Fall 2017

  1. Collaborative Study

    A Collaborative Study Project (CSP) allows two students to work collaboratively to complete a faculty supervised project of indepedndent study.

    Usually, a CSP is supervised by two faculty members, but with approval it may be supervised by one faculty member. Its purpose is to meet individual student needs by providing an alternative to regularly offered courses, though it is not a substitute for a course if that course is regularly offered.

  2. D+m Grad Studio/sem 3

    This course supports the exploration of theoretical, social, material, technical and contextual research and concerns in new media arts practice during the third semester of the D + M MFA program. It is a combined studio and seminar forum for Digital + Media second-year students. Students conceptualize and discuss their studio-based work and their ongoing practice as they begin the thesis process. Working artist bibliographies are developed - both projects and texts. Readings in critical cultural theory, media art theory, philosophy, semiotics and other areas further support the contextualization and grounding of the innovative practical and conceptual approaches of students in the Digital + Media department. The course is a mix of individual meetings, an optional lecture and workshop series and group critiques. Guest lecturers and visiting critics may also become involved with this class in terms of critical/research aspects. Each student will practice articulating their art process and work towards thesis, and will contribute to the dialogue concerning the research and work of their classmates.

    Graduate Major requirement: Digital + Media majors only

    Registration by Digital + Media Department, course not available via web registration.

  3. D+m Graduate Studio/seminar I

    This course supports the exploration of theoretical, social, material, technical and contextual research and concerns in new media arts practice during the first year of the first year of the D + M MFA program. It is a combined studio and seminar forum for Digital + Media first-year students. Participants become familiar with a vocabulary of multiple practices within digital media and, through a rigorous, hands-on approach, develop a thorough understanding of computational media as it applies to her/his individual creative practice. Students are introduced to a core set of methodologies and technologies from basic electronics and programming to interaction design to installation, and are encouraged to break comfort zones and practice through experimentation. Students conceptualize and discuss their studio-based work and their ongoing practice. Readings in critical cultural theory, media art theory, philosophy, semiotics and other areas further ground the conceptual approach of students in the Digital + Media department. The course is a mix of individual meetings, a required lecture and workshop series and group critiques. Some guest lecturers and visiting critics may also become involved with this class in terms of critical/research aspects. With a focus on studio experimentation and production, students will conceptualize and discuss their works-in-progress while beginning to work with new materials and systems in combination with a broad range media. Each student will practice articulating their ongoing studio art process and work, and will contribute to the dialogue concerning the research and work of their classmates.

    Graduate major requirement; Digital + Media majors only

    Registration by Digital + Media Department, course not available via web registration.

    Open to first-year graduate students

  4. D+m Writing Prep

    In "On Permission to Write", essayist Cynthia Ozick distinguishes between the "good-citizen writer" and the "shaman-writer" The first, she says, writes dutifully; the second, "obsessively", "torrentially", and most crucially, with self-given permission. For artists and designers who have, by and large, favored visual over written expression, obsession and torrent probably come more naturally in the studio than on the page. This course seeks to bring that same uninhibited, exploratory, and illuminating sensibility to the thesis, to suggest that writing is not a duty, but rather can be integral to studio practice. We will look at writing about one's work -- its art-historical, theoretical, and personal sources; its form and process; its motivation; its interpretation -- as a kind of translation from form to language (one that can be as individual and authentic as our chosen materials). The course will include writing exercises designed to help us think more deeply and coherently about our work and ideas, as well as discussion of assigned readings. The readings are exclusively written by artists and designers: criticism, manifestos, journal writings, and artist interviews - a selection intended to suggest that in permitting themselves to write, artists and designers establish artistic agency, lineage, and history itself through that writing.

    Graduate major requirement; Digital + Media majors only

    Registration by Digital + Media Department, course not available via web registration.

