In partnership with Athena Study Abroad, Paris Institute of Creative Arts (PICA) offers various courses in photography, drawing, art history, and French language and literature. Whittier College is responsible for the transcription of grades and academic record of courses taken with Athena/PICA. Students may contact the Whittier College Office of International Programs for more information.
For general information: http://athenaabroad.com/programs/study-abroad/france-paris
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Course Descriptions - Paris Institute of Creative Arts (PICA)
111 - French Cinema
A general survey of major French cinematic trends from the earliest examples (Melies, Lumiere) through the classic period (Carne, Renoir, Clouzot(, the New Wave (Truffat, Resnais, Godard, etc.) and on to more recent French film history (with a discussion of the historical, social, political, aesthetic, and literary contexts). The class serves as an introduction to the study of cinema, to its forms, its inter-relations with literature as well as political and social changes happening in French and European society throughout the 20th century. Students will study readings and analysis of scripts as well as historical and critical materials in addition to seeing a cross-section of important films from the history of French Cinema during and outside of class time.
131 - Introduction to Digital Imaging
Using Adobe Photoshop, a scanner and digital camera, beginning students learn to create images using the computer. Step by step tutorials guide students’ progress from simple color corrections and digital painting to complex collage projects that offer unlimited possibilities for the creative artist.
132 - Black and White Photo I
Paris is unique to the world. Universally loved for its beauty, Paris is a photographer’s delight. As the birthplace of photography, Paris continues to show its love for photography in an endless parade of gallery and museum exhibitions of historical and contemporary photography - making it one of the ideal locations for studying photography!
This class will help students develop a mastery of their film cameras, learning to manipulate the dials and switches to insure good quality images working with the age-old techniques of black and white photography while they explore and discover the many hidden facets of Paris, its neighborhoods, parks and its people. Students will be encouraged to get off the beaten path and discover the lesser known neighborhoods and, above all, to strive to powerfully capture their own experience of Paris. We’ll discuss at length al the aesthetic tools at our disposal - depth of field, composition, lighting, perspective and others - to allow each student to capture his/her own unique vision of time spent in Paris. Projects will have students study the Urban Landscape, Environmental Portraiture as well as a final project of their own design.
Class time will include visits to museums and galleries, field trips, technical demonstrations, darkroom work and group critiques. The course is open to all students with all levels of photographic experience. All students must have a 35mm camera which functions in manual mode. Beginning students will master the basics of camera usage, film development and black and white printing. The more advanced students will be encouraged to expand their personal photographic vision and skills through creating a portfolio of photographs based on their experience in Paris.
141 - Sketchbook Drawing Paris
The exceptional setting and architecture of Paris has inspired artists for centuries. Basic drawing skills will be taught at the university but the student will be expected to apply what he or she learns in class to draw some of the major architectural monuments of the city. The wealth of images of the buildings and layout of Paris created by artists and architects throughout the centuries will also be studied to better understand how to depict architecture through drawing. Experimentation with different media including photography will be encouraged.
Initially, techniques to convey space, light, and volume will be stressed. Progressively, the student will be asked to draw in a more personal manner. Individual and group critiques will be a regular part of this class.
Class work and homework are the main components of one’s performance in this course and no previous knowledge/experience in drawing is expected. The grade achieved will reflect the understanding of the techniques and concepts introduced as well as the way the concepts are put to use. The student must be self-motivated, as much of the work is done outside of class. There must be a demonstration of responsibility toward attendance, punctuality, and seriousness of effort. Students are expected to be set up and ready to work at the beginning of each class in the location decided upon in the previous session. Assigned homework is to be presented on time and in a state of completion. Class participation is an important aspect of course evaluation.
201 - Creative Writing
A practical and workshop class that introduces writers to the elements of poetry, fiction and drama, this course is open to beginning and continuing writers. Class work will include reading the work of established writers in three different genres, studying the craft of writing, and will involve considerable creative writing within and outside the boundaries of those genres.
Students in this course will participate in a variety of possible activities, including but not limited to: in-class writing, group writing, workshop, technique-specific practices, reading and group discussion, and more. These activities are meant to support the purpose of the class, which is to familiarize the student with the techniques of writing poetry, fiction and drama. Due to time constraints, we will be focusing primarily on fiction and poetry.
231 - Introduction to Digital Photography
Paris remains one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Around every corner is another striking vision. Historically, Paris is the birthplace of photography and it continues to honor photography through a steady stream of excellent gallery and museum exhibitions devoted to photography.
