Course Description
Through readings, group discussion, listening sessions, projects and critiques we will examine and engage a wide range of sonic art theory and practice. We will explore conceptual, theoretical and compositional aspects of sound and listening, acoustics / psychoacoustics, social-cultural contexts of sound and recording, sound aesthetics and symbolism, soundscapes and acoustic ecology, as well as sound in relationship to other media.

* provide a broad overview of sonic art theory, practice and research
* introduce influential concepts, historical precedents, and emerging trends
* develop basic technical knowledge and applicable skills with a variety of sonic art tools
* engage conceptual and aesthetic issues through critical reading and hands on projects

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

There is no single text for this course. Instead, our weekly readings will draw from a wide range of sources, including hand outs, online materials, and materials available at the Smith College Library. You are expected to read the materials at least once, and to post comments to the blog prior to our class meeting.

Labs and Projects
We will have tech labs during class (every week or so) as needed. These will be brief tutorials on a given hardware or software tool or technique, and will be followed by hands on projects. Educational Technology Services also offers a range of workshops that could be beneficial if you are new to multimedia / new media technologies. There will 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, and posted on your web site.

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

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 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. All assignments are due on time; This class moves fast, making it very difficult to catch up if you fall behind. Grading percentages will be as follows:

Attendance and participation (both in class and online) 30%
Graded reading responses and quizzes 10%
Tech labs and mini projects 30%
Final project 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 expose you to many different areas of sonic 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, as well as news and special event announcements.