Film 167: Survey of Media Art

Fall 2008, Thursdays 1:30 to 4:20, Avery 110
Screenings: Thursdays, 7:00 to 10:00, Avery 117

Professor Ed Halter
halter @ bard . edu
Office: Avery 220
Office hours: Fridays 2 to 4, by appointment

» Description
This course provides an introduction to the history of moving-image art made with electronic media. We will primarily cover the history of video art and experimental video, art made with computers, internet art, art made with video games, and art that deals with the convergence of visual media. We will read a selection of critical and historical texts, as well as view important works from the history of media art.

» Attendance
An attendance sheet will be signed at the beginning of each class and each screening. Attendance is of course mandatory. Three absences and your grade drops a letter. More than three and your grade drops two. Should you experience any problems meeting these requirements at any point in the course, please contact me immediately. If an attendance sheet is not left for me in the film department office after each screening, I will mark all students as absent for that night.

» Readings
Weekly readings will be taken from articles posted on Reserveweb, or from websites linked from this syllabus. All articles not otherwise indicated or linked will be found on Reserveweb. Please have your readings done by class and ready to discuss; taking notes during reading and bringing these to class is recommended for this purpose.

» Screenings
You must bring a notebook and take notes during the screenings. Take down whatever connections, observations or oddities that come to mind as you view the work. These notes will be useful to you in discussions, for your weekly writing assignments, and in preparing for your midterm and final exams.

» Requirements
Weekly 200-250 word writing assignments, an in-class midterm exam, and an in-class final exam. Both midterm and final exams are essay format. Note: With permission of the instructor, you may replace your final exam with a final research paper on a topic of your choice, 12-15 pages. If you wish to do so, you must first set up an appointment to meet with me no later than November 20 to discuss, then turn in a one-page topic summary with preliminary bibliography of at least four sources no later than December 4.

» Grading Formula:
Weekly writing 30%
Midterm exam 30%
Final exam or paper 30%
Participation 10%

» Weekly writing assignments
Each week you will be required to complete a short writing assignment based on current readings and/or screenings. Topics will be given out a week in advance, at the end of class; if you miss a class or leave early, it is your responsibility to get the week’s topic from another student.

You will need to hand your assignments in to me printed out with your name and the due date only at the top: please do not title your compositions. The finished assignment must be at least 200 words and no more than 250; only a small portion of this may be quotation from the readings. Your writing will be graded for both content and form; please follow the guidelines in the MLA Handbook. I will not accept late assignments under any circumstances, technology-related or otherwise, nor will I accept assignments via email.

The weekly writing assignments will be graded as follows:
Check plus: assignment completed with few or no composition or information errors.
Check: assignment completed with two to four composition or information errors.
Check minus: assignment completed with five or more composition or information errors
Zero: assignment not completed or not handed in.

» Schedule

Week 1: Defining Media

Marshall McLuhan, "The Medium is the Message" and “Media Hot and Cold”
Raymond Williams, "The Technology and the Society"
Screening (Expanded Cinema):
The Artist and the Computer (Lilian Schwartz)
The Computer Generation (Stan Vanderbeek)
John Whitney (Creative Television)

Sept 11: Expanded Cinema

New Media in Art, Introduction (7-33) and "Computer Art" (203-212)

Sheldon Renan, "Expanded Cinema"
Stan Vanderbeek, "Culture: Intercom and Expanded Cinema"
Gene Youngblood, "Cybernetic Cinema and Computer Films"

Screening (Guerrilla Television):
Four More Years (TVTV)
The Eternal Frame (Antfarm)

Sept 18: Guerrilla Television

Deirdre Boyle, "A Brief History of Documentary Video"
Dara Greenwald, “The Process is in The Streets”
David Joslit, “Feedback” from Feedback: Television Against Democracy

Watching in class:
Mayday Realtime (David Cort)
Peoples' Video Theater (Ken Marsh)
Television Delivers People (Richard Serra)