Working with digital cameras, students will be set the task of discovering a deeper and more profound Paris that goes beyond the standard tourist sites and shots. Working digitally will allow us the freedom to shoot large quantities of images so students can truly develop their own personal vision of Paris that goes beyond the clichés. In addition to discussing at length the foundations of how one makes visually striking through mastery of apertures, shutter speeds, light and composition, we will spend much class time out in the city discovering different neighborhoods that students new to Paris might not always discover on their own. Rather than simply trying to capture photos which record some of the famous sites and monuments, students will be asked to push further and capture their own experience as foreigners discovering the people and places of Paris.
Projects will ask students to examine the city and its structure - narrow Medieval streets in some neighborhoods, elegant and wide boulevards in others - as well as the people and how they interact with one another and with their city. Aesthetics will play an important role in the images students make but they must also look at the city from other perspectives (as an architect, an anthropologist, a historian, maybe even as a psychologist!). Paris is unlike any North American city. How do its unique qualities - a great public transportation system, generally smaller scale architecture than other cities, a fresh bakery around every corner, and so many other differences - contribute to make Parisians different from North Americans (for better and for worse!). We will look at such unique qualities found in Paris to try to understand what makes Paris the magnificent city it is.
232 - Black and White Photo II
Following up on the first semester of the Black and White Photo I class, this semester will continue students’ development of their technical and critical skills as related to photography. While continuing to refine skills in picture taking (mastery of composition, film exposure and development as well as engagements), we will add in additional elements and approaches. There will be a greater investigation of different types of films and film developers as well as methods of developing film, different photographic papers will be experimented with and we will begin to investigate some alternative techniques and methods of making photographs. One of the prime focuses of the class will be to develop in the students a level of mastery in the darkroom with all of the various technical processes. Simultaneous with these technical investigations, the class will continue to expose students to a wide range photographic practice to help develop students’ awareness of the history of photography as well as to strengthen their critical and analytical skills as related to photography and art.
235 - Alternative Photography Techniques
This class will bring students back to the origins of photography where they can investigate some of the earliest photo processes and techniques (cyanotypes, calotypes, photograms, pinhole cameras). Mixing our own emulsions, building one or more of our own cameras, we’ll gain a sense of early photography which was part alchemy and science and part painting and drawing. We will likely also use some contemporary equipment (digital cameras, scanners and inkjet or laser printers) but ultimately this course is about the artists’ hand being central to the photographs created (something we see much less of in the typical contemporary practice of photography). Students will, of necessity, need to adjust their rhythm and approach to making photographs as these techniques are more time-consuming and more process-oriented given that we must mix up the emulsions and coat papers before we can make photographs. By stepping away from prepared emulsions and already existing, mass-produced cameras, students will be able to personalize their choices and can, in this way, have full control of the images they present and how they look.
261 - Sculpture I
Along with analyzing and experimenting with three-dimensional design elements, students will be given a brief history in contemporary sculpture. Students will have the opportunity to gain appreciation of sculptural form through hands-on projects, lectures and critiques. Elements of design, line, shape, size, texture, color and value as well as the principles of design, balance, proportion, rhythm, emphasis and unity will be discussed within the context of sculpture. Through artistic exploration, students will understand the importance of concept, context and material. Symbolism through material and form will be expected.
271 - Introduction to Printmaking
This course teaches the basic traditional techniques used to make prints. No prior experience is needed to learn how to make multiple, identical images. Students will be taught how to print by hand and with printing presses to create small editions of their work. Materials ranging from wood to metal to plastic will be carved, cut, etched, and assembled to allow each student to discover the many ways of obtaining images that have radically different “looks” and styles. Experimentation is encouraged so that each student can understand how to best exploit the different methods available in order to successfully translate a sketch into a powerful printed document.
301 - Creative Writing II
This course will explore the craft of fiction in three different ways. The first will be brief talks that address a different element of craft in each class. The second will be by reading and dissecting (like writers!) a broad range of contemporary fiction writing in a range of different styles. The third and most important component of the class will be an intense focus on evaluating each student’s work with this question in mind: where do I think this writer/story is trying to go? We will tailor our critiques of other student’s work with the goal of helping the writer move toward the strongest realization of their particular way of seeing the world and expressing it through their writing style. We will eschew the idea that there is one way to write fiction. We will seek our personal voices in our writing and try to help others to find and refine their own personal vision as expressed in writing.
