Thursday, December 06, 2007

Writing New Media Syllabi, Part 1 -- Examples

One little task before you head off...

To kick off our syllabus-writing project, we'd like to collect some existing examples of new media syllabi, for humanities courses taught at the college or graduate level either here or at another institution.

So, in lieu of meeting in person before we leave for the semester break, please help us 'gather' here by posting (as a comment below) a syllabus or link to a syllabus for a general new media course.

You can interpret this however you find helpful; the goal is to provide a list of models that we can collectively use to take stock of what seems to be taught and how. Over the time from now until the new semester in January, please look at what everyone has posted, and begin to prepare your own new media syllabus. Try to think carefully about how to organize the reading, examples, units, and assignments. While the course will obviously be inflected by your background and interests, try to produce a syllabi that 'takes a stand,' offering a conceptual, historical, and disciplinary (or interdisciplinary) model for framing this elusive field.

We'll solicit your syllabi at the start of the new semester, and circulate them to the group. Our first meeting in January will be a discussion of these syllabi and the challenges of producing them.

Thank you for a fantastic semester...hope to see you all back for more in the Spring!

P.S. If you want to put a link in your comment, use an anchor tag so it will be clickable

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Photos & Video from ParaSite Symposium

Check out these photos by Andrew Moisey from the ParaSite Symposium (Oct 26 2007).

Jennifer Johung, Claudia Salamanca, Dan Perkel, & Ryan Shaw in Panel 3, Distributed Participation: Art, architecture, and the live event.

Jeffrey Skoller asking a question.

Also see this video "To Watch While Holding Your Breath" created by Greg Niemeyer that charts the carbon dioxide emissions in the Nestrick Room throughout the day of the symposium:

Monday, November 19, 2007

November 30th

At 12 noon, interested students may join Jeffrey Skoller's seminar at SF MOMA for a guided tour. Current media exhibitions include Jeff Wall, Olafur Ealiasson, and Douglas Gordon. Please comment here (or email brooke) if you plan to attend. (Remember we're meeting to discuss digital special effects with Kristen Whissel at 4pm that day!)

Fri Nov 30th: SFMOMA & Digital Special Effects

Please join the New Media Working Group on Friday, Nov. 30th for two special events:

1) SFMOMA field trip w/ curators.

2) Discussion of digital special effects with professor Kristen Whissel (Film Studies, UCB)
4-5:15pm, Rhetoric/Film Library, 7337 Dwinelle Hall

We will primarily be discussing an article by Kristen Whissel, "Tales of Upward Mobility: The New Verticality and Digital Special Effects," Film Quarterly 59:4 (Summer 2006), 23-34.

As well as the intro and an article in a special issue of Film Criticism on digital visual effects:

Kristen Whissel, "Digital Visual Effects and Popular Cinema: An Introduction," Film Criticism 32:1 (Fall 2007), 2-4.

Lisa Purse, "Digital Heroes in Contemporary Hollywood: Exertion, Identification, and the Virtual Action Body," Film Criticism 32:1 (Fall 2007), 5-25.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fri Nov 16: Discussion of New Media/ Old Media

Please join the New Media Working Group THIS Friday, Nov. 16th, from 1-2:30pm in the Rhetoric Library (7337 Dwinelle Hall).

We will be discussing two chapters in the anthology New Media, Old Media: A History and Theory Reader edited by Wendy Chun and Thomas Keenan (Routledge, 2005): "Introduction: Did Somebody Say New Media?" by Wendy Chun and the essay "Dis/continuities: Does the Archive Become Metaphorical in Multi-Media Space?" by Wolfgang Ernst. Discussion will be led by John Lurz and Alenda Chang.

Hard copies of the chapters are available in the Rhetoric Library and in Brooke Belisle's mailbox in the Rhetoric/Film Studies office (7408 Dwinelle Hall). A pdf of the reading is also available for download (16MB) here:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fri Oct 26: ParaSite New Media Symposium

ParaSite New Media Symposium
Friday, October 26, 2007
Nestrick Room, 142 Dwinelle Hall
UC Berkeley

A UCB graduate student symposium on new media and its relationship to other arts and disciplines. Is new media "parasitic" upon the strategies of other media or something like a "para-site" for their exploration? How does new media appropriate, absorb, diminish, further, reinvent, or exist side-by-side with the forms that it inherits?

