MAAD 12312 Virtual Theaters

(ENGL 32312, TAPS 32312)

This course probes the nature and limits of theater by exploring a range of theatrical texts whose relation to performance is either partially or fully virtual (philosophical dialogues, closet dramas, novel chapters in dramatic form, twitter theater, digital theater, algorithmic theater, transmedia games, remote theater.) One unit attends to experiments in remote theater since the COVID-19 pandemic. (20th/21st)

John Muse

CMST 32205 Caring for Technology

(KNOW 32205)

This seminar will draw on media technology studies, game studies, and feminist science studies to think about care as an operative theoretical concept that can help reframe our understandings of contemporary technology. We will be concerned with media representations of caring technologies—technologies that give care and technologies we care for and about. We will also be concerned with how care itself is mediated by technology—on whose behalf do technologies care? What does technology care about? What does it mean to care in a technogenic world? Readings and assignments will draw on video games, animations, and films, but also treat technoscientific objects as media objects: machine learning algorithms, infrastructures, sensors and medical implants are designed and calibrated to mediate flows of information and material, producing ways of seeing, knowing, and relating. We will address three primary axes of technological care: (1) imaginaries of caring and being cared for by artificial intelligence, (2) the care and maintenance of techno-social infrastructures, and (3) technologies that mediate care-giving relationships.


2022-2023 Spring

CMST 40000 Methods and Issues in Cinema Studies

(ARTH 39900, ENGL 48000, MAPH 33000)

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.

2022-2023 Autumn

CMST 40651 Amateur Creativity in Modern China

(EALC 40651)

The ideal of the amateur author has repeatedly been invoked in different moments and for different purposes throughout the history of modern China. Non-professional writers have often been considered more “authentic”— their perceptions less hindered by conventions and more sensitive to the details of everyday life. In the socialist world, amateur writing and art was one of the strategies to contrast the division between mental and manual labor. And today, we assist to a veritable explosion made possible by digital media which fully reveals the inherent contradictions of amateur creativity. Seen by many as a means to escape oppressive labor regimes, it ends up being the most commodified form of labor of our times. This class will proceed through a series of case studies to understand the valorization of amateurism in modern Chinese culture in historical and comparative perspective. Special attention will be paid to the media environments that make it possible, and to the ways amateur writing and art depict labor. Our overall goal, in sum, will be to familiarize ourselves with some of the ways in which the relation between creativity, amateurism, and labor has been represented and theorized.

Paola Iovene
2022-2023 Spring

CMST 48210 Data Driven Documentary

2022-2023 Spring

CMST 58910 Aesthetics and Politics

(TAPS 58910, CMLT 58910, ENGL 58910)

Aesthetics and Politics: Adorno, Benjamin, Bloch, Brecht, Lowenthal, Lukacs; this PhD seminar will build on the work covered in Marxism and Modern Culture to examine in more detail and where possible in the original German the arguments about the intersections and frictions between aesthetics and politics in high, middle, and mass cultural forms of literature, performance, film and other media, in the work of the above theorists.

Loren Kruger
2022-2023 Spring

CMST 67804 Media Ecology

Studies of media in recent years have increasingly turned toward questions about ecologies and environments, energy and elemental forces, relational theories and non-discrete objects.  The first aim of this seminar is to introduce some of the key problematics associated with this ‘turn’ in media studies. At the same time, due to the proliferation of turns (elemental, environmental, ecological, energetic), objects (media forms, devices, platforms, networks, infrastructures) and concerns (more-than-human life, settler colonialism, indigenous struggles, migration), this seminar aims to provide a practical focus for doing media ecology or thinking media ecologically. The problematic for fall 2022 is Plant Media or “thinking with plants through media.” Topics includes contemporary research on plant intelligence, which raises questions about intelligence without physical correlates, forcing us to deal with intelligence in terms of the whole plant as an ecology.  We will also consider the mediating role of media, from self-writing plants to time-lapse audio and video to parse movement as intelligence. Finally, this ecological approach encourages a reconsideration of eco-agriculture and alternative paths of cultivation.

2022-2023 Autumn

15500 Beginning Screenwriting

(TAPS 15500, MAAD 25500, CRWR 27102)

This course introduces the basic elements of a literate screenplay, including format, exposition, characterization, dialog, voice-over, adaptation, and the vagaries of the three-act structure. Weekly meetings include a brief lecture period, screenings of scenes from selected films, extended discussion, and assorted readings of class assignments. Because this is primarily a writing class, students write a four- to five-page weekly assignment related to the script topic of the week.

Patrick Wimp
2022-2023 Autumn

CMST 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. We will consider film as an art form, medium, and industry, and cover all the major film types: silent, classical, and contemporary narrative cinema, art cinema, animation, documentary, and experimental film. We will study the cinematic techniques: mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, and sound, and learn how filmmakers design their works. Films discussed will include works Orson Welles, Sergei Eisenstein, Shirin Neshat, Lucrecia Martel, and Wong Kar Wai. 

2022-2023 Spring

CMST 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. We will consider film as an art form, medium, and industry, and cover all the major film types: silent, classical, and contemporary narrative cinema, art cinema, animation, documentary, and experimental film. We will study the cinematic techniques: mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, and sound, and learn how filmmakers design their works. Films discussed will include works Orson Welles, Sergei Eisenstein, Shirin Neshat, Lucrecia Martel, and Wong Kar Wai. 

Aurore Spiers, Ian Bryce Jones, Nick Rueda Sabater
2022-2023 Winter

CMST 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.

CMST 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.

2022-2023 Winter

CMST 14570 Special Topics: Animation Theory

(MAAD 14570, EALC 14570)

Due to the ubiquity and pervasiveness of animation in contemporary media ecologies, recent years have seen a surge of interest in animation theory. But animation theory presents a vast and turbulent domain of inquiry, because animation may be narrowly defined as a set of objects or techniques or broadly conceptualized to embrace questions about life and death, about more-than-human animals, artificial life, and animism, for instance. This topics course has two aims. The first aim is to provide an overview of the key problematics of and approaches to animation theory in a global and historical perspective. The second aim is to develop tools for doing animation theory in a more localized manner. To this end, course will highlight theories of character and characterization with an emphasis on how the inherent tension between individual and type in animation affects our understanding race and racism.

