How do artists make art? How do we evaluate it? In this course, students of all levels get to experience firsthand the particular challenges and rewards of art making through practical engagement with five fields — creative writing, visual art, theater, dance, and music — under the guidance of professionals.
Visual Arts Courses
This course approaches drawing as a way of thinking and seeing. Students will be introduced to a range of drawing issues, as well as a variety of media, including charcoal, graphite, ink and oil stick. Subject matter includes still life, the figure, landscape and architecture. Representation, abstraction and working from imagination will be explored.
Operating at the intersection of art, science and technology, this course investigates how scientific theories shape aspects of culture and society. We will engage in the practice of "speculative design", creating sculptures, wearables, and objects that envision different futures, while reflecting on social, political, and ethical implications of various technologies. Students will develop skills in industrial design, physical computing, and fabrication, as well as sensing and responsive technologies (including hardware/software integration, sensors, micro-projection, biometric sensing, etc), while applying them to critical social discourse.
This course introduces students to set and costume design for performance, exploring theater as a visual medium. Students will develop their ability to think about the physical environment (including clothing) as key components of story-telling and our understanding of human experience. Students will expand their vocabulary for discussing the visual world and work on their collaborative skills.
This studio course introduces students to aesthetic and theoretical implications of digital photography. Studio emphasis is on mastering digital equipment and techniques, managing print quality, and generally becoming familiar with all aspects of the digital workspace. Popular media, found photographs, and the "life" of digital images will also be investigated. Slide lectures, readings and class discussions of student work in critique format will augment visual skills with critical and conceptual understandings of contemporary photography.
This course engages students in the decoding of and formal experimentation with the image as a two-dimensional surface. Students take a hands on approach to formal experimentation through an array of modes and technologies including the photocopier, the computer, the camera, letterpress and silkscreen printing to address the most basic principles of design, such as visual metaphor, composition, hierarchy, and scale.
This introductory course focuses on the technical, historical, cultural, and artistic aspects of color photography. Students will experiment with form and content, using the medium to convey observations and ideas. Students will work in an analog color darkroom and use hybrid methods of analog and digital photography in order to understand how color is translated by photographic material.
An introduction to narrative and avant-garde narrative film production through the creation of hands-on digital video exercises, short film screenings, critical readings, and group critiques. This course teaches the basic tools and techniques for storytelling with digital media by providing technical instruction in camera operation, nonlinear editing, and sound design paired with the conceptual frameworks of shot design, visual composition, film grammar and cinema syntax.
What is contemporary art? What defines its contemporaneity? And in which sense can it be called art when it defies categories of modernist art theory? How to define the plural of art when the old art genres have dissolved into countless hybrid forms? And what follows from the artistic destabilization of the border between art and non-art? What are the aesthetic and political implications of an art that addresses its audience and its institutional frameworks as well as questions of globalization, digitalization, historiography, and nature? The seminar will discuss these problems by looking at philosophy, art criticism, and artist writings.
This course looks at the way Italy has expressed its historical, cultural, political, and social individuality in major cinematic works from the 1960's to the present. Directors such as Bertolucci, Tornatore, Benigni, Ozpetek, and Sorrentino offer a panorama of a generation of filmmakers that has contributed to the renewal of Italian cinema.
An introduction to the art and craft of lighting design for the stage and an exploration of light as a medium for expression. Students will develop an ability to observe lighting in the world and on the stage; to learn to make lighting choices based on text, space, research, and their own responses; to practice being creative, responsive and communicative under pressure and in company; to prepare well to create under pressure using the designer's visual toolbox; and to play well with others-working creatively and communicating with directors, writers, performers, fellow designers, the crew and others.
This course will explore ways that language can take on material properties and how objects can have syntax and be “read.” Through studio assignments, readings, and discussions, students will investigate the idea of language as a tangible material that can be sliced, bent, inserted, reproduced, embedded, and scattered.
