Your project must include a written component, and may include other components if appropriate. You should pick a topic questions, and explore it in some depth. Choose a question from my list, or suggest another; the list is not complete!
There are several ways to do this assignment. One that works especially well for many students is to focus on a particular artist (musician, dancer, novelist, etc.) and explore the topic question in connection with that person's work. You can start with the artist, and let the topic question emerge as you work. You may also pick a particular philosopher of art and explore that person's aesthetics, again focusing on one or two of the topic questions. Another approach is to write an expanded critical essay, usually commenting on a body of work, and including a more thorough approach to one of the topic questions.
Projects for working artists
While being a working artist is neither a prequisite for this course nor a condition of getting a good grade, many of you are in fact working artists. You may wish to present some of your work as part of your project. I encourage you to do so. I will not grade you on your work; I leave that to art, music, dance, and other teachers. I will grade you on your presentation of an issue in aesthetics. However, your work may help you to address such an issue, or may powerfully illustrate a point. When this happens, the combination of the work and the written component make one project. In many cases this means that the written component can be shorter. If you plan to take this approach, you should see me for guidance on how to make it work.
If your project lends itself to oral presentation, you are welcome to make such a presentation. Again, I encourage this, and I will include the presentation in your grade.
Stages for your project include:
Here are some examples of term projects:
Tara Timberman wrote a paper on Lacanian literary criticism, including a Lacanian analysis of Peter Schaefer's Equus.
T.J. Vonderahe wrote and performed a composition for upright bass exploring different musical modes, and commented on the different expressive potentials of the different modes.
Jennifer Petrin showed examples of her work (flatware inspired by eating disorders), and against that background defended the view that there should be no division between fine art and craft.
Mark Messenger made public service announcements ads featuring himself which explored the dilemmas and the distressing feelings faced by a commercial artist, and the relation of art to commerce.
Chris Gaughan made the case for mathematical proofs as art, attending to features such as elegance that tend to make both a proof and an art work good.