Techniques of Surveillance Fall 06 - Course Outline

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Course Outline

MC170.07 Techniques of Surveillance
Department of Modern Culture and Media, Brown University
Fall 2006

Syllabus | Resources | Student Work| Production Two Manual

Instructor Information

Name Mark Tribe
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

Course Meeting Times and Location

Wednesdays 3:00-5:50pm
Tuesdays 8:00-10:00pm

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

Course description

Investigates surveillance as a subject and as a means of production in various cultural forms, including literature, cinema, reality television, and contemporary art. Readings, screenings, and online research inform independent and collaborative art projects. Prerequisites: at least one MC course; MC 23 or 75 recommended. Enrollment limited to 20. Written permission required.

Course Goals

1. Develop a critical understanding of the techniques (politics, economics, social dynamics, aesthetics) of surveillance.
2. Explore the ways in which surveillance is reflected and applied in contemporary culture, particularly surveillance art.
3. Discover ways to apply this understanding in new media art projects.


1. Presentation: present and discuss one or more art projects related to the day's topic.
2. Surveillance Project: produce a work of art that engages the productive power of surveillance.
3. Counter-surveillance Project: produce a work of art that resists the techniques of surveillance.
4. Group Project: collaborate with other students to produce an art project that contributes to the field of surveillance art.

Note: assignments are considered complete when they have been documented on the wiki.


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.

Attendance and Punctuality

Attendance and punctuality are 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 risk failing the course.

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.

Each reading will be assigned to a different student, who will summarize it and then lead a discussion.

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.

Syllabus | Resources | Student Work | Production Two Manual

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