Fall 2022

  1. The Decolonial E-textile seminar focuses on exploring technological textile practices to challenge and disrupt the hegemonic conceptions on art and technology, specifically on e-textile field. This seminar seeks to question the hegemonic technological tools, and the paradigms they involve, in order to create e-textile projects from a radical, critical, situated, and anticolonial perspective. Articulating textile techniques (embroidery, patchwork and sewing in general) with simple and low tech analogical electronic mechanisms (LED lights, motors, DIY loudspeakers, etc.), each student will create a e-textile piece. Electronics then will become part of the tissue: threads that conductive threads, batteries, LEDs, motors and speakers will invade the fabrics like a thread, a buttonhole or a button. The interactive and haptic aspect of the textiles, based on tactile stimuli, sonic devices, and light, will make visible political thoughts, actions and feelings. Going beyond the dominant and non-neutral narratives implies seeking into other forms of art practices to question the epistemological foundation itself. The goal of this seminar is to work from scratch in order to develop DIY, e-textile poetics, activism, techno-feminism, craftivism and social practices rooted in the territories themselves, interweaving with their own traditions, cultures and idiosyncrasies, in order to nurture resistant forms of conceiving digital and e-textile projects. Estimated Materials Cost: $100.00 Elective Open to seniors and above. Open to non-majors pending seat availability and permission of instructor.
  2. This combined studio and seminar forum for Digital + Media first year students supports the exploration of theoretical, social, material, technical and contextual research and concerns in new media arts practices during the first semester of the D+M MFA program at RISD. Students are introduced to a core set of methodologies and technologies from basic electronics, programming and interaction design to installation, and are encouraged to break comfort zones through experimentation. Students conceptualize and discuss their work and ongoing practice. The course is a mix of group discussions, individual meetings, required lecture and workshop series, and group critiques. The technical workshops are opportunities for students to experiment and test out aspects of their research in order to develop a sound practice. Guest lecturers and visiting critics may join during other portions of the class time on occasion. Estimated Materials Cost: $100.00 - $300.00 Graduate major requirement; D+M majors only. Open to first-year graduate students. Registration by D+M Department, course not available via web registration.
  3. The course supports the exploration of theoretical, social, material, technical, and contextual research and concerns in new media arts practice during the final semester of the DM MFA program. It is a combined studio and seminar forum for Digital + Media second-year students. (Students conceptualize and discuss their work and their ongoing practice and thesis process). The course is a mix of individual meetings, group discussions and group critiques. Guest lecturers and visiting critics will also become involved with this class in terms of critical/research aspects. Each student will practice articulating their art process and work towards their thesis and will contribute to the dialogue concerning the research and work of their classmates. Estimated Materials Cost: $100.00 - $300.00 Graduate Major requirement; D+M majors only. Registration by D+M Department, course not available via web registration.
  4. This course explores the relationships between new media languages and physical space. Building from the history and aesthetics of installation art and relational theater and based on conceptualizations such as "Relational Architecture" by Lozano-Hemmer and the "Poetics of Augmented Space" by Lev Manovich, we will learn to leverage interactive and audiovisual elements in order to design spatial experiences that are media-rich, relational, and responsive. We will use software, video-projectors, sensors and VR equipment, and explore emergent techniques including video-mapping, computer vision and augmented reality. We will learn to deploy not only vision, but also hearing and haptics to create immersive and multi-sensory environments. Class is comprised of lectures, hands-on workshops and individual projects. Students will gain a deep understanding of topics of spatial thinking and user-generated experiences related to space, as well as a theoretical and critical understanding of the history of installation and interactive arts. Although not a prerequisite, basic coding or scripting knowledge (Processing, javascript, or MAX, Touch Designer, etc.) is recommended. Estimated Materials Cost: $250.00 Permission of Instructor required.
  5. Introduction to Computation focuses on computational techniques, methods, and ideas in the context of art and design. Studio projects first center on the design of algorithms then shift to involve computer programming and scripting. Critical attention is given to code as a body of crafted text with significant aesthetic, philosophical, and social dimensions, as well as the tension, conflict, and potential possible when computation generates, informs, or interacts with drawings, materials, forms, and spaces. Historical and contemporary works of computational art and design will be presented and assigned for analysis. This course is open to students of all majors and is designed for those with little or no experience in programming. In order to conduct work in this course, students will need a laptop computer. This course fulfills one of two core studio requirements for CTC Concentration. Estimated Materials Cost: $250.00 Concentration requirement.
  6. 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. 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; D+M majors only. Open to first-year graduate students. Registration by D+M Department, course not available via web registration.
  8. 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. 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. Estimated Materials Cost: $100.00 - $200.00 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.
  10. 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. Estimated Materials Cost: $100.00 - $200.00 Elective Open to seniors and graduate students. Permission of Instructor required.