315 - The Goddess through Literature and Gender Studies
“The Goddess” has become a star in the late-20th century English-speaking world. In fact, she is largely a creation of the late-20th century English-speaking world, even in her roots are to be found the deepest Antiquity. Interestingly enough, in France, to this day she doesn’t exist - nobody talks about “la Deese”, only about different female divinities. Why is that? What exactly is “the Goddess”? What does she represent? In this course, we will consider “the Goddess” - or the female divinity - as a literary figure, and we will try to understand the ways this figure has been differently construed by authors throughout the centuries. Our approach will be at the crossroad of literature, myth and gender studies. Ultimately, we will try to find ways of possibly answering this question: is the Goddess a feminist?
332 - Advanced Photography
Designed for students who already have a foundation in black and white darkroom practices, this course will offer students the chance to begin exploring a variety of alternative approaches to photography. We will begin the semester working with black and white films but for making enlargements we’ll use “liquid light” rather than commercial photo papers. This product will allow us to coat a black and white light sensitive emulsion on to a wide range of materials and will be our first step away from the conventional photographic print. Following this, we’ll move back historically and investigate two or three 19th century photo processes. We’ll mix these emulsions from scratch just as Daguerre and Talbot did at the origins of photography in the late 1830s. We’ll experiment with the cyanotype and gum dichromate processes and perhaps also the van dyke brown and/or salt print processes. Throughout the introduction of these techniques, students will be encouraged to go beyond the conventional uses of photographs. This might lead to projects in book or collage format or even move toward something sculptural or installation-oriented. Students will, of course, be providing the majority of their own photo images using black and white film but perhaps also with digital cameras and found imagery. Students will be introduced to various means of creating the enlarged negatives necessary for the older photo processes.
335 - Discovering Paris through Photography
Students will explore the visual language of photography using Paris as their inspiration and backdrop. The course will examine such topics as Urban Landscape, Portraiture, Time and Memory and Purpose of Place. These topics are structured to take full advantage of the experience of being in Paris. Class time will include visits to museums and galleries, field trips, technical demonstrations, lab work and group critiques. The course is open to all students with all levels of photographic experience. All students must have a manually adjustable 35mm film or digital camera. Beginning students will master the basics of camera usage (managing aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings with the light meter) to make good quality exposures while developing their aesthetic skills in making compositions, dealing with the quality of light, etc. The more advanced students will be encouraged to expand their personal photographic vision and skills through creating a portfolio of photographs based on their experiences in Paris.
341 - Figure Drawing
This course is designed to lead each individual student through the basics of life drawing. We will be working from the nude model in fixed poses and movement. The models will be constantly changed to allow the student to discover new solutions to transmit visual information.
The students will use a black oil-based pencil and work from line to mass and to composition in light and dark. Students will begin with gesture and contour and progress to the basics of measurement. An emphasis will be placed on form and line as they combine to make proportion, perspective, and movement.
The students will begin to observe the figure as a three-dimensional form shaped by dark and light. Students will learn to create volume with juxtapositions of shadow. As the students begin to record subtle transitions in the foreground and background of the figure in space, there will be a constant emphasis on fluidity of line.
Students will work at their own level and will be encouraged in their own expression. Work will be reviewed and critiqued openly in each class. Students will be asked to carry a small sketchbook with them at all times. Drawing in Paris can open the door to a more conscious observation in daily life.
358 - 20th Century French Literature
This course will introduce students to central ideas and concepts underlying 20th century French literature and to the work of a number of important literary figures. The thematic content of the course focuses on an examination of the relationship between self, reality and language in the context of important societal changes taking place in the 20th century. Each of the authors in his or her own way reflects some aspect of the momentous transformations taking place in the French and European society throughout the 20th century. Millions killed in two world wars, mass displacements from war and economic difficulties, technological changes from the industrial revolution which pushed agrarian workers into urban centers, a growing immigrant population following the collapse of many colonial holdings and so many more upheavals to the way of life during the 20th century. The main authors will be: Guillaume Apollinaire, Marcel Proust, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Samuel Beckett, Marguerite Duras and Raymond Queneau.