2022-2023 Winter

CMST 20704 Postcolonial and Decolonial History and Theory

(CDIN 20704, SALC 20704, PLSC 20704)

This course introduces students to some key texts in post and decolonial theory. Our goals in this class are three-fold. First, to familiarize students with foundational thinkers who have inspired both decolonial and postcolonial work. We draw attention to the different ways in which their ideas have been deployed in subsequent post and decolonial scholarship. Second, we ask questions oriented towards comparison of postcolonial and decolonial approaches: What, if any, are the points of overlap between decolonial and postcolonial thought? How do both bodies of work critique and contest the legacies of empire? Third, we investigate the present and possible futures of decolonial and postcolonial thought.

Rochona Majumdar, Lisa Wedeen
2022-2023 Winter

CMST 21025/CMST 31025 Creating a Different Image: Black Women’s Filmmaking of the 1970s-90s

(GNSE 20128, GNSE 30128, CRES 21025)

This course will explore the rich intersections between African American women’s filmmaking, literary production, and feminist thought from the 1970s to the early 1990s, with an emphasis on the formation of a Black women’s film culture beginning in the 1970s. We will examine the range of Black feminisms presented through film and the ways that these films have challenged, countered, and reimagined dominant narratives about race, class, gender, and sexuality in America.

We will explore the power and limitations of filmmaking as a mode of Black feminist activism; the range of Black feminisms presented through film; and the specific filmic engagements of well-known Black feminist critics such as bell hooks, Toni Cade Bambara, and Michele Wallace. As many Black feminist writers were engaged with filmmaking and film culture, we will look at these films alongside Black women’s creative and critical writing from the period. Approaching filmmaking in the context of Black feminist thought will allow us to examine the possibilities of interdisciplinary approaches to film studies broadly, as well as to think specifically about the research methods and theories that are demanded by Black women’s filmmaking in particular. We will discuss the form, aesthetics, and politics of individual films and we will examine larger efforts by artists and activists to build a Black women’s film culture, asking such questions as: What does a film history of Black feminism look like, and what scholarly and creative methods does such a history demand?

To begin to answer these questions, we will revisit the 1976 Sojourner Truth Festival of the Arts—believed to be the first ever Black women’s film festival—organized by Michele Wallace, Faith Ringgold, Patricia Jones, Margo Jefferson, and Monica Freeman. The class will collectively participate in a homage series inspired by the 1976 festival, featuring work by filmmakers from the original festival such as Monica Freeman, Madeline Anderson, Michelle Parkerson, Ayoka Chenzira, Carol Munday Lawrence, Edie Lynch, and Camille Billops; as well as others including Julie Dash, Zeinabu irene Davis, Maya Angelou, and Yvonne Welbon. The weekly course screenings will be open to the public and students will gain experience in the public presentation of films by actively engaging in public-facing aspects of film exhibition (writing program notes, delivering introductions, participating in discussions, etc.). The class will culminate with a two-day symposium that will bring together around 35 Black feminist filmmakers and artists, including a number from the 1976 festival, to revisit the threads and legacies of the original event and discuss the present and future of Black women’s film practices.

This course is open to graduate and undergraduate students from across the disciplines; our conversations and presentations of the films will both depend on and be energized by different disciplinary perspectives.

2022-2023 Winter

CMST 21502 Women in Hollywood

(GNSE 12110)

In a video produced for InStyle in January 2020, the actress turned movie director Olivia Wilde expressed that "Hollywood used to be dominated by women and then we rolled back the clock and destroyed the evidence. We're bringing it back to that time and celebrating those ladies. The important, powerful, brilliant positions they held in this industry may have been buried and forgotten. But not by us." Taking the recent public debate about gender and racial discrimination in Hollywood as its starting place, this class explores-through historical, theoretical, and formal approaches, and close readings of texts and films-women's involvement in the US film industry, where women have served as actors, directors, screenwriters, producers, costume designers, technicians, and production secretaries since the early days. The focus of discussion will range from gender representation, spectatorship, and feminist film theory, including "the male gaze"; through questions of aesthetics and gender, race, and sexuality in films directed by women-identifying filmmakers; through feminized labor, access, and visibility; to women's film history, feminist historiography, and archival absences. Films discussed will include works by Dorothy Arzner, Sofia Coppola, Julie Dash, Cheryl Dunye, Zackary Drucker, Patty Jenkins, Ida Lupino, Claudia Weill, and Olivia Wilde.

2022-2023 Autumn

CMST 22322 Introduction to Game Design

(ENGL 22322, MAAD 22322)

This course introduces students to the theories and processes underlying game design through the creation of analog projects. We will be designing for forms that include board games, tabletop games, and live-action games. No prior design experience is absolutely required though some background with game studies will enable more innovative work. This course will be project-based and collaborative in nature.

Patrick Jagoda, Ashlyn Sparrow
2022-2023 Winter

CMST 23931/CMST 33931 Documentary Production II

(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.

Marco Ferrari
2022-2023 Winter

CMST 24603 Topics in EALC: Ghosts & the Fantastic in Literature and Film

(EALC 10600; SIGN 26006)

What is a ghost? How and why are ghosts represented in particular forms in a particular culture at particular historical moments and how do these change as stories travel between cultures? This course will explore the complex meanings, both literal and figurative, of ghosts and the fantastic in traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean tales, plays, and films . Issues to be explored include: 1) the relationship between the supernatural, gender, and sexuality; 2) the confrontation of death and mortality; 3) collective anxieties over the loss of the historical past 4) and the visualization (and exorcism) of ghosts through performance.

