Film 167: Survey of Media Art

Fall 2009, Fridays 9:30 to 12:30, Avery 110
Screenings: Thursdays, 7:00 to 10:00, Avery 110
Professor Ed Halter
halter @ bard . edu
Office: Avery 220
Office hours: Thursdays 2 to 4, by appointment

» Description
This course provides an introduction to the history of moving-image art made with electronic media. We will cover the history of video art and experimental video, video/film hybrids, art made with computers, internet art and art made with video games. 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.

» Readings
Weekly readings will be taken from articles posted on Reserveweb or from pages linked to 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

Thursday, Sept 3
Network (Sidney Lumet, 1976)

Friday, Sept 4
No reading

Week 2: Guerrilla Television

Thursday, Sept 10
Marshall McLuhan, "The Medium is the Message" (optional: "Media Hot and Cold") (Reserveweb or alternate link)
Deirdre Boyle, "A Brief History of Documentary Video" (Reserveweb or alternate link)
David Joselit, “Feedback” from Feedback: Television Against Democracy (Reserveweb or alternate link)

Watching in class:
Mayday Realtime (excerpt) (David Cort, 1971)
Peoples' Video Theater (excerpts) (Ken Marsh, 1971)
Television Delivers People (Carlota Fay Schoolman & Richard Serra, 1973)

Friday, Sept 11
Four More Years (TVTV, 1972)
Fifty Wonderful Years (Optic Nerve, 1973)
The Eternal Frame (Ant Farm, 1975)

The Business of Local News (University Community Video-Minneapolis, 1974)

Week 3: Image Processing

Thursday, Sept 17
Global Groove (Nam June Paik, 1973)
The Medium is the Medium (various artists, Fred Barzyk/WGBH, 1969)

Friday, Sept 18
Lucinda Furlong, "Image Processing as a Genre"
Dieter Daniels, "Television—Art or Anti-Art?"
Stephen Beck, "Videographics"
Stephen Beck, "Image Processing and Video Synthesis"

Week 4: Studio Tapes / Performance Tapes

Thursday, Sept 24
I Am Making Art (John Baldessari, 1971)
Reel 2 (William Wegman, 1972)
Vertical Roll (Joan Jonas, 1972)
Boomerang (Richard Serra and Nancy Holt, 1974)
Three Transitions (Peter Campus, 1973)
Island Song (Charlemagne Palestine, 1976)
Soundings (Gary Hill, 1979)

Friday, Sept 25
Rosalind Kraus, "Video: The Aesthetics of Narcissism"
Martha Gever, "The Feminism Factor"

Week 5: Appropriation

Thursday, Oct 1
Strain Andromeda The (Anne McGuire, 1992)

Friday, Oct 2
David Ross, "Truth or Consequences: American Television and Video Art"
Ed Halter, “Recycle It”
Frederic Jameson, "Postmodernism and Consumer Society"

Week 6: Diary & Essay

Thursday, Oct 8
A New Year, Living Inside, Me and Rubyfruit, If Every Girl Had a Diary (Sadie Benning, 1989-1992)
Tongues Untied (Marlon Riggs, 1990)
Apeshit (Leah Gilliam, 1999)

Friday, Oct 9
Catherine Russell, "Autoethnography: Journeys of the Self"
Marlon T. Riggs, "Notes of a Signifying Snap Queen"

Week 7: Midterm Exam

Thursday, Oct 15
No screening

Friday, Oct 16

Week 8: Expanded Cinema & Early Computer Art

Thursday, Oct 22
The Artist and the Computer [Lillian Schwartz] (John K. Ball, 1976)
The Computer Generation [Stan Vanderbeek] (John Musili, 1972)
The Film Art of John Whitney, Sr. (John Musili, 1975)

Friday, Oct 23
Sheldon Renan, "Expanded Cinema"
Stan Vanderbeek, "Culture: Intercom and Expanded Cinema"
Gene Youngblood, "Cybernetic Cinema and Computer Films"

Week 9: Digital Cinema

Thursday, Oct 29
Leaving the 20th Century (Max Almy, 1982)
Possibly in Michigan (Cecelia Condit, 1983)
C’est Vrai (Robert Frank, 1990)

Friday, Oct 30
Holly Willis, "The Future of the Feature"
Godfrey Cheshire, "The Death of Film/The Decay of Cinema"

Week 10: Internet Art

Thursday, Nov 5
The Celebration (Thomas Vinterberg, 1998)

Thursday, Nov 6
Rachel Greene, "Web Work: A History of Internet Art"

Olia Lialina, "A Vernacular Web" and "Vernacular Web 2"
see list of net art sites online

Week 11: Exhibition & Distribution

Thursday, Nov 12
Untitled #29.95 (Rtmark/The Video Aktivists, 2000)
Nest of Tens (Miranda July, 1999)
A Family Finds Entertainment (Ryan Trecartin, 2004)

Friday, Nov 13
Lucas Hilderbrand, “Joanie and Jackie and Everyone They Know: Video Chainletters as Feminist Community.”
Sven Lütticken, “Viewing Copies: On the Mobility of Moving Images”
Wayne Koestenbaum, "Situation Hacker: The Art of Ryan Trecartin"
(alternate pdf)

Week 12: Game Art

Thursday, Nov 19
Guest artist Michael Bell Smith

Friday, Nov 20
Gonzalo Frasca, "Videogames of the Oppressed"
Irene Chien "Deviation / Red Vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles"
Alexander Galloway, "Counter Gaming"

Thu Nov 26-Fri Nov 27: Thanksgiving vacation, no class.

Week 13:

Thursday, Dec 3
Swallow (Elisabeth Subrin, 1995)
Sheik Attack (Eddo Stern, 2000)
Pj Vidz #1 (Paper Rad, 2002)

Friday, Dec 4
none--review the semester and bring questions to class

Week 14: Final exam

Thursday, Dec 10
No screening

Friday, Dec 11
Final exam
Final essays due during class (before 4:20pm) for those who choose this option.

Week 15: Course Review

Thursday, Dec 17
No screening

Friday, Dec 18
No reading

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