Few people know that Sergei Eisenstein, one of the masters of modern cinema, was originally a mechanical engineer. Not only that; his filmmaking is informed through and through by inventive tropes of engineering. In this course, we study the rhetorical art of invention (heuristics) as it is applied in filmmaking through close examination of ten masterpieces of cinema. Students will take away from the course a deeper understanding of how rhetorical invention can be used in non-verbal areas of learning as well as a set of skills related to film-making and film criticism.
This course will introduce students to the foundational principles and techniques of screenwriting, taking into account the practical considerations of film production. Questions of thematic cohesiveness, plot construction, logical cause and effect, character behavior, dialogue, genre consistency and pace will be explored as students gain confidence in the form by completing a number of short screenplays. The course will illustrate and analyze the power of visual storytelling to communicate a story to an audience, and will guide students to create texts that serve as "blueprints" for emotionally powerful and immersive visual experiences.
How can screenwriters prepare for the evolving challenges of our global media world? What types of content, as well as form, will emerging technologies make possible? Do fields like neuroscience help us understand the universal principals behind screenwriting and do tech advances that alter the distance between audience and creator, man and machine, also influence content of our stories?
A graphic skills course that focuses on the techniques, craft, and ideologies of collage as a form of architectural representation.
This class will focus on how current painting considers the human figure. Portraits without people, the selfie, the figure as composite, imagined figures, forgotten figures, figures from our lives, abstract figures, non-consensual portraits, and technologically advanced figures will be considered within a structure of exploratory painterly approaches. This class will NOT focus on "how to" paint the figure.
This advanced screenwriting workshop will introduce students to the fundamental elements of developing and writing a TV series in the current “golden age of television.” Students will watch television pilots, read pilot episodes, and engage in in-depth discussion about story, series engine, character, structure, tone and season arcs. Each student will formulate and pitch an original series idea, and complete the first draft of the pilot episode and season arcs by end of semester.
This studio course builds on the skills and concepts of the 200-level Graphic Design classes. VIS 415 is structured around three studio assignments that connect graphic design to other bodies of knowledge, aesthetic experience, and scholarship. The class always takes a local concept or event as the impetus for investigations. Studio work is supplemented by critiques, readings and lectures. Students will refine their approaches to information design and visual problem solving, and to decoding and producing graphic design in print and electronic media.
This class concentrates on the editing process. Students will re-edit samples from narrative and documentary films and analyze the results. We will also critique ongoing edits of your own thesis films. Guest speakers will come to talk about rough-and find-cut editing, sound design, and sound mixing. Editing is about shaping the story through image, dialogue, additional sound and music. No matter how well (or badly) a film is directed and shot, its final result depends profoundly on the artfulness of its editing. This course will give you a better understanding of how many ways there are to approach and solve the puzzle of editing a film.
This class will engage contemporary approaches to the figure and the various ways that artists contest, assimilate, and reckon with the human body in sculpture. With the advent of postmodernism, the singular forms of classical and modern sculpture have fractured into composite, disjointed figures-even cyborgs-in keeping with the era of the "post human." Students will take a multivalent approach to the historical precedents from which current representations have emerged and explore the limits of what might be considered figurative at all.
In this course, led by critically acclaimed comedy writer Albert Samuels, students will participate in the in-process television pitch used by Samuels' cutting-edge improvisation group, Baby Wants Candy, including finalizing concept and script and developing a strong pitch. By the end of the semester, BWC will have a finished pitch package the group will present to Netflix, Amazon, Comedy Central and other networks/outlets. Students will develop their own original television concepts in groups and individually and also create shorter material - e.g., desk bits for late night shows, online content, etc.
Choreographer Rebecca Lazier, visual artist Janet Echelman, engineer Sigrid Adriaenssens, and sound artist Jess Rowland come together with students in a unique collaboration inspired by the activity in the understory, the hovering layer beneath a forest's canopy. They will create textile sculpture installations that will activate, and be activated by, movement and sound. Students will explore historical works that merge visual, choreographic, and sonic forms and examine intersections of architecture, engineering, and artistic practices. Themes of transcending boundaries and disorientation will unfold within suspended sculptural environments.