    Open to second-year graduate students

  5. Digital Media Perspectives: History Of Media Art

    In this historical survey, we analyze the aesthetic conventions, narratives, and formats of works in new media. We examine the impact digital technologies and new media have had on existing media, as well as the ways in which new media function as a unique system of communication. While investigating the aesthetic conventions, economic conditions and infrastructures that affect the production of new media, we address the social and political contexts in which new media are disseminated, interpreted and privileged. We make connections across decades by focusing on the recurring themes of language, futurism, simulation, hyper-reality, transnationality and information.

    Graduate major requirement; Digital + Media majors only

    Registration by Digital + Media Department, course not available via web registration.

    Open to first-year graduate students

  6. ISP Major

    The Independent Study Project (ISP) allows students to supplement the established curriculum by completing a faculty supervised project for credit in a specific area of interest. Its purpose is to meet individual student needs by providing an alternative to regularly offered courses.

    Permission of instructor and GPA of 3.0 or higher is required.

    Register by completing the Independent Study Application available on the Registrar's website; the course is not available via web registration.

  7. Interactive Text-interactive Sound And Image Emphasis

    Presented as fine art practice, this course will introduce the student to narrative and non-narrative experimentation with language in digital space.

    During the course students will be given a number of short term assignments which will serve as explorations of common themes. Students will also propose a longer term investigation, that will develop in the form of a semester long project.

    We will explore both analog and digital technologies to develop the concepts presented during the semester, utilizing Final Cut, After Effects, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Ableton Live and/or other programs for the production of texts. The course will have an interactive sound and image emphasis. Students will experiment with interactive text, visuals, and audio composition in the digital realm, placing emphasis on the effect and meaning transformation that occurs when texts are combined with visuals and audio material.

    The course will balance conceptual concerns related to content and structuring methodologies with artistic expression. Specific Aesthetic histories will be explored tracing the use of text in artistic practice including Concrete Poetry, the texts of Kurt Schwitters, Russian Constructivist posters, Fluxus poetic works, the Dada and Surrealist Word/Image, Magritte, Jenny Holtzer, Ed Ruscha, Barbara Kruger as well as other contemporary practitioners.

    Elective

    Open to seniors and graduate students

    Permission of Instructor required. Course not available via web registration.

    Also offered as GRAPH-7001; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

  8. Professional Internship

    The professional Internship provides valuable exposure to a professional setting, enabling students to better establish a career path and define practical aspirations. Internship proposals are carefully vetted to determine legitimacy and must meet the contact hour requirements listed in the RISD Course Announcement.

  9. Research Studio: Interventions In Capitalism Fall

    Propaganda is a powerful tool for politicians, corporations, advertisers, cultural institutions, and anyone else who is looking to manipulate a story. But it is also a starting point for acts of subversion, humor, and many forms of creative resistance. This research group will assist artists in attempting to find political and imaginative expression in pieces of culture that are often regarded as anti-creative.

    From data mining to resource extraction, everything seems to become a series data points in vast demographic and economic rating systems. We are bombarded with an environment having little or no value for individual creative exchange. The missing variable in all of these equations is the freedom and importance of the single thinking human who is disregarded in these culture-as-market movements. The goal of this studio is to find intuitive ways to re-purpose this environment through guerilla communication, activist art, and the creative re-use of spin control techniques.

    Potential areas of investigation may include: wearable computing, physical computing, interactive performance, tactical media, art science collaboration, material science, smart materials, artificial life and serious game design.

    Permission of instructor required.

    Open to graduate students and senior and fifth-year undergraduates.

    Fee: $200.00

  10. Research Studio: Technological Landscapes

    Participants in the Technological Landscapes research group are passionate but critical observers of today's living environment in relation to ubiquitous, integrated, and emerging technologies. It is important that we draw inspiration not necessarily just from art, design, but from real-world events influenced or caused by technological advancement and/or failure.

