Courses

MAAD 23655 Collaborative Artware

In this course we'll be working together as an open source arts collective. We'll produce an online app which explores the expressive space between software as a tool and software as art. We'll learn the processes (Agile, Scrum, etc) and tools (git, GitHub, etc) that professional creative technologists use when working together to produce "software art" projects. This is an intermediate level coding course with work being predominantly written in JavaScript (server side and client side). While proficiency in JavaScript is not required, it's recommended that students have a background in basic programming concepts (data types, variables, functions, conditions, loops, etc) as this course will build on those to introduce more intermediate level concepts and programming paradigms.

This course counts for a Media Practice and Design requirement in the MAAD program. 

Nick Briz
2020-2021

MAAD 24410 Transmedia Puzzle Design & Performance

This course will introduce students to the burgeoning field of immersive puzzle design. Students will develop, implement and playtest puzzles that are suited for a range of experiences: from the tabletop to the immersive, from online puzzle hunts to broad-scoped alternate reality games (ARG). Students in this course will work directly with master puzzler, Sandor Wiesz, the commissioner of The Mystery League.

2020-2021

10100 Introduction to Film

This course introduces basic concepts of film analysis, which students will discuss through examples from different national cinemas, genres, and directorial oeuvres. Along with questions of film technique and style, students will examine the cinema as an institution that comprises an industrial system of production, social and aesthetic norms and codes, and particular modes of reception. Films discussed will include works by Dorothy Arzner, Vera Chytilová, Julie Dash, Alfred Hitchcock, Barry Jenkins, Wanuri Kahiu, Akira Kurosawa, and Agnès Varda.

2020-2021 Spring

40000 Methods and Issues

(ARTH 39900; ENGL 48000; MAPH 33000)

This course will be fully remote.

This course offers an introduction to ways of reading, writing on, and teaching film. The focus of discussion will range from methods of close analysis and basic concepts of film form, technique and style; through industrial/critical categories of genre and authorship (studios, stars, directors); through aspects of the cinema as a social institution, psycho-sexual apparatus and cultural practice; to the relationship between filmic texts and the historical horizon of production and reception. Films discussed will include works by Griffith, Lang, Hitchcock, Deren, Godard.

2020-2021 Autumn

48108 Film, Music, Emotion

(MAPH 48108)

This course will be fully remote. 

This course explores the role of emotions in movies.  Films represent emotions, such as the feelings of a character; and they elicit emotions in viewers, making it part of their cinematic experience.  Cinematic emotions are often constitutive of genre, ranging from the laughter in slapstick comedy to cathartic tears in melodrama. While film has long been scrutinized for the visual representation of emotions (for example with the close-up of a face), sound and music are vital contributors to representing and eliciting emotions. This seminar will focus on a series of films that mix emotions in order to express social dilemmas and dramatic conflict, often connected to issues of gender, sexual, and racial identity. Films discussed range from Stella Dallas (1937) and Imitation of Life (1937) to Moonlight  (2016) and Parasite (2019)Readings will include scholarship in film studies, affect theory, and some empirical research in cognitive and social psychology. Participants will take turns in functioning as "experts" for select class sessions by preparing readings and objects for class discussion.  In weeks 7-10, the seminar will partly focus on objects and research pertinent to participants’ research papers, which will be presented at a mini-conference in Week 11.

 

Berthold Hoeckner
2020-2021 Winter

61120 Issues and Aesthetics in Contemporary Black Film

This course will be fully remote. 

This seminar considers innovations and trends in Black film aesthetics and politics over the past twenty years. We will focus specifically on their implications for film theory and criticism.

2020-2021 Winter

67006 Cognitive Approaches to Spectatorship

This course will have occasional in-person meetings.

This course provides an overview of cognitive approaches to film and media spectatorship to date. It reviews theories of perception, emotion, and cognitive processing as they relate to film viewing and appropriation, and specifically: cognitive theories of human emotions; how film viewing engages body and mind; cognitive approaches to analyzing storytelling and style; cognitive games films play with us; and the theories of attention, identification, and ideological persuasion.

2020-2021 Autumn

67035 Framing, Reframing, Unframing Cinema

This class combines three emerging ways of looking at cinema: a continuously growing barrage of AI-based algorithms that seek to unlock data latent in images; existing films and digital archives of moving image material; and tools and programming environments oriented towards the construction of new moving-image works, viewing situations and logics. At a time when we are perhaps further away from the stable objects of cinema than we have ever been, when digital streaming repackages and recomposes film in front of our very eyes, or when virtual, augmented and mixed realities embed and dissolve cinema's frames in new and virtual spaces, what new positive opportunities for scholarship and creation can we find?

This class is open to graduate students regardless of their production, coding, film-making experience. If you have any curiosity around the potentials and mechanisms of computers seeing us, seeing our film and video, helping navigate and bootstrap new digital humanities approaches or curiosities that shade quantitative or algorithmic, join us in this class — there's important work to be started here.

2020-2021 Spring

67120 The Cinematic Camera and the Single-shot Film

Two of the most basic concepts at work in both filmmaking and film scholarship are the camera and the shot, yet each term resists easy definition. The shot is often defined in terms of the camera, and in terms of an imagined moment of “shooting.” The camera, is perhaps best described by Ed Branigan a “a logic of reading”: a kind of fiction we create to identify and to give meaning to changes in cinematic framing (i.e., “the camera tracks left to reveal…”). While both terms try to describe material realities, both also founder on logical grounds and as descriptions of our experience. We are all familiar with single shot films that neither operate by the same principles, nor create the same effect. Arrival of a train at La Ciotat is not Empire.

This course hopes to interrogate the specificities of the cinematic camera by paring the variables down to single-shot films. We will examine the idea of the cinematic dispositif or “apparatus” and ask whether there is such a thing as the camera rather than a multiplicity of  cameras. We will address the persistence of animism in film theory and criticism, attempts to define the quiddity of the filmed image, analogies between human and creaturely perception, machine vision, forms and logics of picturing and pictorial organization. We will also take the opportunity to examine acoustic analogs (the microphone, the recording) in order to help us understand the logics and the fallacies at work in our basic analytic concepts. Our film viewing will concentrate upon very early cinema (the Lumières, Edison, etc.) and on the avant-garde (Warhol, Snow, Gottheim, Jacobs, Gehr, etc.). Along the way, we will examine some mainstream films like Rope and Russian Ark, or Birdman.

2020-2021 Spring

67205 Deleuze and the Image

(SCTH 50800)

The Image is a concept that returns and varies across Gilles Deleuze’s philosophical works. In this seminar, we will work through Deleuze’s characterization of the Image in its varying forms—image of thought, thought without image, movement-image, time-image, the visible and the expressible, Idea and percept, and sensation and figure, among others. Of special concern will be Deleuze’s arguments concerning the relation of philosophy to art. Readings will include selections from Proust and Signs, Difference and Repetition, Foucault, Cinema 1 and Cinema 2, Logic of Sensation, What is Philosophy?, and perhaps other texts. Reading knowledge of French is recommended but not required.

2020-2021 Spring

67804 Ecology and Media

(EALC 67804)

This seminar will be fully remote.

This seminar aims to develop an ecological understanding of media (infrastructures, platforms, forms). The focus will be on the conceptual shift from dialectics to energetics (as well as the relation between them) that runs through German media theory, philosophies of technology, and new materialisms. The thematic focus for Fall 2020 will be on oceans and waterways.

