D|MA 101 Media Arts—an Introduction Fall 08



Instructor Gloria Sutton suttong@humnet.ucla.edu
TA Rebecca Choi rebekahmchoi@aol.com

Time: F 2-4;50
Location: Perloff 1102
Class website: http://classes.design.ucla.edu



Media Arts – an Introduction is a survey of the major artistic developments and theoretical debates influencing the production of media art. Lectures and readings will trace the many ways in which artists have incorporated new technology and media including —but not limited to— animation, photography, film, video, sound, digital computers, and networked modes of communication in art from the late 19th century to the present. Material is presented within a broader cultural and historical framework that emphasizes media arts’ connections with popular culture and contemporary art. Course goals include clarifying and distinguishing the term “media arts” from other related concepts, like “digital arts”, or “technological arts” and examining the changing nature of media arts’ exhibition context. Topics under consideration will include the uses of media art in public spaces, telematic art, art and artificial life, media performance and interactive installation art. Ultimately, the course aims to provide the conceptual and methodological tools needed to parse this diverse and growing field while honing the critical thinking skills necessary for art and design practices purporting to merge art, media and technology.

a course reader will be available for purchase at CopyMat, Westwood Village, 925 Westwood Boulevard (at Le Conte) tel. 310 - 824 5276 . A copy will be on reserve at The Arts Library. Additional articles are available on-line. See the course schedule below for details.

Meeting 1 (Sep 26) Course Overview, Avant-Garde and the Moving Image Key terms: Media, cultural form, experimental, audience / screening works: Entr’Acte (Clair and Picabia), Anémic Cinéma (Duchamp), Zygosis (Documentary on John Heartfield), and the rare documentary Art For Tomorrow (1969).
Required Reading: Course Reader: Greil Marcus: “The Long Walk of the Situationist International”, in Guy Debord and the Situationist International, edited by Tom McDonough, Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 2002, 1-20; Edith Decker-Phillips: “The Beginning of Video Art”, from Decker-Phillips: Paik Video, New York: Barrytown, 1998, 19-25; Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman: "Video, Vidiot, Videology", in New Artists Video. Ed. Gregory Battcock, New York: E.P.Dutton, 1978, 121-137.

Meeting 2 (Oct 3) Confronting Media with Media Key terms: Heartfield, Found Footage, Situationism

Required Reading: Course Reader: Douglas Kahn: John Heartfield: Art and Mass Media. New York: Tanam Press, 1985 (excerpt, pp. 104-126); Craig Adcock: “Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Instantanés: Photography and the Event Structure of the Ready-Mades”, Event Arts & Art Events, ed. Stephen C. Foster, Ann Arbor and London: UMI Research Press, 1988, 239-266
Meeting 3 (Oct 10) The Urge to Destroy Key terms: Futurism, Dada, Fluxus, Gutai, Vienna Aktionism, Autodestructive Art, Gordon Matta-Clark, Survival Research Laboratories

Required Reading: Course Reader: Gustav Metzger: “Autodestructive Art”, from Metzger: Damaged Nature, autodestructive art, Nottingham: coracle@workfortheeyetodo, 1996, 25-58. Online: Joanne Richardson: “The Language of Tactical Media”, online http://subsol.c3.hu/subsol_2/contributors2/richardsontext2.html;
Meeting 4 (Oct 17) New Harmony? Art, Engineering, Science, Life Key terms: Konstructivism, Moholy-Nagy, Bauhaus, Black Mountain College, Cage, E.A.T., CAVS

Required Reading: Course Reader: John Cage: “The Future of Music: Credo”, from Cage: Silence, Wesleyan University Press, 1973, 3-6; Richard Kostelanetz: John Cage (ex)plain(ed). New York: Schirmer Books, 1996 (excerpt, 58-78) ; Jack Burnham: "Art and Technology: The Panacea That Failed", Video Culture: A Critical Investigation. Ed. John Hanhardt, New York: Peregrine Smith Books, 1986. Online: Luigo Russolo: “The Art of Noises” (1913), http://www.ubu.com/papers/russolo.html
Meeting 5 (Oct 24) Expanded Cinema Then and Now Key terms: conceptual art; Cybernetic Serendipity exhibition (1968); Software Exhibition (1970); Valie Export; Ann Liselgaard; Ann Veronica Jansens

Required Reading: Online: Gloria Sutton, “Stan VanDerBeek’s Movie-Drome: Networking the Subject” in Future Cinema: TheCinematic Imaginary After Film, Jeffrey Shaw, Peter Weibel, eds., Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2003: 136-143. see course website Edward Shanken, “Art in the Information Age: Technology and Conceptual Art,” Leonardo, Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 433-438, 2002 http://www.leonardo.info/isast/articles/shanken.pdf Gene Youngblood, “Intermedia,” in Expanded Cinema, New York: Dutton, 1970. http://www.vasulka.org/Kitchen/PDF_ExpandedCinema/part6.pdf

Meeting 6 (Oct 31) “Reach Out I’ll Be There”: from Telematics to Net Art Keywords: Malevich, Klein, Ascott, Galloway & Rabinowitz, Van Gogh TV, Radical Software, Second Life
Required Reading: Course Reader: Eduardo Kac: "Aspects of the Aesthetics of Telecommunications", in ACM Siggraph 92 Art Show Catalogue (publisher: ACM Siggraph), 47-57. Online: Radical Software vol. 1., no. 1. Complete issue online http://www.radicalsoftware.org/e/volume1nr1.html

Meeting 7 (Nov 7 ) Lure of Artificial Life; Participatory to Interactive Art Key terms: Cybernetic art, robotic art, art and A-Life, Shaw, Krueger, Rokeby, Iwai, Levin, Hoberman
Required Reading: Course Reader: Jack Burnham: “Robot and Cyborg Art”, from Burnham: Beyond Modern Sculpture, New York: Braziller, 1968, ; Harold Cohen: “AARON’s next step”, manuscript for a lecture by Cohen in December 2001 at Sendai Mediatheque, Japan (unpublished).