Screening (Image Processing):
Global Groove (Nam June Paik)
The Medium is the Medium (Fred Barzyk/WGBH)
The Business of Local News (University Community Video-Minneapolis)

Sept 25: Image Processing

New Media in Art, Ch 2 (82-123)
Lucinda Furlong, "Image Processing as a Genre"
Stephen Beck, "Videographics"
Stephen Beck, "Image Processing and Video Synthesis"

Screening (Studio Tapes / Performance Tapes):
John Baldessari, I Am Making Art, 15 mins, 1971
William Wegman, Reel 2, 20 mins, 1972
Joan Jonas, Vertical Roll, 20 mins, 1972
Richard Serra and Nancy Holt, Boomerang, 10 mins, 1974
Peter Campus, Three Transitions, 5 mins, 1973
Charlemagne Palestine, Island Song, 16 mins, 1976
Gary Hill, Soundings, 18 mins, 1979

Oct 2: Studio Tapes / Performance Tapes

Rosalind Kraus, "Video: The Aesthetics of Narcissism"
New Media in Art, Ch 1 (36-79)
Martha Gever, "The Feminism Factor"

Screening (Studio Tapes / Performance Tapes):
The Semiotics of the Kitchen (Martha Rosler)
Swallow (Elisabeth Subrin)

Oct 9: Midterm Exam

Production workshop I

Oct 16: Video Diary / Identity Politics

Screening during lecture (Video Diary & Identity Politics)
Sea in the Blood (Richard Fung)
Videos by Sadie Benning (A New Year, Living Inside, Me and Rubyfruit, If Every Girl Had a Diary)
The Target Shoots First (Christopher Wilcha)

Screening (Video Diary & Identity Politics):
The Couple in the Cage (Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gomez-Pena)
Tongues Untied (Marlon Riggs)

Oct 23: Video Diary / Identity Politics

Catherine Russell, "Autoethnography: Journeys of the Self"
Marlon T. Riggs, "Notes of a Signifying Snap Queen"

Screening (remixing):
Strain Andromeda The (Anne McGuire)

Oct 30: Remixing

David Ross, "Truth or Consequences: American Television and Video Art"
Ed Halter, “Recycle It”
Frederic Jameson, "Postmodernism and Consumer Society"

Screening (digital cinema):
The Celebration (Thomas Vinterberg)

Nov 6: Digital Cinema

Holly Willis, "The Future of the Feature"
Godfrey Cheshire, "The Death of Film/The Decay of Cinema"

Screening (Digital Filmmaking):
Guest artist screening and talk: Matt McCormick

Nov 13: Net Art

Rachel Greene, "Web Work: A History of Internet Art" [NOTE: available here as PDF] [and here as website with links]
Olia Lialina, "A Vernacular Web" and "Vernacular Web 2"
New Media in Art, Ch 4 (180-239)
see list of net art sites online

Screening (contemporary video):
Untitled #29.95 (Rtmark)
Nest of Tens (Miranda July)
A Family Finds Entertainment (Ryan Trecartin)

Nov 20: Contemporary Video

Brian Frye, “Video Triumphs in Galleries” (alternate PDF)
Roberta Smith, “Art of the Moment, Here to Stay”
Ed Halter, "Head Space"
Holland Carter, "Video Art Thinks Big: That's Showbiz"

Screening (contemporary video / game art):
Forcefield Video Collection (Forcefield)
Videos by Paper Rad
Sheik Attack (Eddo Stern)

Thu Nov 27: Thanksgiving vacation, no class.

Dec 4 Game Art / Art Games

Gonzalo Frasca, "Videogames of the Oppressed"
Irene Chien "Deviation / Red Vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles"
Alexander Galloway, "Counter Gaming"

Production workshop II

Dec 11: Review/TBA

Dec 20: Final exam
Final essays due during class (before 4:20pm) for those who choose this option. No screening this evening.

Links for further information, videos and whatnot
Guerrilla television / activist video