DMA 161: Network Media - Fall 2020 *REMOTE*

INSTRUCTOR:

Chris Cuellar
(pronouns: they/them/theirs or he/him/his)
(office hours: Tuesdays)


TEACHING ASSISTANT:

Tristan Espinoza


DESCRIPTION

Network Media explores the creative, technical, and critical tools to realize web-based projects. Workshops on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are framed by cultural discourses examining the Internet. Conceived for artists, designers, and technologists, the course is focused on gaining a deeper understanding of the technical concepts in web design while learning the history of the Internet as well as its social, political, and philosophical implications.

We'll move from seminar-style discussions that consider the roles of race, gender, sexuality, disability, class, and influence within an increasingly networked world, to strategizing responses as artists/designers and putting our ideas into practice with a corresponding set of studio projects. We’ll examine and challenge the structuring of power relationships, inequities, and biases embedded within network tools, technologies, and media. We'll also learn about designing for internet accessibility, following best practices and guidelines. Academic readings and references will foreground historically excluded and non-normative perspectives.

Within the current paradigm of physical distancing, this course will be taught entirely online—across the world wide web. Course participants will come together using various remote learning tools for both scheduled meetings and structured asynchronous communications via Discord, Zoom, and Glitch.

UNITS

1: The Internet is Dead. What was the Internet? How did it get here? How did it work? How did you work with it? Where did it all go wrong? We will begin an ongoing analysis of the inherent contradictions within a networked society and along the way, you will learn to build a simple HTML page and put it online.

2: Long Live the Internet! Having reached new understandings of the role of power & intention in shaping technology, we will imagine new possibilities and new ways forward for the internet. You will create a site for a community you are engaged with or a community you wish to create. After a research phase and design development, the site will be built with HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

EXPECTATIONS

Materials

  • a stable internet connection and a focused working environment
  • a personal computer (with a webcam and ideally headphones)
  • Sketch / Adobe creative suite / Figma for screen design
  • a text editor (Atom, VS Code, Sublime Text) (*optional)
  • an FTP client (like Cyberduck or FileZilla) (*optional)

Grades will be determined according to the following breakdown:

  • Participation 25%
  • Weeklies 25%
  • Project 1 25%
  • Project 2 25%

Project grades take into account conceptual, technical, and visual development as well as rigor and creativity. Outstanding or exceptional work will receive As, good work will receive Bs, sufficient work that does nothing more than meet requirements will receive Cs.

Participation. Participation is critical to passing and enjoying this class. Do the work, share your thoughts, ask questions, offer feedback during critiques. This class is meant to be a safe space in which you feel encouraged and supported in learning and taking creative risks. This means being aware and considerate of different backgrounds, perspectives, and identities. Respect each other and this space we are building together. Don’t assume, ask. Remain open, be willing to take responsibility, apologize, and learn. Help each other in this. If there are concerns please let me or your TA know as soon as possible.

Projects There will be 2 projects during the semester. Each project will be evaluated on (1) demonstrated understanding of the material, (2) conceptually creativity, (3) aesthetic quality, (4) technical skill. Outstanding or exceptional work will receive As, good work will receive Bs, sufficient work that does nothing more than meet requirements will receive Cs.

Late work. If you turn in a project late you miss the opportunity to share during the review and receive feedback, an essential part of this process. If you don’t have a project done at the deadline, we will discuss an alternative deadline and one letter grade will be subtracted from that project. If you miss this second deadline, you forfeit credit for that project. Weeklies are graded P/F based on completion on the day they are due, these cannot be turned in late. If you are absent from class you are still responsible for posting the work due on your index page. Any work not posted in absence will be considered late, unless prior arrangements are made with me.

LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The University of California, Los Angeles occupies the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary Lands of the Tongva and Chumash peoples. Our ability to gather and learn here is the result of coercion, dispossession, and colonization. We are grateful for the land itself and the people that have stewarded it through generations. While a land acknowledgment is not enough, it is first step in the work toward supporting decolonial and indigenous movements for sovereignty and self-determination. Read more about what land you’re occupying.

Commitment to Diversity and Safer Spaces

We understand the classroom as a space for practicing freedom; where one may challenge psychic, social, and cultural borders and create meaningful artistic expressions. To do so we must acknowledge and embrace the different identities and backgrounds we inhabit. This means that we will use preferred pronouns, respect self-identifications, and be mindful of special needs. Disagreement is encouraged and supported, however our differences affect our conceptualization and experience of reality, and it is extremely important to remember that certain gender, race, sex, and class identities are more privileged while others are undermined and marginalized. Consequently, this makes some people feel more protected or vulnerable during debates and discussions. A collaborative effort between the students, TA, and instructor is needed to create a supportive learning environment. While everyone should feel free to experiment creatively and conceptually, if a class member points out that something you have said or shared with the group is offensive, avoid being defensive; instead approach the discussion as a valuable opportunity for us to grow and learn from one another. Alternatively if you feel that something said in discussion or included in a piece of work is harmful, you are encouraged to speak with the instructor or TA.

DISABILITY SERVICES

UCLA strives to make all learning experiences as accessible as possible. If you anticipate or experience academic barriers based on a disability, please let me know as soon as possible. It is necessary for you to register with the UCLA Center for Accessible Education so that we can establish reasonable accommodations. After registration, make arrangements with me to discuss how to implement these accommodations.

STATEMENT OF NON-RETALIATION

I acknowledge that policing disproportionately violates Black, Brown, Indigenous, queer, trans, and poor peoples and ultimately renders all members of campus and its surrounding communities less safe. I am committed to a public university that advances racial justice by ending such forms of harm, and I support students working towards this vision. Students participating in campus-wide actions throughout this quarter will not be penalized in this class.

DMA / All Classes ©2020 UCLA Design Media Arts