    This research group will foster a dynamic, and highly collaborative environment through discussions, readings and excursions. Participants are expected to drive and determine the focus and interests of the group through conversations and consensus. In turn this will feed each participant's artistic sensibility and will form the conceptual foundations necessary for building a strong critical art work. Participants will explore research methodologies and various forms of research as material, social, and symbolic creative practice.

    The projects, individual or collaborative, should be thought of on a scale of landscape physical or virtual. One is encouraged to exploit the imaginative, speculate possible near futures and position them where the poetic crosses between science fiction and the built reality.

    Each year the group works together to locate and secure an exhibition space and or develop a site-specific work within the site/topic of study for that year. Each year the site/topic of focus changes, please contact faculty for current information.

    Permission of Instructor required. Course not available via web registration.

    Please contact the instructor with any questions and for more details.

    Open to graduate students and upper level undergraduates from both Architecture and Design and Fine Arts Divisions.

  11. Sonic Practices

    Sonic Practices is a graduate-level research group focused on acoustic, electronic, and/or computer-based means of sound production and reception. Participants explore audio culture and technology while developing experimental approaches to composition, performance, recording, and/or listening.

    Areas of investigation include, but are not limited to: audio programming languages, embedded/mobile computing for sound and music, spatial audio, sound synthesis, audio electronics, sonification and auditory display, electroacoustic music composition and improvisation, field recording and soundscape studies, sound installation and performance, and sonic interaction design.

    Each semester, course content changes in response to a new unifying theme upon which students base individual and team-based research projects. Meetings consist of discussions, workshops, critiques, and collaborations that support students' individual inquiries, the exchange of ideas, and the exploration of research methodologies.

    Elective

    Open to seniors, graduates.

    Permission of Instructor required. Course not available via web registration.

Wintersession 2018

  1. Cinematic Thinking: Impersonal Idea

    The reality today is one in which machines and humans abide by each other in nature. What does it mean for human faculties in times of AI's rapid machine learning? In light of AlphaGo and a machine-generated 'new' Rembrandt painting, how distinctive is creativity the singular human faculty? If non-human entities must be considered as equally as humans, what kind of 'confusion' do we hold onto as humans?

    In this course, we will grapple with two philosophical ideas, which explicity deal with the cognitive/emotive powers in sensation and imagination;the Sublime by Kant, and Affect by Spinoze. Assisted by Gilles Deleuze's interpretations on these ideas, in-class screenings include films by Aleksei Yuryevich German, Hiroshi Teshigahara, John Cassavetes, Kim Ki-duk, Luis Bunuel, Sergei Parajanov, Shinya Tsukamoto, Shohei Imamura, Tod, Browning, Werner Herzog, and Yukio Mishima. In merging the texts with the films, we will ask what it means to think impersonally, in term of incapacity. Is our 'incomprehensibility' what leads to the sublime? What does it mean to be 'intense' or 'passionate'? We will see what it means to think 'through' ourselves, yet also to project ouor thoughts 'beyond' ourselves.

    No previous experience in philosophy or fim is required. This is a studio class hybrid of text and film. Assignments include readings, short projects and a final in any medium. All backgrounds and opinions are welcome. Some of the films in their graphics and content may be intense to some viewers.

  2. Dig Media Grad Written Thesis

    This seminar includes intensive group writing sessions. Individual meetings also will be conducted to support each student in assembling a comprehensive written thesis. Centrally our task together is to understand and evaluate actual studio work and to communicate this clearly and effectively within a comprehensive document. To accomplish this we will address: thesis rationale, development of concepts, source material, context relevant philosophical, aesthetic and theoretical issues as well as working process. Structure, layout, documentation, and the mechanics of formatting will also be explored in depth.

    Graduate major requirement; Digital + Media majors only

    Registration by Digital + Media Department, course not available via web registration.

