Course Syllabus – AVT 180: New Media in the Creative Arts
PLEASE NOTE: Course content may be revised during the semester. Any changes will be announced during class and edits will be made to this document. Please bookmark this page, as you will need to refer back to it often.
Professor: Mark Cooley
Fall 2019, M,W
Office hours: by appointment M,W, 12:00 – 1:30
This course examines various aspects of digital culture from a critical thinking maker’s perspective. Through creative projects, dialogue, and writing students will examine tools, theories, issues, and ethics of concern to artists and theorists in the context of new media and technoculture.
Through research and practice, this course gives student the opportunity to investigate the cultural significance and impact of technoculture and new media technologies with a focus on the context of media art. In this pursuit students are expected to:
Research: Demonstrate a knowledge of key concepts, issues and ethics that have contributed to art and cultural inquiry in the context of media & technoculture;
Practice: Demonstrate technical and conceptual skills in the process of making meaningful media works;
Critique: Demonstrate a functional verbal and written vocabulary for critically engaging with media (art).
Students are required to complete a series of projects forming a constellation of concepts, approaches, issues, technologies, and genre of importance to media makers and thinkers. Each project requires students to complete assigned research, think and practice critically and creatively, show responsibility for the content of their work, provide meaningful justifications for aesthetic decisions, and display a convincing and proficient use of appropriate tools. Each project must be posted (in accordance with the syllabus requirements and due dates on the course outline) to a dedicated page on a website using the blogging service of the student’s choice. Each project includes the following:
Artworks and theory are provided to give context to each project. The technical and conceptual basis for student projects should be gleaned from these resources. For this reason, every effort should be made to understand the meaning and significance of the examples given. Summary texts are required of students to ensure a grasp of course material upon the entry into each new project. Student texts should successfully summarize the main points of the assigned text/media and be a minimum of 300 words. Additional research beyond the links provided may be necessary to further clarify concepts.
Working within the given conceptual and technical project parameters students create artworks for presentation in class and online. Artworks will be accompanied by a concise project summary which states how the project uses or responds to the concepts introduced in the project research. Project summaries should not address technical concerns such as software, the artist’s technique and so on. Rather, they should address the conceptual basis for each project gleaned through required readings and media. Project summaries should be maximum 100 words. Students should do their best to summarize the project as concisely as possible.
Discussion & Critique
Discussion: All students are expected to participate in class discussions. Thoughtful, creative, critical, and sincere attitudes are encouraged.
Critique: Students should be ready to summarize their projects to the class during discussion and critique. This includes an explanation of the intended meaning of the work, including the main concepts explored and how aesthetic choices and technical execution contribute to the work with respect to its intended impact on an audience.
It is important that the class openly, honestly, and respectfully discuss the work presented. Remember that the goal of critique here is to examine and make meaning from what we see. Critique also functions to learn the motives, creative decisions, and the conceptual and technical proficiency of the artist. Students are expected to give and take criticism seriously but not personally, and where appropriate, incorporate responses to criticism into future work. The overall goal of critique is to uncover meaning and aid the artist in improving their work. Various methods of critique will be introduced by the professor and practiced by the class during critique sessions. All class members will participate in critical discussion of the works produced in this course in an attempt to:
Identify, practice, and question common approaches to criticism in the arts;
Identify meaning and discuss how meaning is reproduced through artworks;
Explore the development of technology, media and aesthetics as socially, politically, and economically charged activities rather than as neutral entertainment;
Encourage and empower people to create and to help make their creative works better, and…
Discuss what “better” might mean.
Students are required to start a course blog to which ALL assignments, in the appropriate formats, are to be posted (depending on the blogging platform, additional online services may be needed to post audio & video works). The blog should be private with the professor and course members given viewing access. Blogs should contain a separate page and corresponding menu item dedicated to each course project. Blog entries should be edited for content, spelling and grammar prior to posting. Work will NOT be considered complete until it is posted correctly to the course blog as well as displayed in any additionally assigned formats.
