1. Randall Packer

    Micro-project 3: Virtual Soundscape

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    Due: Tuesday, February 4

    Soundscape: Using only Soundcloud and a smart phone, narrate an approximately two-minute walk: no editing, cuts, or montage, a real-time recording. The goal of the project is to disrupt the "reality" of the situation by superimposing a fictitious spoken narrative, In other words, invent a narrative that transforms the environment, creating instead, an imaginary soundscape that you invent yourself. For example, if you are walking down the street and there is loud construction, or rain falling, or children playing, you insert your own interpretation, layering into the situation something disturbing, jarring, nonsensical, humorous, strange, etc. You are essentially changing the context of what we hear and transforming it into a new scenario of your own invention. You can either plan out the narrative in advance, or make it up on the spot, reacting and improvising to the sounds around you. This is an opportunity to explore the juxtaposition of the virtual and the real, the fictional and the actual, and the imaginary and the concrete. It is an exploration of the malleability of realty: to layer the soundscape, to create a virtual situation from fictional narrative. When you have completed the Virtual Soundscape (you may try multiple takes), upload the final piece to Soundcloud, embed it in a blog post, and write a short description (stay in character) as a caption.
  2. Randall Packer

    Micro-project 4: Media Addiction

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    Due: Tuesday, February 11 Twitter is often referred to as “micro-blogging,” in which short texts are written in 140 characters or less. This has resulted in a form of writing that is quick, immediate, and spontaneous. In this assignment, we are creating a form of “micro-theater,” in which we will role play via Twitter, assuming a Twitter / avatar-identity through which we will interact with one another through improvised exchanges. Building on the Video Double project, we will assume an identity (use the same one if you like), engaging between our characters through micro-conversation, micro-gesture, micro-action: a form of micro-theater. Yet, unlike traditional theater, our micro-theater will be distributed across the network in the third space, our interaction will be asynchronous, without the need for simultaneity or real-time exchange. The subject matter of our micro-drama will be: “media addiction.” Imagine a world in which we no longer communicate face-to-face, where all exchanges are mediated, where we prefer to be remote participants in our own social lives. (It’s not hard to imagine!) And why? Because we are addicted to media, we prefer to communicate telematically via our devices because it is safer, easier, and perhaps even more inventive. Now, situate yourself in a world of addictive media with other addictive students, using the #ossntu hashtag as a kind of symbol of your collective addiction. (You can ask other friends to join us using the #ossntu hashtag). Don’t force it, you already live (at least partly) in this “addictive” world, so it […]
  3. Randall Packer

    Course Description

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    Media & Performance

    Media & Performance is an online course intended to develop critical and artistic skills for the interpretation and creation of performance art that incorporates electronic media and non-traditional performance techniques. Through readings, lectures, performance projects, and the critique of related work, students are exposed to the aesthetic, historical, social, cultural, and technological issues inherent in the medium of performance. The course explores the emerging paradigms of performance art that engage live media, with an emphasis on the medium of the Internet. There will be a broad historical overview of performance dating back to the 1960s through an intensive study of seminal projects by pioneering artists involved in Happenings, electronic theater, satellite projects, cyber-performance, and other mixed-media forms. The course will include the study and application of real-time audio-visual software and webcasting systems used in the creation and broadcast of live multimedia works. Students will develop projects that engage new media for both physical and virtual spaces. The objective of the course is to investigate critical concepts and fundamental artistic concerns and apply these concepts to the creation of a new performance work. Weekly live seminars will be web-conferenced via Adobe Connect and students will conduct research and document their artistic work online in Wordpress.
  4. Randall Packer

    The Post-Human Condition

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    Week 4: February 4 - 10 (Adobe Connect)

    In the context of performance, we will discuss the mediated transformation of the body, the man-machine dialectic, mechanical utopias and dystopias, the cybernetic organism (cyborg), wearable computing, remote sensors, gestural control, brain waves, motion capture, robotics, viewer-performer interactivity, and the use of virtual and physical controllers to engage with and manipulate the artistic work. In the post-human condition we are concerned with the sculptural and performative use of interactive forms that involve the body and its extension into the virtual environment. From the Italian Futurists, Bauhaus, and Dada to present day works, we will explore the relationship between the human body and technology, the dissolution of boundaries between man and machine, and the notion that we are all cyborgs tethered to our mobile devices.
  5. Randall Packer

    Identity Multiples

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    Week 5: February 11 - 17 (Adobe Connect)

    A discussion of identity construction and character formation in performance: the notion of the double, the avatar, and the narcissistic lure of the alter ego. An in depth look at historical and contemporary role-playing in online environments: MUDs, MOOs, Second Life, the Palace, hypertextual fiction, game strategies, e-life, and other forms of text-based and graphical desktop theater. We will study works and forms that include choreographic and gestural works in virtual space, as well as social media and networked relations between active performer-participants assuming multiple identities and character. We will explore the psychological dimensions of “life on the screen,” including the effects of multi-tasking, the confusion of identity, alienation, aloneness, fragmentation, and addiction.
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