STUDY: ART+CULTURE+LITERATURE+DESIGN in TOKYO!
Critical Thinking and Collage as Experimental Narratives.

» Check out the 2009 Student Show at Design Festa!
» Check out the 2008 Student Show at Design Festa in Harajuku!

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Info Sessions for the 2010 program:
If you have questions about the program, plan to attend one of the info sessions in Turlington Hall or Fine Arts D (FAD).
Session 1 - TUR 1101 for 1/21 from 6:15pm-7:05pm
Session 2 - TUR B310 for 2/2 from 6:15pm-7:05pm
Session 3 - FAD 111 for 2/9 from 6:30pm-7:30pm
Session 4 - TUR B310 for 2/16 from 6:15pm-7:05pm

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INTRODUCTION: Travel in Asia is a once in a lifetime experience that transforms the creative artist and offers life changing insight. Japan offers an unusual juxtaposition of ancient ceremony and ultramodern aesthetics, an exciting way to see the connections between old and new, and startling contrasts and inspirational vignettes lending themselves to a visual mode of storytelling. This program offers an exciting opportunity for students to explore the culture of Japan through critical reading/writing (journaling/blogging), visual communication (collage/sketching) and first-hand experience. Students participate in group and individual activities that directly relate to and support topical readings. Through lectures, demos, readings and experiences, students will acquire a powerful toolset to begin their own written and visual investigation into what they see and experience around them.

There is ample time for students to explore Tokyo on their own, plus two trips outside of Tokyo: one to the World Heritage Site in Nikko, the other to the World Heritage Sites of Hiroshima, accessible via a trip on the famous Japanese Bullet Train.

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PROGRAM: The program is made up of 2 courses taught concurrently during a summer program (UF’s Summer A) as part of a holistic approach to the study of culture, critical thinking, documentation and expression of the dynamics of space and place. Together, the 2 courses will provide a way for students to gain critical insight and investigative powers that will help them translate their personal experiences into both written and visual interpretations of the Japanese culture and their experiences within that culture. Japan and the US have a unique history of cross-culturalization. Our culture is transformed within the Japanese context, and their culture is transformed in ours. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the Japanese culture, and in doing so, be able to investigate the meaning of their own culture.

LIT 3400: Interdisciplinary Topics in Literature - Writing & Criticism in Tokyo Roland Barthes’s Empire of Signs (1970) is a perplexing book, and one that neatly expresses a number of aporia of contemporary cultural theory. Barthes began his work insisting that not only was he not writing about Japan, but “to me the Orient is a matter of indifference, merely providing a reserve of features whose manipulation…allows me to ‘entertain’ the idea of an unheard-of symbolic system.” His was to be a study of a “fantasy” of Japan. After all, no Westerner could “read” Japanese culture from outside, and must rather take misperceptions as a starting point. At the same time, however, Barthes grappled with a number of elements of Japanese culture during his 1966 trip, and produced a detailed reading of the structuring logic of Japanese culture that ranged across cuisine, urban planning, theater, home design, recreation, etiquette, poetry, and even stationery. Adding to the frustrations of this text was Barthes’s willful silence about Japanese politics (the recent war, but also contemporary student unrest), modernization, and American influence. The result was one of Barthes’s most aesthetically experimental works, in which the boundaries between criticism and art were profoundly disrupted. Indeed, the theoretical experimentation of his Japan book influenced most of his later works, from his fragmentary study of love (A Lover’s Discourse) to his formally innovative autobiography (Roland Barthes).

For that reason, we may usefully bracket the question “Did Barthes learn anything about Japan?” and ask a different, more productive question: “What did Barthes learn about learning about Japan?” More specifically, what was his method in trying to write about Japan? How did he gather his evidence and observations? How did he present his insights? What role did aesthetic creativity play in his critical writing? What insights does his approach offer for learning about other cultures? What is the significance of structure and arrangement in both culture and cultural criticism? What can we learn about Japan through a creative project of critical writing? And conversely, what can we learn about critical writing through a creative encounter with Japan?

