Creative Assembly Assembling on Mondays

Creative Assembly Assembling on Mondays

Laura Belik on the Arts + Design Mondays @ BAMPFA | Public (Re)Assembly talk series
On Public (Re)Assembly with Shannon Jackson (Arts + Design and TDPS, Rhetoric), joined by Julia Bryan-Wilson (History of Art, ARC), Stephen Best (English), Ken Goldberg (Industrial Engineering), Nicholas de Monchaux (Architecture, BCNM), and Deirdre English (Journalism)

As I was walking down the hallway at the Berkeley Arts Museum and Pacific Film Archive, I overheard: “This is where all the arts, curators and creative people in Berkeley will be tonight.”

Commons_NDMWhat a promising event! And I did not expect anything different. The opening presentation for the 2017/2018 lecture series Arts + Design Mondays @ BAMPFA hosted by Shannon Jackson, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Arts + Design, only confirmed the excitement in the air. Joined by UC Berkeley Faculty Julia Bryan-Wilson (History of Art), Stephen Best (English), Ken Goldberg (Engineering), Nicholas de Monchaux (Architecture), and Deirdre English (Journalism), Jackson gave the audience a little taste of what to expect for the semester. Arts should not be understood as an isolated field, and its discussions can range from the most unexpected connections. Creativity brings together professionals, and Jackson makes sure that there is space for conversation. As she poses, we should work towards creativity for the greater good.

Arts + Design Mondays @BAMPFA seeks to create an impact across the campus community and beyond. With this agenda in mind, the Associate Vice Chancellor invited a series of co-presenters to help put together the program, and amongst them, the professors that joined the opening lecture. In order to start the conversation, Jackson invited the audience – and the curators – to think about the word ASSEMBLY. What does this word evoke within different contexts, and within different fields?

There are several manners in which one could think about this word and its multiple meanings. Jackson investigated a few interpretations and “assemblages” of greater importance for Arts + Design: Starting with “Arts”, moving through “Technology”, “Democracy” and of course, “School”. Assemblage, assembling and reassembling… We need to work towards a comprehensive narrative featuring all different organizations, as well as all different kinds of audiences. From the professional to the amateur, the critique needs to connect with the making, and vice-versa. If arts brings creativity and historical knowledge to the table, technology makes sense of where we are located – as a Bay Area community near Silicon Valley – and where are we all heading to as a digitized world. Berkeley is “what democracy looks like”, and the debates we are having internally are as important across the globe. The School space allows for this assemblage, and that which challenges our institutions also incentivize us to build creative ways of thinking and working across all platforms. Arts + Design is a direct result of this, and that’s what we should expect to see throughout this semester.

Jackson’s introduction was proceeded by Pecha Kucha style presentations of the invited professors from across campus on their personal views around the idea of Assembly. Provocative and inspiring positions ranged from the crafts collective works, to definitions of public space, Leonardo da Vinci, literary critique, and the role of New Media and Big Tech today. Of course, different ideas can be inspiring but can also clash, leading to one of the highest points of the night: a heated debate amongst the presenters and the audience. What a promising series!


Laura Belik (PhD Student, Architecture) reviewed the September 11, 2017 talk, On Public (Re)Assembly, the first lecture in the Fall 2017Arts + Design Mondays @ BAMPFA series. To learn more about the series, see below:

What is the role of public assembly in our current moment? And to what degree are new models necessary to respond artistically and technologically to our political climate? After a highly successful launch of Arts + Design Mondays @ BAMPFA in Spring 2017, Berkeley Arts + Design is pleased to present a new suite of exciting lectures that explore the theme of “public (re) assembly” from a variety of perspectives. The word assembly carries a range of associations. It challenges us to think about the democratic right to assemble; it recalls the artistic history of assemblage. It provokes us to imagine new systems of arrangement that respond to a digital age. It asks to consider how UC Berkeley might re-imagine the “school assembly” as a site of social transformation.

Learn more here.