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Recording Sociology

Учебный год
Обучение ведется на английском языке
Курс обязательный
Когда читается:
1-й курс, 2 семестр


Гаврилова Софья Андреевна

Запольская Александра Борисовна

Course Syllabus


The course will be based on the interaction between a critical vision of the social reality of our environment and the capacity of the audio-visual media to show the urban reality and tell a story. The course will cover both theory (introduction to media theory, photography, visual culture, project thinking) and practice (different exercises to produce audio and visual projects that will be either exhibited or published). For example, first project would be focused on the relationship between the housing and the citizens’ mode of living. The second one will be analysis of a place in the city and the way people use that space. The exercises will end up with discussions, shared presentations between all students and exhibitions. The course will develop skills to use a variety of audiovisual techniques and related software.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • This founding course will provide students with socio-oriented method of observing urban reality. It will enable students to recognize that the city is at the service of people that inhabit it and that the inhabitants are those who build the city.
  • Through the various audiovisual techniques, which will be represented in the course, the students will be able to recognize the behavior of people in the city and the patterns of the relationships between people and the city. The course will provide students with intense analytical vision of human behavior and sociological phenomena that often go unnoticed but which define the character of the cities.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Ability to analyze, verify, assess the completeness of the information in their professional activity, to look up and synthesize missing information, if necessary.
  • Ability to use basic techniques, ways and means of obtaining, storing, processing of information Ability to use the necessary tools and methods (software and application) for processing of the analysis and systematization of information on the subject of research
  • Ability to participate in the study of fundamental and applied problems in the field of urban planning, as well as critically evaluate the associated scientific and technical information, both theoretical and practical problems
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Introduction to Contemporary Visual Arts. Art and Science. Contemporary Photography and Video and Social Science. Construction of the Gaze
    First set of themes is strictly theoretical and is dedicated to general introduction to contemporary art. It will cover different topics, with main focus on methodology of art and science projects, especially art and social science. Apart from history of visual sociology and visual anthropology this set of lectures will cover modern methodological approaches to visual researches and researchers of the visual in the city and briefly explain the theory of visual and its political engagement.
  • Brief history of Visual Sociology. Approaches to visual anthropology
    That topic will reveal different levels of interaction between city environment and art and make clear differences in urban and architecture photography.
  • Technical, Methodological and Safety introduction
    That topic will cover necessary information on shooting in Moscow. It will provide brief outlook of current safety regulations of photo and video shootings in Russia and give very basic information on technical issues – both of production and post-production.
  • Recording city: human interactions in the city environment
    This theme is dedicated to human interactions in the city. That is one and only topic dedicated to people in the city. So students will explore different ways of communications in the city (both verbal and non verbal) and its particularities in the post-Soviet case. Those will include trade relationship, services, communication in public places, communication (or its absence) in transport and so on. Students will learn how to reveal those and present them in a art form in their projects.
  • Recording city: “structures” and “movements” in the city
    This topic will engage with different forms of movements in the city versus stable structures. This task is one of the basic ones to learn how to record and present movements in the city on contrary to stable constructions and buildings. Students are free to choose which movements they are willing to explore – that might be transport system, pedestrian ways, paths etc. By “structures” here I mean huge functional elements of the city such as residential areas, blocks, squares and neighbourhoods. The correspondence of those two will provide a sense of a living city, which students will capture and present.
  • Understanding the city VS suburbs
    That topic will involve critical study of Moscow suburbs and nearby landscapes vs Moscow itself. That case will allow students, who didn’t have a chance to see the differences of build environment, human interactions and landscapes itself in Moscow and nearby areas to do that. That will raise project of visual comparison of urban landscapes vs suburban ones.
  • Recording city: diversity and identity in the city
    This task is aiming to learn how to see diversity in the city, not neglecting at the same time identities. Students are free to choose whatever “diversity” can refer to – ethnicity and nationalities, means of transport, colours, buildings etc. The main goal of the task is to find a way of showing differences in a row of topologically close objects, preserving their identities and giving a viewer a chance for comparison.
  • Recording the city: “non places”/ places of exclusions
    “Non”places – places without specific labels, with no specific function, places of “passing through” and waiting. They even have formed specific direction in art. The main goal of this task is to learn how to see and define them in the city environment, how and what to shoot within them and how present them to a viewer. Students will learn how to transfer the feeling of abandonees, emptiness and useless.
  • Recording the city: borders and limits in the city
    That task is dedicated to artificial (and not only) borders and limits in the city. Those can be limits of access, roads, borders of districts or parking zones – anything that pulls city apart in mental or physical way. By completing that task students will learn how to shoot and present linear structures, differences or similarities, breaks and discontinues.
  • Individual project
    Students are free to choose specific topic or/and specific district in Moscow, find a relevant problem or a point of discussion (which can be either personal or more social/economical) and work on their final project, that will be presented as part of a group show. Hopefully, one of the practical tasks will lead to a once final project. Topics for individual projects though must not repeat the ones that were listed for practical classes. Students will have several seminars where they are welcome to share their work in progress, discuss difficulties, get critical feedback from other students. Apart from that their will be some of the Russian artist invited (Maxim Sher, W. Efimov, S. Pchelkin – TBC) to present their experience and to give feedback as well. Final projects will be presented as a part of a group show in Shuhov lab by the end of the semester.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Final Individual Project
  • non-blocking Classwork
  • non-blocking Practical homework
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (2 semester)
    0.3 * Classwork + 0.4 * Final Individual Project + 0.3 * Practical homework


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • GUY DEBORD. (2012). Society Of The Spectacle. [S.l.]: Bread and Circuses. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=1149446
  • Harper, D. A. (2012). Visual Sociology. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=513481
  • MacDonald, F., Hughes, R., & Dodds, K. (2010). Observant States : Geopolitics and Visual Culture. London: I.B.Tauris. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=334911
  • Pauwels, L., & Margolis, E. (2011). The SAGE Handbook of Visual Research Methods. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications Ltd. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=509324

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Foucault, M. (1995). Discipline and Punish : The Birth of the Prison (Vol. 2nd Vintage books ed). New York: Vintage. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=733102
  • Gillian Rose. 2012. Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials(Third edition). London: Sage. 408 pp. : Book review. (2013). Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.2D49D846
  • Knoblauch, H., Baer, A., Laurier, E., Petschke, S., & Schnettler, B. (2008). Visual Analysis. New Developments in the Interpretative Analysis of Video and Photography. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 9(3), 1–14. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=sih&AN=35344058
  • McLuhan, M., & Gordon, W. T. (2013). Understanding Media : The Extensions of Man. New York: Gingko Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=611647
  • Pickles, J. (2004). A History of Spaces : Cartographic Reason, Mapping and the Geo-Coded World. London: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=506853