These and related questions will be the focus of this five-week intensive course. Our first week in Tokyo will be devoted to some introductory readings and writing experiments, most involving Tokyo’s renowned transportation system and an exploration of the Shinagawa district on the south side of the city. During weeks 2 through 4, we will continue our reading of Barthes, examine some aspects of contemporary Japanese pop-art, and intensively explore important Tokyo locales (Shibuya, Akihabara, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Nippori, Shimbashi, Asakusa, Odaiba, Ginza, and Ueno). These daily visits will provide fascinating encounters with different dimensions of Tokyo life, and challenges for experimental writing. Week 5 will conclude with a reading of William Gibson’s futurist novel about Tokyo, Idoru, and the compilation of your final writing projects. The work throughout the course will be writing intensive, with weekly one-on-one meetings to discuss your progress. And the focus will be on your best and most creative writing. You’ll be expected to write about two solid pages every day, having a creative portfolio of your best twenty-five pages by the end of the trip.

ART 4930C: Visualization of Space and Place
Throughout the twentieth century, artists utilized collage as a way to express the culture and political significance of a given place and time and as a way to affect a change in public opinion. Historic influences such as Kurt Schwitters and Hannah Hoch will be used as examinational methodologies of reference. Collage, image transfer, sketching, cut paper and other basic two-dimensional techniques will be explored.

Students will be expected to build a theme or narrative that documents their own personal experience in Japan, and to use that narrative or theme as a way to build a body of work during the trip. Group sketchbook critiques will be held once a week, with individual critiques and discussion on a weekly basis as time permits.

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METHODOLOGY: The formal aspects of the class involve a mixture of lectures, readings, discussions and demonstrations transposed against self-guided and group tours of culturally and historically significant landmarks and ceremonies. Students will read on topics of culture, space, mapping and theory as a way to begin to form investigative practices for talking about what they have experienced. They will use these tools in an informal studio atmosphere to record and process their daily experiences in a mixed media sketchbook/journal/collage. 12 pages of work per week are expected and will be reviewed in a group critique each week.

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TOPICS: (include but not limited to)
- Critical Thinking
- Collage and Politics
- Eastern influences on western art and culture
- Japanese Theatre/Art/Design
- Narrative/Storytelling
- Composition/Gestalt Theory/Emotion
- Culture, the exotic
- Food/Space/Cosmology
- Surface/Packaging/Form
- Type as image
- Etiquette/Lifestyle/Recreation
- Subculture/Anime/Manga
- Urban Life
- Japanese Crafts/Politics
- Japanese/American transnational culture

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WHERE: We will spend all five weeks getting to know the amazing city of Tokyo, though we will have two short trips out of the city: one trip to Nikko, in the mountain foothills north of Tokyo, and one to Hiroshima to the south. Within Tokyo, both courses will be focused on getting to know different neighborhoods and districts. Sites visited will include the following:

  • Tsukiji Fish Market, Ginza
  • Kappabashi Dogu-gai Dori (restaurant wholesale district, Asakusa)
  • Tokyo City View
  • Tokyo Tower
  • Odaiba (Japanese simulation of the US)
  • Edo-Tokyo Museum
  • Tokyo Art Sites
  • Ping-Mag - Design and Culture
  • Ginza Graphic Gallery
  • Asakusa Kannon Temple.
  • Ito-Ya Paper Boutique
  • Tokyo Advertising Museum.
  • Kiddyland megastore (Aoyama)
  • Watari-Um Museum of Contemporary Art (Aoyama)
  • Pachinko Parlor district, Ikebukuro
  • Bosaikan Earthquake Emergency Center, Ikebukuro
  • City of Hiroshima
  • City of Nikko

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    HOUSING: The program's home is the vibrant Shinagawa district of Tokyo. Housing is provided at the Bureau Shinagawa serviced apartments. Situated in a convenient location for easy access to airports, Shinkansen (Bullet Trains), and commuter trains, from here all areas of Tokyo can be reached in 10/15 minutes by subway. Each suite houses 3 students—larger than area hotel rooms, each has all the conveniences of home including, private bathroom, TV/DVD, cable TV, high-speed internet, washer/dryer, full kitchen, 24-hour English hotline and full concierge support. Daily breakfast is provided, and there is a grocery store literally across the street.

