Film 167: Survey of Media Art

Fall 2007, Thursdays 1:30 to 4:20, Avery 110
Screenings: Thursdays, 6:00 to 8:30, Avery 110

Professor Ed Halter
halter @ bard . edu
Office: Avery 220
Office hours: Thursdays 12:00 to 1:00 & Fridays 1:00 to 2:00, 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, but also consider 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. 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 Michael Rush’s New Media in Art (2nd edition), 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 29 to discuss, then turn in a one-page topic summary with preliminary bibliography of at least four sources no later than December 6.

» 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 four or more composition or information errors
Zero: assignment not completed or not handed in.

» Schedule

Sept 6 : Defining Media

Marshall McLuhan, "The Medium is the Message" and “Media Hot and Cold”
Marshall McLuhan, "The Playboy Interview"
Raymond Williams, "The Technology and the Society"

Screening (Defining Media):
Network (Sidney Lumet)

Sept 13: Guerrilla Television I

Deirdre Boyle, "A Brief History of Documentary Video"
Patricia Mellencamp, "Video Politics: Guerilla TV, Ant Farm, Eternal Frame"
Marita Sturken, "Paradox in the Evolution of an Artform"

Watching in class:
Mayday Realtime (David Cort)
Peoples' Video Theater (Ken Marsh)
First Transmission of ACTV (Austin Community Television)
Television Delivers People (Richard Serra)
The Business of Local News (University Community Video-Minneapolis)
Fifty Wonderful Years (Optic Nerve)
Spin (Brian Springer)

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

Sept 20: Guerrilla Television II

Dara Greenwald, “The Process is in The Streets”
David Joslit, “Feedback” from Feedback: Television Against Democracy
Davidson Gigliotti, "A Brief History of Raindance"
Abbie Hoffman, "Guerrilla Television" from Steal This Book (1971)

Screening (Expanded Cinema):
short films by Scott Bartlett, Mary Ellen Bute, Lillian Schwartz and Doris Chase
The Computer Generation (Stan Vanderbeek)
John Whitney (Creative Television)

Sept 27: Expanded Cinema

New Media in Art, Introduction (7-33) and "Computer Art" (203-212)
Gene Youngblood, "Cybernetic Cinema and Computer Films"

Screening (Image Processing):
Global Groove (Nam June Paik)
The Medium is the Medium (Fred Barzyk/WGBH)

Oct 4: 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):
Works by John Baldessari, Charlemagne Palestine, Gary Hill, Bill Viola, Paul McCarthy, William Wegman

Oct 11: Studio Tapes / Performance Tapes

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

Screening (Feminism):
The Semiotics of the Kitchen (Martha Rosler)
Vertical Roll (Joan Jonas)
Swallow (Elisabeth Subrin)

Oct 18: Feminism

Martha Gever, "The Feminism Factor"
Martha Rosler “Video: Shedding the Utopian Moment”
Laura Kipnis, "Female Transgressions"
Linda Nochlin, "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?"

Screening (Video Diary & Identity Politics):
It Wasn't Love (Sadie Benning)
Tongues Untied (Marlon Riggs)

Oct 25: Midterm exam

Screening (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)

Nov 1: Video Diary & Identity Politics

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

Special guest, Leslie Thornton

Nov 8: Remixing / Music Video

David Ross, "Truth or Consequences: American Television and Video Art"
Pat Aufderheide, "The Look of Sound"
Frederic Jameson, "Postmodernism and Consumer Society"

Screening (Digital Filmmaking):
The Celebration (Thomas Vinterberg)

Nov 15: Digital Filmmaking

Holly Willis, "The Future of the Feature"
Godfrey Cheshire, "The Death of Film/The Decay of Cinema"
Dennis Lim, “David Lynch Goes Digital: Inland Empire is better on your TV than it was on the big screen.”

Screening (Digital Filmmaking):
Inland Empire (David Lynch)

Nov 22: Thanksgiving vacation

Nov 29: 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 Microcinema & Gallery Video):
Untitled #29.95 (Rtmark)
Nest of Tens (Miranda July)
A Family Finds Entertainment (Ryan Trecartin)

Dec 6 Contemporary Microcinema & Gallery Video

Ed Halter, "Head Space"
Brian Frye, “Video Triumphs in Galleries” (alternate PDF)
Roberta Smith, “Art of the Moment, Here to Stay”

Screening (Contemporary Microcinema & Gallery Video / Video game art):
Forcefield Video Collection (Forcefield)
Videos by Paper Rad
Sheik Attack (Eddo Stern)

Dec 13: Video game art

Gonzalo Frasca, "Videogames of the Oppressed"
Irene Chien "Deviation / Red Vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles"
Alexander Galloway, "Counter Gaming"
notes and links from this class
Screening (Video game art):
8 Bit (Justin Strawhand & Marcin Ramocki)

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