2020-2021 Autumn

67804 Media Ecology

(EALC 67804)

This seminar will be fully remote.

The seminar aims to develop an ecological understanding of media (infrastructures, platforms, forms). The focus will be on the conceptual shift from dialectics to energetics (as well as the relation between them) that runs through German media theory, philosophies of technology, and new materialisms. The thematic focus for Fall 2020 will be on oceans and waterways.

2020-2021 Autumn

67830 What's New in New Media

This course will be fully remote. 

This seminar explores new writing on the topic of new media, digital technology, and new practices of image-making. We’ll explore a range of different theoretical texts, but also explore recent writing on some of the following topics: media infrastructures; the materiality of media; techniques and technologies of image-making (3D, VR, animation); video games; media archeology; race and media; the politics of social media; queer theory and media studies; and the internationalization of debates on media. We’ll look at writers such as: Nicole Starosielski; Melody Jue; Yak Hui; Kara Keeling; Lisa Nakamura; Lisa Parks; Wendy Hui Kyong Chun; Andrew Johnston; Ina Blom; Patrick Jagoda; Kris Cohen; Shane Denson; Brooke Belisle; and others.

2020-2021 Winter

69110 The Archive: Materiality, Aesthetics, and Visual Cultures

(ARTH 49700; FREN 49100)

This course will be fully remote. 

This graduate seminar will prepare students to conduct archival research, and to build a research archive from different historical, methodological, and theoretical perspectives. While we will engage a range of texts on archival methodology, theory, and the phenomenology of the archive, we will also examine questions concerning aesthetics, materiality, visual culture, and the digital that inform our understanding of archives today. The seminar will be partially organized around case studies that foreground different archival modes of discovery, evaluation, and interpretation—including those that constitute the “counter archive.” Students will learn practical skills for conducting research in filmic, paper and print, and internet archives, and develop the investigative, analytical abilities that are necessary for building an archive around either material objects or theoretical questions.

2020-2021 Winter

10100 Introduction to Film

(ARTH 20000; ARTV 20300; ENGL 10800)

All sections for this course will be fully remote.

This course introduces basic concepts of film analysis, which students will discuss through examples from different national cinemas, genres, and directorial oeuvres. Along with questions of film technique and style, students will examine the cinema as an institution that comprises an industrial system of production, social and aesthetic norms and codes, and particular modes of reception. Films discussed will include works by Dorothy Arzner, Vera Chytilová, Julie Dash, Alfred Hitchcock, Barry Jenkins, Wanuri Kahiu, Akira Kurosawa, and Agnès Varda.

2020-2021 Winter

10100 Introduction to Film

(ARTH 20000; ARTV 20300; ENGL 10800)

This course will be fully remote.

This course introduces basic concepts of film analysis, which students will discuss through examples from different national cinemas, genres, and directorial oeuvres. Along with questions of film technique and style, students will examine the cinema as an institution that comprises an industrial system of production, social and aesthetic norms and codes, and particular modes of reception. Films discussed will include works by Dorothy Arzner, Vera Chytilová, Julie Dash, Alfred Hitchcock, Barry Jenkins, Wanuri Kahiu, Akira Kurosawa, and Agnès Varda.

2020-2021 Autumn

14207 Mindfulness: Experience and Media

(HUMA 25207)

How do we experience media (of all kinds) with (or without) awareness? Methods of mindfulness offer principles and practices of awareness focusing on mind, body, and embodied mind. Mindfulness (a flexible, moment-to-moment, non-judging awareness) is an individual experience and at the same time, practices of mindfulness can be a mode of public health intervention. Mindfulness involves social epistemologies of how we know (or don’t know) collectively, as we interact with immediate sensory experience as well as with mediated communication technologies generating various sorts of virtual realities (from books to VR). In addition to readings and discussions, this course teaches embodied practices of attention and awareness through the curriculum of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.

M. Browning
2020-2021 Winter

14400 Film and the Moving Image

All sections of this course will be fully remote. 

This course seeks to develop skills in perception, comprehension, and interpretation when dealing with film and other moving image media. It encourages the close analysis of audiovisual forms, their materials and formal attributes, and explores the range of questions and methods appropriate to the explication of a given film or moving image text. It also examines the intellectual structures basic to the systematic study and understanding of moving images. Most importantly, the course aims to foster in students the ability to translate this understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written. Texts and films are drawn from the history of narrative, experimental, animated, and documentary or non-fiction cinema. Screenings are a mandatory course component.

2020-2021 Winter

14400 Film and the Moving Image

The sessions of this course with Gary Kafer and Richard Neer will be remote, and the session with Maria Belodubrovskaya will have occasional in-person meetings.

This course seeks to develop skills in perception, comprehension, and interpretation when dealing with film and other moving image media. It encourages the close analysis of audiovisual forms, their materials and formal attributes, and explores the range of questions and methods appropriate to the explication of a given film or moving image text. It also examines the intellectual structures basic to the systematic study and understanding of moving images. Most importantly, the course aims to foster in students the ability to translate this understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written. Texts and films are drawn from the history of narrative, experimental, animated, and documentary or non- fiction cinema. Screenings are a mandatory course component.

14400 Film and the Moving Image

This course seeks to develop skills in perception, comprehension, and interpretation when dealing with film and other moving image media. It encourages the close analysis of audiovisual forms, their materials and formal attributes, and explores the range of questions and methods appropriate to the explication of a given film or moving image text. It also examines the intellectual structures basic to the systematic study and understanding of moving images. Most importantly, the course aims to foster in students the ability to translate this understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written. Texts and films are drawn from the history of narrative, experimental, animated, and documentary or non-fiction cinema. Screenings are a mandatory course component.

2020-2021 Spring

14503 Cinema in Theory and Practice

This course will be fully remote. 

The course proposes an introduction to audio-visual literacy through the analysis of films, selective readings, and short film exercises focusing on fundamental cinematic elements such as shot, framing, point of view, camera movement, editing, and relations of image and sound. Assignments will consist in in writing review sheets and a formal film analysis, and in creating three 1-3 minute single-shot movies based on the works seen and discussed in class. Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. For nonmajors, any CMST 14400 through 14599 course meets the general education requirement in the arts.

2020-2021 Winter

15630 Television in an Age of Change

(CMST 28730)

This course will be fully remote. 

As streaming options proliferate, we think of television today as a medium in flux, but the history of television—and American television in particular—has been one of change. This course will look at core television concepts both today and in the past, exploring major shifts in television history through its relationships to audiences, technology, and other media.

Ilana Emmett
2020-2021 Winter

20500 ARTGAMES

(ARTV 25403)

Reset your expectations of video games! Video games can be political, experimental, and poetic. New media artists have been leveraging unconventional approaches to interactive media for decades. This studio course will playfully explore the methods, tools, and environments used to create artgames and machinima. Develop, hack, mod, and utilize video games as an artistic medium. Challenge the rules, mechanics, and interfaces of existing video games and consider the infinite possibilities of artgames.

2020-2021 Winter

20620 Pivot to Digital: Adapting Performance Practices to Online Spaces

(TAPS 20620)

How are performance-makers adapting their practices to online spaces? Many theater and live art makers are discovering new dimensions of their work as they ‘pivot to digital’, experimenting broadly with expressive form and audience engagement. In this course we will examine a set of case studies drawn from the current pandemic-inspired movement towards online performance, gamification, live/recorded hybrid models of performance, and socially distanced performance practices. We will look at the translation of theater design techniques such as scenery and sound design to digital platforms, audio-play forms, and at-home experience design, plus ask questions about the democratization of content available much more widely online than in conventional performance spaces. Students will be asked to adapt a theatrical work (play or devised project) to digital form as part of their work in class.

