This version of the course guide is provisional until the period for editing the new course guides ends.

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Works and Debate in Art Today

Code: 100579 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2500239 Art History OT 3 0
2500239 Art History OT 4 0


Sandra Alvaro Sanchez

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
catalan (cat)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:

Other comments on languages

Despite the teaching language of this course being Catalan, some bibliographic materials are in Spanish and English. It will be allowed to non-Catalan speakers to realize their assessments in Spanish or English.


There are no specific entry requirements. However, English proficiency is desired for working with the bibliography and reference materials. Showing interest in the current socio-politic challenges, as well as, for art and its relation with technology and society is also highly recommended.

Objectives and Contextualisation


In the programme, students will analyse current artistic production and its involvement with the events defining our changing society. Students will learn the changes that occurred to the themes, media and art function after postmodernity and how art has become a form of material research about how we perceive, know and situate ourselves in our environment. To sum up, the programme looks at the challenges of our epoch and how artistic creation deploys all available mediums to propose possible futures.


The situated analysis of current artistic production, the issues it faces, media deployed and theoretical references will enrich the formation of the students and give them tools and resources to develop their proposals.

Specific objectives:

  • The students will gain knowledge of the contemporary creative environment and how it has evolved after the adoption of new technologies and media, also the concepts and values arising during the process.
  • They will learn how to contextualise the evolution of new forms of artistic production, the formation of new creative environments and the outstanding artists, events and publications.
  • They will understand the relationship between art, technology and society.
  • They will know the concepts and theories that define the evolution of contemporary art.
  • They will acquire the domain of the material and historical analysis of contemporary creations.
  • They will be able to develop and substantiate an artistic or critical proposal.


    Art History
  • Critically analysing from the acquired knowledge a work of art in its many facets: formal values, iconographic significance, artistic techniques and procedures, elaboration process and reception mechanisms.
  • Interpreting a work of art in the context in which it was developed and relating it with other forms of cultural expression.
  • Recognising the evolution of the artistic imagery from the antiquity to the contemporary visual culture.
  • Students must be capable of applying their knowledge to their work or vocation in a professional way and they should have building arguments and problem resolution skills within their area of study.
  • Students must be capable of communicating information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialised and non-specialised audiences.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Accurately defining and explaining an artistic object with the specific language of art criticism.
  2. Analysing ideas about an artistic phenomenon in a given cultural context.
  3. Analysing the creators of an artistic phenomenon in a specific cultural context.
  4. Analysing the recipients of an artistic phenomenon in a specific cultural context.
  5. Applying the iconographic knowledge to the reading of artistic imagery.
  6. Connecting an artistic imagery with other cultural phenomena within its period.
  7. Distinguishing the elaboration techniques and processes of an artistic object.
  8. Engaging in debates about historical facts respecting the other participants' opinions.
  9. Examining an artistic imagery and distinguishing its formal, iconographic and symbolic values.
  10. Explaining the reception mechanisms of a work of art.
  11. Identifying the artistic imagery, placing it into its cultural context.
  12. Reconstructing the artistic outlook of a particular cultural context.


The programme introduces the current art environment by analysing a set of selected artworks created in response to different subjects and deploying actual theoretical and methodological perspectives. The proposed case studies show art concerning the globalised world, gender and postcolonial studies, and new technologies, as well as its answer to challenges like the adoption of artificial intelligence, the collapse of natural resources and the recent geopolitical changes.

  • Introduction: art theories for a plural world.
  • Art participation and democracy: The poetics of social media.
  • Art and communication, art and information: society and new ontologies.
  • Art and gender: subjectivation and the disruption of discourse.
  • Art, bodies, space: interactivity, simulation, immersion.
  • Art for empowerment and against control and surveillance.
  • Art and ecology: Anthropocene, new visual paradigms and possible worlds.


ATTENDANCE-BASED: The space of the classroom will be dedicated to the material and historical analysis of artworks from the current creative environment, they selected accordingly the subjects proposed in the contents.

In this space, the student will be also informed about cultural events and motivated to participate in the cultural city life.

Finally, the classroom will be the stage for the student's participative interventions and oral presentations

TUTORIALS: The students will receive methodological and bibliographical tutorship and will be guided in the realization of supervised activities.





Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Master classes 40 1.6 3, 4, 2, 11, 5, 1, 7, 9, 10, 8, 12, 6
Type: Supervised      
Written comentaries about artworks. Research work and oral presentation 40 1.6 3, 4, 2, 11, 5, 1, 7, 9, 10, 8, 12, 6
Type: Autonomous      
Individual preparation of homework 70 2.8 3, 4, 2, 11, 1, 9, 10, 8, 12, 6


Assessment Activities

The content and description of the evaluation activities will be published at the beginning of the course (Moodle)


Qualifications revision procedure

At the moment of realization of each evaluative activity, the teacher will inform the students (Moodle) about the reassessment procedure and dates.


Reassessment procedure

 To participate in recovery, students must have previously been evaluated in a set of activities whose weight equals a minimum of 2/3 of the total grade. The activity of viewing and commentary of films will not be recoverable.

Students will obtain a Not assessed/Not submitted course grade unless they have submitted more than 30% of the assessment items.


