Course code:



A - Advanced

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • ADS - Arts & Design Studio

Lab fee:


This course explores the dynamics of stranger interactions across disciplines and in a variety of contexts: first by gaining a basic understanding of how the topic has been considered by scientists, social theorists, architects and city planners over the last century but also by understanding how these particular social dynamics fundamentally connect to work in theater and in art.

Through a series of practical experiments, students discern when, why, and how stranger interactions are meaningful, how they differ in urban and rural contexts and how that meaning is tied to the shared work ethic at the heart of the theatrical contract. We will consider the politics of public and private spaces as well as key strategies in staging urban centers, national parks, schools, museums, and theaters.

We’ll also examine stranger archetypes and related terminology like mob-rule, groupthink, bystander effect and collective consent. Students will explore the inherent risks and rewards that stem from personal interactions with strangers and they will study existing and emerging art, performance and technology projects that attempt to incite these interactions.

Students will also develop their own ideas for public performance and new theater technology. Readings will likely include work from Kio Stark, Paul Auster and Sophie Calle, Bertolt Brecht, Peter Brook, Roland Barthes, William H. Whyte, George Simmel, Anne Bogart, Susan Sontag, Jorge Luis Borges. Visual, theater and performance artists may include Andrew Schneider, Richard Renaldi, Natalia Koliada and Nicolai Khalezin, Marina Abramovic, Chris Burden, Rotozaza, Mammalian Diving Reflex and Complex Movements. The course requires a large amount of off-campus work and at least one weekend field trip.

Evaluation will be based on consistent engagement with course topics and the class blog, successful completion of a series of solo and collaborative fieldwork assignments, and a comprehensive final project w/process essay.



Permission of instructor. Previous coursework in theatre and movement, art history, design and social theory is strongly encouraged. A written expression of interest in the course is required.

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.