L C C 6 1 0 4
VIDEO PRODUCTION AND VISUAL CULTURE:
Bodies/Aesthetics/Technology
Instructors: Dr. Ellen Strain & Dr. Joey Bargsten • Spring Quarter, 1999


 

Class Hours:

Discussion: T 4:30-6:00, Room 343
Studio A: T 4:00-5:00, Skiles 343
Studio B: T 5:00-6:00, Skiles 343
Practicum A: TH 6:00-8:00, Skiles 369 or IDT Lab
Practicum B: TH 8:00-10:00, Skiles 369 or IDT Lab


Instructor Contact Info:

Ellen Strain, ellen.strain@lcc.gatech.edu
WK: 404.894.8923 HM: 404.249.9141
Office hours by appointment

Joey Bargsten, jbargsten@na.ko.com
WK: 404.676.5751 HM: astonishmedia@mindspring.com
Office hours by appointment

Sherry Strickland, Video TA
Contact for equipment concerns:
sstrick@mindspring.com


Course Description

Combining practice and theory, this class uses video as a medium to explore a special topic within visual culture studies. More specifically, this quarter we will conduct an historical investigation of the ideological implications of bodily representations. Central to this investigation will be the changing nature of the apparatuses used to image the body and the location of such images at the intersection of scientific/medical discourse and art theory. Moving from painting to performance art to electronic media, the course material will focus on not only the technologies used to visualize bodily exteriors and interiors but the technologies applied to the body that confound notions of exteriority/interiority. Technologies designed to tame the abject body will be examined as well as avant garde art practices that politicize the abject body. Theoretical investigation will accompany an introduction to the basic video and audio tools.


Course Organization

Although theory and production issues are initially explored separately through the division of class time into discussion periods focusing on the readings and hands-on practicum sessions focusing on specific technical tasks, students are expected to bridge the two in their final project. Although the entire class will meet for the discussion periods, the class will be broken down into two groups with each group attending only one of the two practicum sessions hosted each week and one of the studio sessions (when a studio is scheduled in place of a discussion period). Studio sessions will involve discussing student work in progress or collaborative projects completed in a two-hour time period.


Required Reading

The following books can be purchased through Amazon (2-3 days delivery time):
• Deanna Petherbridge and Ludmilla Jordanova, The Quick and the Dead: Artists and Anatomy (Berkeley: UC Press, 1997).
• Linda S. Kauffman, Bad Girls and Sick Boys: Fantasties in Contemporary Art and Culture (Berkeley: UC Press, 1998).
All other articles will be in a course reader available through the Engineer’s Bookstore, on Electronic Reserve, or in the IDT Lounge.


Prerequisite Knowledge

Students enrolling in this class are expected to have the following skills:
• competence with an S-VHS or Hi-8 camcorder (preferably their own);
• high-level skills with Adobe Photoshop;
• ability to scan images into digital form using a flatbed scanner.


Course Requirements.

The course grade will be based on three brief writing assignments, two technical mastery projects, one final project involving both a video and a written component, and participation in class discussions. The writing assignments as well as the technical mastery projects may be preparatory work for the final project. In other words, you may use these smaller assignments to further explore theoretical and visual material that you are developing for the final project. The grade breakdown is as follows:

• 3 X 10% CONTEMPLATION PAPERS/PROPOSALS. Students are required to write two papers applying, contemplating, or elaborating upon issues introduced in one or more of the articles. Each contemplation paper should be one to two pages, single-spaced. Students should concentrate on articles they find particularly interesting in order to further their analysis of subjects that will feed into the final project. Students will also be required to turn in a two-page proposal detailing their concept for the final project.

• 2 X 15% TECHNICAL MASTERY PROJECTS. In the form of an abbreviated project, students should exhibit their mastery over one or more of the techniques introduced in the practicum sessions. The content of these projects will not be evaluated, only the use of the technical tools. While the first technical mastery project may be completed by teams, the second technical mastery project should be done on an individual basis.

• 30% FINAL PROJECT. The final project may be a video or other digital artifact that furthers the theoretical analysis of the three terms around which the course content is focused: bodily representation, aesthetics, and technology. The final project will also include a three page, single-spaced design rationale that positions the project within the issues raised by the readings. Students may work individually or in groups of two for the final project.

• 10% PARTICIPATION. Students are expected to attend every discussion period, participate in discussions of the readings, and bring visual artifacts for study by the class. Participation will be based on attendance, contributions to discussion, and reading quizzes.


Course Calendar.