Judith Zeitlin
2022-2023 Spring

CMST 24617 Opera Across Media

(MUSI 25020, GNSE 25020, ITAL 25020, MAAD 13020, SIGN 26058, TAPS 26516)

Over the course of the last 120 years, opera and cinema have been sounded and seen together again and again. Where opera is commonly associated with extravagant performance and production, cinema is popularly associated with realism. Yet their encounter not only proves these assumptions wrong but produces some extraordinary third kinds--media hybrids. It also produces some extraordinary love affairs. Thomas Edison wanted a film of his to be “a grand opera,” and Federico Fellini and Woody Allen wanted opera to saturate their films. Thinking about these mutual attractions, “Opera across Media” explores different operatic and cinematic repertories as well as other media forms. Among films to be studied are Pabst’s Threepenny Opera (1931), Visconti’s Senso (1954), Powell and Pressburger’s Tales of Hoffmann (1951), Zeffirelli’s La traviata (1981), DeMille’s Carmen (1915), Losey’s Don Giovanni (1979), Bergman’s The Magic Flute (1975), and Fellini’s E la nave va (1983). No prior background in music performance, theory, or notation is needed. Students may write papers based on their own skills and interests relevant to the course. Required work includes attendance at all screenings and classes; weekly postings on Canvas about readings and viewings; attendances at a Met HD broadcast and a Lyric Opera live opera; a short “think piece” midway through the course; and a final term paper of 8-10 pages.

Martha Feldman
2022-2023 Winter

CMST 25238 Documenting State Violence

(HMRT 25238)

Visual media have become central to activism against state violence. Throughout the past century, activists have deployed new technologies to bear witness to atrocity, record evidence, raise awareness, and promote justice. At the same time, media consistently fail to deliver lasting transformations and can even enable violence rather than counteracting it. In this class, we will explore how media practices support, undermine, and complicate efforts against state violence. How have activists employed documentary evidence?What assumptions have they made about communication, truth, difference, and justice? How do media frame what counts as violence? What are the politics of recording, seeing, and showing harm? What are the possibilities and limitations of emerging digital technologies?We will explore these issues across a range of media—such as photography, documentary film, comics, holograms, satellite and drone imagery, virtual reality experiences, social media platforms, and artificial intelligence—and case studies, including the Holocaust, the Cambodian genocide, the U.S. War on Terror, the Syrian civil war, the Movement for Black Lives, Indigenous resurgence in North America, and environmental violence in Guatemala. Students will be encouraged to think critically and creatively through assignments involving media analysis and media production.

2022-2023 Autumn

CMST 25610/CMST 35610 Experimental Animation

(MAAD 20610)

Interpreting what we mean by animation broadly, this course will investigate computational moving-image making through the lens of experimental animation. We will take as our point of departure the films of Rettinger, Ruttmann, Fischinger, McLaren, and Breer, but will also draw upon artifacts and 'animated lines' taken from further afield: found footage films and algorithmic editing, dance drawings of Trisha Brown, kinetic sculptures of Bit International, early plotter art, avant-garde music notation, and contemporary techniques of motion and performance capture. This course will develop theoretical lines of inquiry that run in two directions: an excavation of a "pre-history" of contemporary new media and a reinterpretation / re-invigoration of our understanding of early animation. Any film production, hand-animation or computer programming experiences are welcome — but none are perquisites for the course. Students will be expected to complete regular short creative "sketches" of techniques culminating in a final short animated project.

2022-2023 Autumn

CMST 25620/CMST 35620 Japanese Animation: The Making of a Global Media

(EALC 25620, EALC 35620, MAAD 15620, SIGN 26070)

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.

2022-2023 Autumn

CMST 25820 Film and Fiction

(ENGL 20720)

This course addresses three distinct but related critical problems in the contemporary understanding of film and fiction. The most general is the question of how we might go about linking the practice of criticism in the literary arts with that of the screen arts. Where are the common issues of structure, form, narration, point of view management, and the like? Where, on the other hand, are the crucial differences that lie in the particularities of each domain--the problem that some have labeled “medium specificity” in the arts? The second problem has to do more specifically with questions of adaptation. Adaptation is a fact of our cultural experience that we encounter in many circumstances, but perhaps in none more insistently as when we witness the reproduction of a literary narrative in cinematic or televisual form. Adaptation theory has taught us to look beyond the narrow criterion of “fidelity” as far too limiting in scope. But when we look beyond, what do we look for, and what other concepts guide our exploration? The third and final problem has to do with the now rampant genre of the “film based on fact,” especially when the facts derive from a particular source text, as in the recent case of Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman? Why has this genre become so popular? What are its particular genre markings (e.g., excessive stylization, the use of documentary footage of the actual persons and events involved)? How does fictionalization operate on the facts in particular cases?

2022-2023 Autumn

CMST 25954/CMST 35954 Alternate Reality Games: Theory and Production

(ENGL 25970 / 32314; BPRO 28700; MAAD 20700; ARTV 20700 / 30700; TAPS 28466)

Games are one of the most prominent and influential media of our time. This experimental course explores the emerging genre of "alternate reality" or "transmedia" gaming. Throughout the quarter, we will approach new media theory through the history, aesthetics, and design of transmedia games. These games build on the narrative strategies of novels, the performative role-playing of theater, the branching techniques of electronic literature, the procedural qualities of video games, and the team dynamics of sports. Beyond the subject matter, students will design modules of an Alternate Reality Game in small groups. Students need not have a background in media or technology, but a wide-ranging imagination, interest in new media culture, or arts practice will make for a more exciting quarter.

Third- or fourth-year standing. Instructor consent required. To apply, submit writing through online form at; see course description. Once given consent, attendance on the first day is mandatory.