    Open to second-year graduate students

  3. Jack Of All Trades/master Of None

    "Jack of All Trades/Master of None" is for students that struggle to bring their big ideas to life. This course will challenge students to evaluate their own studio and critical research methods and introduce alternative tools and thinking exercises to transform their studio practice while at RISD. Through a combination of technical workshops, discussions and performative team-building games, students will tackle complicated creative problems with low-tech materials, messy experimentation and community activities outside of the classroom.

    Throughout the course students will devise unique strategies to accomplish ambitious goals despite the constraints of the art school experience. They will need a balance of imaginative risk-taking and structured self-discipline to push the boundaries of homemade "Do-It-Yourself" projects despite limited budgets and quick deadlines. Students will be given a series of creative assignments with different timeframes, such as one hour, one week, and the whole duration of Winter Session to retry their once-abandoned project ideas and produce effective brainstorming techniques for when they face future creative roadblocks.

    We will organize meetings and discussions with members of the local community that incorporate alternative studio methods to enact community social engagement. We will also invite students to plan and execute projects and events around Providence to promote their work and generate dialogues with new audiences. This class will foster collaborations across school disciplines and invite creative contributions from makers and thinkers outside of RISD's artist community.

    While much of this course will be designed around various modes of social interaction and group participation, lectures and readings will be presented to introduce technical tools and critical themes through a variety of historical and contemporary perspectives. Students will examine modes of abstract problem solving and examples of successful projects born out of "Writer's Block", and will research artists and designers that incorporate learnable and accessible materials or processes into their work including open source software, recycled or found objects, special effects, social media and public guerilla marketing.

  4. Performing The Commons

    The 20th century Avant-garde artist Marcel Duchamp is often credited with introducing the notion of the artwork as collaborative performance between artist and viewer. Today, this theory could not be more relevant, as artists and designers of all media are increasingly creating works that engage with the public sphere. Explosions in the fields of social practice, participatory art, institutional critique, performance art and net art have brought about new methodological considerations for artists. Traditional conceptions of materiality and authorship have been questioned, but also the ethical responsibilities of the artist, institution, and government to local and global populations. What do we share in the public? And is it all shared equally?

    This course aims to assist students in formulating projects for public space-outdoors, in print, online, etc. Studio experiments, workshops, lectures and field trips will be designed to provide students with context and develop individual methods of working. Skill-based workshops will touch upon diverse technologies often used in the field-video projection, live sound, lighting for performance and installation, and interactive electronics. Class discussion and critique of current artists' projects in Providence, Boston, and New York will offer an additional perspective. The course will culminate in each student presenting a comprehensive public project, demonstrating conceptual and technical growth.

Spring 2018

  1. Blend:the Jumping Together Of Knowledge

    This course will inhabit the intersection between design, fine arts, the sciences and liberal arts. The work produced will draw on the differing skills, disciplines and interests of the participants who engage in a continuing critical dialogue with the instructor, their peers and visiting artists/lecturers. Computational opportunities will be addressed and explored as needed within the context of assignments as well as making opportunities within the worlds of fine art and design. Students from all majors are welcome. Project goals, processes and concepts will be established as well as articulating a bridging vocabulary of design to define disciplines as they evolve.

    Elective

    Open to juniors, seniors, fifth-year and graduate students

  2. D+m Graduate Studio/seminar 2

    This course supports the exploration of theoretical, social, material, technical and contextual research and concerns in new media arts practice during the first year of the first year of the D + M MFA program. It is a combined studio and seminar forum for Digital + Media first-year students. Participants become familiar with a vocabulary of multiple practices within digital media and, through a rigorous, hands-on approach, develop a thorough understanding of computational media as it applies to her/his individual creative practice. Students are introduced to a core set of methodologies and technologies from basic electronics and programming to interaction design to installation, and are encouraged to break comfort zones and practice through experimentation. Students conceptualize and discuss their studio-based work and their ongoing practice. Readings in critical cultural theory, media art theory, philosophy, semiotics and other areas further ground the conceptual approach of students in the Digital + Media department. The course is a mix of individual meetings, a required lecture and workshop series and group critiques. Some guest lecturers and visiting critics may also become involved with this class in terms of critical/research aspects. With a focus on studio experimentation and production, students will conceptualize and discuss their works-in-progress while beginning to work with new materials and systems in combination with a broad range media. Each student will practice articulating their ongoing studio art process and work, and will contribute to the dialogue concerning the research and work of their classmates.