S. Boeckly
2020-2021 Winter

20904/30904 Media Wars

(GNSE 20114, GNSE 30114; MAAD 10904; SIGN 26061)

Media practices and discourses evoking war or violence are common today, such as the “weaponization” of social media; “cyber warfare” and attacks; “online battlefields;” “guerilla” media tactics; “The Great Meme War” and “Infowars.com,” to name a few. In relationship with terms suggesting that we live in an age of “post-truth” dominated by “fake news” or “fact-challenged” journalism, the media wars of today may seem unique to the twenty-first century. But in fact, the history of the use of media to either combat or spread ideas dates back centuries to the earliest phases of mass media and communication. In this class, we will proceed historically, broadly conceiving of media to include print and visual, cultural, and artistic forms, cinema, television, and the internet. While we will explore how media have historically been used to construct or counter dominant systems of representation, we will also discuss how different media forms function formally, learning to analyze how they construct discourses of truth as texts (documentary; propaganda). This class will also function as a contemporary research laboratory where students will be asked to track, evaluate, and theorize contemporary or historical media that are taking part in a so-called “media war.”

Please note: students who have previously completed the course “Problems in the Study of Gender and Sexuality: Media Wars” are not eligible to receive credit for this class.

2020-2021 Spring

21650 Irish Literature and Film

(ENGL 18250)

This course will be fully remote. 

Irish literature in English from Swift to Anna Burns (Milkman), including Thomas Moore, Maria Edgeworth, Bram Stoker, Yeats, Synge, Joyce, O’Casey, Brian Friel and Seamus Heaney); Irish Cinema including films by John Ford, Neil Jordan, John Huston, Ken Loach, Lenny Abramson, Jim Sheridan, Kirsten Sheridan, John Crowley. 

2020-2021 Autumn

21805/31805 Chicago Film Cultures

Course cancelled for Winter 2021.

Chicago not only boasts a rich history of film production (from silent comedies to industrial, educational, student, documentary, and contemporary Hollywood filmmaking) but also has a long, significant history of film presentation. Chicago features iconic movie palaces built downtown and in neighborhoods across the city in the 1920s. And it is has been the site of a wide variety of film exhibition venues and film- related events that are currently thriving: festivals, conferences, workshops, lectures. Films are screened in every type of museum (history, art, science), in large mainstream venues and in smaller, community- based and artist-run spaces. Our own campus boasts Doc Films, the longest-running film society in the country. This course examines the conceptual and historical frameworks that have been used for presenting cinema – historical and contemporary – in the city's varied institutional and cultural contexts. Students will study past film and current cultures in Chicago by researching particular events, venues, critics and curators, and by employing a variety of methods, including archival research, participant observation and interviews. Topics covered will include include exhibition, funding and marketing, debates on curating and film in museums, audience and fan culture studies (with attention to Chicago's particular demographic contours), national cinemas, genre, authorship and multi-media presentational modes.

2020-2021 Winter

22118/32118 Nazi Cinema

(GRMN 22118 / GRMN 32118)

Nazi cinema.  An examination of a broad range of films produced under the National Socialist regime, from mass spectacles to domestic melodramas, from comedies to hagiographic bio-pics to dramatized propaganda. We will explore the national aspirations, formal organization, ideological inflections, and conceptual logic of these films in order to ask: what constitutes a National Socialist (film) aesthetic?  Readings in film history, film theory, and cultural theory.  No prerequisites, but a commitment to close readings – of film and criticism – and lively, thoughtful engagement will be essential.  In English.  If there is sufficient interest, we may add a German language discussion section.

2020-2021 Spring

22500 Computational Imaging

(ARTV 22500; CMST 28800)

This studio course introduces fundamental tools and concepts used in the production of computer-mediated artwork. Instruction includes a survey of standard digital imaging software and hardware (i.e., Photoshop, scanners, storage, printing, etc.), as well as exposure to more sophisticated methods. We also view and discuss the historical precedents and current practice of media art. Using input and output hardware, students complete conceptually driven projects emphasizing personal direction while gaining core digital knowledge.

Jason Salavon
2020-2021 Winter

23406 Contemporary French Cinema

(FREN 23406; GNSE 23406)

This course will be fully remote. 

This course proposes an overview of Francophone cinema of the last decade.It will reflect the diversity and the richness of contemporary auteur cinema through various genres and genre-defying works. We will screen a selection of recent internationally acclaimed movies from renowned filmmakers such as Agnès Varda, Claire Denis, Leos Carax, as well as from a new generation of filmmakers such as Céline Sciamma, Ladj Ly, or Mati Diop. We will also discuss the controversy surrounding the film Cuties (Mignonnes) by Maïmouna Doucouré.

Students taking the class for French credit are expected to complete assignments (and readings as applicable) in French.

2020-2021 Winter

23631 Internet Art I

This studio course examines the Internet as an artistic medium (computers, networks and code), as an environment (media ecology) and as "the masterpiece of human civilization" (à la Virginia Heffernan). Our focus will be on producing creative contributions to this collaborative space by learning the core coding languages of the web, HTML and CSS. While we will occasionally be discussing the contributions of self-identified artists (from the net.art movement of the 1990s for example) we will generally be taking a broader cultural view, exploring the histories, philosophies and practices of various online cultural niches. We will learn how hackers use the command line to break into networks and how the open source community use special tools that facilitate large scale collaborations. We'll learn about AI praised by singularity evangelists in the "age of spiritual machines" as well as the digital rights activists who protest against the algorithms of surveillance capitalism. Throughout this journey, we will be learning the craft of the Internet, and in particular browsers and the web. We will be borrowing techniques from demoscensters, meme-makers, cyberpunks and web designers as we learn to produce work with the web's generalized media format (HTML and CSS) as well as how to distribute that work online (deploying web sites).

Nick Briz
2020-2021 Winter

23632 Internet Art II

The web browser is a blank canvas, through code we can conjure up any kind of preexisting and not yet invented screen based media. It is also an art studio, equipped with tools for making hypertext, interactive video, 2D and 3D animation, electronic music, sound sampling and synthesis, mixed reality (AR/VR), artificial intelligence and so much more. The browser is also a place to share our work, collaborate with others and explore all manner of interesting cultural activity. In this course we will produce artware (software art) for any kind of Internet connected device (mobile phones, laptops, VR headsets, Raspberry Pi, IoT, etc) by learning to code in the Internet's de facto programming language: JavaScript. After examining (through screenings, readings and interaction) the work of artists, designers and developers who both celebrate and criticize the promises and perils of our digital age, students will conceive and pitch project concepts to each other. Students will then form groups to collaborate on open-source artware (software art) leveraging the same tools (git, GitHub) and processes (Agile, Scrum) used by professionals. We will learn how to properly document and present software projects online as well as how to maintain a professional creative code portfolio. We will also learn to use libraries/APIs (for virtual reality, artificial intelligence, hypermedia, etc) pertaining to the specific type of project we choose to work on.