Patrick Jagoda, Heidi Coleman
2022-2023 Winter

CMST 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 is also considerable. We will explore the range and variety of Brecht's work, 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), African theatre and film influenced by Brecht, and the NYC post-Occupy adaptation of Brecht’s Days of the Commune. (Drama, 1830-1940)

Loren Kruger
2022-2023 Winter

CMST 27610 Doubting Vision: Seeing and Believing

(ARTH 27611)

How do images compel beliefs, enable knowledge, or encourage experiences of doubt? This course will introduce students to a range of artworks, films and media to explore historical changes in modes of perception, attitudes and responses to visual media. While photographic images are often claimed to hold a privileged relation to what they represent, we will consider historical practices of photographic and digital trickery, as well as the ability of visual representations to conjure, deceive, and maintain illusions. The class will combine critical, historical and philosophical readings with careful analysis of artworks and films from the nineteenth-century to the present, including trompe l’oeil paintings, spirit photographs, early trick films, staged and manipulated images, and works that seek out and entertain uncertainty through technical means such as speed, slowness, blur and glitch. Through close analysis of visual media as engines of belief, we will address their role in shaping or undermining social relations, claims to knowledge, and conceptions of the world, including the capacities of photography to reveal otherwise invisible or unseen phenomena, relationships between media and evidence, and the ways in which traditions of magic have shaped experiences of the cinema.

Sophie Lynch
2022-2023 Spring

CMST 27816/CMST 37816 From Open Worlds to Angry Birds: Videogame History 2000-2010

(MAAD 25650, MAPH 45516)

This course will trace developments in the videogame medium and videogame cultures 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.


2022-2023 Spring

CMST 27910 Virtual Ethnography: Encounters in Mediation

(CDIN 27910, EALC 27910, ANTH 27910)

From everyday social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and WeChat, to more complex real-time immersive social and gaming sites, virtual realms are propagating at a fantastic rate while transforming what it means to live and interact in the physical world. As such virtual world, communities, and spaces increasingly command our attention, time, and money, scholars from various fields have begun to tackle questions concerning the ethics, logics, patterns, and social specificity of the virtual through experimental forms of virtual ethnography. This advanced undergraduate course introduces students to some these recent ethnographies and corresponding theoretical interventions into the nature of collective techno-life within virtual realms. Students will build on this material in order to develop an ethnographic inquiry into a virtual world of their choosing. In so doing, they will work individually and as a class through the processes of pre-field planning, fieldwork, and post-field analysis and writing.

Thomas Lamarre, Michael Fisch
2022-2023 Winter

CMST 27916 Critical Videogame Studies

(ENGL 12320; GNSE 22320; MAAD 12320; SIGN 26038)

Since the 1960s, games have arguably blossomed into the world's most profitable and experimental medium. This course attends specifically to video games, including popular arcade and console games, experimental art games, and educational serious games. Students will analyze both the formal properties and sociopolitical dynamics of video games. Readings by theorists such as Ian Bogost, Roger Caillois, Alenda Chang, Nick Dyer‐Witheford, Mary Flanagan, Jane McGonigal, Soraya Murray, Lisa Nakamura, Amanda Phillips, and Trea Andrea Russworm will help us think about the growing field of video game studies. Students will have opportunities to learn about game analysis and apply these lessons to a collaborative game design project. Students need not be technologically gifted or savvy, but a wide-ranging imagination and interest in digital media or game cultures will make for a more exciting quarter. This is a 2022-23 Signature Course in the College. (Literary/Critical Theory)

Patrick Jagoda, Ashlyn Sparrow
2022-2023 Autumn

CMST 27920/CMST 37920 Virtual Reality Production

(ARTV 27920, ARTV 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."

2022-2023 Spring

CMST 28204 Rethinking Veracity: Experiments in 21st Century Documentary

This course grapples with the unruly and hybrid forms of the documentary in the first decades of the 21st century. As documentary models continue their evolution, spreading into the new realms of the gallery and museum, and diffusing across the cascading and multiplying media forms that define the contemporary internet, what is the continued value of the audiovisual document? What grip does the definition of the documentary as a mode, genre, or method have on contemporary artmaking practices? What is the nature of the documentary's current claims on truth? This course will pursue the course of filmmakers who explore the raw edges of documentary address. We will cover the fields of experimental cinema, installation based media environments, docu-fiction and essay filmmaking, sensory ethnography, and numerous worlds in between, all unified by their commitment to experimentation and the pursuit of something that resembles documentary truth. As such we will also tackle the political, social, ethical, and environmental issues that draw in experimental documentarians, the role of digital and analog technology in experimental filmmaking, and issues of truthfulness, veracity and documentation. Makers we will cover include: Eduardo Coutinho, Kevin Jerome Everson, Harun Farocki, Dieudo Hamadi, Sky Hopinka, Maya Kosa, Kiro Russo, and Hito Steyerl.

2022-2023 Winter

CMST 28360 Screendance: Movement and New Media

(TAPS 28360/38360, MAAD 23860)

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).

Attendance at first class is mandatory. This course counts for a Media Practice & Design requirement in the MAAD program. 

Elizabeth Leopold
2022-2023 Winter

CMST 28600/CMST 48600 History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960

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

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.

2022-2023 Winter

CMST 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 1960s to the 2000s. The continued development of film style and form over this period — one of seismic changes in audio-visual aesthetics — will be one of the primary themes of the course. Additionally, lectures and discussions will wrestle with the rise of global film cultures, technological innovations and their effects on style (such as post-magnetic sound, and visual effects techniques), major international directors and the solidification of auteurism as both a commercial and aesthetic imperative, the increasing internationalization of Hollywood, and post-1970s genre reorientation elevating horror, science-fiction, and other genres to the highest levels of mainstream respectability, critical appraisal, and/or commercial success. Screenings are mandatory and include work by filmmakers including Pedro Almodovar, Michael Bay, Kathryn Bigelow, Claire Denis, Federico Fellini, Hollis Frampton, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Djibril Diop Mambety, Cristian Mungiu, and more, in addition to a selection of music videos.