    Graduate major requirement; Digital + Media majors only

    Registration by Digital + Media Department, course not available via web registration.

    Open to first-year graduate students

  3. Digital + Media Theory

    As critical phenomenology, the aim of this course is to influence two acts, how to see and how to critique digital media, as extension of unresolved conceptual and aesthetic problems and as catapult for entirely original practice and possibility. The approach is the 'theoretical crit' that students write each week in response to readings, methods, problems, and works closely explored. As in contemporary art, new media's objects and theories are becoming increasingly interdependent. Thus, rather than using theory to evaluate artwork, we examine both work and theory, coming to contemporary, formal, critical, and instrumental voice through which to respond to assumptions and aspirations of each.

    Graduate major requirement; Digital + Media majors only

    Registration by Digital + Media Department, course not available via web registration.

    Open to first-year graduate students

  4. Experiments In Optics

    This class will serve as an interface between the new technologies of digital media, and the old technologies of optics. New digital technologies will be given alternative possibilities with the addition of specific projection apparatus (in terms of both projection optics and projection surfaces), plays with reflection (such as the construction of anamorphic cylinders, zoetropes, and other optical devices), and in the fabrication of project specific lenses. Given the hands-on nature of the glass department, the actual making and/or subversion of traditional optics is possible. The class will encourage collaborative work between students of varying experience levels and will foster the incorporation and dialogue between students of the two differing areas of expertise.

    Elective

    Open to seniors, fifth-year and graduate students

    Permission of Instructor required. Course not available via web registration.

    Also offered as GLASS-7009; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

  5. Physical Computing

    Physical Computing is an introduction to low-level electronic technologies such as sensors, microcontrollers, display technologies and motors. We will review the basics of electricity and microcontrollers (one-chip computers). A wide range of sensors, and output technologies will be presented, and demonstrated so that students have a sense of currently available low-cost technologies that are available for artwork and their course work.

    The hardware on which the course will be based is low-cost wireless microcontroller modules and a basic array of sensors and interface tech. The modules can be used to record data from the body wirelessly, or to harvest user information from a gallery installation. The modules can also be used to drive output systems, such as displays, sound, or motors. Students will also be expected to pursue technology that interests them including specialized sensors and output devices.

    If there is class interest and time we can construct our own printed circuit boards, to show students how to "close the loop" between the roles of consumers and constructors of hardware based electronic systems.

    Readings and discussions will interrogate some of the latest tech industry jargon such as the "Internet of Things" and the place that robots and automation might have in the future, as well as writings by artists working with technology.

    Graduate elective

    Open to junior, senior and fifth-year students pending seat availability.

  6. Research Studio: Interventions In Capitalism Spring

    Propaganda is a powerful tool for politicians, corporations, advertisers, cultural institutions, and anyone else who is looking to manipulate a story. But it is also a starting point for acts of subversion, humor, and many forms of creative resistance. This research group will assist artists in attempting to find political and imaginative expression in pieces of culture that are often regarded as anti-creative.

    From data mining to resource extraction, everything seems to become a series data points in vast demographic and economic rating systems. We are bombarded with an environment having little or no value for individual creative exchange. The missing variable in all of these equations is the freedom and importance of the single thinking human who is disregarded in these culture-as-market movements. The goal of this studio is to find intuitive ways to re-purpose this environment through guerilla communication, activist art, and the creative re-use of spin control techniques.

    Potential areas of investigation may include: wearable computing, physical computing, interactive performance, tactical media, art science collaboration, material science, smart materials, artificial life and serious game design.

