1. Randall Packer

    Course Description


    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.
  2. Randall Packer

    Introduction to Media & Performance


    Week 1: January 14 - 20 (Art-B1-14)

    Introduction to course topics, syllabus, Website, and the overall Open Source Studio (OSS) approach to collaborative studio art. We will review key artworks, media histories, and theoretical concepts as they define our understanding of media, interactivity, and live performance. We will establish accounts in the OSS multi-site, discuss collective blog writing, Web-based research, online documentation, software applications, and methods of social media integration. There will be a review of the micro projects, project hyperessay and final project, including opportunities for collaboration.
  3. Randall Packer

    Between the Real and the Virtual


    Week 2: January 21 - 27 (Art-B1-14)

    A review of historical theatrical concepts: the suspension of disbelief and the construction of illusion, the fourth wall, Wagner’s gesamtkunstwerk (total artwork), the integration of the arts, immersion, and the blurring of physical and virtual space within the context of theater and performance. A broader discussion of remapping physical and sonic spaces through media, theatrical architectures, and the reconfiguration of the traditional proscenium. A review of the historical use of media in performance, including: Happenings, electronic theater, satellite projects, and installation; leading to new paradigms in contemporary media & performance, with an emphasis on the use of the network. There will be an in depth review of technical requirements of the Wordpress multi-site environment, Adobe Connect webcasting, and specific software applications for micro and final projects. Continued discussion of ideas and possibilities for the final project.
  4. Randall Packer

    The Third Space


    Week 3: January 28 - February 3 (Adobe Connect)

    Our first session in Adobe Connect will offer an opportunity to experience the concept of the third space, conducted in the medium itself: a shared electronic space with remote participants connected via the network. We will explore the psychological and conceptual dimensions of the third space, notions of distributed presence, the dissolution of the object, disembodiment, the immaterial, and the intimacy of the telematic embrace. We will discuss how performance draws from the collective experience of the Network, live media, remote location, mobility, transformations of geographical perception in time and space, and how the third space lends itself to artistic realization. A review of historical third space projects: networked art, satellite broadcasts,, leading to more contemporary works of cyber / networked performance art.
  5. Randall Packer

    The Post-Human Condition


    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.
  6. Randall Packer

    Identity Multiples


    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.
  7. Randall Packer

    Media Transformations


    Week 6: February 18 - 24 (Adobe Connect)

    A history of décollage, detournment, deconstruction, hactivism, and the remix brought up to present day digital media methodologies and real-time manipulation in live performance. This history includes the manipulation of the popular image as a critique of the “spectacle” of popular culture, through the appropriation of news, magazines, advertising, and other forms of mass media. We will review a broad range of works and genres from print to video to current installation and interactive installation systems involving viewer-participation. There will be an emphasis on contemporary forms of VJ/DJ culture, laptop performance, glitch, visual music, etc., and how these real-tie media alterations blur the line between high and low cultures through their performance in venues ranging from clubs to museums.
  8. Randall Packer

    Project Review


    Week 7: February 25 - March 10 (Adobe Connect)

    A review of final project concepts. Prepare a 5 minute presentation of the final project idea for class, exploring the concept as well as its influence and role of the viewer. Prepare 3 illustrative images, video (optional): email media links to me: media due February 24, 10:00 AM, presentation due for class on February 25.
  9. Randall Packer

    Giving Up Your Data


    Week 8: March 11 - 17 (Adobe Connect)

    Global communication has challenged and penetrated all previous notions of the divide between public and private space. We’ll take a critical look at mobile media, webcam technology, reality TV, surveillance, self-publishing, and social media, concerning the loss of the private, the commodification of personal demographics, and the changing nature of social relations in the virtual community. How does the Open Source Studio project bring the educational and artistic process into a highly visible public arena, and what are the ramifications and opportunities inherent in this transparency?
  10. Randall Packer

    Student Participation and Assessment

    Grades for the course are based on the following general criteria: the commitment to engage the process of online production, research, and dialogue incorporate concepts and techniques drawn from the study of net based culture and art into student work complete work on time Grading will be assigned to all projects and writing assignments: micro-projects: each 10 points (total 40 points) project hypressay: each section 10 points (total 50 points) research critiques of artworks: each 5 points (total 25 points) project updates: each 5 points (total 20 points) final project: 50 points class participation: 3 points per class (total 33...
  11. Randall Packer

    Reading Assignments

    Reading assignments: Reading assignments will consist of reviewing the hyperlectures in the Open Source Studio, including media examples and hyperlinks. While there will be no other assigned readings, the following texts/references, used in the creation of this course (and often quoted), are included as suggested reading for students. Suggested Textbooks/References
    1. Ascott, R. (2002). “Is There Love in the Telematic Embrace” in Packer, R., & Jordan, K. (Eds.). Multimedia : from Wagner to Virtual Reality ([Expanded ed.). W. W. Norton
    2. Cage, J. (2002). “Diary: Audience” in Packer, R., & Jordan, K. (Eds.). Multimedia : from Wagner to Virtual Reality ([Expanded ed.). W.W. Norton
    3. Kaprow, A. (2002). “Untitled Guidelines for Happenings,” in Packer, R., & Jordan, K. (Eds.). Multimedia : from Wagner to Virtual Reality ([Expanded ed.). W.W. Norton
    4. Vibeke Sorensen, Global Visual Music Jam Project, MIT Press, 2005
    5. Steve Dixon, Digital Performance: A History of New Media in Theater, Dance, Performance Art, and Installation, MIT Press, 2007
    6. Kostelanetz, R, The Theatre of Mixed Means, An Introduction to Happenings, Kinetic Environments and Other Mixed-Means Presentations, RK Editions, 1980
    7. Goldberg, R, Live Art 1909 to the Present, Harry N. Abrams, 1979
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