Nick Briz
2020-2021 Spring

23650 Culture Jamming in the Digital Age

From the détournement images of the Situationist International to the plundered sampled tracks of sonic outlaws, activist media artists in the later half of the 20th century deployed a medley of piratical practices in their quest to challenge and subvert our mainstream media culture. While the institutional critiques posed by these "culture jammers" remain as salient as ever, the creative techniques themselves no longer have the same effect in the age of social media and surveillance capitalism. As new media theorist Curt Cloninger asked in 2009, "How do you hack/resist a platform that already allows (indeed, invites) you to customize it?" This is the question we will set out to answer in this course. We'll look at works and study the practices of new media artists who have adapted these culture jamming techniques for the present moment. We'll learn how glitch artists exploit bugs in software to databend and datamosh media files. We'll learn how hacktivist use information security tools for creative political ends. We'll explore radical networks that exist outside the mainstream Internet and learn to tactically misuse our apps to circumvent restrictions imposed by popular platforms. At the end of this journey we'll respond to Cloninger's challenge by reframing these techniques as new modes of culture jamming for the digital age.

Nick Briz
2020-2021 Winter

23833 Oral History & Podcasting

(TAPS 28330)

This class explores the potential of the podcast as a form of ethical artistic and social practice. Through the lens of oral history and its associated values—including prioritizing voices that are not often heard, reciprocity, complicating narratives, and the archive—we will explore ways to tell stories of people and communities in sound. Students will develop a grounding in oral history practices and ethics, as well as the skills to produce compelling oral narratives, including audio editing, recording scenes and ambient sound, and using music. During the quarter, students will have several opportunities to practice interviewing and will design their own oral history project. This class is appropriate for students with no audio experience, as well as students who have taken TAPS 28320 The Mind as Stage: Podcasting.

S. Geis
2020-2021 Winter

23930/33930 Documentary Production I

(ARTV 23930 / 33930; HMRT 25106 / 35106; MAAD 23930)

Course cancelled for Winter 2021.

Documentary Video Production focuses on the making of independent documentary video. Examples of direct cinema, cinéma vérité, the essay, ethnographic film, the diary, historical and biographical film, agitprop/activist forms, and guerilla television will be screened and discussed. Issues embedded in the documentary genre, such as the ethics and politics of representation and the shifting lines between documentary fact and fiction, will be explored. Pre-production strategies and production techniques will be taught, including the camera, interviews and sound recording, shooting in available light, working in crews, and post-production editing. Students will be expected to purchase a portable FireWire. A five-minute string-out/rough-cut will be screened at the end of the quarter. Students are encouraged to take Documentary Production II to complete their work.

2020-2021 Winter

23931/33931 Documentary Production II

(ARTV 23931 / 33931; HMRT 25107 / 35107; MAAD 23931)

Documentary Production II focuses on the shaping and crafting of a non-fiction video. Enrollment will be limited to those students who have taken CMST 23930 Documentary Production I. The class will discuss issues of ethics, power, and representation in this most philosophical and problematic of genres. Students will be expected to write a treatment outline detailing their project and learn about granting agencies and budgeting. Production techniques will concentrate on the language of handheld camera versus tripod, interview methodologies, microphone placement including working with wireless systems and mixers, and lighting for the interview. Post-production will cover editing techniques including color correction and audio sweetening, how to prepare for exhibition, and distribution strategies.

2020-2021 Spring

24616 When Love Came to China

(EALC 24516)

This course will have occasional in-person meetings.

What is love? What is attachment? Is the notion of romantic love thought to be a universal force or should it be understood differently in different cultural contexts? Why did early twentieth-century Chinese writers claim that they had never known true love? How did the notion of romantic love shift its valences in Chinese translations (or recreations) of novels of Western origin? How did ideas of romantic love change from the early twentieth century to the 1940s, and how did cinema and print culture contribute to promoting them? This interdisciplinary seminar invites you to rethink love in all its complexity. We will examine a wide range of materials, including women’s magazines, love letters, fiction writing, photographs, films, and popular songs, situate these works in their historical and social contexts, and analyze how they adapt elements from other cultures and media. We will also discuss some of the issues and problems involved in locating appropriate sources, gaining access to digital archives and collections, and choosing particular methods of investigation and analysis that pertain to studies of modern China. This course includes a two-part peer-review workshop, which will serve as a forum for developing innovative research projects.

2020-2021 Winter

24618 Electronic Music I

(MUSI 26618)

Electronic Music I presents an open environment for creativity and expression through composition in the electronic music studio. The course provides students with a background in the fundamentals of sound and acoustics, covers the theory and practice of digital signal processing for audio, and introduces the recording studio as a powerful compositional tool. The course culminates in a concert of original student works presented in multi-channel surround sound. Enrollment gives students access to the Electronic Music Studio in the Department of Music. No prior knowledge of electronic music is necessary.

2020-2021 Winter

24916 Yōkai Media

(EALC 24916; MAAD 14916)

This course will be fully remote.

This course centers on yōkai (monsters or fantastic creatures) and theories of the fantastic in cinema and media. Historically, it spans the range from medieval emaki and Edo chōnin culture through 20th and 21st century manga and anime. Inquiry into yōkai and the fantastic is intended to develop new strategies for putting cinema and media into dialogue with theories of political sovereignty and capitalism in the context of everyday life and its urban myths.

2020-2021 Autumn

25080 Spectacle in Miniature

(TAPS 27080)

This course explores how the grand theatrical event can be ‘miniaturized’. Students will investigate forms of spectacle and contemporary puppetry, toy theater, performance installation, and designed environments, along with artists who work in intimate and miniature scale. Students will create works experimenting with how large dramatic stories can be told with detailed and intimate sets, puppets, transforming objects, mechanical contraptions, and text. Sources for narrative will include but not be limited to dream and myth.

F. Magueri
2020-2021 Winter

25503/35503 Contemporary Horror

This course will be fully remote.

This course takes the modern horror film as its object. For the purposes of this class, modern horror spans the period from 1960 to the present, although much of our attention will be directed toward the period from the 1980s to the present. We will examine key problems in the genre including, but not limited to an examination of the nature of the horrific, close formal analysis (which typically is neglected in favor of more culturally oriented approaches), questions of POV and camera movement, the articulation and construction of space, the role of gender in the genre, the changing importance of women as performers, characters, directors, and spectators, found footage/surveillance, and the genre's address to the viewer.

2020-2021 Autumn

25540/45540 Fact and Fiction

(ARTH 45540; ARTV 20540 / 45540; MAPH 45540)

Since Grierson’s definition of the documentary as “creative treatment of actuality,” critics have been struggling to establish distinctions between documentary and fiction. Furthermore, the critical discourse has been constantly challenged by new artistic meditations of reality and its representation, and works blurring the border between the logic of facts and the logic of fiction. Additionally, this dualism is complicated by the difficult question of truth telling. Cinema has a long and winding history of non-fiction: from staged or dramatized actualities at its beginning, via docudrama, fake documentaries and mockumentary, to trends in recent documentaries that incorporate reenactment and animation. Since the mid-1990s the “documentary turn in contemporary art” has seen more and more artists experimenting with documentary modes through which they are questioning the mediations by which facts/documents acquire their facticity.

2020-2021 Spring

25620 Japanese Animation - The Making of a Global Media

(EALC 25620; MAAD 15620; SIGN 26070)

This course will be fully remote. 