2022-2023 Spring

CMST 28703/CMST 38703 Video Art: The Analog Years. Theory, Technology, Practice

(ARTH 31313, MAAD 18703)

The course gives a critical introduction to early video and television art--from the proto-televisual impulses in the historical avant-gardes to the increasing proximity between analog and digital technologies in video art in the late 1970s and early 1980s. We will focus on the various technical aspects of analog video, as well as on artistic practice and early writings on the subject. Topics will include the technics and politics of time; video, feedback systems, and ecology; the reconfiguration of the artist’s studio; guerilla politics and alternative TV; video and autobiography; the relation between video and painting; the musical history of video; the invention of new machines; and video as a “television viewer”.

Ina Blom
2022-2023 Autumn

CMST 28805/CMST 38800 Politics and Cinema under Authority

(PLSC 28805, PLSC 38801, CDIN 28801, CDIN 38800, REES 28800, REES 38800)

Why do authoritarian regimes take interest in art and culture? How do citizens respond to these efforts? Between authoritarian propaganda and outright contestation of authoritarianism is a wide niche of art and media production that is just independent enough to capture the attention of the citizens and yet subtle enough to not alarm authoritarian rulers. This is relevant for film and television in particular, which cannot function under authoritarian regimes without official approval. In this course, we explore the compromises filmmakers make to continue their creative practice and the concessions state actors grant to accommodate artistic work using the 10-episode television series, Dekalog (1988), by the acclaimed Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski. To answer our questions, we draw on literature and methodology from political science and film and media studies. We investigate what is to be gained by combining approaches from two disciplines that are rarely in conversation with each other.

Maria Belodubrovskaya, Monika Nalepa
2022-2023 Autumn

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.

2022-2023 Winter

CMST 28922/CMST 38922 Intermediate 16mm Filmmaking

(ARTV 28001, ARTV 38001)

This course will allow students to continue working on projects begun in the Intro to 16mm Production course (or developing a new small-scale project), in addition to developing skills with the following: sophisticated approaches to cinematography (comparative and reflective light metering, color negative exposure); varying workflows for post-production editing (analog and digital); and sound recording and design. Students will meet as a group for lectures, technical demonstrations and a shooting workshop. Course meeting time will also be set aside for individual conferences with the instructor to address project development and completion. Students should expect to budget between 120.00-500.00 for their filmstock and processing costs, depending on the project. This course is made possible by the Charles Roven Fund for Cinema and Media Studies. Instructor permission required.

2022-2023 Spring

CMST 29201 Advanced Seminar - Autumn: Post-Classical American Cinema

The American cinema underwent dramatic stylistic and industrial change during and after the 1960s, due to an array of factors including the transition to magnetic sound recording, location shooting, the influence of European New Waves, drastic economic changes in the studio system, and many more. This course will broadly examine these developments in addition to topics including subsequent genre reorientation, 1980s “high concept” style and synergy with the popular music industry, multi-channel sound, visual effects, “impact” editing, film music, and the rise of the category of “indie” and its absorption into the diffuse modern Hollywood production system. Our study of American film history will inform discussions and material related to our present moment: the rise of streaming, digital exhibition, and increased cross-pollination between the film and television sectors. We will ask how Hollywood arrived at the cinema and television of the 2010s, and about the industry’s future amidst the dually reinforcing upheavals of Covid-19 and the streaming-centric consolidation of the largest media distributors. Course screenings will vary from landmark American queer cinema to big-budget studio genre pictures. Readings will skew towards histories of change in the American cinema’s industrial workings and dominant audio-visual styles, including popular history and filmmaker interviews. While there will not be a huge amount of dense theory, the quantity of reading in this course is notably large. The Advanced Seminar is intended for third and fourth-year CMS majors, and its capacity is limited. Instructor permission is required for other students, including CMS minors, and will be granted on a case-by-case basis only if space is available and the instructor approves the student, based on their academic experience and/or intellectual and professional interests. Students who are not upper-level CMS majors but hope to take the course should e-mail the instructor directly, before the start of Autumn Quarter.

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 quarter to quarter.

2022-2023 Autumn

CMST 29202 Advanced Seminar - Spring: The Shape of Cinema

This course asks one question—“How do (or how should) filmmakers approach the task of shaping cinematic material in time?”—and then approaches that question from the perspective of two different vastly cinematic practices. Half of the class will be devoted to American popular cinema since the 1970s, detailing emerging popularity of the three-act structure, the rise of screenwriting gurus, and the cementing of tried-and-true narrative formulas in an era of industry consolidation. The other half will be devoted to experimental cinema traditions over the same time period, including the rise and fall of structural film, subsequent experimentation in form and duration, new avant-garde practices that arose with video and digital technologies. Although the artists working in these two modes of filmmaking are rarely placed into conversation with one another, in this course we will examine how each of them engages issues in and problems around perception, understanding, and human attention in a shifting mediascape. 

2022-2023 Spring

MAAD 10245 Serious Play: Video Games and Global Politics

(GLST 25245)

This course approaches video games as cultural and political artifacts that can be studied to shed light on global political events and processes. Questions we will explore throughout the course include: How do we understand the relationship between video games and global capitalism? What can video games tell us about large-scale processes such as climate change, migration, war…? How do we understand issues of representation in gaming? What do video games have to do with international relations? We will approach video games from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives, analyzing them as a form of entertainment but also as forms of art, as political objects, as reflections of social dynamics, and as channels for social critique and change. The course does not require any previous gaming knowledge nor experience, and it welcomes gamers and non-gamers interested in exploring the relationship between games and global politics.

