Educational Project 1 Shape of Life

"Values & Sensibilities" Unit / "Life & the Environment" Unit
Kazuyoshi Oishi

The purpose of this project is to give experimental lectures, as well as seminars, to overcome the modernist human-centered worldview and to establish the Integrated Human Sciences as a discipline through reconsidering the notions of "shape" and "life". We have three main objectives:

  1. To build a bridge between the cutting-edge natural sciences studying "life" and the humanities aiming at overcoming anthropocentrism.
  2. By focusing on "shape", to offer a coherent and continuous perspective to deal with various forms of creatures and those of cultural products such as architecture, artwork, and the city.
  3. Based on these insights, to bring forth innovative cultural activists who would apply these academic benefits to various practical fields and facilitate a new type of cultural administration.

In short, this project undertakes the task of nurturing innovative curators, administrators, cultural activists, artists, or teachers, who try to conquer various crises of human beings by integrating the humanities with the natural sciences, both in the academic and practical fields.

Classes Offered by the Project

Fieldwork in the Integrated Human Sciences for Cultural Diversity I
("Shape of Life" Project)

"Theatrical Practices as Shape of Life"
This is an intensive theatrical workshop under the supervision of Tomoko Ando, actress with "Theater Company ARICA". The workshop consists of ten sessions and will be held irregularly throughout the academic year. These sessions are rather physical than theatrical, exploring the fundamental question, "how does our body think?" In the S semester, senses we cannot acquire in our daily life will be captured by placing ourselves in a fictional time created by extremely slow walking. In the A semester, we attempt to create a theatrical piece from etudes. In addition, a study trip to South India is planned as a part of this workshop, where an intensive theatrical training will be provided at the "Sahyande Theatre," presided by Director, Sankar Venkateswaran. During this trip, a workshop is also scheduled to be held with invited guests from theatrical field in India. (S and A semesters)

Fieldwork in the Integrated Human Sciences for Cultural Diversity I
("Life & Environment" Unit)

"Laboratory experiments for Science Arts"
This is an intensive introductory seminar in scientific experimentation for students of the Humanities and Social Sciences. In the seminar, the ‘shape of life’ of animals and plants is observed at the cellular level using such high-tech devices as optical and electron microscopes. In addition, students will learn technologies and various methods to output the results. The seminar will be held during the summer or winter recess as an intensive one-week seminar. (Prof. Shigeru Masuda).

Seminar in the Integrated Human Sciences for Cultural Diversity I
("Shape of Life" Project)

"Towards Possibilities of Integrated Human Sciences"
This is a seminar to explore possible perspectives for ‘Integrated Human Sciences’ by cross-linking the natural sciences and humanities. This year, we will hypothesize a four-dimensional structure that includes such elements as numbers, words (meaning) and images that serve as the fundamental dimensions through which human beings recognize the world, and explore the possibilities of integrating these as we examine the differences in the characteristics of respective dimensions. How should the meaning of ‘being a human being’ be redefined in light of the fundamental understanding of the world brought about by the natural sciences and the domains of its technological application? Through interdisciplinary approaches across the natural sciences and humanities, as well as art and culture, we will pursue possibilities of ‘integration’, which is a key concept of this program. (Prof. Yasuo Kobayashi, S semester)

Seminar in the Integrated Human Sciences for Cultural Diversity I ("Values & Sensibilities" Unit)

"Traversing ‘lifely’ cities and cultural representations"
This seminar is designed as a linguistic exploration into life-forming and life-formed cities as represented and constructed in modern English literature. It focuses on physical, intellectual, and existential perceptions and recognitions of ever-changing cities, in particular, London, through walking, moving, and traversing the urban space. We will examine the ways in which these perceptions and recognitions emerge as literary representations in 19th-century fictions. The seminar is going to pay particular attention to those living in alienated and repressed circumstances, whose views and visions will reveal perverted images and existential meanings of urban space. (Prof. Kazuyoshi Oishi, S semester)

The Core Contents of the Project

In this educational project, students are expected to acquire basic knowledge concerning the life sciences (specifically, the various theories on morphogenesis through complex systems, topology, or informatics). They are also expected to develop a general understanding of architecture, art, and design works in order to gain an appreciation of the "Big History of Art". Furthermore, in this project, students are expected to join workshops with dancers and choreographers, to collaborate with museum curators, and to create their own works of art using video technology.