Office hours Wednesday 12-2 pm and by appointment
This seminar aims to provide an historical context for understanding and analyzing practices and theories of contemporary electronic art. The curriculum is a mix of field surveys, readings of primary sources in aesthetic, media and critical theory, and examination of contemporary topics and controversies. The seminar is also intended to support the development and articulation of the student’s creative practice, thereby providing conceptual foundations for the written component of the MFA thesis.
There are three essential parts to this seminar: reading, discussion, and writing. All are necessary to prepare you for professional careers in the arts, whether along academic lines or not. Discussion in class is meant to be open-ended and generous; you are encouraged to question and speculate, not just react to and expound on the assigned texts. You are especially encouraged to bring in examples of creative works, either your own or by others which you want to share. This enrichment of the historical and theoretical material is fundamental. Writing will be required of both a formal and informal type. The formal work will need to conform to the rules of correct academic prose, whereas the informal writing can be looser and more speculative, allowing you to develop your ideas through the process of articulation.
Readings are provided in electronic form, and links to them are given at the class web-page (see above). There is one exception, New media in art, by M. Rush, London, Thames & Hudson; this is a recommended purchase, but also available on reserve in Folsom Library. Assigned readings range from 50-75 pages/week.
Š Identify key artists, movements, works of modern and postmodern music, visual art, and electronic media
Š Trace the relationships between artistic and techno-scientific developments since the late 19th century
Š Use library resources and other research methods to analyze specific art works and theories
Š Relate historical and theoretical learning to personal artistic practice in discussion and a formal research paper
Š Articulate preliminary conceptual foundations for the MFA thesis paper
Students are expected to read required readings each week so that class discussion is as rich as possible, and preparedness and participation in these discussions will constitute a quarter of their entire final mark in this class.
• Short response papers and informal commentaries posted to the course LMS (learning management system) site (35%). Every week one person will be designated to initiate the online discussion with a response paper of up to 500 words. The paper must be posted by the Thursday before the upcoming Monday seminar. The others will comment these response papers, by adding commentaries or critiques, posing questions, and pointing to other resources that they think will be helpful to know about before the seminar.
• Final project: an essay on a topic related to the material encountered in the course (12 pages, double spaced using 12 point font). (40%) Abstract is due November 7.
A Range Conceptual: thorough and coherent, original thinking, moves beyond assignment bounds. Writing: Excellent writing and grammar skills. Expresses ideas clearly and effectively; spends time on the work; attention to detail. Participates fully, taking a leadership role in discussion in class and online community outside of class. Brings new ideas to class consistently. Listens to others’ views with respect. Attends class on time and turns in work on time.
B Range. Conceptual: Complete assignments with some originality. Writing: Good writing and grammar skills. Writing is clear and ideas are organized. Participates fully in discussion. Attends class on time and turns in work on time. Participates in online comments and engages with others’ ideas.
C Range Conceptual: Unoriginal or common sense thinking; doing only what is required; Writing: Unclear writing, grammatical errors, lack of thoroughness. Inconsistencies in presentation of work and participation, or does not frequently participate. Attends class but minimally engages with others’ work.
D Range Falls below expectations in most areas. Inconsistencies, sloppiness, inaccuracies, errors, lack of effort.
F Fails to meet requirements of Assignment/Not turned in on time.
A confidential writing and discussion site for Electronic Arts Overview is set up on the RPI online-course learning management system. You will need to become a registered user of the RPI LMS. You will do this using your RCS id and password. The course is already laid out at the RPI LMS blog site by topic, and for clarity’s sake and ease of navigation, you should be careful to post your writing under the topic week by week. You are all already entered in the system so all you should need to do is log in and you will see a link to the course content (Electronic Arts Overview), then click on “Discussion”. The link that will get you started is: http://rpilms.rpi.edu/
Relationships between and students and professors, as well as those between students and their classmates, are built on trust. Acts that violate this trust, such as cheating or plagiarism, will result in a failing grade for this course. The Rensselaer Handbook defines various degrees of academic dishonesty, plus the responses available to address it. Students should familiarize themselves with this portion of the handbook.
Bennett, T., L. Grossberg, et al. (2005). New keywords : a revised vocabulary of culture and society. Malden, MA, Blackwell Pub. Art, Science, Technology.
“Modernity” by Terry Smith, at Oxford Art Online (log-in through Folsom library portal)
Rush, Michael (2005). New media in art. London, Thames & Hudson. [2nd edition]
Read from page 7 – 167. About $15.00 from Amazon; a copy is on reserve at the Folsom Library.