Caterina Fugazzola
2022-2023 Spring

MAAD 10567 Introduction to Computational Sociology

(SOCI 20567, HIPS 20567)

Advances in machine learning, high performance computing, and big data are opening exciting new ways of doing social science. This course introduces students to the burgeoning field of computational sociology, emphasizing both conceptual understanding and hands-on training. The course does not require any prior experience with coding, computer science, or statistics. The only requirement is that students have fluency in high-school mathematics (pre-calculus) and an interest in acquiring computational skills. Students will learn the basics of R and Python, and will gain practical experience with simulation modeling, computational text analysis, and neural networks. This course will pair a practical training in computational methods with a critical examination of how these technologies are being deployed in the real world and their roles in reproducing systems of power and inequality. This class is recommended for students who want a basic introduction to “data science” and who are seeking the conceptual knowledge necessary to participate in current debates over information technology in contemporary society.

A. Kozlowski
2022-2023 Winter

MAAD 12208 Posthuman Becoming

(KNOW 32208, ANTH 32208, ARTV 30702, ENST 22207)

This course introduces recent developments and advanced approaches in critical posthumanist thought. We will explore emerging theories and practices that renegotiate the human condition through critical inquiry into posthuman desires and the complicated relationship between human and non-human ‘others,’ including animals, plants and micro-organisms, waste and toxins, artificial life, and hyperobjects. By engaging diverse viewpoints that map the stakes of a non-anthropocentric politics of culture, such as new materialism, object-oriented ontology, and speculative realism, but also eco-feminism, queer performativity, and Indigenous epistemology, we will explore emerging techniques of mediation, communication, and representation that surrender to the relational identities of a posthuman becoming. A central premise of this exploration are post-disciplinary ways of knowing that make such imaginaries visible: in addition to discussing a substantial body of contemporary scholarship from the arts, humanities, and humanistic social sciences, the course includes a studio module that introduces a variety of research-creation methodologies for experimentation with curatorial, artistic, and activist practices.

Andre Uhl
2022-2023 Spring

MAAD 14207 Mindfulness: Experience and Media

(HUMA 25207, HIPS 25207, TAPS 20507, HLTH 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
2022-2023 Winter

MAAD 14350 Videogame Level Design

(CMST 14350)

Level design is the process of creating interactive virtual environments and scenarios. Through the deliberate placement of game assets, a level designer can evoke emotions and a sense of flow for the player. Similarly, in architecture, considerations are made into how aesthetics and form impact the experience of built environments. In this course, we will explore the level design of 3D games through an architectural lens and investigate how these conditions incentivize gameplay. With a focus on theories and techniques, we will develop a language to examine and analyze virtual worlds and the purpose behind their design. Course materials include foundational architecture texts, writings on games, talks by practicing designers, and gameplay.

2022-2023 Winter

MAAD 14920 Comparative Media Poetics: Horror

(CMST 14920, CMLT 14920)

Cinema, videogames, and VR: all moving-image media, which have at times exerted multi-directional aesthetic influences on each other. This course will investigate the raw materials and basic forms at the disposal of artists working in and across these media, with a special focus on horror as a genre. Along with fundamental questions regarding the social, psychological, and political uses (and abuses) of horror as a genre, this course will also look at how horror works across a variety of media. In what way do the possibilities available to game developers differ from those available to filmmakers, and vice versa? How are space, time, and action presented and segmented differently across moving images (cinema), interactive moving images (games), and fully-immersive virtual environments (VR)? How do techniques ranging from psychological identification to jump scares work in each medium, and what aesthetic effects are open to one that are not open to the other? Course materials will include horror cinema, horror games (video and otherwise), VR experiences, and written horror literature.

2022-2023 Autumn

MAAD 15300 The Loop as Form

(CMST 15301)

This media historical course examines the loop as a narrative and non-narrative form throughout the the 20th and early 21st centuries, with examples drawn from science fiction literature, cinema, animation, electronic music, video art, and video games. Part of the course’s focus will be technological, examining the development and impact of walk cycles in cel animation, magnetic tape in analog music and analog video, and go to statements in computer programming. Another part will be sociological, examining the reverberations Einsteinian relativity in physics, Taylorist scientific management in labor, and behaviorism in psychology had within media development, industry practices, and/or the popular imagination. Taken together, the class will be a thorough investigation both into the aesthetic possibilities of the loop, and into the cultural, technological, psychological, and economic reasons it appears as a form in media construction again, and again, and again, and again, and again,

2022-2023 Spring

MAAD 15312 Visual Art and Technology: From the Historical Avant Garde to the Algorithmic Present

(ARTH 23312, ARTH 33312, KNOW 23312, KNOW 33312)

This course tracks the entanglements of visual art and “technology,” a term which took on an increasingly expanded set of meanings beginning in the early decades of the twentieth century. Focusing on the period between World War I and the present, we examine these expanded meanings and ask how the work of art fundamentally shifted with, extended, tested, or acted upon “technology.” We consider cases from the art historical avant gardes, the impact of cybernetics and systems thinking on architecture and visual perception, midcentury collectives that sought to institutionalize collaborations between artists and engineers, as well as more subtle exchanges between art and technology brewing since the Cold War. We will conclude with a look at present-day practices that integrate visual art, design, and technology. Course readings drawn from art history and the histories of science and technology, as well as site visits to art collections and laboratories on campus, will inform our investigation. Students will gain historical insights into the relation between visual art and technology; develop analytical tools for critically engaging with the present-day interface of art, science, and engineering; and consider the implications for the futures we imagine.

T. Shabtay
2022-2023 Winter

MAAD 15630 Television in an Age of Change

(CMST 28730)

As streaming options proliferate, we think of television today as a medium in a moment of upheaval; but, since its beginnings, television has always been in flux. This course will provide an introductory overview of television theory and U.S. television history. We will watch and analyze a range of programming and explore ongoing shifts in television's relationship to audiences, technology, and other media forms in an effort to answer—and complicate—the question, "What is television?"

