Spring 2002

Arts 22 Conceptual Strategies in Digital Media

Instructor: George Legrady
office: room 2222 Art Studio, tel 893.2026

Lecture Thursdays 6-8pm

TA Section: Christopher August

TA Section: Luke Matjas


Conceptual Strategies is the introductory course to the digital area of the Art Studio program. The course promotes an approach that explores how information and digital technologies are reshaping cultural communication. Its focus is the investigation of digital technology as a medium rather than as a tool.

The course will introduce topics specific to digital technologies and interactive media. These include the production of signs (semiotics), narrative, metaphor and their relation to interface design and interactivity. A number of brief projects will be given in conjunction with specific technical applications. They may include listing & classification, the autobiographical index, Chance and noise, Nature/culture, the Icon/sign, Mapping, information systems, cultural framework analysis.

Grading & Course Requirements - See Screen Bottom


W1 April 4 Course Introduction
    Data and Information: Collecting, Classifying (systems of classification, Associative thinking) Inventory, etc.

The Ambassadors, Holbein
Things Spoken
, Agnes Hegedus
Portable effects
, Rachel Strickland
H | U | M | B | O | T
Pockets Full of Memories
, Legrady
Plumb Design (Smithsonian Project, Visual Thesaurus)

Project I Inventory of Cultural Artifacts (lists and tables)

W2 April 11 Data Basics: numeric binary on/off, bits, metadata, syllogisms, fuzzy Logic
    Classification Methods for Information Design,
Properties and Attributes
Processing: Data is processed thru algorithms (SOM)
References 5 objects lay-out demo
Project 2 5 Objects (5 objects in-class presentation that explores classification, associative relations, multiple levels of meaning, various methods of ordering)

Event April 15 Luc Courschene Digital Media Lecture IHC McCune Conference Center
W3 April 18 Claude Shannon's Information Theory, Signal & Noise, Image processing & Photoshop

(pixels, DPI, etc., image depth, bit settings, channels, alpha channel, layers; contrast, tonal balance with histograms; manipulation of image sub-sections for image correction, random noise)

Artists: Lebbeus Woods [1] [2], Michael Naimark, jodi

References Web research on Information Theory, Signal-to-noise
Project 2 To be presented in sections

Event April 22 Johan Grimonprez Digital Media Lecture IHC McCune Conference Center
W4 April 25 Form & Design
    Concept, composition, balance, consistency, relative importance, articulation, aesthetics, color, spacing, time
References MIT Maeda Aesthetics & Computational group
Bits & Spaces, Norm, nomemory kleber, fork, BruceMau
Hodges, Sasnett, Multimedia Computing, Addison Wesley, Chapters 4,5
Project 2 5 Objects (website design)

Event April 29 Lev Manovich Digital Media Lecture E-studio, Art Studio
W5 May 2 Semiotics: the study of signs (symbol, index, icon) & Algorithmic Art
References Designers’ Republic, whitneybiennial ascii art ensemble YH-CHANG
designing a sign for 10000 years in the future
Project 3
  Noise/signal or semiotics (logo)

Event May 6 Digital Media Lecture IHC McCune Conference Center (TBA)
W6 May 9 Metaphors & Interface: (folder, trash, clock, finger)
References Rita Raleys' links on contemporary narrative hypertext art
Terry Winogrand Human Computer Interaction (HCI)
Project 3 Noise/signal or semiotics (logo) complete

Event May 14 Digital Media Lecture IHC McCune Conference Center (TBA)
W7 May 17 Imaginative Mappings, Networks, Nodes, links
References Mapping Cyberspace, Dodge & Kitchin
wonderwalker, Lisa Jevbratt, webstalker, cybergeography
Project 4

Mapping and/or TA's choice

W8 May 23 Multi-linear Narrative
  MID-TERM research paper due
  Jordan Crandall Mark America's links Giselle Beiguelman
Project 4 Mapping and/or TA's choice

W9 May 30 Net.Art & Mixed Realities Installations
References Stelarc, Vasulka, Telegarden, Masaki Fujihata
Natalie Boochkin's History of Net.Art
Project 4
  Mapping and/or TA's choice

W10 June 6 MAT Survey Course & Other Various Resources
References Artificial Life (neural nets, VR, agents, gaming, genetic algorithms, etc.)
Project 4
  Mapping and/or TA's choice

Art, Design
  An Anecdoted Topography of Chance, Spoerri
Envisioning Information, Tufte
Concept development
  Conceptual Blockbusting, Adams, Norton
Information Architecture, Resenfeld O'reilly Press
Your Private Sky, Buckminster Fuller, Müller Publishers
Technical Books & Sites
  Dreamweaver 4, Towers, Peachpit press
html 4
, Castro, Peachpit press
Dhtml, Teague, Peachpit press


Grading & Course Requirements

The course is work intensive. You are required to acquire technical skills, do web research followed by weekly reports, write a mid-term research paper (in digital form), develop good design and conceptual skills, attend the lectures, the sections and the Monday evening Digital Media lectures. As your projects will go online, they also must function properly on the internet.

Your projects will be evaluated on creativity and "play of the imagination". The theorist Umberto Eco argues that we are born into language, we cannot be outside of it. All we can do is to play with its rules, turning things inside out. This will require extensive web research on your part, becoming familiar with the state of the digital media arts discipline. Use your cultural knowledge but go beyond your current everyday situation. Produce projects that address the larger world, that can speak to a diversified audience, and also to yourself five, ten years from now.

You will be graded on:

Attendance and participation in class
Completion of all assignments
Attendance at the digital Media Lecture series
Website research and reports,
Mid-term paper
Projects are graded on Innovative content, good design and technical skills.