Spring 2018

PROFESSOR: John Craig Freeman

  • EMAIL: john_craig_freeman @ emerson dot edu
  • PHONE: (617) 824-8862
  • OFFICE HOURS: Ansin 308, MTW 11:00-11:50 am or by appointment

CLASS MEETS BOSTON, T 4:00 – 7:45 pm, 3DL Ansin 312

CLASS MEETS ELA, T 1:00 – 4:45 pm, ELA Computer Lab/New Media Remote

PREREQUISITE: Professor permission


BLOG: VM470/VM604 Blog


Advanced New Media Projects provides an opportunity for senior undergraduate and graduate VMA students, working in virtual or augmented reality, computer animation, interactive media, motion graphics, digital photography, networked performance, audio, or other forms of new media art, to create advanced portfolio work. Projects, both collaborative and individual, will be developed in the context of peer-based critique and analysis. The focus will be on using new technologies for creative self-expression. Students complete the course with an original portfolio-ready project.

Students will be admitted by portfolio review and artist statement.

Although any undergraduate student who passes the portfolio review can enroll, BFA candidates will need to successfully complete two semesters with a B or better, as well as the 60 total credits within VMA.

In addition to the development and completion of an original new media art projects, students are expected to make a substantive and quantifiable contribution to the Emerson College new media art research initiative.


By the end of the course the student should be able to:

  • Remember: be conversant in key terminology, specific facts, conventions, trends, and theories of new media art
  • Understand: demonstrate an understanding of new media art practices by organizing, comparing, translating, interpreting, giving descriptions, and stating the main ideas of one’s own work, the work of other students in the group and the work new media artists in general
  • Apply: put into practice this acquired understanding by conceiving, proposing, and developing an original new media art project
  • Analyze: examine ones own work and the work of others by breaking information into parts by identifying motives or causes, making inferences and finding evidence to support generalizations
  • Evaluate: present and defend opinions by making judgments about information, validity of ideas or quality of work based on a set of criteria
  • Create (synthesize): complete a capstone project which culminates what you remember and what you understand about visual and media art generally and new media art in particular, based on how you have applied this knowledge and understanding, and your capacity to analyze and evaluate


  • Attend every class meeting
  • Complete all required reading
  • Contribute and engage in all class discussions and critiques
  • Come to class prepared to work
  • Participate in collective research
  • Present a project proposal
  • Maintain a project blog
  • Present progress on the project twice
  • Present the completed final project during scheduled exam


Together, we will read the first half of this book during the Fall semester and the second half during the Spring.


  • Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media, Leonardo Books MIT, Cambridge, 1001
  • Paul Ford, What is Code



Students are expected to have the technical skills necessary to produce work in the new media forms that they choose for their project, or at least be fluent enough to solve problems independently. Additional technical training will not be included in the content of the course nor will we work as a group to develop such skills during class time. Students are responsible for developing necessary remedial technical skills independently, although one-on-one help will be provided as time allows.

To Access Emerson College’s site license, follow the Emerson College IT Using instructions.

You are encouraged to identify and purchase, if necessary, additional software training materials based on your specific needs.


  • Mobile FireWire or Hi-Speed USB 2.0 removable hard drive. Minimum requirement is 40GB of storage space. 7200 (RPM) speed is preferable. Thumb/flash drives are not recommended for this course.

The final grade will be determined according to the following criteria based on the corresponding percentages.

  • Presentation One: 20%
  • Presentation Two: 20%
  • Participation: 10%
  • Attendance: 10%
  • Final Project: 40%

Project grades will be based on the following criteria:

  • Technical: Did the project achieve or exceed the technical requirements stated in the project assignment?
  • Conceptual: Does the work represent critical, creative and original thinking? Did it address and demonstrate understanding of the concepts being discussed in class?
  • Aesthetic: Does the work appeal to sensory or sensori-emotional values?

POLICIES: An Incomplete will only be issued if there are extenuating circumstances related to illness or critical personal emergency and only after administrative notice has been received.

Attendance and punctuality is required at all class meetings and will be reflected in the final grade. According to College policy, unexcused absences beyond five will result in a failing grade. Everyone must come to class prepared and engaged and everyone must participate in discussions and critiques. Your undivided attention is required during all discussions and critiques. No chatting, email or browsing will be allowed during these times if it does not support the discussion at hand.