WEEK ONE

March 30. Discussion: Historicizing Corporeal Representation and Anatomical Art (ES)
Readings due:
• Deanna Petherbridge and Ludmilla Jordanova, The Quick and the Dead: Artists and Anatomy. Berkeley: UC Press, 1997.
• Giuliana Bruno, "Spectatorial Embodiments: Anatomies of the Visible and the Female Bodyscape," Camera Obscura: A Journal of Feminism and Film, Special Issue: Imaging Technologies, Inscribing Science, ed. Paula Treichler and Lisa Cartwright (January 1992). (Electronic Reserve)

April 1. Practicum: Production Planning, Sound Recording, Lighting, Shooting (JB)


WEEK TWO

April 6. Discussion: Conceptualizations of the Body (ES)
Readings due:
• Robert D., Romanyshyn, "Body as specimen" and "The abandoned body and its shadows," Technology as Symptom and Dream. London: Routledge, 1989.
• Film viewing: Zed and Two Noughts (Peter Greenaway)

April 8. Practicum: Analog Editing (JB)


WEEK THREE

April 13. Studio Session (both sections meet 4-6). Collaborative Project: Bodies, Motion and Interactivity in Theater (JB)
Readings due:
• Frances Dyson, "When is the Ear Pierced? The Clashes of Sound, Technology, and Cyberculture," Immersed in Technology: Art and Virtual Environments (ed. Mary Anne Moser with Douglas MacLeod for the Banff Centre for the Arts). Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996).
• Diane Gromala and Yacov Sharir, "Dancing with the Virtual Dervish: Virtual Bodies," Immersed in Technology: Art and Virtual Environments (ed. Mary Anne Moser with Douglas MacLeod for the Banff Centre for the Arts). Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996).

April 15. Practicum: Codecs, Compression, Media Cleaner Pro, and Video Capture (JB)


WEEK FOUR

April 20. Discussion: Bodily Distortions in 2D Art (JB)
Readings due:
• Hal Foster, "Exquisite Corpses," Visualizing Theory: Selected Essays from VAR 1990-1994 (ed. Lucien Taylor). NY: Routledge, 1994.
• Robert Newman "(Re)Imaging the Grotesque: Francis Bacon’s Crucifixion Triptychs," The Image in Dispute:Art and Cinema in the Age of Photography (ed. Dudley Andrew). Austin: UT Press, 1997.
• http://www.hrgiger.com/art.htm
• http://www.helnwein.com/

April 22. Practicum: Media 100 (ES)
TECHNICAL MASTERY PROJECT #1 DUE (extended Videopticon deadline for GT)


WEEK FIVE

April 27. Discussion: Performance Art and the Politicized Body (ES)
Readings due:
• Linda S. Kauffman, "Contemporary Art Exhibitionists" and "Cutups in Beauty School," Bad Girls and Sick Boys: Fantasties in Contemporary Art and Culture. Berkeley: UC Press, 1998.
CONTEMPLATION PAPER #1 DUE

April 28. Videopticon

April 29. Practicum: Premiere in a Nutshell (ES)


WEEK SIX

May 4. Studio Session: Technical Mastery Projects & Final Project Discussion (ES & JB)
PROPOSALS DUE

May 6. Practicum: After Effects Basics–Movement, Masks, Effects (ES)


WEEK SEVEN

May 11. Discussion: Scanned Bodies and the Medical Gaze
Readings Due:
• Sarah Kember, "Medicine’s New Vision?" The Photographic Image in Digital Culture (ed. Martin Lister). London: Routledge, 1995.
• Carol Stabile, "Shooting the Mother: Fetal Photography and the Politics of Disappearance," Camera Obscura: A Journal of Feminism and Film, Special Issue: Imaging Technologies, Inscribing Science, ed. Paula Treichler and Lisa Cartwright (January 1992).
• Film Screening: Looker (Michael Crichton)
• http://www.paraform.com

May 13. Practicum: From Analog to Digital Audio–Sound Edit (JB)


WEEK EIGHT

May 18. Discussion: Monsters and the Abject Body in Film (ES)
Readings due:
• Linda S. Kauffman, "David Cronenberg’s Surreal Abjection" and "J. G. Ballard’s Atrocity Exhibitions," Bad Girls and Sick Boys: Fantasties in Contemporary Art and Culture. Berkeley: UC Press, 1998.
• Barbara Creed, "Horror and the Carnivalesque: The Body-monstrous," Fields of Vision: Essays in Film Studies, Visual Anthropology, and Photography (eds. Leslie Devereaux and Roger Hillman). Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.
• Film screening: Dead Ringers (David Cronenberg) and Videodrome (David Cronenberg)
TECHNICAL MASTERY PROJECT #2 DUE

May 20. Practicum: After Effects–Compifying, Tracking Mattes, Animation (ES)


WEEK NINE

May 25. Discussion: Loose Ends–Porn, Cannibalism, Cyborgs, and Excrement (ES)
Readings due:
• Linda Williams, "Corporealized Observers: Visual Pornographies," Fugitive Images: From Photography to Video (ed. Patrice Petro). Bloomington: IU Press, 1995.
• Ellen Lupton and J. Abbott Miller, "Hygiene, Cuisine, and the Product World" Incorporations (ed. Jonathan Crary and Sanford Kwinter). New York: Urzone, 1992.
• Margaret Morse, "What Do Cyborgs Eat? Oral Logic in an Information Society," Virtualities: Television, Media Art, and Cyberculture. Bloomington: IU Press, 1998.Studio

May 27. Practicum: Sound Mixing in Deck II (JB)


WEEK TEN

June 1. Studio Session: Work in Progress (JB)
Readings due: none
CONTEMPLATION PAPER #2 DUE

June 3. Practicum: Advanced Sound Workshop and Electroacoustical Performance (JB)


* * * SCREENING OF FINAL PROJECTS: THURSDAY, JUNE 10, 6PM * * *