The Southland Institute
(for critical, durational, and
typographic post-studio practices)

currently under construction



The Southland Institute (for critical, durational, and typographic post-studio practices) is an unaccredited postgraduate workshop and evolving public online repository of educational resources, built around a central curricular helix consisting of the tools, processes, histories, and discourses of typography and critical art-making. It is also intended to be a forum for inquiry into the processes, potentials, and complications of education and its attendant structures and systems.

Participants’ own self-directed practices will be supplemented by courses, screenings, lectures, trips, theoretical readings, and discussions involving image, sound, time, typography, space, theory, structure, pedagogy, archives, and language. The program will be focused on exploring the gaps, grey areas, interrelationships, and common boundaries between these concerns, as well as their connection and relation to broader questions and circumstances.

These fundamental strands will be augmented by an evolving sequence of courses and workshops from a variety of disciplines, depending on participants’ backgrounds and interests, including but not limited to: design, art, moving image, economics, curation, landscape studies, education, writing, architecture, and sound. Connections will be explored via work, writing, conversation, typographic studies, critique, and documentation. The program is intended to provide space and time in which participants can expand the spectrum and depth of their practices, develop the critical tools necessary to navigate and articulate the paradoxes and contradictions around them, and to find the formal tools and venues best suited to conveying these explorations.

Objective:

Offering an approach to thinking about and making work rooted in historical and contemporary practices and theories of both graphic design and contemporary art, the Southland Institute is a space for self-directed research, critique, conversation, cross-pollination, and expansion along and between continua of critical, durational, and typographic post-studio practices. We are seeking participants with integrative and transdisciplinary practices and backgrounds who are interested in interweaving discourses of 20th and 21st century art, media, graphic design, literary, and critical theory.

The aim of the institute is to expand and deepen participants’ practices and provide an experience and education roughly analogous to graduate level study, while removing it from the private investment and commercial speculation of the student loan industry.

The program is intended to function on its own as a practice-based, research-driven, postgraduate educational environment, or as a supplement to other institutions or engagements with which participants may be currently or previously involved.

Participants will work primarily on self-directed projects under consultation with resident faculty and in conversation and collaboration with one another.

Conditions / Need:

The aim of the institute is to activate and explore the points of contact between disciplines and media, and to create a space for extended development, exposure, and conversation, without the heavy debt burden that often accompanies such study. The institute arises in response to several gaps that we perceive in the current landscape of higher education:

  • a gap in dialog between departments and discourses at existing institutions of all sizes
  • a lack of programs that actively integrate strategies and pedagogy from both graphic design and post-conceptual art
  • a need for more programs that enable and encourage rigorous and sustained study and practice without incurring long term debt.
  • a lack of institutions in which faculty are paid fairly and sustainably for their contributions.

Structure:

The program is 2 years long, each academic year divided into two 12-week sessions. Each session consists of two parts: one taught by a visiting educator/practitioner, the other consisting of a typography workshop in direct conversation with, and response to, the other course. Each session will begin with a reader or reading list, and end with documentation of the activities and conversation from the course, both of which (reader + documentation) will then be made public via the Southland Institute website. The semester will also include critiques, trips, presentations, and individual meetings with resident and visiting instructors.

Community Involvement:

During each year of residency, each participant will be required to organize one exhibition, and organize and teach one public workshop on a topic of their choosing.

Location:

Los Angeles, CA and online at southland.institute

Faculty:

Fiona Connor is a New Zealander currently living and practicing art in Los Angeles. Her work uses strategies of repetition to produce objects that interrogate their own form by engaging different histories embedded within our built environment. Much of Connor's practice is collaborative, and moves fluidly between curating, facilitating and object making.

Recent projects include the Newspaper Reading Club (founded in 2011), the conversion of her own Los Angeles apartment over 12 months in 2016 into a gallery titled Laurel Doody, and the founding of the Varese Group: a loose collective of associates, mentors, and fellow artists who will meet annually over five years, for one month each year, in an old house in Marzio, Northern Italy. During the past eight years, Connor has exhibited in Los Angeles, New York, Barcelona, Basel, Istanbul, Sydney and Auckland.

Joe Potts is a graphic designer and educator using found and synthesized sound, typography, images, and conditions to explore and question the structures and institutions we inhabit, in an effort to repurpose these components and imagine possibilities enabled by their reconfigurations. He currently teaches at Otis College of Art and Design and the University of Southern California, and is the founder of the Southland Institute.

Lucas Quigley organizes programs concerned with images of the production and distribution of objects and goods; unusual threads within the history of technical image-making; and the social parameters that make these descriptions possible.

Programs include the film series "Wie Man Sieht (As You See) In Memory of Filmmaker Harun Farocki," at the Goethe Institut in Los Angeles, "Andersen and Fisher" and "The Devil Probably" at Yale Union, "Exploded View … Interface … Letter & Spirit …" at LAXART. He co-authored the article "Colorless Green Ideas" in the Bulletins of the Serving Library. He has taught at California Institute of the Arts and Otis College of Art and Design, and lectured at HEAD Geneva, UCSD, and The Serving Library.

Aurora Tang is a researcher and curator based in Los Angeles, with a focus on place-based practices. Since 2009 she has been a program manager at The Center for Land Use Interpretation. From 2011-2015 she was managing director of High Desert Test Sites.

Resources:

The institute begins its existence with little in the way of property or equipment. We believe that this enables an efficiency and a focus on education itself, at a cost that is many degrees of magnitude lower than many, if not all, current offerings. Los Angeles is a city of numerous research institutions, libraries, and other accessible resources of which we encourage students to actively avail themselves.

Tuition, Affordability, Transparency, and Sustainability:

The twin financial aims of the institute are affordability for students and fair compensation for instructors. We believe in paying our instructors for their contributions, and hope to model an alternative to the ubiquitous undervaluing of educators.

The academic year consists of 4 six-week quarters. Program tuition is $3500 / year.
Tuition assistance may be available.

Accreditation:

The Southland Institute is not accredited by any accrediting body, and therefore does not officially grant degrees.


inquiries / mailing list

Southland Institute was featured on CalArts' inform.design blog, and mentioned in an article in Temporary Art Review on the Alternative Art School Fair in Red Hook, NY, November 19-20, 2016.

The Southland Institute is a project of the Pasadena Arts Council's EMERGE Program