CCTP-802 Art and Media Interfaced: Representation and Mediation in the Post-Digital Era

This course will provide an interdisciplinary approach to understanding visual art, photography, film, and media in our contemporary context of technologies and institutions of mediation. Washington area museums provide an especially rich set of resources for research, not only in the depth of the collections of art and artefacts, but also in providing living case studies of the role of institutions, politics, and technologies for mediating and transmitting forms of cultural representation. With historical and conceptual background developed in the course, we will use artworks and artefacts in their museum contexts as cases for developing research questions and applying theory and methods for in-depth interpretation and analysis. Students will develop their own research projects based on artworks, photography, and other artefacts in Washington area museums.

Our framing concepts and methods will be developed from media theory and semiotics as tools for interpretation and research. Using the concepts of interface and medium, we will recover and investigate continuities in our key ideas about representation and transmission of cultural genres and artefacts: museums and artworks themselves are interfaces to the larger systems of meanings, values, and social relations in which they function as nodes in a network. We will investigate big questions: how are cultural genres of representation and expression mediated by institutions, technologies, and ideologies of symbolic value? Understood in the longer history of cultural and technical mediation, how are museums and other cultural institutions using digital images and data for Web-based access to their collections? What happens to cultural reception in interactive and social media platforms? As a concluding case study, we will investigate whether the Google Art Project platform (recently re-branded as Google Arts and Culture) can mediate (or re-mediate) the institutional function of the museum and the complex knowledge required for cultural interpretation.

The course will be taught as a seminar with weekly online writing assignments, and students will develop final research projects using interdisciplinary methods and published as an online e-portfolio of their case studies.

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None

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Spring '17: Irvine, M (web site, description)
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