Ethics, Æsthetics, Ecology, Education

Vision + Rationale

Vision + Rationale

The Oregon Institute for Creative Research: E4, a 501(c)(3), is a platform for envisioning, generating, and developing new models for art and intervention, theory and practice, research and critique, representation and verification; a school and educational initiative in which students and researchers work on major questions of pressing concern and global import in terms of junctures and intersections (Ethics, Æsthetics, Ecology, Education); and a project incubator for actuating optimal futures in the face of massive global change, political polarization, and environmental crisis.  Towards this end, OICR fosters the work of thinkers and makers devoted to tackling social, psychological, and ecological challenges in new and innovative waysscholars, theorists, researchers, journalists, filmmakers, documentarians, social-justice advocates, artists, writers, and poets.

Each year, a select group of students, research apprentices, and research associates are chosen to work with OICR faculty in the Institute’s Graduate Certificate Program in Critical Theory + Creative Research on projects possessing direct relevance and applicability for rethinking major sites of contemporary contestation in the 21st century, from the threatened disappearance of politics to the rise of social media; from biotechnology to the posthuman; from surveillance to war, revolution, and political terror; from the question of visuality to the art of the question, with special attention paid to the central role played by aesthetics.  Uniting the long and rigorous tradition and practice of critical theory (critique) and the emerging domain of creative research, the intensive course of study culminates in either a 50-page research thesis or, alternatively, a 35-page research thesis with the research utilized in another genre or medium, whether painting, performance, film, artist book, installation, or other.

In addition to its Graduate Certificate Program, the Oregon Institute develops collective projects in response to urgent contemporary challenges, from the rural-urban divide to quandaries of verification, from epistemological crisis to the increasing attenuation of sense-based experience.  Current initiatives include “Readings for Now,” a series of seminars and podcasts focusing on texts by major thinkers particularly important for today (Arendt, Adorno, Agamben, and others); M.A.P. (Millennial Agricultural Projects), a mobile kitchen dedicated to post-slaughterhouse agricultural outreach that will traverse the entirety of the Continental U.S.A., one town at a time, introducing citizens to non-GMO plant-based proteins in collaboration with local farmers, artisans, entrepreneurs, and food activists; Over These Prison Walls, an arts-and-humanities program at the Donald E. Long Detention Center; and The Missing H, an endeavor that, as part of OICR’s emphasis on new journalism and new documentary, is devoted to training groups of citizen journalists in debate, fact-checking, and research design and methods while attempting to develop contemporary means for distinguishing the true and the false, the real and the fake, fact and fiction, documentary and mockumentary.  All of the creative-research projects of the Oregon Institute are based on the fact that information per se, whether in the form of facts, statistics, or data visualization, has proven inadequate to the task of judgment, mere data having failed to create value, meaning, or even a sense of direction. 

Building on long years of experience in teaching, writing, and research and a long history of faculty promotion of student and alumni success in fields ranging from teaching, writing, journalism, creative direction, strategic research, design research, visual research, ecological intervention, social-justice advocacy, and activism, OICR seeks to advance the reunification of all branches of human knowledge with the ultimate goal of the resacralization of the world.

Come think with us.