Manifestos of Futurism, Dada, Surrealism, Constructivism, Bauhaus, Situationism, from Harrison, C. and P. Wood, Eds. (1992). Art in Theory 1900-1990. An Anthology of Changing Ideas. Oxford, Blackwell. Futurism 145-149 Dada 248-255 De Stijl 278-279 Surrealism (Breton) 432-439 Bauhaus, 338-343, Constructivism 265-268 Situationism 693-70
Slow Media Manifesto, 2010 http://en.slow-media.net/manifesto
Benjamin, Walter. (1936 (1969)). The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Illuminations. H. Arendt. New York, Schocken: 217-251.
Mitchell, W. J. T. The Work of Art in the Age of Biocybernetic Reproduction, Modernism/modernity - Volume 10, Number 3, September 2003, pp. 481-500
Ways of Seeing, by John Berger, first episode, view in 4 parts on Youtube
Eco, Umberto. (1959 (1989)). The Poetics of the Open Work
Rokeby, David. (1995). Transforming Mirrors: Subjectivity and Control in Interactive Media. Critical Isses in Electronic Media. S. Penny. Albany, N.Y., SUNY. 133-158
Dinkla, Soke. (1996). From Participation to Interaction. Toward the Origin of Interactive Art. Clicking In. Hot links to digital culture. Ed. L. H. Leeson. Seattle, Bay Press. 279-90
Porter, Roy, Introduction to Rewriting the Self: Histories from the Renaissance to the Present. London and New York: Routledge, 1997.
Foucault, Michel. (1979 (1984)). What is an Author?
Kelty, Christopher (2008). Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software, page 1-18
Social media: Clay Shirkey lecture on his 2008 book -- "Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations"
Theses on Web 2.0 (Lovink, Rossiter, Ippolita) “The Digital Given: 10 Web 2.0 Theses”
Compilation of short texts by: VarŹse “The Liberation of Sound”, Cage “The Future of Music: Credo”, Nyman “Toward a Definition of Experimental Music”, Bailey “Free Improvisation”, McClary “Structures of Time in Late Twentieth-century Culture”, Reich “Music as a Gradual Process”
Oliveros – “Quantum Improvisation: the Cybernetic Presence”
Ong, Walter. “Orality, Literacy and Modern Media”. Communication in History. Crowley and Heyer (1994), Longman Addison Wesley. 64-70.
Salter, Chris. "The Question of Thresholds: Immersion, Absorption, and Dissolution in the Environments of Audio-Vision ." Sonic Acts XIII. Amsterdam, 2010.
Christoph Cox From Music to Sound: Being as Time in the Sonic Arts
Bruce Sterling (2008). The Life and Death of Media, in Sound Matters: Sampling Music and Digital Culture, MIT Press.
Kern, S. (1986). The Nature of Time, The culture of time and space. Cambridge, Harvard University Press. Pp 10-35
Zielinski, S. (2005). Introduction, Deep time of the media : toward an archaeology of hearing and seeing by technical means. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press.
Adam, B. (2006). "Time." Theory Culture Society 23(2-3).
Smith, Terry. "Contemporary Art and Contemporaneity." Critical Inquiry 32 (2006).
McLuhan , M. – McLuhan’s Wake – DVD on reserve in Folsom library
Haraway, Donna. (1985). A Manifesto for Cyborgs. New York, Routledge.
Plant, Sadie. "The Future Looms. Weaving Women and Cybernetics." Clicking In. Hot Links to Digital Culture. Ed. Lynn Hershman Leeson. Seattle: Bay Press, 1996.
Donna Haraway Wired magazine interview
Ede, Sian, (2000). The Scientist’s Mind: the Artist’s Temperament, in Strange and Charmed. Science and the Contemporary Visual Arts. London, The Gulbenkian Foundation.
Vesna, Victoria. (2001). Toward a Third Culture: Being In Between, Leonardo, 34(2).
Da Costa, Beatriz. and Katia Philip (2008). Introduction, Tactical biopolitics : art, activism, and technoscience. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.
Born, Georgina, and Andrew Barry (2010). “Art-Science: From Public Understanding to Public Experiment”. Journal of Cultural Economy, Vol 3, No. 1
Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer (1944) "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception" from Dialectic of Enlightenment www.marxists.org/reference/archive/adorno/1944/culture-industry.htm
Lovink , G., Garcia, D. (1997) ABCs of Tactical Media, at www.nettime.org http://subsol.c3.hu/subsol_2/contributors2/garcia-lovinktext.html
Felix Stalder, Autonomy and Control in the Era of Post-Privacy, nettime, July 2010
Castells, Manuel. Excerpts from Chapter one, “Communication in the digital age”, Communication Power. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Individual meetings on your final project (mandatory)
No Class or Assignments, work on final project