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Mitchell Joachim - Lectures / Seminars / Workshops

THE CITY: Ecology, Society and Technology (3 Credits)

Mitchell Joachim, Ph.D.

Description:What are the most stimulating solutions to global climate change? If we were given an imaginary "client" with an unlimited budget and colossal power, what should we design? The resounding formula for green thinking is broadly interpreted in three meta-themes; apocalyptic, technological, and traditional. Each category promises solutions and/or interpretations of our current environmental calamity. We explore critical philosophical, artistic, and scientific positions in each meta-theme that help elucidate this dilemma. Students read, evaluate, and synthesize projects and texts from great minds such as William Cronon, Bill McKibben, Bruce Mau, Mike Davis, Marshall McLuhan, Bjorn Lomborg, David Orr, Paul Virilio, Marshall McLean, Lawrence Buell, and others. The final project is the production of a mock Madison Avenue advertising campaign that promotes urban "sustainability".

Objectives: Students will explore the designers, cultures, and suppositions about the contemporary environmental movement. Who are the key figures that first ignited the green design revolution and its ensuing agenda? Who effectively promoted maxims such as; "energy crisis", "climate change", and "sustainability"? Many books, films, projects, and actions contributed to the irresistible success of mainstream eco-values. Which readings initially established the core underpinning of this environmental debate; Hiroshima by John Hersey, Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, or Ecology of Freedom by Murray Bookchin, and how are they linked today? The overall objective is twofold; to survey the larger historical context of ecological design and define specific contributions to the green movement.

Learning Outcomes: The intention of this seminar is for the student to develop an understanding of the history and theory that encompass the environmental debate. A significant weight will be on the critical analysis of ecological design claims in specific contexts.

Required Readings:

Anker, Peder, Louise Harpman and Mitchell Joachim. Global Design: Elsewhere Envisioned. Prestel/ Random House, 2014. Paperback, 240 pages, Language English, ISBN: 3791353586. Buy it at,,, or

McDonough, William and Michael Braungart. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. North Point Press. 1st edition 2002. Paperback, 193 pages, Language English, ISBN: 0865475873. Buy it at,,, or

Buell, Lawrence. The Environmental Imagination. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1995. Paperback, 600 pages, Language English, ISBN: 0674258622. Buy it at,,, or

McKibben, Bill. The End of Nature. Random House Trade Paperbacks. June 13, 2006. Paperback, 224 pages, Language English, ISBN: 9780812976083. Buy it at,,, or

Hawken, Paul. Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution. Back Bay Books, 2008. Paperback, 410 pages, Language English, ISBN: 0316353000. Buy it at,,, or

Hersey, John. Hiroshima. Vintage Books, 1989. Paperback, 160 pages, Language English, ISBN: 0679721037. Buy it at,,, or

Lomborg, Bjorn. The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. Cambridge University Press, 2001. Paperback, 540 pages, Language English, ISBN: 0521010683. Buy it at,,, or

Leonard, Annie. The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff Is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health-and a Vision for Change. Free Press, 2010. Paperback, 368 pages, Language English, ISBN: 1451610297. Buy it at,,, or

Bookchin Murray. The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy. AK Press, 2005. Paperback, 480 pages, Language English, ISBN: 1904859267. Buy it at,,, or

Joachim, Mitchell and Nina Tandon. Super Cells: Building with Biology. Ted Books, 2014. Ebook, 103 pages, Language English, ASIN: B00ICXN3VA. Buy it at,,, or

FREE FORM: On Design and the Acoustic Environment (3 credits)

Paul D. Miller and Mitchell Joachim, Ph.D.

Description: The aim of this course is to expand the student's responsiveness to the intersection of sound and architecture. The course will spotlight fundamental values of ecological thought, in relationship to contemporized rhythm, acoustics, and composition. In the first half we will survey and unpack core conceptions of sound aesthetics and eco-design principles. The next half of the program we allow the students to illuminate the concepts of design into a brief intangible/tangible project, to reexamine the interaction between sound, context and urban architecture.

Context: Ungracefully, the American value system is somewhat distressed. It seems value has devolved into feats of rampant affluenza and mega scales; franchise brands, super-sizes, big box retail, XXL jumbo paraphernalia, etc. This consumption encapsulates a joint race for ubiquity and instantaneity in the American mindset. What are the American value systems and how are they expressed within acoustical sound and cities?

Sample Task: Imagine you are the sole leader of the free world. Produce a fabulous semiotic image, acoustic propaganda piece, and/or manifesto that would forever benignly alter our global environment. To help you focus here are some directives to rethink one of many possible anthropocentric needs for the near future; any utilitarian object, transport device, basic sonic composition, or musical network. Visualize a new deep-seated design that subsumes this human necessity entirely within an acoustic ecology. Each designed element should adhere to a predetermined set of socio-ecological principles. This is an exercise in design and sound. Therefore it is not possible to have a truly erroneous solution.

Required Readings:

Breton, Andre. Nadja. Paperback, 160 pages, Language English, ISBN: 9780802150264. Buy it at,,, or

Brown, John Seely & Paul Duguid. "Chapter: Agents & Angels." in: The Social Life of Information. Harvard Business Press. 2000. Hardcover, 336 pages, Language English, ISBN: 0875847625. Buy it at,,, or Paperback, 330 pages, ISBN: 1578517087. Buy it at,,, or

Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. Mariner Books. 2002. Paperback, 400 pages, Language English, ISBN: 0618249060. Buy it at,,, or

Chang, Jeff. Can’t Stop Won’t Stop. Hardcover, 560 pages, Language English, ISBN: 9780312301439. Buy it at,,, or Paperback, 546 pages, ISBN: 9780312425791. Buy it at,,, or

Fuller, R. Buckminster. Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. Princeton Arch. Press. 2000. Paperback, 128 pages, Language English, ISBN: 3907078233. Buy it at,,, or

Iyers, Vijay. Vijay Iyers: Strength in Numbers.

Mau, Bruce. Massive Change. Phaidon Press. 2004. Hardcover, 240 pages, Language English, ISBN: 9780714844015. Buy it at,,, or

Mckibben, Bill. The End of Nature. Random House Trade Paperbacks. June 13, 2006. Paperback, 224 pages, Language English, ISBN: 9780812976083. Buy it at,,, or

Miller, Paul D. (Editor). Sound Unbound. The MIT Press. 2008. Paperback, 362 pages, Language English, ISBN: 9780262633635. Buy it at,,, or

Miller, Paul D. Rhythm Science. The MIT Press. March 1, 2004. Paperback, 130 pages, Language English, ISBN: 026263287X. Buy it at,,, or

McDonough, William & Braungart, Michael. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. North Point Press. 2002. Paperback, 208 pages, Language English, ISBN: 9780865475878. Buy it at,,, or

Nattiez, Jean-Jacques (Editor). The Boulez-Cage Correspondence. Cambridge University Press. 1993. Hardcover, 186 pages, Language English, ISBN: 0521401445. Buy it at,,, or

Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Case of Wagner. Paperback, 240 pages, Language English, ISBN: 9780394703695. Buy it at,,, or

Rose, Tricia. Black Noise. Wesleyan. 1994. Paperback, 257 pages, Language English, ISBN: 9780819562753. Buy it at,,, or

Required Listening & Viewing:

Sakamoto, Ryuichi. Out of Noise. CD, AVEX. ASIN: B001OFB8HE. Buy it at,,, or

Bahrini, Ramin. Plastic Bag.

M.I.A. Born Free.

Davis, Tamra (Director). Jean-Michel Basquiat: Radiant Child. New Video Group. 2010. DVD. ASIN: B003MWHUMY. Buy it at,,, or

Buckland, David. The Cape Farewell Project.

Collage Aesthetic

Iphone Aesthetics

Wikileaks and

Franzen, Benjamin (Director). Copyright Criminals. Indie Pix Films. 2010. 65 min. Starring: De La Soul, George Clinton, Chuck D, DJ Spooky, Saul Williams. ASIN: B002WPPS5S. Buy it at,,, or

Miller, Paul (Director). Rebirth of a Nation. Starz / Anchor Bay. 2008. 100 min. DVD, ASIN: B001DHXSYE. Buy it at,,, or