Topics: Water and the Elements
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Level: Undergraduate, Graduate
Division: Parsons The New School for Design
School: School of Constructed Environments
Department: Constructed Environments
Course Number: PSCE 5035
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water." ~Loren Eiseley, anthropologist & natural scientist. Is water a resource, a right, a property, a life necessity? Is it taken for granted? What is its relation to the other basic elements -- earth, fire, and air? Artists, policy makers, designers, scientists, architects, economists, lawyers, religious leaders, politicians, educators, students—they all need, work with, and have something to say about water and its relation to energy, our stuff, air, and the way we live. But which group knows what they are talking about? Which group do you identify with? And how can these differing modes of existence provide a basis to agree on a common future? Our objective is to contribute to the possibilities opening to us if we deepen our relation to water. Our exploration will begin with your lived experiences of water. We will also dive into the differing cultural experiences of water. We will explore current conflicts related to water and predictions about its future. Then we will develop ways to communicate what we have rescued from the sea of data on water. We will emphasize process, reflection, internal critique, and activism as our points of departure for weaving together new ways of being in relation to water. Our goal is to create a teaching-learning seminar for understanding the current status of water and the possibilities water embodies. We will do this by creating a place in which we can play as "the highest form of research." Because as physicist and philosopher Albert Einstein also famously said: “Problems cannot be solved with the same mind set that created them.”
Course Open to: Majors Only
Course Pre/Co-requisites:
Open to: All university students. Prerequisites: none


Open to Lang/Parsons BA/BFA students.

Open to Parsons School of Design students.


Open to Graduate students.