In Focus II: Conserving Active Matter

This course is the second of two “In Focus” courses where students will actively contribute to Conserving Active Matter, an exhibition opening at BGC in the spring of 2022 that explores conservation as a professional discipline through its processes, paradigms, and people. The exhibition is conceived as a cross-disciplinary project with BGC faculty involved in the Cultures of Conservation: Conserving Active Matter initiative. The work of conservators is familiar to scholars of material culture, but its formation, practices, and assumptions are less often the subject of comparative inquiry. The exhibition unfolds in four sections, asking: 1. What is conservation?, 2. How are objects active?, 3. Who acts on objects, when, and why?, and 4. Where is the future of conservation? In this course, we will look at case studies of conservation through these lenses, centered on objects presented in the exhibition. We will use as our source materials a series of thematic essays authored by BGC faculty and project collaborators, in addition to research and textual interpretation written by the preceding Spring 2021 course. Students will work on the development of public programming and other accompanying interpretive materials related to the exhibition, including a digital media component that broadly explores the history of conservation. 3 credits.