Total Design as the Art of Transgression

Elective, Spring 2013
Anders Munch

The collaboration of art forms has remained a dream for artists, designers and architects, designed to transgress narrow boundaries, create new societies and foster an architecture that embraces a still more complex reality. The Gesamtkunstwerk or Total Work of Art has recurred to describe, critically or confirming, contemporary experiments combining design, architecture and art. The interest is a revitalization of utopia, an exploitation of media technology, and a proposal for new forms of collaboration and collective interventions.

In this course the Gesamtkunstwerk will be traced through contemporary spatial phenomenon, media and mediums, retracing 20th century experiments such as New Babylon, New Bauhaus, Third Reich, the Avant-Garde to consider the limits of design and architecture as well as the dangers of total aesthetization. Students will situate design and architecture within a interdisciplinary, historical and theoretical discourse of art theory, philosophy and cultural critique. Ideals of the profession will be discussed and writing exercises invoked to develop methods ranging from critical analysis, debate and statement.


Originally posted May 1, 2012. Latest revision Sep 3, 2017.

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