Students should be aware of the College policies regarding creative and academic dishonesty and the penalties for plagiarism and software piracy. While it is accepted that there may be occasion for stylistic or historical inspiration, influence and reference, the student will be asked to produce original work from one’s own study and investigation.

Emerson is committed to providing equal access and support to all students who qualify through the provision of reasonable accommodations, so that each student may fully participate in the Emerson experience. If you have a disability that may require accommodations, please contact Student Accessibility Services at or 617-824-8592 to make an appointment with an SAS staff member.  Students are encouraged to contact SAS early in the semester. Please be aware that accommodations are not applied retroactively.

Every student in this class will be honored and respected as an individual with distinct experiences, talents, and backgrounds. Students will be treated fairly regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identification, disability, socioeconomic status, or national identity. Issues of diversity may be a part of class discussion, assigned material, and projects. The instructor will make every effort to ensure that an inclusive environment exists for all students. If you have any concerns or suggestions for improving the classroom climate, please do not hesitate to speak with the course instructor or to contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at 617-824-8528 or by email at

Safety is always a concern in any form of media production. Emerson College supports safety measures and requires safety training through seminars and the VMA Student Production Safety Manual, which is required reading for all students participating in any Emerson College field media production.

Students with questions or concerns should contact the Director of Production and Safety, Lenny Manzo at (617) 824-8126 or email

In case of a safety emergency, call the PRODUCTION SAFETY HOTLINE at (617) 939-1311.


CREATIVE PROJECT PROPOSAL: Each student will present a creative project proposal to the class. We will discuss the proposal and either approve the project or recommend changes. Students will be evaluated on the quality of the idea, the proposal and the presentation. Test your work and equipment ahead of time. The proposals must include a concept narrative; a script if applicable, a storyboard, a production schedule, including a software training plan, and a floor plan if applicable.

  • The concept narrative should be concise and to the point and should be around 750 words. The content will make up the oral part of the presentation to the class, but should not be read aloud.
  • If a script is applicable to your proposed project, write one.
  • The storyboard should include high quality digital color illustrations.
  • The production schedule should be organized and succinct and must include a software training plan. Include specific dates and benchmarks specific to your needs.
  • Floor plan

Presentations are formal and should be prepared and rehearsed ahead of time. Save the presentation in a folder titled lastname_firstname and place it in the Assignments_In folder prior to the critique.

Summarize as a dedicated blog post titled Project Proposal.

PRESENTATION ONE: Students will present the progress of their project during a pre-scheduled time. Presentation One is not an updated proposal. Work in progress is required. The presentation must include the following:

  • A stand-alone project file or folder titled lastname_firstname(.ext) in whatever format is appropriate for your work and in the format that you intend to complete the final project.
  • Prepare an optimized project directory or directories stripped of all unnecessary files and folders. Be prepared to open production files and demonstrate techniques that you learned in your production process.

Your presentation must be saved in a folder titled lastname_firstname and placed in the Assignments_In folder prior to the critique. Projects that do not conform to these specifications or that are turned in late will result in a lower grade.

Summarize as a dedicated blog post titled Presentation One.

PRESENTATION TWO: The requirements for Presentation Two are the same as Presentation One.

Summarize as a dedicated blog post titled Presentation Two.

FINAL PROJECT: Each student will present the finished project during the scheduled final exam time. Your project should be saved as a stand-alone project file titled lastname_firstname.ext in whatever format is appropriate for your project. All projects must include titles and credits. The work must be placed in the Assignments_In folder prior to the critique. Projects that do not conform to these specifications will result in a lower grade. Late final projects will not be accepted.

Summarize as a dedicated blog post titled Final Project.

Course Calendar

Subject to changes as necessary

Tuesday January 16

Tuesday January 23

  • Schedule: Review presentation dates, Exhibition date
  • Blog: VM470 Blog, Subscribe
  • Students: Individual blog links
  • Discussion: 5 Objectives of Critique, Semiotics, What is art?
  • Assignment: Reading, pp 139–153, Artificial life and Artificial intelligence
  • Break: 5:15pm
  • Proposals: 
    • Casey Denton, 5:45pm
    • David Mekibel, 6:15pm
    • Ned Stasio, 6:45pm
    • Samantha Scholefield, 7:15pm