(*) In the event of a student committing any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade awarded to an assessment activity, the student will be given a zero for this activity, regardless of any disciplinary process that may take place. In the event of several irregularities in assessment activities of the same subject, the student will be given a zero as the final grade for this subject.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Classroom participation 10% 0 0 3, 4, 2, 11, 5, 1, 7, 9, 10, 8, 12, 6
Research assignment and oral presentation 30% 0 0 3, 4, 2, 11, 5, 1, 7, 9, 10, 8, 12, 6
Short text about each theme 40% 0 0 3, 4, 2, 11, 1, 7, 9, 10, 12, 6
Written test 20% 0 0 3, 4, 2, 11, 5, 1, 7, 9, 10, 8, 12, 6


  • Bishop, Claire. Participation / Edited by Claire Bishop. London: Whitechapel, 2006. Print.
  • Butler, Judith. Cuerpos que importan : sobre los límites materiales y discursivos del “sexo” / Judith Butler. Buenos Aires [etc: Paidós, 2002. Print.
  • Butler, Judith. El Género en disputa / Judith Butler ; traducción: Ma Antonia Muñoz. 1a edición en esta presentación. Barcelona: Paidós, 2017. Print.
  • Colebrook, Claire. Death of the Posthuman. Open Humanities Press. 2014. PDF ISBN: 978-1-78542-011-5 on-line.
  • Cubit, Sean and Paul, Thomas. Relive. Cambrdge, MA: MIT Press. 2013
  • Fuller, Matthew. Media Ecologies : Materialist Energies in Art and Technoculture / Matthew Fuller. Cambridge: London, 2005. Print.
  • Fuller, Matthew. Behind the Blip : Essays on the Culture of Software / Matthew Fuller. Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, 2003. Print.
  • Grau, Oliver. Virtual Art : from Illusion to Immersion / Oliver Grau ; Translated by Gloria Custance. Cambridge (Massachusetts): MIT, 2003. Print.
  • Grau, Oliver. MediaArtHistories(Edited by Oliver Grau. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007. Print.
  • Haraway, Donna Jeanne. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women : the Reinvention of Nature / Donna J. Haraway. New York (N.Y.): Routledge, 1991. Print.
  • Haraway, Donna Jeanne. Manifiesto cíborg / Donna J. Haraway. Primera edición e impresión en Kaótica Libros. Madrid: Kaótica Libros, 2020. Print.
  • Haraway, Donna Jeanne. et al. Ciencia, cyborgs y mujeres : la reinvención de la naturaleza / Donna J. Haraway ; prólogo a la edición española de Jorge Arditi, Fernando García Selgas y Jackie Orr ; [traducción de Manuel Talens]. Madrid: Cátedra, 1995. Print.
  • Harman, Graham. Arte y Objetos. Madrid: Enclave de Libros Ediciones,2021 ISBN: 9788412218213
  • Hayles, Katherine. Writing Machines, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 2002
  • Heather Davis and Etienne Turpin. Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Aesthetics, Politics, Environments and Epistemologies/ Edited by Heather Davis and Etienne Turpin. Open Humanities Press. 2014 PDF ISBN: 978-1-78542-000-9 On-line:
  • Huyssen, Andreas. After the Great Divide : Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism / Andreas Huyssen. Houndmills, Hampshire ;: MacMillan Press, 1988. Print.
  • Klein, Naomi, and Albino Santos Mosquera. Esto lo cambia todo : el capitalismo contra el clima / Naomi Klein ; traducción de Albino Santos Mosquera. 1a edición. Barcelona: Paidós, 2015. Print.
  • Latour, Bruno & Weibel, Peter. Critical Zones: The Science and Politics of Landing on Earth/ Edited by Brno Latour and Peter Weibel. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.2020 ISBN: 0262044455
  • Malloy, Judy. Women Art and Technology/ Edited by Judy Malloy. Cambridge. MA: MIT University Press.2003. ISBN: 9780262538350
  • Malloy, Judy. Social Media and Poetics. Edited by Judy Malloy. Cambridge, MA: MIT University Press, 2016. ISBN: 9780262034654
  • Munster, Anna. Materializing New Media : Embodiment in Information Aesthetics / Anna Munster. Lebanon: Dartmouth College Press, 2011. Print.
  • Munster, Anna. An Aesthesia of Networks: Conjunctive Experience in At and Technology/ Nanna Munster. Cambridge, MA: MIT University Press.2016. ISBN: 9780262018951
  • Plant, Sadie. Ceros + unos : mujeres digitales + la nueva tecnocultura / Sadie Plant ; [traducción: Eduardo Urios]. Barcelona: Destino, 1998. Print.
  • Popper, Franck. From Technological to Virtual Art. Cambridge, MA: MIT University Press, 2006. ISBN: 9780262162302
  • Maria Ptqk, Teresa Castro, Paula Bruna, Susana Jiménez Carmona, Marisol de la Cadena, Santiago Martínez Medina, Helen Torres, Maria Arnal, Irene Solà, María Sánchez. Science Friction. Life Among Companion Species/ CCCB and Direcció de Comunicació de la Diputació de Barcelona. 2021. 978-84-9803-980-1 (Català / English)
  • Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt. Friction : an Ethnography of Global Connection / Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005. Print.
  • Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt. The Mushroom at the End of the World : on the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins / Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing. Pilot project. eBook available to selected US libraries only. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015. Web.
  • Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt et al. Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet : Ghosts of the Anthropocene / Anna Tsing, Heather Swanson, Elaine Gan, Nils Bubandt, Editors. Ed. Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing et al. Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2017. Print.
  • Wark, McKenzie. A Hacker Manifesto McKenzie Wark. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004. Web.
  • Wark, McKenzie. The Beach Beneath the Street : the Everyday Life and Glorious Times of the Situationist International/ McKenzie Wark. London: Verso, 2015. Print.
  • Wilson, Stephen. Information Arts / Wilson Stephen.Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001. ISBN: 9780262731584



If a specific program is needed, it will be notified in a timely manner