it was foremost a sculptural practice, and that it exceeds the confines of the art system. Featuring over 100 artists hailing from countries including Great Britain, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States, the exhibition constitutes the most comprehensive survey of Land art to date"--Provided by publisher.

Required Reading
2014-04-22 Animal Architecture Harry N. Abrams
ISBN 1419711652 ISBN-13 9781419711657

Collects photographs of structures created by animals, from the six-foot-high hills of tiny red ants to the colorfully decorated courtship arenas of the bowerbird, showcasing the connections between human and animal architecture.

Required Reading
2014-08-26 Wasteland Yale University Press
ISBN 9780300197792 ISBN-13 0300197799

In an eloquent history of landscape and land use, Vittoria Di Palma takes on the anti-picturesquehow landscapes that elicit fear and disgust have shaped our conceptions of beauty and the sublime.

Required Reading
2012 Nature
ISBN 0854881964 ISBN-13 9780854881963

This anthology considers how the rise of transdisciplinary practices in the post-war era allowed for new kinds of artistic engagement with nature. It provides an overview of the eclectic scientific and philosophical sources that inform contemporary art's investigations of nature.

Required Reading
2001 Wanderlust Penguin
ISBN 0140286012 ISBN-13 9780140286014

A cultural history of walking explores the ancient practice, from ancient Greece to the present, delving into Wordsworth, Gary Snyder, Rousseau, Jane Austen, and other cultural and literary icons to show how this basic activity has been imagined throughout history. 17,500 first printing.

Required Reading
2004-08-01 Soil and Soul Aurum Press Limited
ISBN 1854109421 ISBN-13 9781854109422

It is easy to feel helpless in the face of the torrent of information about environmental catastrophes taking place all over the world. In this powerful and provocative book, Scottish writer and campaigner Alastair McIntosh shows how it is still possible for individuals and communities to take on the might of corporate power and emerge victorious. As a founder of the Isle of Eigg Trust, McIntosh helped the beleaguered residents of Eigg to become the first Scottish community ever to clear their laird from his own estate. And plans to turn a majestic Hebridean mountain into a superquarry were overturned after McIntosh persuaded a Native American warrior chief to visit the Isle of Harris and testify at the government inquiry. This extraordinary book weaves together theology, mythology, economics, ecology, history, poetics and politics as the author journeys towards a radical new philosophy of community, spirit and place. His daring and imaginative responses to the destruction of the natural world make Soil and Soul an uplifting, inspirational and often richly humorous read.

Required Reading
2015-10-13 Andy Goldsworthy: Ephemeral Works Harry N. Abrams
ISBN 1419717790 ISBN-13 9781419717796

For forty years, Andy Goldsworthy has worked with an extraordinary range of natural materials, often at their source. On an almost daily basis, he makes works of art using the materials and conditions that he encounters wherever he is, be it the land around his Scottish home, the mountain regions of France or Spain, or the pavements of New York City, Glasgow, or Rio de Janeiro. Out of earth, rocks, leaves, ice, snow, rain, sunlight and shadow he makes artworks that exist briefly before they are altered and erased by natural processes. They are documented in his photographs, and their larger meanings are bound up with the conditions, forces and processes that they embody: materiality, temporality, growth, vitality, permanence, decay, chance, labour and memory. Ephemeral Works features approximately two hundred of these works, selected by Goldsworthy from thousands he has made between 2001 and the present, and arranged in chronological sequence, capturing his creative process as it interacts with material, place, and the passage of time and seasons.

Required Reading
Field to Palette:Dialogues on Soil and Art in the Anthropocene CRC Press

Module Resources

Journal Resources


The Ecologist

Visual Artists Ireland Newsletter

Women Eco Arts Dialogue

Other Resources

DVD Andy Goldsworthy: Rivers and Tides, Working With Time.

DVD Andy Goldsworthy: Leaning Into The Wind.

DVD ART21 Art and Ecology.

Data Projector, Wifi and Screen in the Ceramics Studio.

Black-Out Blinds.

Use of College Mini-Bus for site visits.

Additional Information

Students are encouraged to seek Workplacement / Internships/ Scholarships or any work experience in the visual arts. This 'real life' engagement provides an invaluable context for their ongoing learning.