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    WHEN: The five week course will take place during UF's Summer A semester. Students will arrive in Tokyo Saturday, May 15 and depart Saturday, June 19, 2010

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    PROGRAM COSTS:
    Program costs include: 6 credits, 5 weeks of triple-occupancy housing, local transportation, 1 overnight trip to Hiroshima, 1 day trip to Nikko, breakfasts, high-speed internet access, and insurance.

    Undergraduate
    $6,085 New Lower Cost $5,563 (for 2010 program)

    Graduate
    $7,417 New Lower Cost $7,057 (for 2010 program)

    Program costs do not cover airfare, personal expenses, lunch/dinner, books, art supplies. Please note that while Tokyo is known as one of the most expensive cities in the world, this is largely due to rent and hotel costs; food and art supplies can be purchased there for about the same cost as in Gainesville.

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    PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS: The rigors of travel in a foreign country require that students be able to spend large amounts of time walking and actively participating in the demands of the class. Students should think of this course, not as an insular, vacation experience but as a direct interface with the Japanese culture and people. Students should be highly motivated, able to work on their own, open to working in both a visual and written way, and have an interest in Japanese or Asian culture. Fluency in Japanese is not required or assumed, but students should prepare themselves by learning a basic Japanese vocabulary.

    Students must have a valid passport and present it during the kick-off meeting. Please be aware that there is a serious national backlog in the issuing of passports, so plan ahead. It is the students’ responsibility to make sure they have all necessary Visas and paper work pertaining to their own citizenship. US residents can travel to Japan for under 90 days without a Visa. Students who are not US citizens should consult their local consulate for information regarding travel to Japan.

    It is highly recommended that students bring a laptop computer, digital video or still camera, audio recorder, and a small assortment of art supplies. These items are a great way to easily and quickly document their daily explorations and will facilitate in the completion of work. A supply list will be provided at the kick-off meeting prior to leaving for Japan, there are many great art supply stores in Japan at your disposal.

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    STUDENT ELIGIBILITY: This course is open to all graduate and undergraduate students in good academic standing with a GPA of at least 2.5. Experience in art or with any art medium is not necessary for a successful outcome. UF students must have completed at least one semester at UF. Non-UF students must submit 2 letters of recommendation, original transcript and essay. All disciplines are encouraged to enroll.

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    APPLY/CONTACT Apply for this program through the University of Florida International Center. The deadline for application is March 5, 2010. Direct questions about the program to Kirsten Eller - keller@ufic.ufl.edu - 352-273-1528

    The UF in Tokyo application is now online! To view the application, please visit http://www.abroad.ufic.ufl.edu and search for "Tokyo" under the "Programs" tab at the top.

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    Program Directors/Faculty:
  • ED WHITE, Associate Professor, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • DOUG BARRETT, Visiting Asst. Professor, School of Art and Art History

  • UFIC Study Abroad Advisor:
  • Kirsten Eller - keller@ufic.ufl.edu - 352-273-1528

  • Student Financial Aid Advisor:
    See your assigned financial aid advisor. Please note that financial aid requests have much earlier deadlines.

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    University of Florida reserves the right to make changes.
    UF International Center, 170 Hub, PO Box 113225, Gainesville, FL 32611-3225
    Phone: 352.273.1539 - FAX: 352.392.5575 - Email: sas@ufic.ufl.edu - Web: www.abroad.ufic.ufl.edu



















    Updated: 09.05.2009 | All rights are the property of their respective owner.