Wednesdays, 12:30-4:30 PM

665 Broadway, room 643

Spring 2008

Instructor: Howard Besser

Office hours: Wednesdays 4:30-6:30, and by appointment

http://besser.tsoa.nyu.edu/howard/Classes/newmedia08/
Syllabus version 4.5


Course Description

This NYU Cinema Studies seminar examines the theory and practice of various forms of "new media" (websites, video games, interactive applications, telepresence, virtual worlds, hypertext novels, digital video, ...) and of museum multimedia installations.  Students will view a variety of these newer works.  They will study a number of new media theories (Manovich, Wardrip-Fruin/Montfort) and will apply relevant older theories (Debord, Benjamin) to the contemporary new media landscape.  The course will continuously monitor the daily news for illustrations of changes in the general media landscape. And the seminar will zero in on how all of this is likely to influence the future of cinema.

Some major topic areas

Syllabus

Jan 23 Introduction

Topics covered:
Current Events:

Jan 30 What is New Media?

Assignments due before class:

  • Explore a complex website for a film, and be prepared to discuss and show parts of it to the class
  • Read:
  • The Teachings of Bob Stein, by Amy Virshup, Wired Magazine 4.07, July 1996 -- though Howard dislikes the perspective of this 12 year old article, there's some valuable background info here
  • Lev Manovich's The Language of New Media,  introductory matter through chapter 2
  • Andrew Darley's  Visual Digital Culture: Surface Play and Spectacle in New Media Genres, Introduction and chapter 1

  • Topics covered:

    Feb 6 Telepresence and Telecollaboration

    Assignments due before class:

  • Decide which possible sample titles (or other works) you will read and present (see assignment at end of syllabus)
  • Closely review the website of the Electronic Café International, paying particular attention to their experiments in Telepresence and Telecollaboration  
  • Read:
  • Topics covered:

    Feb 13 Telepresence and Telecollaboration; New Media & History; Database Aesthetics (part 1)

    Assignments due before class:
    Topics covered:

    Feb 20 New Media and Museums and other Repositories

    Assignments due before class:
    Topics covered:

    Feb 27 Database Aesthetics (part 2) and Cinema as Spectacle

    Assignments due before class:
    Topics covered:

    Mar 5  History and Future of New Media

    Assignments due before class:
    Topics covered:

    Mar 12 Curating New Media

    Assignments Due:
    look at Barbara London's InterNyet Stir-Fry 
    Topics covered:

    Mar 19 Spring Break


    Mar 26 Orphans Film Symposium

    Topics covered:

    Apr 2  Artists, Art Projects, & Commercial Forms

  • Assignments due before class:
  • Topics covered:

    Apr 9* Class screening

    Assignments due before class:
    Topics covered:

    Apr 16 Games, Immersion, and Interactivity

    Assignments due before class:
    Topics covered:

    Apr 23*  No class

    Apr 30 Cinema in Museum vs. Cinema in Theater

    Note: At 1:30 PM class will take the metro to the Whitney Museum (take your bathroom/food break on the way there).  We will assemble at the Whitney staff entrance, 33 E. 74th Street (btwn Park/Madison).  Starting around 2PM, Henriette Huldisch (who has curated at art spaces ranging from The Kitchen to Occularis to the Whitney Biennale) will speak to us in general, and show us some of the media pieces in the Biennale.  At the end of this session, you can stay later to look at other parts of the Whitney.

    Topics covered:

    May 7 Final Classroom Presentations

    Assignments due before class: Topics covered:

    Textbooks

    • Lev Manovich (2001) The Language of New Media, Cambridge: MIT Press
    • Victoria Vesna (2007) Database Aesthetics: Art in the Age of Information Overflow, Minneapolis: Univ of Minnesota Press
    • Andrew Darley (2000)  Visual Digital Culture: Surface Play and Spectacle in New Media Genres, New York: Routledge
    • Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort (2003) The New Media Reader, Cambridge: MIT Press

    Major Assignments & Percentage of Grade

    (40% of grade)  Short exercises and classroom discussion: throughout the semester.
     

    (20% of grade)  Lead a short class discussion based on readings: Read one book  (see list of possible sample titles, but you can suggest others if approved by instructor).  Sumarize the ideas in an oral class presentation (approximately 10 minutes), and then lead a 15 minute class discussion on the issues you've raised. (40% of grade)  Individual Final Project: student choice, but must be related to something covered during the semester: A major term project.  Topic must be approved by the instructor before March 5 when a one-page summary of what you are planning is due. Your work must be presented in class during the last class session. Here are a few examples: