Open Source Culture Spring 08 - Outline

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


MC1700N: Open Source Culture: Art, Technology, Intellectual Property
Department of Modern Culture and Media, Brown University
Spring 2008

Contents: 


 A quick intro courtesy of TA Zack McCune (click here to watch the video):

Instructor Information

Name: Mark Tribe
Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Modern Culture and Media
Email: mark_tribe AT brown DOT edu
Office phone: 401 863-7886
Office Location: 155 George Street, Room 101
Office Hours: Tuesdays 3:00pm - 5:00pm, or by appointment
Campus Box: 1957
Web Site: http://nothing.org

Course description

Where do we draw the line between sampling and stealing? What does it mean to call a urinal a work of art? This course explores the tension between artistic appropriation and intellectual property law, and considers recent efforts to use open source software as a model for cultural production. We will trace a history of open source culture from Cubist collage and the Readymades of Marcel Duchamp through Pop art and found footage film to Hip Hop and movie trailer mashups. Students give presentations and produce media projects. Readings include Roland Barthes, Nicholas Bourriaud,Rosalind Krauss, and Paul D. Miller.

Course Meeting Times and Location

Mondays           5:00-7:30pm
Wednesdays     4:00-5:30pm

Unless otherwise indicated, all course meetings take place in the MCM Production Building, 135 Thayer Street, Room 102 (Production Two)

Course Goals

  1. Develop an understanding of artistic appropriation, intellectual property law, open source software, and how these domains intersect in contemporary culture.
  2. Produce media art projects that respond aesthetically and conceptually to course material.
  3. Learn to critique art projects rigorously and constructively.

Assignments

  • Nota Bene:
    • Assignments are not considered complete until they have been adequately documented on the wiki and linked-to from the student work page and from your personal wiki page. See How to Document your Project for the Wiki for details.
    • For each project your personal page should contain, at a minimum, the following:
      • A thumbnail image;
      • A project title that links to your project page.
      • A statement that describes your project and sheds light on your intentions and, if relevant, your process.
    • Late assignments will not be accepted without prior permission from the instructor.

Artist Profile & Presentation: dates TBD

  • Two weeks before your presentation: Select an artist, in consultation with the instructor, whose work exemplifies or otherwise relates to the themes explored in the course.
  • By day of presentation: Produce an Artist Profile wiki page that documents and discusses one or more of the artist's most relevant projects. See How to Put your Artist on the Wiki.
  • Give a presentation on the selected artist and project(s), using your wiki page as you might use PowerPoint.
  • Your presentation should be 20-30 minutes long and should:
    • Make reference to relevant articles and/or other research;
    • Include not only detailed description but also interpretation and critical analysis of the work.

Found Images/Found Objects: due February 11

  • Your first production assignment is to make a work of art using either found images or readymade objects for a gallery exhibition in List.
  • Collaborate with other students to:
    • Write and produce an exhibition catalog in the form of a printed flyer and an accompanying wiki page with links to project pages;
    • Promote the exhibition to Brown and RISD students;
    • Install the exhibition in the gallery (the 2nd floor lobby);
    • Write, produce, and install wall labels and texts;
    • Organize an opening;
    • Clean up after the opening;
    • De-install the exhibition.
  • Document your project on the wiki and link to it from the student work page and from your personal wiki page.

Audio/Video Remix: due March 17

  • Your second production assignment is to make an art project using found sound and/or found footage.
  • Projects will be presented in class during critique: be sure you have your media ready to go!
  • Maximum duration = 5 minutes.
  • Your project must be available online.
  • Document your project on the wiki and link to it from the student work page and from your personal wiki page.

Group Project: due April 14

  • Collaborate with other students to produce an art project in any form or medium that demonstrates or exemplifies open source culture.
  • Projects will be presented in class during critique: be sure you have your media ready to go!
  • Document your project on the wiki and link to it from the student work page and from your personal wiki page.

Open Project: due May 5.

  • Your final production project can be a new independent project or a revision or extension of a previous independent or group project.
  • Projects will be presented in class during critique: be sure you have your media ready to go!
  • Document your project on the wiki and link to it from the student work page and from your personal wiki page.

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.

Assessment

  • Student performance will be assessed in five areas:
    1. Quality of production work;
    2. Relevance of production work to the concepts explored in the course;
    3. Active participation in class meetings demonstrating critical engagement with course material (readings, screenings, art works);
    4. Attendance and punctuality.

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|Mediography

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