Syllabus

Fall 2017


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

CREDITS: 4

BLOG: VM470/VM604 Blog


DESCRIPTION:

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.

COLLECTIVE RESEARCH:
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.

LEARNING OUTCOMES:

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

REQUIREMENTS:

  • 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

REQUIRED READING:

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

RECOMMENDED READING:

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

RESOURSES:

SOFTWARE TRAINING:

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 Lynda.com site license, follow the Emerson College IT Using lynda.com instructions.

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

SUPPLIES:

  • 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.

GRADING: 
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 ones own study and investigation.

If you have a disability that warrants accommodations in this course, please register with the Disability Service Coordinator at 216 Tremont Street, 5th Floor, (617) 824-8415.

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 diversity_inclusion@emerson.edu.

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 leonard_manzo@emerson.edu.

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


Assignments

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, 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 September 12

Tuesday September 19

  • Blog: John Craig Freeman, Portal to an Alternative Reality
  • Student: Links
  • Discussion: What is art? 5 Objectives of Critique
  • Proposals: 
    • Jonathan Denton, BFA, 4:45pm
    • Bin Li, BFA, 5:15pm
  • Break: 5:45pm
    • Aaron Meritt, BFA, 6:15pm
    • Casey Denton, ELA, 6:45pm
    • Zack Rezowalli, ELA, 7:15pm
  • Assignment: Reading, pp 7–25
    • What was Vannevar Bush’s big idea in 1945?
    • What is Cybernetics?
    • Name some early art movements which were important to the development of new media art?

Tuesday September 26

  • Slack: Signup
  • Blog: Portal to an Alternative Reality, Chinatown Station
  • Discussion: Reading, Introduction
  • Proposals:
    • Hunter Schramm, ELA, 4:45pm (1:45pm PST)
    • Jason Blanton, 5:15pm
  • Break: 5:45pm
    • David Mekibel, 6:15pm
    • Yiqun Guo, VM604, 6:45pm
    • Jie Lu, VM604, 7:15pm
  • Assignment: Reading, pp 26–46
    • Vannevar Bush, As We May Think, The Atlantic, 1945
    • What was Walter Benjamin’s big idea in 1946?
    • Can you give some examples of Technology as Tool other than those in the book?
    • What was Nicéphore Niépce known for?

Tuesday October 3

  • Discussion: Reading, Chapter 1: Technology as Tool
  • Proposals:
    • Brendan Perry, 4:45pm
    • Ned Stasio, 5:15pm
  • Break: 5:45pm
    • Sicong Tang, 6:15pm
    • Jennifer Pipp, VM604, 6:45pm
    • Hogan Seidel, VM604, 7:15pm
  • Assignment: Reading, pp 47–65

Tuesday October 10

  • Professor Travel: Europe
  • Open Lab: Work on projects

Tuesday October 17

  • Discussion: Reading, Chapter 1: Technology as Tool continued
  • Project Presentation One:
    • Jonathan Denton, BFA, 4:45pm
    • Bin Li, BFA, 5:15pm
  • Break: 5:45pm
    • Aaron Meritt, BFA, 6:15pm
    • Casey Denton, ELA, 6:45pm (3:45pm PST)
    • Zack Rezowalli, ELA, 7:15pm (4:15pm PST)
  • Assignment: Reading, pp 66–78

Tuesday October 31

  • Discussion: Reading, Chapter 2: Digital Technology as a Medium, Forms of Digital Art
  • Project Presentation One:
    • Hunter Schramm, ELA, 4:45pm (1:45pm PST)
    • Jason Blanton, 5:15pm
  • Break: 5:45pm
    • David Mekibel, 6:15pm
    • Yiqun Guo, VM604, 6:45pm
    • Jie Lu, VM604, 7:15pm
  • Assignment: Reading, pp 79–96

Tuesday November 7

  • Friday class schedule observed (no class)

Tuesday November 14

  • VM470/BFA: Spring 2018
  • Discussion: Reading, Chapter 2: Digital Technology as a Medium, Installation
  • Project Presentation One:
    • Brendan Perry, 4:45pm
    • Ned Stasio, 5:15pm
  • Break: 5:45pm
    • Sicong Tang, 6:15pm
    • Jennifer Pipp, VM604, 6:45pm
    • Hogan Seidel, VM604, 7:15pm
  • Assignment: Reading, pp 96–111

Tuesday November 21

  • Site Visit: Huret & Spector Gallery
  • Discussion: Reading, Chapter 2: Digital Technology as a Medium, Film video and animation
  • Project Presentation Two:
    • Jonathan Denton, BFA, 4:45pm
    • Bin Li, BFA, 5:15pm
  • Break: 5:45pm
    • Aaron Meritt, BFA, 6:15pm
    • Casey Denton, ELA, 6:45pm (3:45pm PDT)
    • Zack Rezowalli, ELA, 7:15pm (4:15pm PDT)
  • Assignment: Reading, pp 111–124

Tuesday November 28

  • Professor Travel: Hong Kong
  • Open Lab: Work on projects

Tuesday December 5

  • Discussion: Exhibition
  • Discussion: Reading, Chapter 2: Digital Technology as a Medium, Internet and networked art
  • Project Presentation Two:
    • Hunter Schramm, ELA, 4:45pm (1:45pm PDT)
    • Jason Blanton, 5:15pm
  • Break: 5:45pm
    • David Mekibel, 6:15pm
    • Yiqun Guo, VM604, 6:45pm
    • Jie Lu, VM604, 7:15pm
  • Assignment: Reading, pp 124–137

Tuesday December 12

  • Discussion: Exhibition
  • Discussion: Reading, Chapter 2: Digital Technology as a Medium, Software art, Virtual Reality
  • Project Presentation Two:
    • Brendan Perry, 4:45pm
    • Ned Stasio, 5:15pm
  • Break: 5:45pm
    • Sicong Tang, 6:15pm
    • Jennifer Pipp, VM604, 6:45pm
    • Hogan Seidel, VM604, 7:15pm

Thursday December 14, 4:00pm to 8:00pm

  • Exhibition: Huret & Spector Gallery

Tuesday December 18

  • Final Critique: All final projects due before class begins
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