Randall Packer | Course Information
 

Intermedia Studio

Syllabus - Spring, 2004

Friday: Lecture 1:00 - 4:00 PM, Lab 4:00 - 6:00
First class: January 17, 2002, BR 206 - Brown Center (MICA)
Other class locations:
Peabody Conservatory of Music, #314, 3rd floor
JHU Digital Media Center, Mattin Center for the Arts

Instructors

Randall Packer (rpacker@zakros.com): Professor of Electronic Art, Maryland Institute, College of Art, http://www.zakros.com/

Joan Freedman (freedman@jhu.edu): Director, Digital Media Center, Johns Hopkins University

Greg Boyle (boyle@peabody.jhu.edu): Professor of Computer Music, Peabody Conservatory of Music, http://gigue.peabody.jhu.edu/~boyle/

Co-Organizer

Linda Delibero: Director, Film and Media Studies Program, Johns Hopkins University

Course syllabus: http://www.zakros.com/mica

Directions to class Locations
Sample Project Proposal
 

Concept

InterMedia Studio is an experimental course offered jointly by the Maryland Institute College of Art, the Digital Media Center and the Film Program of Johns Hopkins University, and the Computer Music Department of the Peabody Conservatory of Music. The Studio is intended to encourage collaboration among student composers, performers, filmmakers, engineers, and artists at MICA, Johns Hopkins, and Peabody in a team environment, and to engage students in the investigation of a range of interdisciplinary multimedia projects, including networked, live performance, electronic theater, installation, video, and animation. As a long-range goal, the Studio is envisioned as an ongoing structure to bring music, visual arts and students of scientific disciplines together from MICA, Johns Hopkins and Peabody to promote and facilitate the creation of intermedia art and to further explore shared resources, joint research, and exhibition/performance opportunities.

 
Course Description

The Intermedia Studio is a laboratory for the research, creation and presentation of interdisciplinary electronic works. The Studio brings together students, faculty and technical personnel to provide a structure for the development of advanced projects and to give students experience in all facets of team-based production in the electronic, digital and media arts. Studio projects will be primarily student produced with additional input from faculty, visiting artists, and technical staff. The Studio will seek to integrate the artistic and technological resources of MICA, Peabody Conservatory of Music, and Johns Hopkins University.

The course will support collaborative projects among students in the music, visual, and media arts, as well as those working in various scientific and technological disciplines including biomedical, scientific imaging, computer science, mechanical and industrial engineering, etc. Together, students working in a diverse range of disciplines and artistic genres will explore the theoretical and practical problems inherent in the process of interdisciplinary collaboration. Students will focus on developing and implementing conceptual constructs and skills vital to cross-disciplinary work. Recognized media and sound artists, scientists and engineers engaged in contemporary art and technology will share new technological trends and explore issues critical to the exploration of emerging interdisciplinary forms.

The Intermedia Studio will meet weekly to discuss student projects, relevant topics in Intermedia art, performance and technology, and to coordinate productions. Projects will take the form of installation and performative work, with an emphasis on strategies for integrating sound and media in an interactive context.

 
Max/MSP/Jitter
The Intermedia Studio makes extensive use of the MAX/MSP/Jitter software environment (Cycling 74), a graphical set of programming tools that has a broad range of artistic application from electronic music to media installations. Originally developed at IRCAM (the computer music institute at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris) in the late 1980s, MAX became the basis for a surging interest in interactive computer music, and more recently used by visual artists interested in its capacity to engage viewer interaction within installation and performance environments.
 
Prerequisites
Consent of the instructors.

Week 1 - 1.23: Introduction (MICA) (MICA and Peabody students only)
 
Presentation/Discussion
 

Introduction

 
Assignment
   

Week 2- 1.30: Overture (MICA) (all students)
 
Presentation/Discussion
 

Overview of course, documentation from previous semesters. Class exercise in collaboration.

Lecture: "Intermedia, Media Composition, Collaboration, and Social Change"

At the core of the avant-garde is the tendency to experiment with new techniques, media, methodologies, and aesthetics to effect change in the social sphere. The myriad forms of intermedia: happenings, theater of mixed-means, installation, performance art, have evolved as an artistic call-to-action to break free of the constraints of anachronistic tendencies, to blur disciplinary boundaries, to expand the role of the spectator, and advance art as a vehicle for collective action and cultural transformation. This lecture provides an overview of these tendencies, drawn from "Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality," to illuminate and define the work of the "media composer," who historically has defied categorization by embracing the full range of media through the construction of the "total artwork."

A history of intermedia forms beginning with Richard Wagner and continuing through the 20th century: Karlheinz Stockhausen's Originale (1961), Variations V by John Cage (1964); and the Pepsi Pavilion(1970), a collaboration of over 75 artists and engineers organized by Billy Klüver and E.A.T.

 
Assignment
 

Reading: Overture - Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality


Week 3 - 2.06: Computer Music (Peabody)
 
Presentation/Discussion
 

An overview of computer music basics, with a special emphasis on understanding the workings of Cycling74's Max/MSP/Jitter software environment.