361 - Sculpture II
This course builds on what students have learned in Sculpture I. More complex techniques, including large scale modelling clay, direct modelling and casting in wax, steel and wood construction, and sculpting in plaster with metal armatures will be taught. Different patina methods for colouring sculpture will also be introduced. At the start of each new project drawing and maquette construction will be used to investigate several possible solutions to every three dimensional project.
Projects will include the genres of still life, landscape, and the human figure. Both historical and contemporary approaches will be considered. Visits to museums and urban sites will allow students to better understand the placement of sculpture within different contexts. Group reviews will be held regularly to maximize the exchange of ideas and mastery of methods. A series of homework assignments designed to support and direct the work made in class will be given. Students should have a firm grasp on how to use traditional tools and materials by the end of the semester. Further, they should be freer and more at ease with the making of large scale sculpture.
371 - Printmaking II
This course builds on what students have learned in Printmaking I and teaches more complex and experimental techniques usable for both on and off press printmaking. Students will become proficient in the creation of multicolor etched prints and mixed media combining wood block, collage, etching, and stencil. The making of editions with text will also be introduced. Basic stone lithography and the proper use of the lithographic press will be taught during the final third of the semester. The history, physics and chemistry of every technique introduced will be discussed. Demonstrations of all methods, study of original prints from the teacher’s collection, and group reviews will be held regularly to maximize the exchange of ideas and mastery of methods.
376 - Bookbinding
Students will learn a wide variety of different bookbinding structures: one section pamphlet, accordion photo album, Japanese side-sewn, multi-section case binding, apparent sewing binding, boxes.
This course is designed for the student who is looking for new ways to present or bind their prints, photos, drawings, etc. Learn the basic bookbinding techniques and skills through classical approaches to bookbinding. Learn structures for binding existing single pages of art that cannot be folded and bound in the traditional manner, as well as structures to compensate for varying thicknesses of pages and various page sizes. Learn how to prepare and create cover materials. Students will leave with several finished books, plus the skills necessary to continue binding at home: cutting, folding, sewing, and gluing. Students will learn about hand tools and materials used in bookbinding, as well as how to use a standing press and a board shear. Students will create a personal and unique artist book using the techniques learned.
377 - Bookbinding II
Students will expand upon the standard bookbinding structures learned during the introductory level class and will begin to examine more complicated structures as well as begin to create their own invented structures. Students will be expected to have mostly mastered the technical and craft oriented aspects of bookmaking during the introductory level class and will now be encouraged to push further into developing strong conceptual linkages between their chosen book structures and the content within the book. Concerning content, this can be the book materials themselves, where students will explore such options as paper cut outs, pop ups, shaped book, etc., but can also include other art media including drawing, painting, printmaking and photography.
Students will continue to develop their skills working with hand tools and a wide range of materials used in bookbinding. In addition to learning numerous new binding structures, students will create a personal and unique artist book.
We will cover a wide variety of new bookbinding structures: Long stitch binding, Raised cord binding, Coptic binding, Piano hinge binding, Dos a Dos, binding, French doors binding, and Concertina binding.
381 - History of Paris in Architecture and Art
This class retraces the major steps in the evolution of the city of Paris through art and architecture from the medieval period to today. Particular attention is paid to the 19th century from the Second Empire and the major urban planning programs conducted by the Baron Haussmann, which gave the capital its current form and style to Paris at 1900. Students will study questions related to urban planning, the Parisian lifestyle, as well as the modernity and modernization of the city but also questions of style, which will be put into context and paralleled with the major artistic movements of the times such as impressionism.
In order to illustrate these changes and the architectural history of Paris, we will look at the works of famous painters such as Lebrun, David, Boucher, Ingres, Delacroix for the pre and post-revolutionary era, insisting on the modifications of the Louvre from castle to museum, and Edouard Manet who illustrated “Modern” Paris as with the monuments, the impressionists, post-impressionism and the Nabi.
382 - Modernism & Modernity: French Painting in the 19th and 20th Centuries
This course provides an in-depth study and pictorial survey of French painting in the 19th and 20th centuries. Focusing on modernism, we will observe its origins, its specificities, its definition(s), its influences and its legacy presented from a general overview of the evolution of painting, with a special attention given to key elements in the realism, the Impressionist, the post-impressionism and the XXth century avant-garde movements such as composition, color and style; a study of the aesthetic evolution through the works of the movements’ forerunners, artists who constitute the core group and their immediate descendants.