    Permission of instructor required.

    Open to graduate students and senior and fifth-year undergraduates.

    Fee: $200.00

  7. Research Studio: Technological Landscapes

    Participants in the Technological Landscapes research group are passionate but critical observers of today's living environment in relation to ubiquitous, integrated, and emerging technologies. It is important that we draw inspiration not necessarily just from art, design, but from real-world events influenced or caused by technological advancement and/or failure.

    This research group will foster a dynamic, and highly collaborative environment through discussions, readings and excursions. Participants are expected to drive and determine the focus and interests of the group through conversations and consensus. In turn this will feed each participant's artistic sensibility and will form the conceptual foundations necessary for building a strong critical art work. Participants will explore research methodologies and various forms of research as material, social, and symbolic creative practice.

    The projects, individual or collaborative, should be thought of on a scale of landscape physical or virtual. One is encouraged to exploit the imaginative, speculate possible near futures and position them where the poetic crosses between science fiction and the built reality.

    Each year the group works together to locate and secure an exhibition space and or develop a site-specific work within the site/topic of study for that year. Each year the site/topic of focus changes, please contact faculty for current information.

    Permission of Instructor required. Course not available via web registration.

    Please contact the instructor with any questions and for more details.

    Open to graduate students and upper level undergraduates from both Architecture and Design and Fine Arts Divisions.

  8. Sonic Practices

    Sonic Practices is a graduate-level research group focused on acoustic, electronic, and/or computer-based means of sound production and reception. Participants explore audio culture and technology while developing experimental approaches to composition, performance, recording, and/or listening.

    Areas of investigation include, but are not limited to: audio programming languages, embedded/mobile computing for sound and music, spatial audio, sound synthesis, audio electronics, sonification and auditory display, electroacoustic music composition and improvisation, field recording and soundscape studies, sound installation and performance, and sonic interaction design.

    Each semester, course content changes in response to a new unifying theme upon which students base individual and team-based research projects. Meetings consist of discussions, workshops, critiques, and collaborations that support students' individual inquiries, the exchange of ideas, and the exploration of research methodologies.

    Elective

    Open to seniors, graduates.

    Permission of Instructor required. Course not available via web registration.

  9. Thesis Project

    This course supports the practical, conceptual, theoretical and historical development of the M.F.A. thesis (exhibition and written document). Students are required to work independently and in individual consultation with their thesis committee to develop and finalize the thesis exhibition and written document for presentation at the end of the year. The exhibition and written thesis should articulate one's personal studio art / design practice in an historically and theoretically informed context. Formal group critiques are required at the midterm and end of the semester. A major final critique with visiting critics is held in the context of the final MFA Exhibition. The accompanying written thesis is expected to be of publishable quality and is also placed within the public sphere through electronic publication and filing with the RISD Library.

    Final submissions for this course include the presentation of a final exhibition, submission of the final written thesis, and timely completion of work for preliminary deadlines throughout the semester (draft theses, exhibition plans and press materials). Please see Digital + Media Thesis Timeline for a clear sequence of required deadlines. Please refer to the Digital + Media Thesis Guidelines and Policies for clarification of the goals and expectations of the RISD D+M MFA.

    Graduate major requirement; Digital + Media majors only

    Registration by Digital + Media Department, course not available via web registration.

    Open to second-year graduate students

    This class is 6 credits in the Spring, enrolled with the Thesis Chair.

Departments

Apparel Design Architecture Ceramics Digital + Media Experimental and Foundation Studies Film / Animation / Video Furniture Design Glass Graduate Studies Graphic Design History of Art + Visual Culture History, Philosophy + the Social Sciences Illustration Industrial Design Interior Architecture Jewelry + Metalsmithing Landscape Architecture Literary Arts + Studies Painting Photography Printmaking Sculpture Teaching + Learning in Art + Design Textiles