 
Assignment
 

Reading: Intermedia, Richard Higgins; Great Northeastern Power Failure, Billy Klüver


Week 4 - 2.13: Concepts in Intermedia (Hopkins)
 
Presentation
 

Overview and discussion of key concepts in the definition of multimedia/intermedia as introduced in the Overture to "Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality."

Overture on-line.

Key Concepts and definitions:

Integration: the combining of artistic forms and technology into a hybrid form of expression.

example: Total artwork of Richard Wagner

Interactivity: the ability of the user to manipulate and affect his or her experience of media directly, and to communication with others through media.

example: Reponsive environment of Myron Krueger

Hypermedia: the linking of separate media elements to one another to create a trail of personal association.

example: Hypertext of Ted Nelson, Grammatron by Mark Amerika

Immersion: the experience of entering into the simulation or suggestion of a three-dimensional environment.

example: Surrogate travel of Michael Naimark

Narrativity: aesthetic and formal strategies that derive from the above concepts, which result in nonlinear story forms and media presentation.

example: "Zero gravity" of Laurie Anderson

1- Exercise in Collaboration

Taking inspiration from the artists presented in today’s lecture, work as a team to generate as many ideas as possible about the processes within the human body. Think about how you would use the principles of intermedia (uses a variety of media: networks, live performance, sound-scape, video, animation, real-time processing, theatre, music, visual art, scientific imaging, engineering, etc.) to illustrate or model: breathing, reproduction, digestion, neuro synapse, growth, death, etc.

Discuss ideas in your group. Try to generate as many ideas as possible as quickly as possible. Don’t dwell on 1 or 2 ideas for the entire time. Let one idea flow from another, draw, sketch, and document the ideas briefly. Appoint a group spokesperson and be prepared to share the best 3-5 ideas with the class in a 5-minute informal presentation.
Please preserve the notes from the group session so that you can refer back to any ideas that are appealing as you select a final project.

Suggested Pairings:
o Andrew Cole, Josh Atkins, David Smith, Richard Tang
o Daniel Davis, Josh Shapero, Hranush Sargsyan
o Ryan Dorsey, Rita Choi, Heather Stickell
o Craig Smith, Greg Fajen, Boyang Li,

 
Assignment
  Reading: Diary - 1966, John Cage

Week 5 - 2.20: Real-time Video (Hopkins)
 
Presentation/Discussion
 

Exploration of media: real-time video techniques in Max/MSP/Jitter

Guest lecturer: Joe Reinsel

2- Exercise in Collaboration

Taking inspiration from the artists presented in the Intermedia Studio course lectures, work as a team to generate as many ideas as possible about any subject your group chooses. You must use ONE element from each of the categories listed below. Think about how you would incorporate the principles of intermedia (uses a variety of media: networks, live performance, sound-scape, video, animation, real-time processing, theatre, music, visual art, scientific imaging, engineering, etc.) into your ideas.

Photography Mime Found Sound Optics
Video or animation Actor Improvisation Robotics
Sculpture Singer Canon (round) or Fugue Genetics
Drawing Dancer Neuroscience
Painting

Discuss ideas in your group. Try to generate as many ideas as possible as quickly as possible. Don’t dwell on 1 or 2 ideas for the entire time. Let one idea flow from another, draw, sketch, and document the ideas briefly. Appoint a group spokesperson and be prepared to share the best 3-5 ideas with the class in a 5-minute informal presentation.
Please preserve the notes from the group session so that you can refer back to any ideas that are appealing as you select a final project.

Suggested Pairings:
o Andrew Cole, Craig Smith, Heather Stickell
o Daniel Davis, Josh Atkins, Greg Fajen
o Ryan Dorsey, Josh Shapero, David Smith, Boyang Li,
o Richard Tang, Rita Choi, Hranush Sargsyan

 
Assignment
  Reading: Modalities of Interactivity and Virtuality, Jeffrey Shaw

Week 6 - 2.27: Space + Time (MICA)
 
Presentation/Discussion
 

Exploration of media: space + time - Discuss of interactive environments and the composition of virtual space in relation to the viewer.

Complete project group brainstorming and presentation of project ideas.

Final project collaboration groups are formed.Project group brainstorming session.

3- Exercise in Collaboration

Taking inspiration from the artists presented in the Intermedia Studio course lectures, work as a team to generate as many ideas as possible about any subject your group chooses. You must use TWO elements from each of the categories listed below. Think about how you would incorporate the principles of intermedia (uses a variety of media: networks, live performance, sound-scape, video, animation, real-time processing, theatre, music, visual art, scientific imaging, engineering, etc.) into your ideas.

Water Shout Computer & Projector Text Editor Software
Plants Scream Medical Imaging Device Vector Animation Software
Pile of rocks Cry Sound System Algorithmic Composition Software
Sand Whisper Microscope Streaming Media Software
Glass Laugh Telescope Motion Graphic Software

Discuss ideas in your group. Try to generate as many ideas as possible as quickly as possible. Don’t dwell on 1 or 2 ideas for the entire time. Let one idea flow from another, draw, sketch, and document the ideas briefly. Appoint a group spokesperson and be prepared to share the best 3-5 ideas with the class in a 5-minute informal presentation.
Please preserve the notes from the group session so that you can refer back to any ideas that are appealing as you select a final project.

