In the first of two connected projects, students learn about the Bag Poem, introduced to Surealists by Dada artist Tristan Tzara as a parlor trick that promises to allow access to the subconscious through serendipity and chance. In line with the Dada goal of democratizing artistic production, the bag poem facilitates student creation of content.
In the second of these two connected projects, students are introduced to the concepts of illustration, elucidation, and editorialization as relationships that text and image can take on and asked to develop imagery through collage that utilize these relationships.
Students collect headlines and bits of text from newspapers and magazines, cutting out any word that seems interesting to them either for its meaning or the typeface in which it is rendered. The students then place these letters and bits of text in a bag before dumping them on the table and composing a poem from the upward facing words.
The collage aesthetic fits well with the cut and paste headlines, and encourages students to consider how they will consider the content through curation and re-appropriation. Students are shown examples of other student work, Dada collages, and the work of influential Dutch graphic designer, Jan Van Toorn.
This project owes a debt to Professor Daniel Jasper at the University of Minnesota. While the projects and format for the course diverge a bit more each semester as I've edited the project briefs to tailor them to my own goals and teaching style, his GDES 1315 course once served as the framework from which I've built this course here at SDSU.