10:00 - 10:15
Introduction and Welcome
Brooke Belisle (Rhetoric), Irene Chien (Film Studies), Ken Goldberg (IEOR & EECS, UC Berkeley)

10:15 - 11:00
Opening Keynote: "The Logos of the New: Medium Specificity and Convergence," Anne Friedberg (Cinematic Arts, USC)

11:00 - 12:00
Visualizing Time and Space:
Photography, digital video, and data design

Andrew Moisey (Film Studies), Brooke Belisle (Rhetoric), Meredith Hoy (Film Studies)
Respondent: Jeffrey Skoller (Film Studies, UC Berkeley)

12:15 - 1:15
Mediated Bodies:
Spectatorship and interaction in cinema, installation, and sexual practices
Ashley White-Stern (Film Studies), Kelly Rafferty (Performance Studies), Kevin Wynter (Film Studies)
Respondent: Jennifer Bean (Cinema Studies, University of Washington)

2:15 - 3:30
Distributed Participation:
Art, architecture, and the live event

Dan Perkel (School of Information), Jennifer Johung (Performance Studies), Claudia Salamanca (Rhetoric), Ryan Shaw (School of Information)
Respondent: Shannon Jackson (Theater, Dance, & Performance Studies, UC Berkeley)

3:45 - 4:45
Materiality of Language:
Orality, literature, and communication

Alenda Chang (Rhetoric), John Lurz (English), Christo Sims (School of Information)
Respondent: Peter Krapp (Visual Studies, UC Irvine)

5:00 - 5:15
Artist's Presentation: "To Watch While Holding Your Breath," Greg Niemeyer (Art Practice, UC Berkeley)

5:15 - 6:00
Closing Keynote: "Disobedient Machines: Autonomy and Animation,"
Scott Bukatman (Art History, Stanford)

Followed by a reception and live music mash-up & art performance at the Berkeley Art Museum RIP.MIX.BURN.BAM.PFA. exhibition, 7-10pm. Taking its cue from the open-source tradition, this exhibit introduces third-party recodings and reworkings of digital pieces in the museum's collection, including Ken Goldberg's Ouija 2000.

Organized by the New Media Working Group. Sponsored by Film Studies, Consortium for the Arts, Townsend Center for the Humanities, Berkeley Center for New Media, and Berkeley Art Museum.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Oct 12: Builder's Association, Continuous Cities

We'll be attending the Builder's Association "Continuous Cities" performance on October 12th at 8pm. Post a comment here indicating whether you'd like to attend with us, so we know how many tickets to purchase. Here is a link to information about the performance and the all day panels and discussions before and after the event:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

9/27 Anne Friedberg, The Virtual WIndow

For 9/27 we're discussing:
Below is a response and some discussion questions, just to get us started on Thursday. Please feel free to post your own responses and questions, both before and after we meet, as comments to this post.

A representative passage:
If we follow Panofsky's assertion that perspective was "symbolic form"—a way of apprehending the world through a mental apparatus—then the representational postulates of perspective have met their end on the computer screen. And, if we accept Panofsky's further argument that perception is conditioned by representational habits, then our new mode of perception is multiple and fractured. It's "postperspectival"—no longer framed in a single image with fixed centrality; "postcinematic"—no longer projected onto a screen surface as were the camera obscura or magic lantern; "post–televisual"—no longer unidirectional in the model of sender and receiver. (p.194)

Synopsis of the chapter:
In this chapter, Friedberg argues that the "dominant screen practice" consolidated by film—single screen, serial images—is being challenged by an alternative screen practice characterized by multiple, simultaneous, and adjacent images. She admits that this alternative practice is not "new," tracing examples from early film through television, video art, and contemporary media. But, she argues that these examples have, until now, been exceptions, experiments associated with new formats and technical standards. The aesthetic of the "multiple" emerges at what she calls "crossroads" in the history of moving image technology, visible in retrospect as a path repeatedly not taken when new technical possibilities were folded into established aesthetic and narrative modes. For Friedberg, the new centrality of this aesthetic marks a deeper shift that correlates with the rise of digital media, a change in "symbolic form" as a "way of apprehending the world through a mental apparatus."

Friedberg suggests that the aesthetic of the multiple may become dominant because it correlates with, and helps us respond to, an increasingly fractured experience of space and time. As Friedberg takes up the "symbolic form" of the MS "windows" interface, one could feel nostalgic for Crary's camera obscura. Throwing some Sherry Turkle in with her Panofsky, Friedberg claims that the "windows" computer interface splinters, multiplies, and dislocates not only perception but psychological identity, encouraging a multitasking and investment in "elsweheres" that verges on schizophrenia. She sketches a pattern in which technical possibilities and material conditions change faster than we can quite adapt, requiring the rise of a new symbolic form adequate to our altered perceptual experiences and ideological constructions. Quoting Julie Talen, she suggests that the format of the multiple meets this need, soliciting art produced for the "glimpse" rather than the gaze, and thereby advancing our ability to tell "stories" rather than just broadcast "stock tickers" in "a fractured post-Cartesian cyberspace, cybertime." (p219, 235) Recalling Walter Benjamin's distinction between story and information, as well as his notion of sensorial adaptation, this seems to view the role of art as recuperative. In other words, it seems to ask how, since we are already living in the era of microsoft windows, we can find ways to creatively reframe our experience rather than just being enframed by its mode of representation as well as everything it represents.