This course offers an introduction to Japanese animation, from its origins in the 1910s to its emergence as global culture in the 1990s. The goal is not only to provide insight into Japanese animation within the context of Japan but also to consider those factors that have transformed it into a global cultural form with a diverse, worldwide fanbase. As such, the course approaches Japanese animation from three distinct perspectives on Japanese animation, which are designed to introduce students to three important methodological approaches to contemporary media — film studies, media studies, and fan studies or cultural studies. As we look at Japanese animation in light of these different conceptual frameworks, we will also consider how its transnational dissemination and ‘Asianization’ challenge some of our basic assumptions about global culture, which have been shaped primarily through the lens of Americanization.

2020-2021 Winter

26200 Brecht and Beyond

(ENGL 24400; CMLT 20800; FNDL 22405; TAPS 28435)

Brecht is indisputably the most influential playwright in the 20th century, but his influence on film theory and practice and on cultural theory generally is also considerable. In this course we will explore the range and variety of Brecht's own theatre, from the Threepenny hit to the agitprop film Kühle Wampe) to classic parable plays, as well as Brecht heirs in German theatre and film (RW Fassbinder & Peter Weiss) theatre and film in Britain (Peter Brook & John McGrath), and African theatre and film, South Africa to Senegal, influenced by Brecht, and the recent NYC adaptation of Brecht’s Days of the Commune. 

Loren Kruger
2020-2021 Spring

26500 The Cinema of Alfred Hitchcock

(ARTH 28405, FNDL 26510)

This course will have occasional in-person meetings.

This course focuses on the films of Alfred Hitchcock, one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century. We study both his films and a variety of approaches to them. We investigate the enduring power of his movies; his contributions to genre and popular cinema; his storytelling techniques; his stylistic command; his approach to romance, suspense, and action; his status as a master and auteur; and his remarkable control over the audience’s thoughts and feelings.

2020-2021 Winter

26803 Claire Denis

(FREN 26803; FNDL 26803; GNSE 26803)

This course will be fully remote.

Claire Denis is one of the major artistic voices in contemporary French cinema, and one of the most challenging filmmakers working today. Over the course of 30 years, she has created an impressive body of work from across a wide variety of genres ranging from semi-autobiographical films informed by her own experiences during her childhood in Africa (Chocolat, White Material), allegorical horror films (Trouble Every Day), or science-fiction films (High-Life).  I Can’t Sleep is based on the true story of Thierry Paulin, a gay, black, HIV-positive, transvestite and serial killer. Beau Travail is loosely inspired by Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, and The Intruder by the homonymous autobiographical essay by French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy. We will also have a look at her lesser-known films for television, her documentaries about dance and music, and her short films. Her films reflect a deep awareness of the complexities of French post-colonialism, as well as mesmerizing and sensual mise-en-scène of desire.

2020-2021 Autumn

27011 Experimental Captures

(ARTV 27923; MAAD 21011)

This course will have occasional in-person meetings.

This production-based course will explore the possibilities and limits of capturing the world with imaging approaches that go beyond the conventional camera. What new and experimental image-based artworks can be created with technologies such as laser scanning, structured light projection, time of flight cameras, photogrammetry, stereography, motion capture, sensor augmented camera, or light field photography? This hands-on course welcomes students with production experience while being designed to keep established tools and commercial practices off-kilter and constantly in question.

2020-2021 Winter

27114 Film Stills: Cinema Between Motion and Stasis

How do films move? What happens when they stop moving? This course will introduce theoretical debates in cinema and media studies that challenge the relation between the still frame and the moving image. We will look at static moments in films (photographs, freeze frames, and the tableau vivant, to name a few examples) and examine how they were theorized in both classical and contemporary works of film theory. Topics will include the medium and its transformations, methods of close and detail-focused analysis, the role of interruptions or pauses in our viewing practices, and alternative models of film criticism. Screenings will include films and moving image media from a variety of genres and historical and national contexts.

2020-2021 Spring

27230/37230 Modern Film Theory

This course will examine influential writings on photography, film, and film narrative published in the post- war period in the context of semiology, structuralism, and narratology. We will examine how questions of form, structure, and narrative in film and photography are addressed by critics writing from the end of World War II until the early seventies, especially in France and Italy. In what ways can the image be considered a sign? How do images come to have meaning in a denotative or connotative sense? What are the principal codes organizing images as narrative media and how do spectators recognise those codes? Readings will include work by Roland Barthes, Christian Metz, Jean Mitry, Noël Burch, Raymond Bellour, Umberto Eco, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and David Bordwell, among others.

2020-2021 Spring

27299 Intensive Track - Written Thesis Workshop

This series of workshops — comprised of approximately 10 meetings — will provide support for thesis writers across the entire academic year. It is taught by the Director of Undergraduate Studies and supplemented by regular meetings with a designated preceptor. The workshops are intended to guide students through the process of thesis writing from developing a research question to determining the most appropriate research method for its exploration to integrating suitable theoretical insights to writing compellingly about media objects to the nuts and bolts of exposition.

Enrollment takes place only in Autumn Quarter, but workshop is held throughout the academic year.

2020-2021 Autumn

27522 Experimental Futures: Re-figurations of Human/Environment Relationships in Art, Theory, and Design

(ARCH 27522; MAAD 27522)

This course will be fully remote.

The naming of the current era after the human—Anthropocene—is widely criticized. Scholars such as Donna Haraway bemoan the emphasis on the human being and its control over earthly matters at a moment when non-human entanglements with the world are simultaneously overlooked. Other thinkers point out that the planetary changes of the Anthropocene have occurred mainly due to capitalism and industrialization. In the course of these debates, the role of the human and the understanding of the human as part of the Earth’s ecosystem is discussed again and again. Especially in the arts and design, new figurations of the human and a future outside anthropocentrism are being developed. This course follows fundamental questions around the emergence of this discourse: Which tropes, materials, and concepts do we collectively use to imagine our future? Who gets to participate in these imaginaries and who is thereby excluded? What role do the arts and design play in this process?

In this class, students will gain understanding of an emerging area of interdisciplinary research that reframes the category of the “human” in face of contemporary environmental challenges such as climate change and resource scarcity. Students will become familiar with concepts and theories associated with post-humanism, new materialisms, and environmental humanities and use them to reflect on examples from architecture, design, and the arts. Assignments involve the reading and discussion preparation of selected literature, written reflections on projects from architecture, design, and the arts, small lectures, and active participation in class.

2020-2021 Winter

27558 No Future: Visual Media and Contemporary Life

(MAAD 27558)

This course will be fully remote.

No Future seeks to establish the grounds by which we might examine contemporary theories of the future--and perhaps its negation--through visual media and the production of art in the age of the algorithm. We will use this course as a means to consider new modes of subjectivity that arise as effect and response to mutating forms of control in society—and how we might refuse such mechanisms. Speeding through (art) history with detours at groups like the Futurists–with their violent reimagination of the human as a productive machine–and the Situationists–who vowed never to produce again, we will examine the fluxes and flows of subjectivity through the historical movement from Fordist production to the immaterial labor that powers the economies of today and tomorrow. We will discuss issues of work and non-work, image production and the labor of the artist, subjectivity and identity, the ends of cinema and History, and the state of the spectacle today. But what is left of the future? Is it already over?

2020-2021 Winter

27703 Visualizing Knowledge: Studies in the Humanities and Sciences

(ARTH 17703)

Visualization is a tool deployed across various fields of knowledge production. Diverse forms of imaging practices not only are wielded to support data and to illustrate claims, but also to disseminate information. Positioned at the nexus of art and science, this course explores the representational strategies deployed in various intellectual domains. We ask: how was/is knowledge visualized and what conventions determine(d) such standards of validity and utility? Far from being limited to one geographical or temporal context, we consider a range of visualization practices from early modernity to the present moment, especially as this concerns astronomy, geography, cartography, and medical diagnostics, as well as more recent areas of inquiry, visual pedagogy and the digital humanities.

