Introduction to Media Arts and Technology

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course outline
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Course Description
This introductory course will explore the intersections of art and technology across a wide range of experimental / interdisciplinary practices. Through readings, viewings, group discussion, projects, critiques, and guest artist presentations, we will examine a range of technologically mediated art practices, including digital imaging, sonic art, interactive installations, physical / tactile computing, digital writing, computer mediated performance, as well as emergent new media art and research topics.

* provide a broad overview of media arts / technology practices and research
* introduce influential media arts concepts, theories, and historical precedents
* develop basic technical knowledge and applicable skills with a variety of media arts tools
* engage conceptual and aesthetic issues through hands on projects

Design / Structure
This course will combine historical overview with critical / theoretical readings, screenings / guest artist presentations, and hands on projects. We will read influential texts, and discuss these readings in class. Ongoing dialog and exchange will be facilitated through a class blog and student web sites. There will also be weekly tech labs, that will contribute to the development of core technical skills, as well as prepare students for individual or collaborative projects.

Text / Reading
Christiane Paul, Digital Art, second edition (London: Thames and Hudson, 2008).
In addition to the required text, the course will also involve weekly readings from other sources, including hand outs, online materials, and supplemental materials available at Hillyer Art Library. You are expected to read the materials at least once, and to post comments to the blog prior to our class meeting. Please bring the readings to class with you, in either electronic or print form.

Labs and Projects
We will have tech labs during class as needed. These will be brief tutorials on a given hardware or software tool or technique, and will be followed by mini-projects. Information Technology Services also offers a range of workshops that will be very beneficial if you are new to multimedia technologies. There will also be a final project that you will plan, design, develop, and present in class. All projects (three short projects, plus the final project) will be discussed in class.

Materials and Equipment
Please be prepared to spend some amount of money for materials for this class. This could include storage media, or materials for your projects. If you don't already have a portable hard drive, you can check one out for the semester. Hard drives, as well as a variety of production equipment is available through the Center for Media Production, located in the basement of the Alumnae Gymnasium. More info is available here. To check out equipment, please fill out this online form.

Web Presence
Each student is required to have access to a personal web space for posting materials developed in the class, including project proposals and documentation. If you don't already have a web space, you can get a free account from Information Technology Services. Please see the instructions here.

Attendance and Grading
Attendance and active participation (both in class and on line) are absolutely necessary for this class to function. Unexcused absences will directly impact your grade, as well as indirectly affecting the quality of your work

Your grade will reflect both your participation in the class (discussions, reading responses, blog contributions, collaborative efforts) and the energy you put into the labs and projects. It is sometimes difficult to evaluate projects, since we all bring our own unique background and experience to our work. This course is open to students with widely different backgrounds, and each of you will explore territory that is new to you. In this regard, I am most interested to see an active, committed, and energetic engagement in the readings, discussions, labs, and projects.
The grade for each project will reflect conceptual engagement, as well as aesthetic and technical quality. Experimentation, effort, development, and risk-taking will also be considered. All assignments are due on time; This class moves fast, making it very difficult to catch up if you fall behind. All assignments, projects, and presentations must be completed in order to pass the course.

Project Grade Description:
NC (Fail) Unsatisfactory overall performance; indication of lack of commitment / engagement; incomplete submissions.
C Satisfactory; consistent effort and on-time completion; meets basic requirements and shows some progress.
B Good to excellent; indication of progress; creative engagement with fundamental issues; good technique / execution.
A Excellent to outstanding; work displays significant effort and progress; developed and insightful; creative and surprising solutions to assignments; excellent technique and presentation.

Grading percentages will be as follows:
Attendance and participation (both in class and online) 30%
Quizzes and graded reading responses 10%
Tech labs and mini projects 30
Final project, including written proposal and in progress showings 30%

Unique Requirements
If you have any unique or special needs, please talk them over with me. I will make every effort to make this course as accessible as possible.

*note: This is a new, experimental course in a rapidly changing field. It is designed to quickly expose you to many different areas of mediated art practice and research. The selected readings and course schedule will probably change somewhat throughout the semester. Please refer to the online schedule for up to date info, and follow the blog for news and special event announcements.