You are here

Wilderness as Myth

Wilderness as Myth begins with an off-site three-day seminar exploring aesthetic and political uses of the Western United States’ landscape, as preparation for a ten-day trip across the American Southwest, ending amidst stalactites in a cave below Nevada.

This program is centered on a road trip to sites of critical and cultural importance throughout the American Southwest. Sites may include:

While on the trip, participants will camp and cook each evening, practice the skill of extended critical observation, and participate in fireside group discussions on the phenomenological and metaphysical, in light of the surroundings and assigned texts.

Some of the topics covered in the program will include: the history of American Land Art and earthworks, the Sublime, Romanticism, time, the role of landscape in narrative cinema – in particular the Western and science fiction genres, the distinctions between land and landscape and space and place, the ethics of tourism and travel, and an analysis of wilderness as an ideological construct.

Sign up for updates about Wilderness as Myth.

Dates and Fees

The program will take place from June 4 through June 18, 2018, beginning at Otis College of Art and Design. The priority deadline for applications is January 31, 2018. The final deadline is May 1, 2018. There is a $20 registration fee; participants are encouraged to apply early. 

The fee to attend the program is $3,000, which includes transportation, site fees, and programming related costs. Notifications will be sent out via email in early May. A $350 deposit fee is required to secure your spot in the program after notifications go out (the full balance is due in early May). 

Visiting Faculty

Aurora Tang

Aurora TangAurora Tang is an independent curator and researcher based in Los Angeles. Since 2009 she has been a program manager at The Center for Land Use Interpretation. From 2011–2015 she was managing director of High Desert Test Sites. She is a senior lecturer at Otis College of Art and Design, and is faculty at the Southland Institute. She is on the Council of Common Field. 


Ian James

Ian JamesIan James (b. 1981 Cincinnati, OH) is an artist based in Los Angeles, primarily working in photography, video and installation. He holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts. Ian has participated in exhibitions at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, the UNLV Barrick Museum, Roberts & Tilton (Los Angeles), vacancy Los Angeles, ltd Los Angeles, REDCAT (Los Angeles), Holiday Forever (Jackson, WY), Self Actualization (Houston, TX), and was an artist in residence at SÍM in Reykjavik, Iceland and the The Wassaic Project (Wassaic, NY). He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Otis College of Art & Design and adjunct faculty at Art Center College of Design and Pasadena City College.


The program is open to anyone. 

Apply Now