S. Cooperstein
2020-2021 Winter

27821/37821 Economic Objects: Capitalism as Medium

The last twelve years of financial crisis have had a profound effect on the production and criticism of art across a variety of medial and disciplinary traditions. Whether this shift is located in the rise and institutionalization of social practice art, or the radicalization of art students as they confront their past debts and future wagelessness, practitioners and critics have acknowledged what some have simply but forcefully called “the economic turn.” As we now confront an economic contraction and reconstitution of unprecedented intensity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, a focus on the possibility of transmedial economic representation and its criticism offers a timely and necessary opportunity to consider what art is and does in our historical moment. “Economic Objects: Capitalism as Medium” explores how shifting modes of the representation of the economy reflect transformed medial practices and their critique. We seek to complicate the relationship of Marxist aesthetic theory with contemporary habits of criticism including notions of “economic performativity,” debt and finance as objects of artistic analysis, and ongoing debates about the scope and logic of commodification, each of which opens up new questions about the very representability of capitalism itself.

The course will be organized around a set of “economic objects,” which range from proper art objects to phenomena (practices, objects, material) not conventionally belonging to the category of “art.” Readings will offer students exposure to current debates in aesthetics, critical theory and economic criticism. Economic objects may include: Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon A Time In Shaolin (2014), the Facebook “like,” Rimini Protokoll’s Annual Shareholder Meeting (2009); the year 1973, Cassie Thornton’s Application to the London School of Economics (2012), The Rolling Jubilee (2012) and subsequent “debt strike.” Readings may include: Nicole Shukin’s Animal Capital, Fredric Jameson’s “Cognitive Mapping,” Jacques Lezra’s On The Nature of Marx’s Things, Dara Ornstein’s Out of Stock: The Warehouse In The History of Capitalism, Hito Steyerl Duty Free Art, Lisa Gitelman’s Paper Knowledge, Marx’s Capital, Ben Davis’s 9.5 Theses on Art and Class, Jonathan Sterne’s MP3: The Meaning of a Format, and Jacques Derrida’s The Truth In Painting.

Students will have the chance to work with faculty in the curation and commission of a new set of economic objects through the Gray Center. Art students and practitioners are encouraged to join.

Salomé Aguilera Skvirsky, Seth Kim-Cohen, Leigh Claire La Berge
2020-2021 Spring

27840 Videogames and Genre Storytelling

(MAAD 25630)

This course will be fully remote. 

Historically, the genre categorization of videogames has been based around what the player does. In place of iconography or thematic content, videogame genres are typically defined in terms of actions: shooting, jumping, pointing, clicking. This course takes a sideways approach to videogame genre, examining the ways in which games have taken inspiration from, and put their own unique mark on, genres borrowed from popular literature and cinema. The aesthetic formulas for popular genres such as horror, romance, comedy, science fiction, and the detective story will be examined using examples in literature and cinema, before turning to games and examining the unique challenges and interactivity brings to these genres’ typical plot beats and affective techniques. How does the player-avatar relationship complicate point-of-view and identification in the horror genre? What happens to the literary rules of “fair play” in detective stories as they are adapted into actual game form? Can the performative pain of slapstick be successfully adapted into interactive form? How do dating games re-structure the traditional forms of intimacy of the romance novel and cinematic rom com? This course will take advantage of the resources of the Weston Game Lab of the Media Arts, Data, and Design Center, and will be structured around played examples, in addition to examples from popular literature and film.

Ian Jones
2020-2021 Winter

27911/37911 Augmented Reality Production

(ARTV 27921 / 37921; MAAD 22911)

This course will have occasional in-person meetings.

Focusing on experimental moving-image approaches at a crucial moment in the emerging medium of augmented reality, this course will explore and interrogate each stage of production of augmented reality works. Students in this production-based course will examine the techniques and opportunities of this new kind of moving image. During this course we will study the construction of examples across a gamut from locative media, journalism, and gameplay-based works to museum installations. Students will complete a series of critical essays and sketches towards a final augmented reality project using a custom set of software tools developed in and for the course.

2020-2021 Autumn

27920/37920 Virtual Reality Production

(ARTV 27920 / 37920; MAAD 24920)

Focusing on experimental moving-image approaches at a crucial moment in the emerging medium of virtual reality, this course will explore and interrogate each stage of production for VR. By hacking their way around the barriers and conventions of current software and hardware to create new optical experiences, students will design, construct, and deploy new ways of capturing the world with cameras and develop new strategies and interactive logics for placing images into virtual spaces. Underpinning these explorations will be a careful discussion, dissection, and reconstruction of techniques found in the emerging VR "canon" that spans new modes of journalism and documentary, computer games, and narrative "VR cinema."

2020-2021 Spring

28008 Sound and Scandal - How Media Make Believe

(MAAD 28008; TAPS 20208)

Why has lip syncing caused so many scandals and successes across media, from Milli Vanilli to Beyoncé? This course examines how sound synchronization binds voices to notions of identity and authenticity. Primarily focusing on American popular media, we will diagnose how vocal appropriation and synthesis have been used from The Jazz Singer to today’s frighteningly authentic deepfakes and vocaloids. We may think we know lip sync and voice synthesis when we see and hear them, but deeper issues of technological construction, performance, and audio-visual aesthetics are at play. For example, Singin’ in the Rain dramatizes film’s transition to sound as technicians struggled to match the “right” voice to the “right” body: a beautiful woman with an ugly voice lip syncs to the lovely voice of a woman who Hollywood deems unsuitable to appear onscreen.

From drag to dubbing, this course investigates how sound synchronization creates alternate identities and realities. We will consider lip syncing as a platform for new acts of authorship and citation in music videos, animation, video games, and more. Looking back to Mr. Ed and The Monkees and forward to Guitar Hero and The Masked Singer, we will explore how lip sync’s eye-to-sound connections cue up states of credibility and belief. Questions of talent, star power, and credibility also confront performances of gender and sexuality, from RuPaul’s “lip sync for your life” to playback singers in Indian cinema: for example, Lata Mangeshkar supplied Bollywood stars’ voices for five decades, so that numerous women “sang” with the industry’s ideal female vocal sound. No matter the motive, vocal manipulation can never be taken at face value, especially in an age when contortions between sounds and their sources can be passed off as truth.

2020-2021 Spring

28201/38201 Political Documentary Film

(ARTV 28204, ARTV 38204, CMST 38201)

This course explores the political documentary film, its intersection with historical and cultural events, and its opposition to Hollywood and traditional media. We will examine various documentary modes of production, from films with a social message, to advocacy and activist film, to counter-media and agit- prop. We will also consider the relationship between the filmmaker, film subject and audience, and how political documentaries are disseminated and, most importantly, part of political struggle.

2020-2021 Spring

28500/48500 History of International Cinema, Part I – The Silent Era

(ARTH 28500 / 38500; ARTV 20002; CMLT 22400 / 32400; ENGL 29300 / 48700; MAAD 18500; MAPH 33600)

This course will be fully remote.

