Jentery F Sayers
Develops intermediate skills and applications in one or more studio arts in order to enhance students' abilities as performers, arts creators, or educators. Recommended: B CUSP 197 or prior experience.
(FOR WINTER 2010) PLEASE NOTE: NO TECHNICAL SKILLS ARE REQUIRED FOR THIS COURSE. I WELCOME ALL WHO ARE CURIOUS ABOUT HOW TO MAKE NEW MEDIA AND LEARN MORE ABOUT ADOBE FLASH AND AUDACITY.
New media, but how to make it?
This course’s primary aim is for students to have the time, space, and materials to acquire some basic technical competences in “new media” production. According to Lev Manovich, new media are (1) composed of digital code, (2) modular collections of discrete elements, (3) highly automated, (4) variable, and (5) a blend of a “cultural layer” and a “computer layer."
With this definition in mind, the course will be concerned less with conceptualizing new media and more with making, manipulating, and circulating it. Our meetings will be conducted in a computer-integrated classroom and will be module-driven. That is, the majority of class time will be spent working hands-on with new media instead of relying heavily on lecture. Since the course meets only once per week, for a little over two hours per meeting, we will narrow new media production to two domains: Adobe Flash (object-based animation software) and Audacity (an open-source audio editor). Given the vast array of possibilities that each domain affords, the course modules focus on animating print texts by taking an excerpt from an existing poem, novel, or short fiction, digitizing it, and making it move.
By the end of the quarter, students should be able to produce their own, text-based Flash work, add sound to that work (using Audacity for audio editing), and assess (in writing) how effectively their work refashions a print text through a digital medium.
Students will develop their own Flash projects over the course of the quarter, offer written and verbal feedback on the work of their peers, and circulate their projects for others to modify.
Student learning goals
At a novice level, become familiar with how to manipulate and animate text in Adobe Flash, as well as edit sound files in Audacity.
Produce a refashioning of a print text using Flash and Audacity and explain, in writing, how that refashioning affords new ways for audiences to perceive and interpret the text.
Periodically share work with their peers, provide constructive feedback on their projects, and (at the quarter’s end) articulate how they could improve their own projects if given more time and materials.
Demonstrate, in communications with me and their peers, an understanding of how to blend technical competences in new media production with critical approaches to texts.
General method of instruction
There will only be a few lectures, lasting no longer than roughly twenty minutes. The class consists primarily of hands-on modules on Adobe Flash and Audacity, as well as peer reviews of the animations created in class.
Unless they wish, students will not be expected to work with Flash or Audacity outside of the classroom.
There is no textbook for the course. The course modules on new media production will be circulated via a class website and examples of new media (e.g., Flash poetry) will be engaged in class.
Both Flash and Audacity are available on the computers in the classroom and elsewhere on campus, and no technical skills in Flash or Audacity are required for the course. However, those who are curious about the course content, especially Flash poetry, are encouraged to peruse the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume One, as well as the work of Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries.
Class assignments and grading
The course is portfolio-based. Over the course of the quarter, students will iteratively develop a Flash animation (with sound). During the process, they will receive feedback on their animations from me and their peers. At the quarter's end, students will be expected to assess the quality of their work in a short essay.
Portfolio: 60% of the grade
Class Participation: 40% of the grade
There are no exams or quizzes.