New Undergrad Course for Spring 2022: Critical Making and New Media Art

Critical Making and New Media Art

Critical Making and New Media Art
Spring 2022, CMAC/ISS/VMS 290-S

Instructors: Rebecca Uliasz & Quran Karriem

MW 12:00-1:15pm
Smith Warehouse Bay 12, A228

Course Description:

This is a course for critically engaging with technology through making and theory. Starting from Marshall McLuhan's seminal analysis of the ways media configure the human sensorium, we will build on sound and moving image to explore the ways computation today operates on levels above or beyond human perception. We will draw from new media art, politics, and media theory to engage with technology by focusing on computation as media, medium, and material for artistic production and critique. Through readings, in-class projects, and semester-long critical making projects, we will engage with the history and practice of critical making with a focus on the production of generative new media projects using the software program Max/MSP. Beginning with an overview of media theoretical concepts like mediation, representation, image, embodiment, and information the course will focus on discourses relevant to new media practice today, including algorithms, race,  platforms, and artificial intelligence . The aim of this course is to develop a critical technical practice that takes seriously the politics embedded within our contemporary media systems by focusing on the ways computation is interwoven into everyday experience. 

The practical aspects of the course will focus on the visual programming and patching environment, Max/MSP, and its influence on the development of media performance, computer music and live image generation techniques from the early 1990s up until today. Through Max, we will engage with image and sound generation techniques, connectivity to external devices using MIDI, OSC, Bluetooth and WiFi protocols, and integration with machine learning and computer vision packages through Node.js. 

Students are not expected to have technical background, but some programming and/or artmaking experience is helpful. Students are expected to be comfortable carrying out self-directed artistic assignments, including engaging in self-directed technical skill acquisition outside the classroom as needed. Students will engage in in-class discussions and in-process critiques, building over the course of the semester towards a final project.