This course provides a survey of the history of cinema from its emergence in the mid-1890s to the transition to sound in the late 1920s. We will examine the cinema as a set of aesthetic, social, technological, national, cultural, and industrial practices as they were exercised and developed during this 30-year span. Especially important for our examination will be the exchange of film techniques, practices, and cultures in an international context. We will also pursue questions related to the historiography of the cinema, and examine early attempts to theorize and account for the cinema as an artistic and social phenomenon.

2020-2021 Autumn

28600/48600 History of International Cinema, Part II – Sound to 1960

(ARTH 28600, ARTH 38600, ARTV 20003, CMLT 22500, CMLT 32500, CMST 48600, ENGL 29600, ENGL 48900, MAAD 18600, MAPH 33700, REES 25005, REES 45005)

This course will be fully remote. 

The center of this course is film style, from the classical scene breakdown to the introduction of deep focus, stylistic experimentation, and technical innovation (sound, wide screen, location shooting). The development of a film culture is also discussed. Texts include Thompson and Bordwell's Film History: An Introduction; and works by Bazin, Belton, Sitney, and Godard. Screenings include films by Hitchcock, Welles, Rossellini, Bresson, Ozu, Antonioni, and Renoir.

2020-2021 Winter

28700/38700 History of International Cinema, Part III: 1960 to Present

(MAAD 18700)

This course will continue the study of cinema around the world from the late 1950s through the 1990s. We will focus on New Cinemas in France, Czechoslovakia, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries. We will pay special attention to experimental stylistic developments, women directors, and well-known auteurs. After the New Cinema era we will examine various developments in world cinema, including the rise of Bollywood, East Asian film cultures, and other movements.

2020-2021 Spring

28933 Developing Your Film

This seminar will be fully remote.

This seminar is intended to take ideas for a film - be they documentary, narrative, or experimental - and develop those ideas into a concrete film treatment. We will focus on researching the subject, plotting the story arc and filmic structure, character development, establishing a sense of place, and timeline. We will also explore the visual, audio, and editorial styles that best tell the story. Students will be expected to screen assigned films before each class, which address different modes of production and filmmaking issues. There will be class visits by working filmmakers who will share their experiences.

Priority registration will be given to students majoring or minoring in Cinema and Media Studies. 

2020-2021 Autumn

28999 Intensive Track - Production Thesis Workshop

This series of workshops—comprised of approximately 10 meetings—will provide support for students working on production theses across the entire academic year. It is taught by a production faculty member and supplemented by regular meetings with a designated preceptor. The workshops are intended to systematically guide students through the necessary steps in the realization of a film project from pre-production to production to post-production.

Enrollment takes place only in Autumn Quarter, but workshop is held throughout the academic year

2020-2021 Autumn

29202 Advanced Seminar – Spring

Open only to upper-year students who have declared a major in Cinema and Media Studies, the ‘Advanced Seminar’ functions as a capstone course. It will allow students the opportunity to explore in more depth key disciplinary and methodological questions related to the study of cinema and media. Particular topics will be determined by the individual faculty instructor, and will vary from the Autumn to Spring Quarters and from instructor to instructor.

2020-2021 Spring

29203 Advanced Seminar – Winter

This course will be fully remote. 

The ‘Advanced Seminar’ functions as a capstone course for CMST majors. It will allow students the opportunity to explore in more depth key disciplinary and methodological questions related to the study of cinema and media. Particular topics will be determined by the individual faculty instructor, and will vary from each quarter and from instructor to instructor.

2020-2021 Winter

29400 Media Arts and Design Capstone Colloquium

In this capstone colloquium, students will prepare a portfolio of digital media artworks and/or historical and theoretical writing that reflects their interests. This course is required for students completing a minor in Media Arts and Design and must be completed no later than Winter Quarter of the fourth year. The course will meet weekly throughout the quarter.

2020-2021 Winter

CMST 28921/CMST 38921 Introduction to 16mm Filmmaking

(ARTV 23808; ARTV 33808; MAAD 23808)

The goal of this intensive laboratory course is to give its students a working knowledge of film production using the 16mm gauge. The course will emphasize how students can use 16mm technology towards successful cinematography and image design (for use in both analog and digital postproduction scenarios) and how to develop their ideas towards constructing meaning through moving pictures. Through a series of group exercises, students will put their hands on equipment and solve technical and aesthetic problems, learning to operate and care for the 16mm Bolex film camera; prime lenses; Sekonic light meter; Sachtler tripod; and Arri light kit and accessories. For a final project, students will plan and produce footage for an individual or small group short film. The first half the course will be highly structured, with demonstrations, in-class shoots, and lectures. As the semester continues, class time will open up to more of a workshop format to address the specific concerns and issues that arise in the production of the final projects. This course is made possible by the Charles Roven Fund for Cinema and Media Studies.

Thomas Comerford
2020-2021 Winter

MAAD 11314 Fluxus and the Question of Media

(CMST 27804)

The course investigates the international Fluxus network of the 1960's and 70's from a media perspective. Often identified with the concept of "intermedia" launched in a 1966 text by artist, writer and publisher Dick Higgins, Fluxus artists seemed at pain to distinguish their work from the multimedia or gesamtkunstwerk approaches of the Happening artists, seeking instead to formulate a mode of working between or even beyond media. Underpinned by a desire to pass beyond the work of art itself, this was a complex position that had profound implications for their approaches to technologies and practices such as film, video, computing, sound/music, theatre, poetry and image-making. We will try to map the various facets of this position, with particular emphasis on its relation to another key Fluxus concept: the work as event.

2020-2021 Autumn

MAAD 12355 Sounding Bodies

 

This course will situate sound studies and social aesthetics in the corporeal techniques of expanded listening, particularly when the artistic medium of sound crosses the boundaries of the brain, body, architectural space, and material objects. As auditory culture has moved from the concert hall and music venue into galleries, museums, outdoor public spaces, and digital contexts, cultural practitioners have been prompted to ask how bodies perceive, understand, and evaluate the sounds they encounter. With a rich literature on sound, space, and embodiment, this course will not only survey sonic works in music and the gallery arts but also the ways that technological advancements have changed performance, exhibition, and the perceptual capabilities of bodies.

This course counts for a Media Theory requirement in the MAAD program. 

Whitney Johnson
2020-2021 Spring

MAAD 16210 Media Art and Design Practice

(ARTV 16210)

This studio-based course explores the practice, conventions, and boundaries of contemporary media art and design. This can encompass areas as diverse as interactive installation, app design, and the Internet meme. Through projects and critical discussion, students engage with the problems and opportunities of digitally-driven content creation. Fundamental elements of digital production are introduced, including basic properties of image, video, and the global network. Further topics as varied as-though not limited to-web production, digital fabrication, interfaces, the glitch, and gaming may be considered. Sections will vary based on the instructor's fields of expertise. This course counts towards the General Education requirement in Art-Music-Drama. This course can also count for a Media Practice & Design requirement in the MAAD program. 

2020-2021 Spring

MAAD 18000 Photography and Film

(ARTH 18000)

This is a core course that serves as an introduction to the history of art by concentrating on some fundamental issues in the history of photography and film. The course is divided roughly in half between still photography and film. The central theme of the course concerns the way in which photographs and films have been understood and valued during the past 165 years. There have been profound changes in attitudes and beliefs regarding the nature of photographs throughout the history of photography (this is likewise true of film). The current range of views is very different from those held by the various audiences for photographs and films in the last century and the century before. For instance, photographs were originally conceived of as copies of things that can be seen, but the notion of copy was drawn from a long-established set of views about what makes a picture a work of art and copies were said to be incapable of being works of art. This view continues to haunt the writings of some critics and historians of photography and film. The course will concentrate on the work of photographers, theorists of photography and film, and on films by John Huston, Billy Wilder, and Roman Polanski.