Only extraordinary circumstances should prevent students from attending class. Two absences are allowed. A letter grade reduction is made to final grades for each additional absence. Arriving late or leaving early more than twice results in an absence. Students spending class time on social media, video games and other distractions are counted absent. In the event of an absence, students are responsible for getting all missed information from their classmates unless extraordinary circumstances require a meeting with the professor during office hours. Class time is not used to review previously covered material in order to compensate for student absence or inattentiveness. In addition, email concerning information missed or misunderstood because of absence or inattentiveness will likely go unanswered. In short, instruction is not conducted by email. Students who make a habit of being unprepared, inattentive, or absent do not pass this course.
Late work will not be accepted except under extraordinary circumstances (see the professor for permission). In the event that late work is accepted, grades will be reduced one letter grade for each class day they are late.
Students may rework projects as many times as necessary to be considered for a reevaluation during the semester. However, projects are reevaluated only if the project was originally completed on time. Therefore, it is essential that projects be turned in on time.
Each project requires students to complete assigned research, think and practice critically and creatively, show responsibility for the content of their work, provide meaningful justifications for aesthetic decisions and display a convincing and proficient use of appropriate tools. Each project must be posted (in accordance with the syllabus requirements and due dates on the course outline) to a dedicated page on a website using the blogging service of the student’s choice. All grades will be given equal value and averaged together at the end of the semester to obtain a final grade. Grades are distributed through email with little or no comment. Comments concerning grades are given during critique and individually in class. Please do not hesitate to contact the professor for more detailed feedback on your work. The professor is happy to do so.
A | Work that is highly creative, well informed, researched, and applied with a high degree of skill.
B | Work that is creative, informed, researched, and demonstrates commitment to craft, ideas, and expanding one’s vocabulary.
C | Work that is complete, though perhaps derivative, and/or could benefit from further research, a more creative direction and/or skillful application.
D | Work of below average quality that suffers from unskilled, uninformed, and/or derivative work.
F | Work that demonstrates consistent neglect of course requirements, nonexistent work, excessively late work, or poor application of processes, thought, creativity and/or skill.
An appropriate personal data storage device (min. 32 Gb)
Output Materials (and costs) as needed
Digital Camera (with video – most phones will suffice) with tripod and/or gimbal
ARTStor – as a Mason student, you have access to the ARTStor art image database. Please use this database when researching artworks. The images are larger with quality far superior to most versions you’ll find online.
Lynda.com – as a Mason student, you have access to Lynda.com, which provides excellent software instruction. Take advantage of this newly available university resource.
This course satisfies a Mason Core Foundation Requirement for Information Technology
Information technology and computing can significantly augment humans’ ability to produce, consume, process, and communicate information. Thus, students need to understand ways to use such technology to enhance their lives, careers, and society, while being mindful of challenges such as security, source reliability, automation, and ethical implications. These factors have made it essential for students to understand how to effectively navigate the evolving technological landscape. IT courses offered in the majors may focus on disciplinary applications and concerns of information technology.
IT courses meet the following learning outcomes:
1. Students will understand the principles of information storage, exchange, security, and privacy and be aware of related ethical issues.
2. Students will become critical consumers of digital information; they will be capable of selecting and evaluating appropriate, relevant, and trustworthy sources of information.
3. Students can use appropriate information and computing technologies to organize and analyze information and use it to guide decision-making.
4. Students will be able to choose and apply appropriate algorithmic methods to solve a problem.
University and School of Art Policies
In accordance with George Mason University policy, turn off all beepers, cellular telephones and other wireless communication devices at the start of class. The instructor of the class will keep his/her cell phone active to assure receipt of any Mason Alerts in a timely fashion; or in the event that the instructor does not have a cell phone, he/she will designate one student to keep a cell phone active to receive such alerts.
