Courses & Syllabi (2014 - 2016)

ATS 4025: Augmented Sites (New Fall 2016)

The interpenetration of geo-physical sites, ubiquitous data, and networked mobile computation has created new possibilities for transforming our navigation and experience of the world. This is made particularly explicit with Augmented Reality (AR), a platform for blending physical environments and digital content into a single viewing perspective. In this interdisciplinary studio, we will engage the poetics, aesthetics and politics of augmented space. Through the use of ready-made tools and creative coding for locative art and AR, we will stage liminal interventions in specific places. Our projects will draw upon conceptual uses of space in literature, site-specific installation, public performance, mixed reality games, dating/hook-up apps, and recent unauthorized augmented reality exhibitions in institutional spaces.

ATS 3112 || Writing 4001: Electronic Writing

Writing in the twenty-first century is computational, writes literary critic N. Katherine Hayles. While this is true, she explains, of any work that uses digital software as its production environment before being output to print, it is particularly evident in works of electronic literature that are designed to be encountered on the computer screen.
The practitioner of electronic writing is an author who combines human language and computer code to create new kinds of literary experience. Works of electronic literature can exceed the possibilities of print in their scale, dynamic variability, visual and temporal qualities, and attentiveness to the reader. The environment of the network (internet) also provides new opportunities for collaboration and sampling of found material.
In this writing studio, we will survey varied forms of electronic literature including interactive hypertext / hypermedia, multi-user environments, codeworks, e-poetry, writing for virtual reality, and text-driven digital performance. Students will engage the potential of computational literature by creating original works using a variety of web-based programming languages taught in the weekly sessions. No previous programming experience is required.

ATS 3042 && Performance 3042: Mixed Reality / New Technologies

Contemporary technologies are blurring the boundaries between human bodies and computational tools which are increasingly seen as integral extensions of our biological form. Relatedly, our orientation within geo-physical space is being complicated by mobile computing, ubiquitous data, and emerging concepts and technologies that merge elements of physical and virtual worlds. Through both performance-making and the coding of interactive tools, this cross-disciplinary course engages digital embodiment and the merging of physical and virtual objects and spaces.
We will use readymade and open-source environments with an emphasis on openFrameworks to explore technological components of mixed reality including 3-d, machine vision, gestural interfaces, and geo-locative computing. No previous programming experience is required and the course will nurture collaborations between performance-makers and creative coders.

ATS 4650 || VisCom 4650: Data Viz Collaborative

Data Viz Collaborative is a class that will be team taught in the fall of 2014 by a group of interdisciplinary faculty based at both the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and Northwestern University (NU). The course has two primary goals: (1) to establish a critical dialogue about information visualization across multiple disciplines and (2) to engage students in collaborative research on information visualization using existing data sets. The first goal will be accomplished by engaging students in a series of short lectures delivered by both the science and studio faculty that discuss how images that picture complex data sets help move their own research projects forward or how images might enhance/problematize/critique/promote new knowledge acquisition in science, art, and/or design. The second goal is addressed by inviting students to join one of two research teams, which meet weekly to collectively work on a large data set to experiment with translation of numeric information into various forms. Open to both undergraduate and graduate students from either institution, the course will culminate in a group exhibition in the Neiman Center.
Students interested in Data Viz Collaborative must submit an application.

MFA 5010: Art of Entanglement: Graduate ATS Seminar

Art of Entanglement, the Graduate Art & Technology Seminar is a space for the collective examination of contemporary practice through theories of human-machine symbiosis, scientific documents from the history of electronics and computation, and the innovative works and proposals of emerging, established and peer artists within the evolving field(s) of art-technological practice. The seminar will be enriched by readings, visiting artists, and visits to exhibitions.
While drawing broadly from existing ideas and artworks, the seminar will concentrate on the technology-based art practices of participants through in-class presentations and critiques. These activities will focus not just on the making of art, but on understanding and articulating one’s practice within relational contexts – as an evolving individual expression engaged (and entangled) with a series of “external” agents that may include computational systems, peers and collaborators, historical and contemporary ideas, artistic precedents, archives of data, and cultural and scientific developments.
The seminar will present a rich and experimental environment for personal, theoretical and conceptual exploration while also importantly facilitating skills for thoughtful critique and the ability to communicate one’s artistic practice as a means of growing and sustaining in a professional context.

Writing 5001: Digital Poetics

Digital poetry draws upon a diverse range of traditional and avant-garde literary histories including high modernism, dada, concrete poetry, sound and video poetry, conceptual writing and the Oulipo. While these influences are evident and provide useful reference points for understanding, digital poetry is also fundamentally new, explicitly engaging the computer and internet for both composing and reading, combining human instincts and aesthetics with the languages, codes and systems that underlie contemporary networked culture.

ATS 3137: Web Art

This course will provide an introduction to creative coding and approaching the web as site and material for artistic intervention. Through presentations and outside readings and viewings, we will work to cultivate an active laboratory as well as a thoughtful discourse around established and emerging web art forms. Topics examined will include net.art, generative composition, social computing and information art.
In making work for/from the web, we will consider both functional and conceptual uses of code – the primary language of the net – and will develop literacy in the grammars and syntaxes of networked culture. Technically, the course will cover html, css, javascript, and html5 canvas among other open source tools and languages. We will also look at creative use and appropriation of ready-made environments and frameworks such as wordpress and drupal. Collaboration is welcome especially between participants with different creative and technical strengths.

Collaborative Course at University of Chicago

Breathing Matters: Poetics and Politics of Air

The participants in this collaboratively led teaching laboratory will be asked to re-examine the notion of inspiration in its aesthetic and historical senses, revisiting textual and arts practices based on tropes of channeling, dreamwork, revelation and possession as well as current practices based on performative, coded, embodied and/or eco-conscious notions of circulation, interconnection, transformation and receptivity (and their occlusion: choking, expulsing, forced absorption).
We will explore the interdependence of inhalation and exhalation as a guide to art methods built on conscious mind-body traditions, on poetics of critical voicing and unvoicing, and on analog and digital mechanisms for receiving, translating, and transmitting im/pulses and data. We will delve into the workings of air as an animating element that bridges and binds individuals to both internal and external forces. We will explore the long history of engagement with this element as it has been used to signify and enhance the circulation and interception of signs, dreams, and voices in literature, performance, audiovisual and electronic media, sculptural and architectural sites. We will examine the modern and contemporary politicization of air as a commons, and will apply forensic research and sensing technologies to the analysis and critique of industrial and post-industrial landscapes.
The imagination of air itself becomes relevant to thinking about utopian or dystopian collectivities. Students will have the chance to respond to each set of materials with their own collaboratively produced works, which will be offered up for group discussion. We welcome students from the literary and visual arts, performance studies, film and media studies, as well as those with an interest in translation, linguistics, sociology, and anthropology. Sporadic excursions and film screenings will form part of the course, and students should be prepared to make time for them.