Advanced Topics in Digital and Electronic Media Studies: Inventing the Future: Art and Electronic Media

Course Details
FILM 189
Adjunct Instructor: 
Academic Year: 

Throughout history, artists have envisioned alternative futures and constructed working models of them that offer us a glimpse into what is to come. Inventing the Future will consider the history, theory and practice of digital and electronic media art as a “psychic dress rehearsal for the future.” By doing so, we may gain insight into possible trajectories of emerging technologies and cultural practices. We will examine various technologies, such as xerography, rapid prototyping, digital computing, telecommunications, the Web, biofeedback, GPS, virtual and augmented reality. We will equally consider how technologies cannot be separated from the way people use them, the human behaviors that co-emerge with them, and the dreams (and fears) embedded in them. Our exploration will focus on many amazing artworks as well as provocative writings by curators, theorists, artists and engineers. In order to foreground conceptual continuities across media, periods, genres and forms, we will take a thematic approach to various topical streams:

  • Generative Art, Computer Graphics, and Animation
  • Interactive Environments and Games
  • Networks, Surveillance, Culture Jamming
  • Bodies, Robots, Surrogates, Cyborgs
  • Simulations and Simulacra: Virtual and Augmented Spaces
  • Systems Aesthetics and Real Time Systems
  • Social Media and Post-Internet

Individual examples of artworks and the streams they represent will be subjected to close analysis. Students will acquire fluency with methods from art history, media-theory, and media- archaeology, and learn how to apply these methods, traditions, and principles to understand visual culture.

Dr. Shanken’s lectures will be complemented by guest speakers, who will provide insight into the actual practice of digital art and new media. Students will be expected to actively participate in course discussion and to undertake independent research. Coursework will include regular journal entries and responses to each other’s writings using the Art and Electronic Media Online Companion (AEM-OC) <>.

Please reach the attached course description for additional details.