Questions for discussion:
On page 202 Friedberg quickly suggests that the aesthetic of the split screen offers an alternative to the theory of suture. How could we elaborate this and would it hold up if we tried? Would this point to reasons why the "multiple" remains a marginal practice? Could it suggest psychological or ideological implications that Friedberg doesn't quite get into (or which are de-emphasized by her focus on the economy of attention/distraction in her discussion of the computer-screen aesthetic)?

At the end of this chapter, Friedberg seems ambivalent about the notion of convergence, opposing the medium specificity implicit in McLuhan's "medium is the message" with Negroponte's argument that "the medium is not the message in the digital age." She notes evidence (as seen in her description of digital projection on p214) of the "inevitable convergence" that Negroponte and Kittler assume, but also asks whether all our media screens "have really lost their apparatical distinctions" and whether we inhabit, as Krauss claims, a "post-medium condition." This seems like a genuine question for her, as she is currently teaching a graduate course on the topic of convergence and medium specificity. Is this a compelling framework, and does it adequately orient the book's research and insights?

While Panofsky obviously inspires this chapter, McLuhan also emerges as a touchstone for Friedberg (see p210 ,236). She recalls his arguments that "the electric" media return us from optical perspectivalism to a "primitive" dimensionality, and that new media produce "new ratios" between our own multiple perceptual faculties and also between multiple media formats. She even dubs him the "first apparatus theorist." What can we make of this use or revival of McLuhan?

Friedberg seems to directly take up Lev Manovich's argument in The Language of New Media about "spatial montage" and to follow some of his references, most notably to Eisenstein. So, why is Manovich so notably absent from this chapter?

What do we think about how the Vector's project "translates" the book? I'm particularly interested in the way the editorial intro describes the "playfulness" of the project as a perceived "threat" to scholarly modes of research, and thanks Friedberg for being so brave as to give up control. Is this format as "experiential, remixable and fluid" as they describe and is this really in opposition to an "intention" of the author/creator that otherwise dominates?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Proposed meeting schedule for Fall 2007

How about this line-up draft for the rest of the semester? Included are the topics people seemed to respond to most in our first meeting. Please note that meetings are tentatively scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday evenings, the days that seemed most agreeable to most people. Please chime in via comments or emails to Brooke and Irene (if you haven't already) if there's a day of the week/time that absolutely does not work for you.

Sept 27
Historicizing New Media:
Anne Friedberg, The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft

Oct 5, 6, or 7
Attend The Builders Association "Continuous City"

Oct 10 or 11
New Media and Performance:
discuss Continuous Cities
(Ryan and Kelley)

October 26th ParaSite New Media Symposium

Nov 1
Games: play some!
(Irene and ?)
Media Archeology:
discuss Wendy Chun's New Media Old Media

Nov 14 or 15
New Media and Film:
Presentation by Professor Kristen Whissel on digital special effects

Nov 28 or 29
Professionalization workshop:
writing syllabi

Dec 12 0r 13
Interactive Art:
OliverGrau's Media Art Histories (2007)

Th 9/27 5:30pm: Anne Friedberg's "The Virtual Window"

The New Media Working Group will hold its second meeting on Thursday, September 27th at 5:30pm in the Rhetoric and Film library, 7337 Dwinelle.

In addition to planning for the upcoming Oct. 26th ParaSite new media symposium, we will be discussing "Chapter 5: The Multiple" from Anne Friedberg's new book "The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft" (MIT 2006) and the accompanying, interactive project produced for "Vectors," an online journal.

The Multiple chapter (plus the Introduction for perusing) is available for photocopying from Brooke Belisle's box in the Rhetoric/Film office (7408 Dwinelle Hall, open M-F 9-5pm), and in pdf form (14 MB) here:

The online project can be viewed at the Vectors site:

Professor Friedberg teaches Critical Studies in the School of Cinema-Television at the University of Southern California. Her new book "The Virtual Window" traces the window as a conceptual metaphor and material interface that extends from at least the fifteenth century through today's digital media. She is also the author of "Window Shopping: Cinema and the Postmodern."

