Course Descriptions

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EcoSensing and the Soundscape

Fall 2015
Art & Technology Studies Department
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Co-Taught with Eric Leonardson, Sound Department
Awarded a Team-Teaching Grant through
Class Blog

Extending beyond the visual, Eco-Sensing and the Soundscape seeks to integrate senses within and beyond the human body to engage in a deeper understanding of the world by blending techniques of listening and observation with new media technologies of signaling, sensing and recording.

Ecological concerns are intrinsically tied to new media technologies, and as we use them to understand our environments these practices must also be paired with critical discussions, public engagement, and an understanding of these techniques in a broader repertoire of unmediated listening and observation.

The team taught course will leverage the expertise and community involvement of each instructor. Eric will introduce techniques and practices of acoustic ecology, and Lindsey will present present strategies and techniques of new media technologies. Both instructors share overlapping areas of expertise and research in ecological landscapes and environmental concerns. These areas of research and involvement will formalize in the classroom to connect technical skills with the generation of art work in public and community oriented arenas. Class discussions rooted in texts of listening, ecology and new media will be reinforced by exercises in listening, sensing and computing, and ultimately brought to form as public and site specific works and performances.

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Experimental Geographies

Fall 2015
Scultpure Department
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Course created by Laurie Palmer
Class Blog

This studio class uses mapping concepts and technologies to explore how we come to know and understand space, and how we relate to the actual places that we live in. Project assignments will encourage investigation of a variety of media and dimensionality, as well as spatial concepts. Students will experiment with hand and digital techniques—including an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and aerial balloon mapping—for visualizing, interpreting, and re-inventing places, and for creating maps as tools, images, objects, or interventions. The class will investigate how contemporary artists use mapping as a flexible tool across a spectrum of practices, from visual poetics to material investigations to projects promoting environmental justice. Studio projects will be supported with field trips, lectures, exercises, demos, readings, and discussions. There will be one collaborative class project with opportunities for individuals to design their own contributions to it.

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Sensing the Landscape - New Natures and Soft Computing

Fall 2013
Art & Technology Studies Department
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Class Blog

With the continuing ubiquity of physical computing and advances in wearable technologies, artists are enabled in new ways to bring new media art into expanding landscapes. This studio course will take a critical look at ideas of nature and technology, using Chicago’s urban ecosystem as a site of intervention. The course will begin with on-site exploration of Chicago’s Park Systems and other public landscapes. On- and off-campus workshops will focus on techniques of sensing and interfacing with the environment, making use of the Arduino and the LilyPad, and introducing a variety of environmental sensors and techniques of information storage and transmission. Studio work will be contextualized with critical readings, research and discussions about evolving ideas of landscape and environment. Through a series of culminating projects, students will use new media techniques to interface with Chicago’s urban ecosystems.

Sound collection, and its related data collection, complicate any single experience of environment as complete. Ubiquitous computing and data collection can provide a variety of non visual cross-sections through which a more complicated understanding of the environment can be experienced.

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Research II: #nature - Expanded Environments

Spring 2015
Contemporary Practices Department
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Class Blog

http://octothorpnature.tumblr.com/From fear and reverence to protection and over management; how we relate to nature is intimately entwined with the history of technology. In this course we will explore how new technologies can augment, interrupt, and expand our understanding of the environment. We will use Chicago's landscape to unpack ideas of nature, technology, and sustainability through field trips and site-based work. Students will be introduced to a range of new media technologies and strategies, including creative coding, video tracking, and sound recording to aid in the creation of new works. We will expand our notion of environment to include social networks and the web as new landscapes and potential sites of installation. Readings by Donna Haraway and Lev Manovich will frame our discussions of works including the sublime landscape paintings of the Hudson River School, rAndom International's Rain Room, Ken Goldberg's Telegarden, Luke Jerram's Plant Orchestra, Natalie Jerimijenko's experiments and Philip Beasley's biomimetic sculptures, among others.

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Fundamentals of Art with Technology

Fall 2014
Art & Technology Studies Department
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Class Blog

This team-taught, introductory course provides a foundation for most additional coursework in the Art and Technology Studies department. Students are given a broad interdisciplinary grounding in the skills, concepts, and hands-on experiences they will need to engage the potentials of new technologies in art making. Every other week, a lecture and discussion group exposes students to concepts of electronic media, perception, inter-media composition, emerging venues, and other issues important to artists working with technologically based media. Students will attend a morning & afternoon section each day to gain hands-on experience with a variety of forms and techniques central to technologically-based art making.

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Wired: Digital Imaging and Web

Fall 2013 & Fall 2014
Contemporary Practices Department
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Class Blog

SAIC Wired 1: Imaging and Web explores digital imaging, design, and basic interactivity for artists and designers. Students learn how to create, use, and integrate a range of graphics, text, media, and HTML and CSS techniques in the development of creative projects.

This required 1.5 credit hour course is intended to enhance the first year Contemporary Practices curriculum by providing structured, targeted tutorials that introduce students to basic and intermediate imaging and web authoring techniques in an academic context that is both critical and celebratory of the new media tools —both proprietary and open source. The web is a medium that now must be understood and managed by artists from any field; for this reason, the curriculum is focused on imaging and authoring for the web.

Students are encouraged to use the assignments and discussions to explore individual academic and artistic interests and expand on one's practice.

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