February 6, 2017

Diagrammatic Visualization and The Archival Impulse

Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts at the University of Houston
Matthew Ritchie, Surrender to the Diagram, 2017. Rendering for the University of Houston.

The College of the Arts at the University of Houston is pleased to announce two interdisciplinary projects: “Diagrammatic Visualization in Art and Theory” led by art historian and writer Natilee Harren, and “The Archival Impulse” led by writer and poet Nick Flynn.

“Diagrammatic Visualization in Art and Theory”
Natilee Harren, Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art History & Critical Studies, with visiting artists and scholars Eric Alliez, Blake Rayne, Matthew Ritchie and Gloria Sutton.

What is a diagram? What role do diagrams play in the creation and manipulation of human knowledge? How are diagrams employed in creative disciplines (visual art, music, theater, dance, poetry, architecture, design), and what do these diagrams look like? What characterizes diagrammatic thinking? Guided by these questions, this exploratory seminar will survey and examine creative uses, definitions, and theories of the diagram from the early modern period to the present, with emphasis on cultural production in the 20th and 21st centuries. From Leonardo da Vinci and Copernicus to digital visualization after the internet, seminar participants will collaboratively construct a visual encyclopedia of diagrams as we engage a range of theoretical propositions about diagrams by thinkers and practitioners including C. S. Peirce, John Bender and Michael Marrinan, Frederik Stjernfelt, Gilles Deleuze, Éric Alliez, Rosalind Krauss, Lawrence and Anna Halprin, Hannah Higgins, Anthony Vidler, and Fredric Jameson, among many others.

On March 2, seminar participants will collaborate with artist Matthew Ritchie in presenting a public performance-lecture in the atrium of the Philip Johnson-designed Hines College of Architecture building. Seminar participants’ research on diagrams will culminate in an exhibition on view at the School of Art’s Third Space Gallery from April 11 through 18, 2017.

“The Archival Impulse”
Nick Flynn, Professor of Creative Writing, with visiting artists Regina Agu, Gabriel Martinez, and Ronnie Yates.

This project-based studio and seminar utilizes the Houston arts space Alabama Song as a lab to examine concepts and processes of the archive as both an imaginative as well as a generative space. Three organizing frameworks—time, sound, and space—will be the lenses through which participants will examine questions of the archive. Participants will develop collaborations that will, in some ways, address these conceptual frameworks across various artistic practices including visual art, film, writing, sound, installation, and performance. Participants will perform, present and exhibit their work at Alabama Song, 2521 Oakdale Drive, Houston, TX 77004.


These interdisciplinary projects are supported by the College of the Arts and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston.

For more information contact Abinadi Meza, Director of Interdisciplinary Initiatives: [email protected]



College of the Arts at the University of Houston presents Diagrammatic Visualization and The Archival Impulse

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