Friday, September 14, 2007

9/13: Fall 07 New Media Working Group Kick-Off Meeting

Thank you to everyone who attended the first new media working group meeting of the semester, and to all who expressed interest in participating but couldn't make the meeting. It's great to have such a diverse group of people interested in the contentious but exciting field of new media.

Below is a prospectus of potential readings and events around which to organize our meetings for the academic year. There is a list of different frameworks through which to interrogate new media paired with specific readings that we might be interested in working through together. And there is also a list of bay area exhibitions/events that we might be interested in collectively attending.

The idea is for each of us to take up the presentation and discussion of a reading/event that reflects our interests, practices, or disciplinary framework. So please review the prospectus for themes and readings for which you might want to lead a discussion. (We could have 1-2 seminar leaders per meeting.) And if you don't see anything that you could take up, please offer feedback and ideas for other frameworks, themes, readings, and events that should be represented. We can then work to schedule meetings organized around the readings/events that we are most interested in pursuing.


New Media and Visuality
discuss Anne Friedberg, The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft

New Media and Gaming
discuss Alexander Galloway, "Cinematic Origins of the First-Person Shooter" in Games: Essays on Algorithmic Culture

October 26 ParaSite New Media Symposium

Media Archeology
discuss Wendy Chun's New Media Old Media

Professionalization workshop
discuss developing new media syllabi

New Media and Cinema
discuss Kristen Whissel, "The New Verticality: Upward Mobility and Digital Special Effects"

Digital Interactivity and Interactive Media
discuss Claire Bishop's Participation

Literature and New Media
discuss Adelaide Morris's New Media Poetics

Digital Media and Post-Photography
discuss Geoffrey Batchen's Ectoplasm

Professionalization workshop
discuss the job market and strategies for getting hired to teach new media

New Media and Visual Studies
discuss Whitney Davis, "How to Make Analogies in a Digital Age"

New Media and Cultural Studies
discuss Mark Hansen, "Digitizing Race" from Bodies in Code

New Media and Philosophy/Cognitive Science
discuss Alva Noe's Action in Perception

New Media and Performance
discuss reading TBA

New Media and Music
discuss reading TBA


"Continuous City" by The Builders Association, Oct. 5, 6, 12, 13 at 8pm, Oct. 7, 14 at 2pm, Zellerbach Playhouse, UCB

"Dark Matters: Artists See the Impossible" group exhibition, including Listening Post by Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts through Sunday, Nov. 11, 2007

Jeff Wall retrospective, at SFMOMA Saturday, Oct. 27, 2007 - Sunday, Jan. 27, 2008

Olafur Eliasson, "Take Your Time" immersive installation, at SFMOMA through Sunday, Feb. 24th, 2008

Douglas Gordon retrospective, at SFMOMA Saturday, Oct. 11, 2007 - Sunday, Feb. 24, 2007

Saturday, April 21, 2007

April 20 & 21: Jim Campbell exhibition and gallery talk

April 20
Jim Campbell exhibition "Home Movies" at Hosfelt Gallery in San Francisco

April 21
Jim Campbell gallery talk at Berkeley Art Museum

The New Media Working Group attended the Jim Campbell exhibition in SF and talk at BAM. Jim Campbell was born in Chicago in 1956 and lives in San Francisco. He received degrees in Mathematics and Engineering from MIT in 1978. He transitioned from filmmaking to interactive video installations in the mid 1980s. His custom electronic sculptures and installations have made
him a leading figure in the use of computer technology as an art form.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Thurs 2/22: Mark Hansen's Bodies in Code

Please join the New Media Working Group...
Thursday February 22nd at 2pm in the Rhetoric library (7337 Dwinelle)
to discuss Mark Hansen's book "Bodies in Code: Interfaces with Digital Media"

Feel free to join the conversation without having read the whole book.

Read the Table of Contents and a short excerpt here.

Publisher's Description:
Bodies in Code explores how our bodies experience and adapt to digital environments. Cyberculture theorists tend to overlook biological reality when talking about virtual reality, and Mark B. N. Hansen's book shows what they've been missing. Cyberspace is anchored in the body, he argues, and it's the body--not high-tech computer graphics-- that allows a person to feel like they are really moving through virtual reality. Of course these virtual experiences are also profoundly affecting our very understanding of what it means to live as embodied beings. Hansen draws upon recent work in visual culture, cognitive science, and new media studies, as well as examples of computer graphics, websites, and new media art, to show how our bodies are in some ways already becoming virtual.

Post-Resonance Project Game Demo

Brooke, Deniz, Greg, and Medina watch Deniz's brother play the game-in-progress "Joint Balance" in the BID Lab, 12/8/2006

Radical Software photo

Meredith and Kris at the CCA Radical Software exhibition opening, 11/28/2006