AHT3801 - The medium in contemporary art - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Art, Design and Architecture

Organisational Unit

Department of Fine Arts


Dr Spiros Panigirakis

Not offered in 2017


This unit was formerly coded TAD3801


This unit examines the medium and its materiality across a range of visual art practices including: painting, sculpture, installation, photography, video, multi-media, social practices and performance art. It focuses on a historical lineage of art's mediums and disciplines and how they are framed, constituted and judged in a diverse range of academic fields. Concepts and traditions of modern aesthetics, the effect of late-capitalism, socio-economic critiques of art and technology are pivotal to any understanding of how art's form moves between modes of medium-specificity to trans-disciplinary realms. The unit introduces key theoretical tenets to analyse late modernist and contemporary art practices as case studies. It introduces students to the critical dialogue around the medium and artists' material processes.


On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. understand and articulate what a medium is both conceptually and practically
  2. analyse the debates surrounding the defence and criticism of medium specificity and the trans-disciplinary
  3. contextualise studio practice within the conceptual models explored in the unit
  4. reflect and engage in critical dialogue about the medium and its importance in twenty-first century art


Assignment 1,500 words (40%)

Research essay 2,500 words (60%)

Workload requirements

12 hours per week including 3 contact hours and 9 hours of independent study or equivalent.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


12 credit points at second year level in Art History and Theory, or Theory of Art and Design, or Visual Culture, or permission from Unit Coordinator


TAD2801, TAD3801, AHT2801