Suggested Pairings:
o Andrew Cole, Josh Shapero, Hranush Sargsyan
o Daniel Davis, Boyang Li, Richard Tang, Heather Stickell
o Ryan Dorsey, Josh Atkins, Craig Smith,
o David Smith, Greg Fajen, Rita Choi

Midterm Project
Select a reading and describe how a particular artist we have discussed, working in the area of intermedia, provides insight and context on more contemporary issues/concerns in today's media. Paper should be approximately 800 words and show evidence of understanding and synthesis of ideas presented in the readings and lectures

Grading Criteria
Style
o Sentence structure and flow
o Grammar, punctuation, etc.
Depth of research and thought
o Evidence of synthesis and analysis rather than regurgitation of information
o Adherence to topic
Presentation of Information
o Premise is clearly stated at the beginning of the paper
o Information is well organized
o Exposition is logical and clear
o Summary is conclusive

 
Assignment
 

Reading: "Changing Space: Virtual Reality as an Arena of Embodied Being," Char Davies


Week 7 - 3.5: Guest Lecturer (Hopkins)
 
Presentation/Discussion
 

Temporary Services (from the BMA cram session exhibit)

The Audio Relay is an autonomous radio station plus a music and sound archive. It travels from city to city gathering and presenting the work of musicians, sound artists, documentarians, and people whose work can be listened to. The Audio Relay houses a 4 watt FM transmitter, a folding antenna, a 30 watt amplifier, two speakers, two drawers that hold up to 200 cds and cdrs, a cd player, two solar panels on a detachable cover, one chair and has storage space for posters and other informative material. 

Julie Martin, widow of the late Billy Klüver, will discuss his life and work. Julie Martin and Randall Packer are giving a lecture on Billy Klüver at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, 2 pm, Sunday March 7.

Complete project group brainstorming and presentation of project ideas.

 
Assignment
  Begin work on full project proposals over break.

Week 8 - 3.12: Advanced Computer Music (Peabody)
 
Presentation/Discussion
 

A look at more advanced Max/MSP application, with a look at some MIDI controllers and some examples of Max at work in the real world.

Group review of project proposals, complete and turn in.

 
Assignment
  Midterm paper: Select a reading and describe how a particular artist we have discussed, working in the area of intermedia, provides insight and context on more contemporary issues / concerns in today's media. Are there ideas the artist has discussed that are seminal or you believe have influenced media art paradigms prevelant today in the genres of net art, interactive art, installation, performance, etc. This assignment is due by class time on the 26th. Please email to the instructor from your school.

Week 9 - 3.26: Final project (MICA)
 
Presentation/Discussion
  Discussion and class critique of project poposals (15 minutes for each group)
 
Assignment
 

Work on final projects.


Week 10 - 4.2: Final project (Hopkins)
 
Presentation/Discussion
  Production.
 
Assignment
  Work on final projects.

Week 11 - 4.9: New Techne Symposium (Hopkins)
 
Presentation/Discussion
 

Production.

 
Assignment
 

Work on final projects.

 


Week 12 - 4.9: Final project (on-site)
 
Presentation/Discussion
  Production.
 
Assignment
 

Work on final projects.


Week 13 - 4.16: Final project (on-site)
 
Presentation/Discussion
  Production.
 
Assignment
  Complete final projects.

Week 14 - 4.23: Final project (on-site)
 
Presentation/Discussion
  Post-presentation critique.
 
Assignment
   

Week 15 - 4.30: Final project (on-site)
 
Presentation/Discussion
  Post-presentation critique.
 
Assignment
   
Week 16 - 5.7: Final project presentation
 
Intermedia Festival
  Mattin Center for the Arts
Digital Media Center
Johns Hopkins University
4 - 6 pm
 
Final Critique
  Digital Media Center
Johns Hopkins University
6 - 8 pm

Course Resources

MICA: computer labs for media production.

Peabody: computer music studio with ProTools for editing and recording, computer music lab with audio/MIDI workstions, Max/MSP/NATO is available in both facilities.

JHU Digital Media Center: labs for video, multimedia and sound production.

JHU Film Program: film and video production.


Assignments and Grading
Class Discussion and Presentation (20%)

Each student is required to participate in class discussion and submit a written assignment.

Project Proposal (20%)

Students will hand in a group proposal for final projects.

Final Project (40%)

A final project will consist of a full developed team project that draws from concepts and techniques explored in the course. Students will select an area to work in including: animation, video, installation, network, etc.

Midterm Project (20%)

Select a reading and describe how a particular artist we have discussed, working in the area of intermedia, provides insight and context on more contemporary issues / concerns in today's media.

 


Required Reading

Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality (W.W. Norton 2001)
Edited by Randall Packer and Ken Jordan

Available in the MICA and JHU bookstores.

Website: http://www.artmuseum.net/w2vr/contents.html