Commitment to Diversity
This class will be conducted as an intentionally inclusive community that celebrates diversity and welcomes the participation in the life of the university of faculty, staff and students who reflect the diversity of our plural society. All may feel free to speak and to be heard without fear that the content of the opinions they express will bias the evaluation of their academic performance or hinder their opportunities for participation in class activities. In turn, all are expected to be respectful of each other without regard to race, class, linguistic background, religion, political beliefs, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, veteran’s status, or physical ability.
Statement on Ethics in Teaching and Practicing Art and Design
As professionals responsible for the education of undergraduate and graduate art and design students, the faculty of the School of Art adheres to the ethical standards and practices incorporated in the professional Code of Ethics of our national accreditation organization, The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
Open Studio Hours
SOA teaching studios are open to students for extended periods of time mornings, evenings and weekends whenever classes are not in progress. Policies, procedures and schedules for studio use are established by the SOA studio faculty and are posted in the studios.
Artsbus – Dates for Fall 2019 | September 21 | October 19 | November 16
* Each student must have up to 5 AVT 300/Artsbus credits before graduation. For credit to appear on your transcript you must enroll in AVT 300. This also applies to anyone who intends to travel to New York independently, or do the DC Alternate Assignment.
* If you plan/need to go on multiple Artsbus trips during a semester and need them towards your total requirement, you must enroll in multiple sections of AVT 300. Please go to the Artsbus website: http://artsbus.gmu.edu “Student Information” for additional, very important information regarding Artsbus policy.
* Non-AVT majors taking art classes do not need Artsbus credit BUT may need to go on the Artsbus for a class assignment. You can either sign up for AVT 300 or buy a ticket for the bus trip at the Center of the Arts. Alternate trips must be approved by the instructor of the course that is requiring an Artsbus trip.
Visual Voices Lecture Series Fall 2019
Visual Voices is a year-long series of lectures by artists, art historians and others about contemporary art and art practice. Visual Voices lectures are held on Thursday evenings from 7:20- 9:00 p.m. in Harris Theater: http://soa.gmu.edu/visualvoices/
Important Deadlines: Academic Calendar
Once the add and drop deadlines have passed, instructors do not have the authority to approve requests from students to add or drop/withdraw late. Requests for late adds (up until the last day of classes) must be made by the student in the SoA office (or the office of the department offering the course), and generally are only approved in the case of a documented university error (such as a problem with financial aid being processed) , LATE ADD fee will apply. Requests for non-selective withdrawals and retroactive adds (adds after the last day of classes) must be approved by the academic dean of the college in which the student’s major is located. For AVT majors, that is the CVPA Office of Academic Affairs, Performing Arts Building A407.
Students with Disabilities and Learning Differences
If you have a diagnosed disability or learning difference and you need academic accommodations, please inform me at the beginning of the semester and contact the Disabilities Resource Center (SUB I room 234, 703-993-2474). You must provide me with a faculty contact sheet from that office outlining the accommodations needed for your disability or learning difference. All academic accommodations must be arranged in advance through the DRC.
Official Communications via Mason E-Mail
Mason uses electronic mail to provide official information to students. Examples include communications from course instructors, notices from the library, notices about academic standing, financial aid information, class materials, assignments, questions, and instructor feedback. Students are responsible for the content of university communication sent to their Mason e-mail account, and are required to activate that account and check it regularly.
Students are expected to attend the class periods of the courses for which they register. In-class participation is important not only to the individual student, but also to the class as a whole. Because class participation may be a factor in grading, instructors may use absence, tardiness, or early departure as de facto evidence of nonparticipation. Students who miss an exam with an acceptable excuse may be penalized according to the individual instructor’s grading policy, as stated in the course syllabus.