Ilana Emmett
2022-2023 Winter

MAAD 17010 Gaming History

(CMST 27010, KNOW 27010)

How do video games reflect, theorize, and alter history? This lecture course will draw on strategies from history, media, and game studies to understand the place of games in the history of knowledge and our knowledge of history. How have historical simulations, ensconced in media objects, represented scientific, social, and cultural processes? How do games invite players to perform and inhabit historically specific subjectivities? What is the role of digital media in the public understanding of history? By representing alternate and future histories, games articulate theories of historical change, suggesting and popularizing modes of political, economic, and social agency. We will consider how games represent the structure of time, causality, and choice, and how the hardware and software of video games constrain and enable certain representations of history. Through lectures, discussions, group play sessions, written and practice-based assignments, and theoretical readings, we will think about what it means to ‘game’ history and to historicize games.

Katherine Buse, Bradley Bolman, Isabel Gabel
2022-2023 Winter

MAAD 17212 Sonic Cultures of Japan

(EALC 17212, SIGN 26085)

This course engages with the various techniques and practices associated with sound in Japanese culture, ranging from the 18th century through the contemporary era. The media covered will include literature, language reform movements, theater, cinema (both silent and sound), recorded music, radio broadcasting, manga, video games and anime. We will also read recent sound-oriented approaches to literary and cultural studies from scholars from both Japan and elsewhere. All readings will be in English.

Michael Bourdaghs
2022-2023 Spring

MAAD 18814 Theme Park America

(HIST 28814)

From inception, the United States has been obsessed with manifesting historical myths and memories in the built environment of recreational themed spaces. This course considers the evolution, functions, and ethics of the American desire to visit the past as a form of leisure. Starting with early themed spaces, including pleasure gardens, world's fairs, amusement parks, and cityscapes, you will learn how to interpret seemingly frivolous cultural phenomena for their radical contemporary significance. We will then apply these tools to the apex of themed spaces, which would become one of the most beloved and reviled behemoths of American culture: Disneyland. We will examine how Disneyland combined, redefined, and heightened its themed progenitors and to what purposes. We will exact in-depth readings of the park's lands, architecture, rides, shows, music, and smells to decode its messages about race, gender, capitalism, and the American experience. How did such views of the past, present, and future speak to the social, political, and economic needs and wants of Cold War Americans, and why do they continue to resonate today? Is the theme park the final form of themed spaces or just another inflection point? In consideration of Americans' enduring yet evolving need to recreationalize the past, this course hopes to answer a central question: Is it possible to create a recreational history that is at once both entertaining and historically ethical?

Assignments: two short papers (1500 words) and a final multimedia "un-essay."

A. Hofmann
2022-2023 Spring

MAAD 20370 Inclusive Technology: Designing for Underserved and Marginalized Populations

(CMSC 20370, CMSC 30370)

Creating technologies that are inclusive of people in marginalized communities involves more than having technically sophisticated algorithms, systems, and infrastructure. It involves deeply understanding various community needs and using this understanding coupled with our knowledge of how people think and behave to design user-facing interfaces that can enhance and augment human capabilities. When dealing with under-served and marginalized communities, achieving these goals requires us to think through how different constraints such as costs, access to resources, and various cognitive and physical capabilities shape what socio-technical systems can best address a particular issue. This course leverages human-computer interaction and the tools, techniques, and principles that guide research on people to introduce you to the concepts of inclusive technology design. You will learn about different underserved and marginalized communities such as children, the elderly, those needing assistive technology, and users in developing countries, and their particular needs. In addition, you will learn how to be mindful of working with populations that can easily be exploited and how to think creatively of inclusive technology solutions. You will also put your skills into practice in a semester long group project involving the creation of an interactive system for one of the user populations we study.

Marshini Chetty
2022-2023 Winter

MAAD 20600 AI + Art:

Saddle up and ride into the untamed territories of human-AI co-creation. Much like how horses have been our trusty companions in transportation and labor, AI has become a powerful tool for us to navigate the computational era. This course presents a studio environment for performative and avant guarde approaches to experimenting with the newest interfaces and advancements in generative AI, like ChatGPT and Stable Diffusion, while examining predecessors like chatbots and early forms of automation. Technology is not simply an external tool that we use, it shapes our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Giddy up, as we playfully experiment with the creative, quirky, and unquantifiable human elements in AI–making media art projects as AI, for AI, and with AI. A diversity of artistic and technical backgrounds are welcome.

2022-2023 Spring

MAAD 22506 Online Algorithmic Music

In this course, students will learn how to use JavaScript and web-based technologies to create algorithmic musical compositions and experimental web-based instruments. Through the use of the WebAudio API and JavaScript libraries like tone.js, students will learn how to programmatically generate and manipulate sound, creating interactive and generative audio works that can be shared online. Along the way, the class will also survey works by artists working in this field and will feature a visiting artist who will walk students through their own practice. Themes of generative art, randomness and chance, originality and machine creativity, and the cultural implications of influential musical algorithms will also be explored. This class is an intermediate level programming course. A beginner to intermediate level understanding of core programming concepts (ideally in JavaScript) is required. While a background in music can certainly be beneficial, it is not required for success in this course.

2022-2023 Spring

MAAD 22920 Art and Digital Fabrication

Digital fabrication practices are transforming the way that the world of objects we interact with daily are designed and manufactured. Naturally, as those tools have become more available to the public, artists have latched onto them in order to develop their own projects, responding to and informing that world. In this workshop course, students will develop individual creative projects as a means of developing technical familiarity with digital fabrication techniques (particularly laser cutting and 3d printing) and exploring the ways these processes have impacted the material, social, and economic spaces in which we live. The course is primarily intended as an introduction to these techniques, software, and tools, so no prior experience is required.

Topics include: How are artists synthesizing digital fabrication techniques with those taken from more traditional material practices? How can we print "tools" that expand the range of work we can make beyond the technical limitations imposed by a laser cutter or 3d printer? What opportunities does digital fabrication present to intervene in or change our relation to the built environment?