Meeting 8 (Nov 14 ) GUEST LECTURE by Media Artist details and required readings to be announced Meeting 9 (Nov 21) Bridging the Physical and the Virtual Keywords: Vanderbeek, Lozano-Hemmer, Fujihata, Sukumaran
Required Reading: Online: selected pages from 4Dspace: Interactive Architecture, ed. Lucy Bullivant (Architectural Design, Vol.75, No 1 (Jan/Feb 2005) and Lucy Bullivant: Responsive Environments: Architecture, Art and Design, London: V&A Contemporary, 2006 -- see course website for details

November 28 Thanksgiving Holiday, no Lecture

Meeting 10 (Dec 5) Breaking (or Opening?) Up of the ‘Media Arts’ Paradigm? Keywords: Software Art, Device Art, Media collectives, Rhizome.org, post-production
Required Reading: Online: Lev Manovich: “Generation Flash”, 2002 http://www.manovich.net; Machiko Kusahara: “Device Art: A New Form of Media Art from a Japanese Perpective:http://www.intelligentagent.com/archive/Vol6_No2_pacific_rim_kusahara.htm; Christiane Paul: “Digital Art / Public Art: Governance and Agency in the Networked Commons” http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/special11_9/paul/; Raqs media collective, “A Concise Lexicon Of/For the Digital Commons” from Documenta 11_Platform 5 : Exhibition Catalogue, Kassel 2002 http://www.raqsmediacollective.net/texts4.html


To supplement the types of time-based material viewable in lecture there will be two mandatory screening sessions outside of lecture. Date, time and location to be announced


September 30: Kenya Hara
October 29: Paul D. Miller/DJ Spooky
November 20: Yes Men


Critical Response Reports You will be required to write critical response reports throughout the course chronicling the issues/artists/artworks raised in lecture and all related readings. Entries should be written out in paragraph form (no bullet points) and at least 400 words each. One entry per lecture. It is best to integrate your comments about the lectures and the readings together in your entry. These reports are not your lecture notes, nor should they mechanically repeat the authors, or what transpires in lecture. Instead, the entries should reflect your reactions, opinions and comments on the material and ideas presented in the lectures, screenings and the readings.

Reports for meetings 1-5 are due at the beginning of lecture on Oct. 31
Reports for the 2 required screenings due at the beginning of lecture on Nov. 21
Reports for meetings 6-10 are due at the beginning of lecture on Dec 5.,
Reports for the 3 required DESMA Lectures in the EDA are due on Dec 5.


You will create a multifaceted proposal to produce a public media art work. The specific requirements and details will be handed out in lecture on Oct. 10. The final assignment is due in lecture on Dec. 5 along with the final reports.


15% Critical response report #1 - lectures 1-5
15% Critical response report #2 - lectures 6-10
15% Critical response report #3 - screening #1 & #2
15% Critical response report #4 - DESMA lectures (3 events)
40% Final Assignment

More than two absences without the instructor’s permission will lower the final grade by one step per absence (-). Active participation in the class meetings may raise the final degree by a step (+).


The following books are recommended as additional readings and should be consulted when preparing your final project. When possible, they will be on reserve at the Arts Library.
Douglas Davis: Art and the Future. London: Thames and Hudson, 1973
Cynthia Goodman: Digital Visions. Computers and Art. New York: Abrams, 1987
Rachel Greene: Internet Art, Thames and Hudson, 2004
Christiane Paul: Digital Art, Thames & Hudson, 2003
Lucy Bullivant, ed., 4Dspace: Interactive Architecture, ed. (Architectural Design, Vol.75, No 1 (Jan/Feb 2005
Doug Hall and Sally Jo Fifer eds., Illuminating Video. An Essential Guide to Video Art. New York: Aperture, 1990
Frank Popper: Art of the Electronic Age, London: Thames and Hudson, 1993
Frank Popper: From Technological to Virtual Art, Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 2007
Michael Rush: New Media in Late 20th-Century Art. Thames and Hudson, 1999
Craig J. Saper: Networked Art, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001.
Julian Stallabrass: Internet Art. The Online Clash of Culture and Commerce, London: Tate Publishing, 2003
Collectivism After Modernism: The art of social imagination after 1945. Blake Stimson and Gregory Sholette eds., Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007
Nicolas Bourriaud, PostProduction. New York, Luckas and Sternberg, 2002.
Allegories of Communication: Intermedial concerns from cinema to the digital. John Fullerton and Jan Olsson eds., Rome: John Libby Publishing, 2004
New Screen Media: Cinema/Art/Narrative. Martin Rieser and Andrea Zapp eds., London: British Film Institute , 2002
Wireless Imagination: Sound, Radio and the Avant Garde. Douglas Kahn and Gregory Whitehead eds., Cambridge: MIT Press, 1994
Brandon LaBelle, Background Noise Perspectives on Sound Art. New York: Continuum Press, 2006
Future Cinema:The Cinematic Imaginary After Film, Shaw and Weibel, eds., Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003.