Students in this class are bound by the Honor Code, as stated in the George Mason University Catalog. The honor code requires that the work you do as an individual be the product of your own individual synthesis or integration of ideas. (This does not prohibit collaborative work when it is approved by your instructor.) As a faculty member, I have an obligation to refer the names of students who may have violated the Honor Code to the Student Honor Council, which treats such cases very seriously. No grade is important enough to justify cheating, for which there are serious consequences that will follow you for the rest of your life. If you feel unusual pressure about your grade in this or any other course, please talk to me or to a member of the GMU Counseling Center staff.
Using someone else’s words or ideas without giving them credit is plagiarism, a very serious Honor Code offense. It is very important to understand how to prevent committing plagiarism when using material from a source. If you wish to quote verbatim, you must use the exact words and punctuation just as the passage appears in the original and must use quotation marks and page numbers in your citation. If you want to paraphrase or summarize ideas from a source, you must put the ideas into your own words, and you must cite the source, using the APA or MLA format. (For assistance with documentation, I recommend Diana Hacker, A Writer’s Reference.) The exception to this rule is information termed general knowledge—information that is widely known and stated in a number of sources. Determining what is general knowledge can be complicated, so the wise course is, “When in doubt, cite.”
Be especially careful when using the Internet for research. Not all Internet sources are equally reliable; some are just plain wrong. Also, since you can download text, it becomes very easy to inadvertently plagiarize. If you use an Internet source, you must cite the exact URL in your paper and include with it the last date that you successfully accessed the site.
Students who are in need of intensive help with grammar, structure or mechanics in their writing should make use of the services of Writing Center, located in Robinson A116 (703-993-1200). The services of the Writing Center are available by appointment, online and, occasionally, on a walk-in basis.
The Collaborative Learning Hub Located in Johnson Center 311 (703-993-3141), the lab offers in-person one-on-one support for the Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, Blackboard, and a variety of other software. Dual monitor PCs make the lab ideal for collaborating on group projects, Macs are also available; as well as a digital recording space, collaborative tables, and a SMART Board. Free workshops are also available (Adobe and Microsoft) through Training and Certification; visit ittraining.gmu.edu to see the schedule of workshops and to sign up.
Provisions is located in Room L001 of the Art & Design Building. This student resource assists students in exploring and engaging new models for artmaking that lead to a more inclusive, equitable, and connected society. Provisions is also a hub for developing art projects through Mason Exhibitions, the Mural Brigade, and art partners throughout the metropolitan area, and beyond. Feel free to come in and browse the library, study, eat, etc. The University Art Librarian, Stephanie Grimm, will have regular hours in Provisions on Tuesdays at 2pm. Contact Don Russell for more information: email@example.com
NOTICE: Additions, subtractions and reorganization of course content are likely to be made in response to particular class needs. Changes will be announced during class meetings and/or sent to student GMU email accounts. This web-page will be updated as changes are announced.
All work completed for this course must be posted in the appropriate format to the course blog. Students may also be required to present work in print or other formats before being considered for evaluation.
Class Dates | M 8/26 | W 8/28 | W 9/4 | M 9/9 | W9/11 | M9/16 | W9/18 | M9/23 | W9/25 | M9/30 | W10 / 2 | M10/7 | W10/9 | T10/15 | W10/16 | M10/21 | W10/23 | M10/28 | W10/30 | M11/4 | W11/6 | M11/11 | W11/13 | M11/18 | W11/20 | M11/25 | M12/2 | W12/4 |
| M 8/26 | W 8/28 | W 9/4 |
Concepts: (Cultural) Appropriation, Sampling, Authorship, Originality, Context, Copyright & Fair Use, Copyleft
Genre: Dada, Pop, Installation Art, Conceptual Art, Video Art, Net Art, Digital Art
Operations: Copy/Paste, Re-contextualize, Document, Blog
The ecstasy of influence: A plagiarism Jonathan Lethem
National Congress of American Indians, Ending the Era of Harmful “Indian” Mascots
Copyright, Copyleft, Public Domain
Copyright, Exceptions, and Fair Use: Crash Course Intellectual Property
Marcel Duchamp Duchamp and the Readymade, Fountain, 1917
Robert Rauschenberg Erased De Kooning Drawing, 1953
Richard Prince Untitled (Cowboys), 1980 -84, Landmark Case
Sherrie Levine, After Walker Evans, 1979, Fountain (after Marcel Duchamp A.K.)
Michael Mandiberg, aftersherrielevine.com
Chapman Bros. Insult to Injury, 2003, Francisco Goya Disasters of War 1810-1820
Louise Lawler 1 2
Bruce Conner – a Movie
Craig Baldwin – Spectres of the Spectrum, Sonic Outlaws – BLO
Andy Warhol, Interview, Campbells Soup, 1962, Little Electric Chair, 2, 1964-65, Boxes, 1964
Elaine Sturtevant 1
Jeff Koons, Koons on Colbert,
John Baldessari Art 21
Yes Men – Chamber of Commerce
two appropriations. Remember that the meaning of appropriation exists in the recontextualization of subjects. One of your appropriations must take place in a public space and be documented in a way that effectively communicates your ideas, and one of your appropriations must be in cyberspace, also be seen/heard by others and documented effectively. The appropriations should have an intended meaning. Complete project description given in class.
Research – W 9/4
Summarize two of the following:
The ecstasy of influence: A plagiarism Jonathan Lethem
National Congress of American Indians, Ending the Era of Harmful “Indian” Mascots
Copyright, Copyleft, Public Domain
Copyright, Exceptions, and Fair Use: Crash Course Intellectual Property
Artwork & Project Summary –W 9/4
| M 9/9 | W9/11 | M9/16 | W9/18 | M9/23 | W9/25 |
Concepts: Politics of Representation, Detournment, Juxtaposition
Genre: Photomontage, Cinematic Montage, Mashups
Operations: Select, Cut, Paste, Layer, Editing for frame and timeline
Demos: Essential Training Photoshop Lynda.com,
Essential Training Final Cut Pro Lynda.com
History of Cutting: The Soviet Theory of Montage
Eisenstein’s montage theory 5 methods
Ways of Seeing: Publicity Images John Berger
Stuart Hall: Representation & The Media
John Heartfield 1 | 2 | 3
Hannah Höch 1
Edward & Nancy Keinholz 1 | 3
Martha Rosler, 1 | 2
Peter Kennard 1
Winston Smith 1
Klaus Staeck 1
Seán Hillen 1 | 2
Tsunehisa Kimura 1
Kenneth Hung 1 | 2 | 3
Martina Lopez 1
Alan Schechner | 2
Willam Burroughs 1, 2
Lev Kuleshov’s film
an amusing take on the Kuleshov’s film
A Man with a Movie Camera – Dziga Vertov
Hitchcock on Cutting
October, (montage of the gods) (intellectual montage sequences), Director – Sergei Eisenstein
Strike, Director – Sergei Eisenstein
Apocalypse Now, Director – Francis Ford Coppola
Godfather, Director – Francis Ford Coppola
Naked Gun 2 1/2, Director – David Zucker
Psycho, Director – Alfred Hitchcock
Bonnie and Clyde, Director – Arthur Penn
Lawrence of Arabia, Director – David Lean
City of God, Directors – Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund
Dawn of the Dead, Director – Zack Snyder
Video Art – Dara Birnbaum – Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman
Bruce Conner – a Movie, Mea Culpa, Three Screen Ray, the 70s
Rebirth of a Nation, 2 – DJ spooky,
one digital photomontage and one video montage employing the concepts of juxtaposition and intellectual montage with an intended meaning. Use concepts from assigned research. Photomontage size = minimum 1920 x 1080px. Video montage 1920 x 1080px, minimum 15 seconds, maximum 30 seconds. Complete project description given in class.