Students will study works from the following artists: Courbet, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Seurat, Cezanne, Gauguin, Gustave Moreau, Matisse, Picasso, Duchamp, etc. The course is made up of lectures illustrated by slides and group discussion. Visits will be made to local museums such as the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, musee d’art moderne to view the art studied in the classroom. The city of Paris will be in the centre of our concern with historical walking tours: Haussmann’s the modern city, the boheme in Montmartre and the avant-garde in Montparnasse.
383 - History of 20th Century Photography
The history of modern photography began in Paris in 1839 when Louis Daguerre perfected and patented the chemical process of permanently fixing mirrored images to silver-coated copper plates. Between the patient and painstaking crafting of these first ethereal Daguerreotypes and today’s digital “snapping” of the sharpest of pixel images, the art of photography has accumulated a rich, varied and controversial historical experience.
Organized to take practical advantage of the photographic heritage of the city of Paris - the cradle of modern photography - this course introduces you to this surprising historical record and surveys the main chronological periods, thematic categories, and modernist and post-modernist theoretical approaches pertinent to this art. The objective of this course is to familiarize you with this historical progression of photographic thinking and practice and to weave this record into the context and expression of today’s contemporary work.
Through a series of lectures, discussions, and study excursions to galleries, museums and historical sites here in Paris, you will acquire a broad knowledge of late 19th and 20th century European and American photography.
By learning to better understand and appreciate the significance of historical photographic work you will seek to reveal its residual meaning and relevance to today’s photographic culture and larger society beyond. We will look at different types of photography such as social documentary, photojournalism and fine art uses as well as more commercial approaches such as advertising and fashion photography. Class time will include lectures, slide and photograph viewing, discussions and numerous field trips to photographic exhibitions in Paris. Students will be expected to stay up to date with readings assigned for outside class time as well as occasional visits to galleries and museums.
384 - Contemporary Art in France
In this course, you will be engaged in an analysis and pictorial survey of contemporary artistic expression, some of the most diverse, politically contentious and maddening periods in the history of art from 1845. To this end, you will first seek out the origins of Modernism by looking at the late 19th and early 20th centuries before concentrating on art after WWII. While exploring the major European contemporary art movements such as the Ecole de Paris, the Lyrical Abstraction, The New Realists, Cobra, etc., we will observe the Parisian art scene today.
From inside the art world of painters and sculptors, you will also follow the evolution of the many aesthetic ideas, theories and compositional techniques of contemporary artists as well as how their work was critiqued and contested by art critics, professional and public alike.
Throughout this exploration, you will always be seeking to understand the impact Modernism and postmodernism has had, both as a reflection of and a commentary upon, contemporary Man, his mind, soul, and troubled society. And to measure and evaluate the impressive legacy of Modernism, you will be visiting the major museum, galleries and foundations dedicated to modern and contemporary art.
The artists, painters, sculptors, and writers, along with many others, you will consider from several perspectives.
385 - Impressionism and Postimpressionism
This course provides an in-depth study and pictorial survey if Impressionism, its origins and its legacy presented from a general overview of the evolution of painting, with a focus on key elements in the Impressionist movement such as composition, color and style; a study of the aesthetic evolution of Impressionism through the works of the movement’s forerunners, artists who constitute the core group and their immediate descendants; and a study of the Impressionist movement’s effects on 20th century art and the ways in which today’s artists reaffirm the legacy by using elements that gave the movement its vitality and energy.
Students will study works from the following artists: Courbet, Millet, Turner, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Seurat, Cezanne, and Gauguin. The course is made up of lectures illustrated by slides and group discussion. Visits will be made to local museums such as the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, and Musee Rodin to view the art studied in the classroom.
389 - Paris Fashion History
This two-part course examines how and why Paris became the centre of the contemporary fashion world. In part one, through reading history and cultural theory and visiting certain key sites in Paris, students will develop an in-depth understanding of a city which is often considered to have been the template for modern urbanism - the ‘capital of the nineteenth century’, to use Walter Benjamin’s expression. In part two of the course, the emphasis shifts: the rise of the great couture houses becomes the focus. When did couture emerge, how was it transformed in the twentieth century, what is the place of couture today with the rise of ecological concern and with it sustainable fashion? How did the couture house fit in with the changing cultural environment in Paris, with wider aesthetic, social, and moral concerns? In taking “Paris Fashion Template”, students will be cognisant of the city’s evolution from the seventeenth century onwards and have a strong sense of the businesses and institutions which made the city a centre of global industry.