Film 320: The Aesthetics of New Media
Thursdays, 1:30 to 4:20, Avery 217

Professor Ed Halter
Email: halter@bard.edu
Office: Avery 220
Office hours: Thursday 5:00 to 7:00, by appointment

Requirements
Attendance at all classes; one 8-10 page analysis paper, one 15-20 page final research paper; the presentation of one week’s reading. Three absences and your grade automatically drops a letter; more than three and it drops two.

Grading rubric: 30% participation (including presentation), 30% analysis paper; 40% final paper. All assigned work must be completed by the semester’s end for a passing grade.

Readings
Readings will be available on Reserveweb or linked from this syllabus.

A required book for this class is Christiane Paul’s Digital Art (Thames & Hudson, 2008). This book is available at the Bark Bookstore and will be placed on 3-hour reserve at Stevenson Library. If you choose to purchase this book online, please note that we are using the 2nd edition for this course.

Blog readings

As an essential part of this course, we will be reading the following blogs weekly:

Rhizome
We Make Money Not Art
VVORK

I recommend using an RSS reader, like Google Reader or Bloglines, for this purpose. The ongoing content of these blogs will provide examples of new media art for our discussions in class. The goal of each class will be to talk about artwork and ideas that have appeared on these blogs in the previous week in the context of that week’s assigned readings. Think of these blogs as the equivalent of screenings for a film class, and keep in mind that not everything that appears on them will take the form of new media art.

In-class presentation
Each week one or two students will give a 15-20 minute presentation on the week's readings, meant to kick off discussion. Each presentation should (1) outline the basic arguments or themes of the readings, and (2) attempt to connect them with something that has appeared in Rhizome, We Make Money Not Art and/or VVORK during that week. You may focus primarily on one or two readings if you wish, but do cover all of that week’s reading.

Week 1
January 28: Introduction
Recommended: Marshall McLuhan, “The Medium is the Message,” 1964

Week 2
February 4: Origins
Presentation: Kenji
Paul, “Introduction”
Vannevar Bush, "As We May Think,"  1945
Ruth Leavitt, Artist and Computer, 1976
Jack Burnham, “Systems Aesthetics,” 1968

Week 3
February 11: Technological change
Presentation (2): Marlies & Thomas
Paul, “Chapter 1: Digital Technologies as Tool”
Raymond Williams, “The Technology and the Society” from Television: Technology and Cultural Form, 1974
Lev Manovich, “Avant-Garde as Software,” 1998
Jacques Ranciere, "The Distribution of the Sensible," from The Politics of Aesthetics, 2000

Week 4
February 18: Interactivity
Presentation: Allison & Tiffany
Paul, “Chapter 2: Digital Technologies as Medium”
Sherry Turkle, “Video Games and Holding Power” from The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit, 1984
Janet Murray, "Agency" from Hamlet on the Holodeck, 1998
Nicholas Bourriaud, selections from Relational Aesthetics, 1998

Week 5
Februrary 25: Immateriality
Presentation: Skyler
Paul, “Chapter 3: Themes in Digital Art,” pp. 139-189
John Dewey, selections from Art As Experience, 1934
Lucy Lippard with John Chandler, "The Dematerialization of Art," 1968
Maurizio Lazzarato, "Immaterial Labor," 1996

Week 6
March 4: Materiality
Paul, “Chapter 3,” pp. 190-246
Rosalind Krauss, "Reinventing the Medium,” 1999
Bruce Sterling, “The Life and Death of Media,” 1995 and "Dead Media Manifesto," 2001, and see "Dead Media Project: working notes"
Seb Franklin, “On Game Art, Circuit Bending and Speedrunning as Counter-Practice: ‘Hard’ and ‘Soft’ Nonexistence,” 2009

Week 7
March 11 – No class, event TBA

Week 8 - Analysis papers due
March 18: Memetics
Presentation: Kevin
Richard Dawkins, “Memes: The New Replicators” from The Selfish Gene, 1976
Francis Heylighen, “Evolution of Memes on the Network: From Chain-letters to the Global Brain,” 1996
Carrie McLaren, Interview with Jonah Peretti, 2006
See also: Contagious Media and Buzzfeed

March 25 – Spring Break

Week 9
April 1: Dispersion
Presentation: Isabella
Seth Price, “Dispersion,” 2002
Sven Lütticken, “Viewing Copies: On the Mobility of the Moving Image,” 2009
Hito Steyerl, “In Defense of the Poor Image,”  2009

Week 10
April 8: Surfing / blogging
Presentation: Rebecca
Julian Dibbell, “Portrait of the Blogger as a Young Man,” 2000
F. V. Barnhard, “Weblog modern equivalent of a Wunderkammer,” 2005
Marcin Ramocki, "Surfing clubs: organized notes and comments," 200X
Marisa Olson, "Lost Not Found: The Circulation of Images in Digital Visual Culture," 2008

Week 11
April 15: Crowdsourcing
Presentation (2): Alex & Giampaolo
Jean Baudrillard, “Requiem for the Media,” 1972
Jeff Howe, "The Rise of Crowdsourcing," 2006
Andrea Grover, essay for "Phantom Captain," 2006
Interview with Andrea Grover in Wired News, 2007
Jarod Lanier, “Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism,” 2006

Week 12
April 22: Gaming
Presentation: Dave
Tale of Tales, “Realtime Art Manifesto,” 2006
Ian Bogost, “Persuasive Games: The Proceduralist Style,” 2009
Alexander Galloway, "Countergaming," 2006

Week 13
April 29: Curating
Presentation: Nathan
Sarah Cook, "Immateriality and its Discontents: An Overview of Main Models and Issues for Curating New Media," 2008
Caitlin Jones and Carol Stringari, "Seeing Double: Emulation in Theory and Practice," 2008

Week 14
May 6
Internet Art Show-and-Tell


Week 14
May 13
Completion week, no class.
Final papers due via email today.