Research – M 9/9
Summarize –Ways of Seeing: Publicity
Research – M 9/16
Summarize – Stuart Hall: Representation & The Media
Artwork & Project Summary – W 9/25
| W10/2 | M10/7 | W10/9 | T10/15 |
Concepts: Digital Identity
Genre: Photography, Digital Art, Performance, Portraiture, Deepfakes
Operations: Image Capture, Compositing, Blending, Morphing, Cloning, Layering
Demos: Essential Training Photoshop Lynda.com
William Wegman – Family Combinations, 1972
Martha Rosler – Vital Statistics of a Citizen Simply Obtained, 1977
Tibor Kalman 1, 2
Nancy Burson 2
Chris Dorley-Brown – Haverville 2000, 2000
Daniel Lee – 2
Jason Salavon – Every Playboy Centerfold 1988-1997, 2002
Gillian Wearing 1, 2,
Danny Evans – Celebrity Make-unders, 2006 – 2014
Sheila Pree Bright – Plastic Bodies, 2013
Barbara Kruger, You Are Not Yourself, 1984
Nikki S. Lee, Projects 1990’s-00’s
James Ostrer 1, 2
Dove campaign 1, 2, 3
Esther Honig Before and After
The Gender Ads Project
Ctrl Shift Face
a series of three or more composite image(s) including yourself. Use concepts from assigned research. Size 300dpi, 8″x10″ or 1080x1920px video. Complete project description given in class.
Research – M 9/30
Summarize – Slavoj Žižek on personal identity and the ‘inner self’
Artwork & Project Summary – T 10/15
| W10/16 | M10/21 | W10/23 | M10/28 | W10/30 |
Concepts: Simulations, Simulacra, Hyperreality
Operations: Stop Motion, Cut-out Animation, GIF Animation
Demos: How-To: Cut-out Animation with Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam
How To Create Animated GIFs Using Photoshop
How to Create a GIF Animation in Photoshop
Photoshop GIF animation Lynda.com
Rick Roderick, Baudrillard: Fatal Strategies (1993)
Sholim | 2
Micaël Reynaud | 2
Scorpion Dagger | 2
Museum of the Moving Image, First Look at GIFs
Avant-GIFs Turning online animations into high art by Jesse Walker
Create an animation which addresses the concepts of simulation, simulacra, and/or hyperreality. Complete project description given in class.
Research – M 10/21
Summarize – Rick Roderick, Baudrillard: Fatal Strategies (1993)
Artwork & Project Summary – W 10/30
| M11/4 | W11/6 | M11/11 | W11/13 |
Concepts: Data – Storage, Exchange, Security, Privacy, Stability, Political Economy
Genre: Data Art, Glitch Art
Operations: Data Representation, Databending, Glitching
Demos: Tutorial on Databending and Glitch Art Paul Weiner
Databending and glitch art primer, part 1: the wordpad effect
Glitch Art Tutorial for Audacity and Gimp/Image Manipulation
Glitch Art Resources from Phillip Stearns
An Easy 7-Step Protocol for Databending Michael Betancourt
Look & Listen
Glitch Artists Collective
Jehad Nga, The Green Book Project
James H. Connolly
Nam June Paik
Critical Glitches and Glitch Art Michael Betancourt
The Art of Glitch | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios
Apple Computers, Nick Briz
Trevor Paglin – 1, 2
Nathalie Miebach 1
David McCandless 1
Aaron Koblin 1
one or a series (depending on complexity) of artworks which explore data representation, or issues concerning big data. The works can be in any media. Complete project description given in class.
Artwork & Project Summary – W 11/13
| M11/18 | W11/20 | M11/25 | M12/2 | W12/4 |
Concepts: Information Economy, Media interests, Media Structure
Genre: Parody, Satire, Media Critique, Identity Correction, Tactical Media
Operations: As needed
Demo: Essential Training Final Cut Pro Lynda.com
a work of tactical media with collaborators from the class. Complete project description given in class.
Artwork and Project Summary – W 12/4