2022-2023 Spring

MAAD 23281 Topics in Human Robot Interaction

(CMSC 33281 )

The field of human-robot interaction (HRI) is a new and growing field of research, seeking to create seamless interactions between people and robots. Applications of HRI research include developing robots to tutor elementary students, assist human workers in manufacturing contexts, provide museum tours, interact with families within their homes, and help care for the elderly. The field of HRI is highly interdisciplinary, incorporating methods and techniques from human-computer interaction, robotics, psychology, artificial intelligence, and other fields. This course exposes students to a broad range of recent and cutting-edge research in HRI. The topics covered in this course include: nonverbal robot behavior, verbal robot behavior, social dynamics, norms & ethics, collaboration & learning, group interactions, applications, and future challenges of HRI.

Sarah Sebo
2022-2023 Autumn

MAAD 23620 Internet Censorship and Online Speech

(CMSC 33620)

Information dissemination and online discourse on the Internet are subject to the algorithms and filters that operate on Internet infrastructure, from network firewalls to search engines. This course will explore the technologies that are used to control access to online speech and information, and cutting-edge technologies that can empower citizens in the face of these information controls. Students will learn about and experiment with technologies to control online discourse, ranging from firewalls that perform network traffic filtering to algorithms for content personalization and content moderation. We will also explore underlying technical trends, such as the increasing consolidation of Internet infrastructure and protocols, and the implications of consolidation for control over online discourse. Each course meeting will include a technical overview, reading discussion, and a hands-on laboratory activity.

2022-2023 Winter

MAAD 23632 Internet Art II

Though the web was originally conceived as an online space for sharing hyperlinked documents, the modern Web browser has evolved into a creative coding playground capable of producing all manner of networked art and generative compositions. In this course we'll learn JavaScript, the Web's defacto programming language. Throughout the quarter we'll produce text-based, visual and musical algorithmic compositions. We will be experimenting with various different Web APIs for creating generative and interactive Internet art including HTML5 video, Canvas (2D/3D animations) and Web Audio. We'll learn how to produce work that responds to various input sources (trackpad/mouse, touchscreen, keyboard, cameras, microphones) and how to fetch and incorporate data from external APIs elsewhere on the Internet. [Practice]

2022-2023 Winter

MAAD 23645 Body and the Digital

As digital technology advances, the separation between IRL and URL blurs.  Participants enrolled in this course will explore techniques that will help them create thought-provoking work, strengthen their ability to give critique, and build an understanding of how the corporeal interacts with the digital.  Throughout this course, students will offer and receive constructive feedback during instructor-led critiques on peers' works. By the end of this course, students will feel comfortable utilizing different processes of development to create digital artwork. [Practice]

Crystal Beiersdofer
2022-2023 Winter

MAAD 23820 The Mind as Stage: Podcasting

(TAPS 28320/38320)

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.

Sarah Geis
2022-2023 Winter

MAAD 23833 Oral History & Podcasting

(TAPS 28330/38330)

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.

Sarah Geis
2022-2023 Spring

MAAD 24410 Transmedia Puzzle Design & Performance

(TAPS 24410/34410)

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 Weisz, the commissioner of The Mystery League.

Sandor Weisz
2022-2023 Autumn

MAAD 24540 Multimedia Fashion Design

(TAPS 27540)

Multimedia Fashion Design sets out to uncover new notions of fashion and style through collaborative, interdisciplinary, and experimental approaches. Historically, garment designers sketch or illustrate their ideas with either theatrical costuming or the runway in mind as an end goal. This course embraces these traditions while also imagining a broader array of historical and contemporary media that involves fashion, like video games, animations, comics, novels, and more. We will spend time exploring the epistemology of fashion before working on our own designs, challenging each other conceptually along the way. Some students may follow the traditional path of sewing their ideas. Others may find themselves creating their work using software. Those who are brand new to art or design are also welcome--we can always sketch our ideas. Multimedia Fashion Design welcomes artists and designers who work in any medium to come together and think about how people and characters express style--the broader the array of mediums, the more dynamic our class will be.

2022-2023 Winter

MAAD 24820 Video Game Music Production and Sound Design

(MUSI 24820)

The advent of video game soundtrack releases and live game music concerts substantiate the importance of music and sound in games, not just as accompaniments but as essential aspects of the gaming experience. This production course surveys the history of sound effects, music, and design in games beginning with the bleeps and bloops of the 1970s and concluding with the ambient, nonlinear soundscape of many contemporary games. Following the timeline media theorist Karen Collins presents in her documentary Beep, this course will explore electronic sound technologies including virtual analog synthesis, frequency modulation, bit reduction, General MIDI, and sample-based production. Each student will compose a game soundtrack demo for their final project. This course welcomes students who are both new to and experienced in sound production; the complexity of each assignment can be adjusted based on experience.

Takashi Shallow
2022-2023 Spring

MAAD 24910 Short Form Digital Storytelling: Creating a Web Series

(TAPS 25910)

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.

Patrick Wimp
2022-2023 Spring

MAAD 24935 Introduction to Immersive Environments

(CMST 24935)

Virtual reality is expanding from just being utilized for games into an exploration of extended realities. Introduction to Immersive Environments will explore the theory and applications of virtual reality environments. Students will learn how to construct their VR environments using Blender and Unity. Students will offer and receive constructive feedback during instructor-led critiques of their works throughout this course. Students will also explore the genre with readings and discussions. By the end of this course, students will feel comfortable utilizing different developmental processes to create.

2022-2023 Winter

MAAD 25500 Beginning Screenwriting

(TAPS 15500, CRWR 27102)

This course introduces the basic elements of a literate screenplay, including format, exposition, characterization, dialog, voice-over, adaptation, and the vagaries of the three-act structure. Weekly meetings include a brief lecture period, screenings of scenes from selected films, extended discussion, and assorted readings of class assignments. Because this is primarily a writing class, students write a four- to five-page weekly assignment related to the script topic of the week.

Patrick Wimp
2022-2023 Autumn

MAAD 26210 Media Arts and Design Practice

(ARTV 26210)

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. [Practice]