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Introduction to Film & Media

Film & Media Aesthetics

Indigenous Film & Media

This course offers an introduction to global Indigenous media history and theory.  Beginning with a political engagement with Indigenous media cultures and aesthetics, the course establishes an Indigenous media optics by surveying practices from across a broad spectrum—from traditional to new media documentary, animation, horror films, and music videos; alternative media, social media platforms, and podcasting; videogames and AR/VR; even street and craft arts.  As the course moves geographically, the course examines preconceptions about the synthesis of the “traditional” and the “new,” where distinct modes of Indigenous expression have surfaced with digital technologies.  Through weekly readings, screenings, and design workshops, students build the critical tools necessary for an examination of the wide range of practices that lend themselves toward Indigenous media sovereignty.​​​

Videogame Theory & Design

As a representational medium, the digital computer operates on procedural interaction between machine and player, a dynamic largely responsible for the unique aesthetic elements of videogames. It is therefore essential for videogame critics and developers alike to learn the structures and processes of computational media. This course begins with an introduction to the history videogames, followed by a deep dive into the theory, design principles, and techniques of game development, on the Unity/C# scripting platform. Through assignments geared toward critical making, from production design to playtesting, students will gain the skills necessary for coding and game-building at the level of mechanics as well as modeling and environment.​​

Tactical Media: Theory & Praxis

What does it mean to use media as a form of social and cultural disruption?  And how does this approach bridge the formal gaps between cinema, visual art, gaming, and social media platforms?  This course focuses on the tactical uses of media taken up by artists for the purpose of social change, as well as the strategic media systems against which they intervene.  As a philosophy and a mode of media production and circulation, tactical media encompasses everything from guerrilla filmmaking to installation and street art, from digital culture-jamming projects to persuasive game development, mobile apps, and other computational media.  Thus, as part of a survey of the history tactical media, students explore it as a set of hybrid contestational practices that constitute both aesthetic and political activity across "old" and “new” media.  After a grounding in history, theory, and design principles, students develop critical and creative projects in accordance with tactical methods.

Seminar: Embodied Media

With the dawn of the digital age, the relationship between media and the human body seemed to grow more tenuous.  Yet that relationship has taken on a unique intimacy as new media technologies have developed.  Taking as a starting point embodied media interaction, this course explores how the borders between body, media, and environment have again become diffuse over time.  Adopting a materialist approach to an exploration of how various media demand sensorimotor interaction and emplacement, this course offers a broad range of topics, including interface semiotics and design, dynamic media systems, augmented reality narratives and games, tactical locative media, biometrics and surveillance, media as prosthesis, biomedia, and natural media—that is, how we use our natural environment as a medium for the circulation of information, cultural knowledge, and other resources.​

Graduate Seminar: Documentary & Experimental Film & Media

Graduate Seminar: Methods in Transmedia Activism

While emergent conceptions of transmedia have focused on narrative, other spheres of practice also coordinate transmedially.  In the realm of activism and advocacy, movements no longer occur only on the ground or through a single media platform; they are consistently constructed, organized, networked and mobilized across diverse media and art practices.  This lens brings a broad range of texts into view—from alternative media outlets to mobile and social media platforms, from transmedial public art to viral video and activist cyberculture.  In this course, students explore methods in the analysis and practice of activist art across media—from the “new” and digital to the “old” and printed, to the human body and our living environment—and how activist strategies resituate media according to their biopolitical dimensions.  In addition to histories and theories in transmedia, this course equips students for tactical and activist models of research.

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