New Media Art Production Spring 07 - Outline

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Syllabus | Resources | Student Work | Texts | Production Two Manual

MC0075: New Media Art Production
Department of Modern Culture and Media, Brown University
Spring 2007


Instructor Information

Instructor: Mark Tribe
Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Modern Culture and Media, Brown University
Email: mark_tribe AT brown DOT edu
Office phone: 401 863-7886
Office Location: 155 George Street, Room 101
Office Hours: Tuesdays 2:00pm - 4:00pm, or by appointment
Campus Box: 1957
Web Site:

Unless otherwise indicated, all course meetings take place at 135 Thayer Street, Room 102 (Production Two)

Course Meeting Times and Location

Wednesdays        3:00-5:50pm
Tuesdays             5:00-7:00pm

Unless otherwise indicated, all course meetings take place at 135 Thayer Street, Room 102 (Production Two)

Course description

This production course combines theory, history and practice. After establishing a theoretical context for the study of new media and locating new media art in relation to such key art-historical antecedents as Dada, Pop, Conceptual Art, and Video Art, students explore various tendencies of new media art practice, including games, locative media, narrative, open source, performance, radical media, and surveillance. Theoretical readings include David Antin, Jean Baudrillard, Walter Benjamin, and Marshall McLuhan. Students give in-class presentations, curate online exhibitions, and produce independent and collaborative new media art projects. Enrollment limited to 12. Written permission required. Prerequisite: one MCM course.

Course Goals

  1. Develop an understanding of the history and theory of New Media art.
  2. Develop a New Media production skill.
  3. Apply this knowledge and skill in New Media projects.
  4. Learn to critique art projects rigorously and constructively.


  1. Update Project. Due Feb 26: Use new media to reinterpret, remake, or pay homage to a historical art project.
  2. Curatorial Project. Due March 19: Curate an online exhibition of New Media art and present it in class using Rhizome's curating tool or another platform of your choosing. Each exhibition should include ~5-7 works and should be organized around a specific, defined theme or topic. Here are some examples:
      • Identity, as in race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, etc.
      • Character, as in fictional person/personality
      • Narrative, storytelling
      • Migration, cultural hybridity
      • Mobility, ubiquitous computing
      • Location, as in locative media
      • Site/situation specificity, psychogeography
      • Globalization, empire
      • Public space, public domain, public sphere
      • Political action, radical/tactical media (could be a particular issue, e.g. Iraq war or global warming)
      • Open source, copyleft
      • Appropriation, readymades, found media
      • Performance, performativity
      • Surveillance, eavesdropping, privacy
      • Gaming, ludology, serious games
      • Formalism, aesthetics
      • Virtuality, e.g. SecondLife
      • Cultural nostalgia, retro-aesthetics
      • Filesharing, peer-to-peer networks, mesh networks
      • Archiving, database as aesthetic form, preservation
      • Folksonomy, metadata
      • Social software, social sculpture
  3. Group Project. Collaborate with other students to produce a New Media art project. Deadlines as follows:
    • Pitch. Due Tue April 3: Pitch a group project idea to the class. Media support is required. Maximum duration = 5 minutes.
    • Group Project Mediography. Due April 17: Compile a list of readings and art works that are relevant to your group project.
    • Presentation. Due April 23: Present your project to the class for critique.
  4. Open Project. Due May 9: This can be a new independent project or a revision or extension of a previous independent or group project.

Nota bene: Art projects are considered complete when they have been documented on the Student Work page of this wiki. Add a thumbnail image of your work and the title of your work to the Student Work page, and link from the title of your project to your personal page. For each assignment, your personal page should contain, at a minimum, the following:

  1. Your name;
  2. The title of you project;
  3. Images, audio, video, links, or other appropriate documentation of your project;
  4. A statement that describes your project and sheds light on your intentions and, if relevant, your process.

Attendance and Punctuality

Attendance and punctuality are simply required. Plan to attend all course meetings. Please contact me in advance if you won't be able to make it to a class due to an unavoidable conflict or medical emergency. Class starts on time, so please make every effort to arrive on time. Students with multiple unexcused absences and/or persistent lateness may not pass the course.


Student performance will be assessed in four areas: 1) participation in class meetings; 2) demonstrated engagement with readings, screenings, art works, and other course material; 3) completion of assignments; 4) attendance and punctuality.

How To Prepare for a Class With Assigned Reading

  1. Print the readings if they are distributed online.
  2. Underline and/or take notes as you read.
  3. Bring a copy of each reading to class and be prepared to quote from each reading during discussion.
  4. Bring to class at least one written question or comment on each reading.

Nota bene: Assigned readings are required, and must be completed before class. It is your responsibility to demonstrate during class that you have done the reading and given it some thought.

A Note on Technical Skills

The emphasis in this course is not on technical mastery but on understanding new media technologies as tools and sites for creative cultural practice. Some students will come to the course with advanced new media production skills, others with very limited skills. This is OK! Advanced skills are not necessarily needed in order to make advanced art. Keith Obadike's Blackness for Sale and Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries'work are two examples of successful and influential new media art that required limited technological skill to produce. What makes these projects effective is, among other things, their conceptual deftness, the effectiveness with which they use relatively simple tools, and strength of their artistic voices.

New media technologies are so numerous and complex, and they are changing so quickly, that keeping up can be a sisyphean task. The most important tech skills you can learn are: how to teach yourself what you need to know in order to realize your ideas; how to find ways to realize your ideas given the skills and resources you reasonably can acquire; and how to partner or collaborate with others who have skills you need but don't have and don't want to acquire yourself. That said, there is no substitute for learning by doing. We will organize workshops on key skills, teach one another as we learn, and strive throughout to maintain a playful and experimental attitude toward the technologies we use.

Syllabus | Resources | Student Work | Texts | Production Two Manual


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