Tuesday January 30

  • Schedule: Review presentation dates, Exhibition date
  • Announcement: Visiting Artist, Joe DeLappe, March 15
  • Blog: VM470 Blog, Subscribe
  • Students: Individual blog links
  • Discussion: Reading, Artificial life and Artificial intelligence
  • Assignment: Reading, pp 153–164, Telepresence and telerobotics
    • What does the term ‘telematics’ mean?
    • Explain the concept of Memento Mori.
  • Break: 5:15pm
  • Proposals:
    • Indigo Asim, 5:45pm
    • Jacob Block, 6:15pm
    • Alexander Brass, 6:45pm
    • Victoria Graf, 7:15pm

Tuesday February 6

  • Demo: Apple ARKit Development, Brekel volumetric capture
  • ECVAR Hours: Mondays through Thursday 11:00am to 2:00
  • Blog: New post
  • Discussion: Reading, Telepresence and telerobotics
  • Assignment: Reading, pp 164–174, Body and identity
    • What is the meaning of the term Posthuman?
    • What does memory palace refer to?
  • Break: 5:15pm
  • Proposals:
    • Xia (Gigi) Yuxin, 5:45pm
    • Cara Conaway, 6:15pm
    • Alexander Bilodeau, 6:45pm
    • Yuning Su, 7:15pm

Tuesday February 13

  • Discussion: Reading, Body and identity
  • Assignment: Reading, pp 174–189, Database aesthetics and data visualization
    • ?
  • Break: 5:15pm
  • Proposals:
    • Brendan Perry, 5:45pm
  • Project Presentation One:
    • Casey Denton, 6:15pm
    • David Mekibel, 6:45pm
    • Ned Stasio, 7:15pm

Tuesday February 20

  • Tuesday Schedule: no class

Tuesday February 27

  • Discussion: Reading, Database aesthetics and data visualization
  • Assignment: Reading, pp 189–196
    • ?
  • Break: 5:15pm
  • Project Presentation One:
    • Samantha Scholefield, 5:45
    • Indigo Asim, 6:15pm, Posponed
    • Jacob Block, 6:45pm
    • Alexander Brass, 7:15pm

Tuesday March 6

  • Spring Break: no class

Tuesday March 13

  • VM470/BFA: Spring 2018
  • Discussion: Reading, Beyond the book, Narrative environments
  • Assignment: Reading, pp 196–203
    • ?
  • Break: 5:15pm
  • Project Presentation One:
    • Campus closed due to weather

Tuesday March 13, 4:00pm – 5:45pm Ansin 312

Tuesday March 20

  • Discussion: Reading, Gaming
  • Assignment: Reading, pp 204–223
    • Postponed
  • Project Presentation One:
    • Indigo Asim, 4:00, from February 27
    • Victoria Graf, 4:25pm
    • Xia (Gigi) Yuxin, 4:50pm
  • Break: 5:15pm
    • Cara Conaway, 5:45pm
    • Alexander Bilodeau, 6:10pm

Tuesday March 27

  • Discussion: Exhibition
  • Assignment: Reading, pp 223–235
    • Postponed
  • Project Presentation Two:
    • Casey Denton, 4:15pm
  • Project Presentation One:
    • Yuning Su, 4:40pm
    • Brendan Perry, From March 20, 5:05pm
  • Break: 5:30pm
  • Project Presentation Two:
    • David Mekibel, 6:00pm
    • Ned Stasio, 6:25pm
    • Samantha Scholefield, 6:50pm
    • Jacob Block, 7:15pm

Tuesday April 3

  • Discussion: Exhibition
  • Discussion: Reading
  • Assignment: Reading, pp 235–247
    • ?
  • Break: 4:45pm
  • Project Presentation Two:
    • Indigo Asim, 5:15pm
    • Alexander Brass, 5:45pm
    • Victoria Graf, 6:15pm
    • Xia (Gigi) Yuxin, 6:45pm

Tuesday April 10

  • Discussion: Exhibition
  • Discussion: Reading
  • Assignment: Reading, pp 247–259
    • ?
  • Break: 5:00pm
  • Project Presentation Two:
    • Alexander Bilodeau, 5:45pm
    • Yuning Su, 6:15pm

Tuesday April 17

  • Discussion: Exhibition
  • Discussion: Reading
    • Break: 6:15pm
    • Project Presentation Two:
      • Brendan Perry, 6:45pm, from April 3
      • Cara Conaway, 7:15pm, from April 3

Tuesday April 24

  • Exhibition: 3rd floor Ansin

Tuesday May 1

  • Final Critique: All final projects due before class begins