2020-2021 Autumn

MAAD 20900 Computers for Learning

(CMSC 20900)

Over time, technology has occupied an increasing role in education, with mixed results. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) were created to bring education to those without access to universities, yet most of the students who succeed in them are those who are already successful in the current educational model. This course focuses on one intersection of technology and learning: computer games. This course covers education theory, psychology (e.g., motivation, engagement), and game design so that students can design and build an educational learning application. Labs focus on developing expertise in technology, and readings supplement lecture discussions on the human components of education.

2020-2021 Autumn

MAAD 21111 Creative Computing

This course is an introduction to programming, using exercises in graphic design and digital art to motivate and employ basic tools of computation (such as variables, conditional logic, and procedural abstraction). We will write code in JavaScript or related technologies, and we will work with a variety of digital media, including vector graphics, raster images, animations, and web applications. Throughout the course, we will reflect on how graphical user interfaces of the future might unleash the fundamental building blocks of programming for everyday computer use.

This course counts for a Media Practice & Design requirement in the MAAD program. 

2020-2021 Spring

MAAD 23220 Inventing, Engineering and Understanding Interactive Devices

A physical computing course, dedicated to micro-controllers, sensors, actuators, and fabrication techniques. The objective is that everyone create their own, custom-made, functional I/O device.

This course counts for a Media Practice & Design requirement in the MAAD program. 

Pedro Lopes
2020-2021 Spring

MAAD 23801 Video

(ARTH 23801)

This is a production course geared towards short experimental works and video within a studio art context.

2020-2021 Autumn

MAAD 23820 The Mind as Stage: Podcasting

(TAPS 28320)

Audio storytelling insinuates itself into the day-to-day unlike other narrative forms. People listen to podcasts while they do the dishes, drive to work, or walk the dog. In this hands-on course, we will learn to produce a podcast from idea to final sound mix, and explore the unique opportunities that the podcast form affords the storyteller. Students will complete several short audio exercises, and one larger podcast project. The class will be held remotely, with an emphasis on remote recording techniques and what it means to document this moment using tools of non-fiction, fiction, and oral history.

2020-2021 Autumn

MAAD 23860 Screendance: Movement and New Media

(TAPS 28360; CMST 28360)

This course will explore the evolving relationship between moving bodies and video technologies. From early filmmakers using dancers as test subjects, to movie musicals and contemporary dance for the camera festivals, mediatization of the body continues to challenge the ephemerality of live dance performance. This course focuses on the growing field of screendance, videodance, or dance-on-camera, working to define this hybrid genre and to understand the collaborative roles of choreographer, director, dancer, cameraman, and video editor.

This course is both a practical and scholarly approach to the genre of screendance, each component essential to a full understanding and mastery of the other. Course work will be divided between the studio and the classroom. For the studio component, students will learn basic video editing and filming techniques. For the classroom component, students will be asked to watch screendance and read a cross-section of criticism. Assignments will be both technological and choreographic (making screendance) and scholarly (written reflections and a seminar paper).

This course counts for a Media Practice & Design requirement in the MAAD program. 

Elizabeth Leopold
2020-2021 Spring

MAAD 24420 Games and Performance: Live Action Role Playing Games

(TAPS 24420)

This experimental course builds on the emerging genres of “immersive performance,” “alternate reality,” and “Live Action Role Playing (LARP)” to investigate the dynamics of role-playing games through case studies, gameplay, and original student design. Our focus will include the 1913 Gettysburg reunion, parlor games including Parker Brother’s 1937 Jury Box, Society for Creative Anachronism in1966, Dungeons and Dragons (both its inception in 1974 and current resurgence), Brian Wiese's Hobbit War in 1977, Mind’s Eye Theater’s development of World of Darkness, and Ground Zero, which began the Nordic Larp movement in 1998. We will explore role of the game master, emergent narratives, improvised community formation as well as “bleed.” Previous course work in Games and Performance encouraged but not required.

This course counts for a Media Practice & Design requirement in the MAAD program. 

Heidi Coleman
2020-2021 Spring

MAAD 24910 Short Form Digital Storytelling: Creating a Web Series

This course examines the short form storytelling of the digital web series. Through lectures, viewings, and discussions in weekly meetings, students will determine what makes a strong web series and apply the findings to writing and polishing the pilot episode of their own web series. Students will write weekly four-to-five-page assignments building toward the creation of a five-to-six-episode series.

This course counts for a Media Practice & Design requirement in the MAAD program. 

Terrance Brown
2020-2021 Spring

MAAD 24930 Designing Virtual Space While Staying Alive

How do we experience virtual space in the age of the pandemic? An introductory, studio-oriented class on Unity and Virtual Reality development, this class explores ways of designing virtual space for platforms beyond the head-mounted display. To mine the full potential of the medium, we will adopt a slightly deconstructed approach to learning techniques while adjusting to remote learning needs.

Each week’s lesson starts with a conceptual prompt around which the technical knowledge revolves. Prompts include: What makes an interesting space? How would one travel through the virtual space? What kind of physicality constitutes your virtual experience? The knowledge and technique acquired in this class can serve as the building blocks for game design, data visualization, VR/AR/XR development. 

This course counts for a Media Practice and Design requirement in the MAAD program. 

Li Yao
2020-2021 Spring

MAAD 25277 Literature and Technology: Machines, Humans, and Posthumans from Frankenstein to the Futurists

(CMLT 21200)

What is technology? What impact did it have on human beings and on the writing of literature as the Industrial Revolution exploded onto the European continent? In this course, we will trace the ecological, economical, and emotional footprints of various machines and technological devices (automata, trains, phonographs, cameras) in the European novel, from Frankenstein to the Futurists. We will delve into the topic with a discussion of Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, continue with a reflection on the human being as a machine and vice versa (Frankenstein and Pinocchio), transition to accounts on cities, progress, death, and machines (Dickens, Zola, Eça de Queirós), and end with the Futurists' technological extravaganzas that will include a visit to Chicago's Art Institute. Other readings include texts by Marx, Raymond Williams, Heidegger, Leo Marx, Deleuze & Guattari, etc.

2020-2021 Autumn

MAAD 25650 From Open Worlds to Angry Birds: Videogame History 2000-2010

This course will trace developments in the videogame medium and videogame culture in the first decade of the new millennium. Topics include, but are not limited to, the following: the rise and influence of the open world/sandbox genre; the spread of online gaming with Massively Multiplayer Online RPGs, networked First-Person Shooters, and virtual worlds; changes in the embodied experience of play introduced by rhythm/music games, motion controls, and touch screen interfaces; the proliferation of independent game development and online distribution; the rise of “art games” as a distinct (and debated) category; the reemergence of “retro” styles and repackaging of vintage games; the blurred boundaries of the "magic circle" and everyday life in Alternate Reality and Augmented Reality gaming; the increasing popularity of mobile and casual gaming; and the emergence of Videogame Studies as an academic field. This class will be a mix of history and historiography. We will not only learn about the history of the decade, but also discuss the unique possibilities and difficulties arising from the study of recent history - and put these discussions into practice through research-based assignments.

Chris Carloy
2020-2021 Spring