Wintersession 2023

  1. This course will teach how to approach art through chance-making instructions. It will position the artist away from the role of sole decision-maker, instead allowing systems to be the creators of imaginative possibilities and unexpected outcomes. Though based on the sequential logic of programming, we will cover neither programming softwares nor languages, instead focusing on how these concepts can take form in the non-digital. Students will be encouraged to work with their own medium and research topics. Through a series of short assignments, students will deepen their understanding of relational dynamics, examining the role of both the artist and the audience as possible players in their chance-making mechanisms. In the second half of the course, students will engage in a research-based final project, where they will investigate how meaning can be formed through chance.
  2. What does your instrument look and sound like? Does it sound like the flowing of your heartbeat? Or does it sound like the texture of your skin? In this class, we will create personal physical instruments/sound objects through exploration and experimentation with researched based materials. Using technical tools of analog and digital sonic practice through material explorations, sonic meditations and kinetic sculpture. We will introduce the basic use of technological tools such as sound, video, installation, and how to integrate them with sonorous materials including, PureData, Reaper, Arduino IDE and assorted hardware. We discuss theories on sonic practice, performance, materiality and new-media by creating a collective anthology of readings, songs, and artists. Students will explore these tools through workshops, collaborative and solo design challenges, improvisational sessions and group critiques. This class will culminate in a final project that will be presented in a concert or album format. We will focus on building a trusting community where we are all free to explore undiscovered possibilities in sound by creating a community contract on the first day of class. This course is for artists seeking to explore sonic practice as an extension of their art practice. Musicians welcome, no music or coding experience required, but a willingness to make noise and take risks! Enjoy!
  3. This studio course will expand conceptions of collage as an art process and art historical trend to include the possibilities afforded by new media technologies. Class sessions will include discussion of key historical works and texts, in-class demos, studio visits, and critical engagement with new works by class members. We will contemplate the aesthetic, conceptual, and political potential spurred by the joining of disparate mediums. Treating the process of cutting and pasting as a foundational artistic methodology, assignments will build upon two-dimensional collage techniques towards three-dimensional assemblage. The final project asks students to integrate time-based elements or digital media (projection, sound, screens, interactive elements, performance, and AR, computer vision. etc) into a physically existent collaged work. Students from all backgrounds are encouraged to experiment with materials unfamiliar to their practice and outside of their department of origin. Estimated Materials Cost: $100.00 - $150.00
  4. Introduction to Computation focuses on computational techniques, methods, and ideas in the context of art and design. Studio projects first center on the design of algorithms then shift to involve computer programming and scripting. Critical attention is given to code as a body of crafted text with significant aesthetic, philosophical, and social dimensions, as well as the tension, conflict, and potential possible when computation generates, informs, or interacts with drawings, materials, forms, and spaces. Historical and contemporary works of computational art and design will be presented and assigned for analysis. This course is open to students of all majors and is designed for those with little or no experience in programming. In order to conduct work in this course, students will need a laptop computer. This course fulfills one of two core studio requirements for CTC Concentration. Estimated Materials Cost: $250.00 Concentration requirement.
  5. There is a trend with the ways artists engage with themselves and their personal lives as points of departure for their creative works and artistic practice. Martine Syms, Wendy Carlos, Sun Ra, Trinh T. Minh-ha and many other artists discussed in this course reflect these personal departures. Along with these points of departure come the theories that these artists are engaging with as well, whether intentionally or unintentionally. This course examines and encourages subjective reflections in media art and performance. As a class, we will engage in weekly readings, short reflections, discussions, and screenings while also making room for collective artmaking through interdisplinary . Once a week students will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one, rotating between the instructors, to offer feedback, discuss assignment progress, and check in. Students will be introduced to theories of phenomenology, queer thought, Black feminist thought, and performance studies as it relates to media's multifaceted nature via video art, sound, performance, installation, and the archive. The course will culminate with a thoughtful response in the form of creative work to the question of "what do you want the world to know about you"? Experimentation is highly encouraged, and students from all knowledge backgrounds are welcome. Estimated Materials Cost: $50.00
  6. Harnessing the irreverent humor of our former mascot this studio class will engage students to develop the "brand" or identity of our new mascot. Everything from the logo, the physical mascot costume, the backstory will all be developed in class together through interdisciplinary collaboration. As we look to create a fully inclusive representation for the university, participation in this course will teach students important collaboration skills, how to execute social research, and how to produce dynamic and engaging presentations to share the work of the class. It will further develop cross-disciplinary skills, support mutually successful outcomes during creative disagreements, and ultimately build a strong community amongst the class. The work developed during this course will be reviewed by the University and considered for potential use for promotional purposes and overall identity. Estimated Materials Cost: $65.00
  7. Today the whole world is stretched to rectangles and rebuilt through contemporary tools such as iPhone, Zoom, 3D scanner. Just as the invention of photography, the invention of the synthesizer and the smartphone led to a huge change in the way we see, produce sound, and play music. We have been closely interacting with tools as we form our world. Although the range of media that designers can fiddle is diversifying, we tend to design within a certain norm. There are legacies of different tools, materials, and media that have been built over time. By hacking the use of these conventional tools, we can generate new creations. Experimental practices and perspectives in digital tools are needed for a multilayered, critical, and detailed understanding of various digital tools. In this class, students analyze the tools' characteristics beyond the conventional use of their respective everyday tools and seek ways to discover new uses by twisting and flipping. Based on this method, we will look at how to intervene and overturn contemporary tools such as Penscanner, AR, panoramic camera in iPhone, Zoom, found footages, and Google Maps. Lectures and mini-workshops will be provided to help students understand the concept and context of tool rollovers and cracks in the screen. Finally, we will build our own methodology for tools and create new works using them. There is no need for prior experience in Photoshop, Illustrator, or coding, as the assignments are flexible. Estimated Materials Cost: $75.00 Also offered as GRAPH-1563; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

Spring 2023

  1. This seminar course analyzes the aesthetic conventions, narratives, and formats of works in new media. As a group, we will 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 will address the social and political contexts in which new media are disseminated, interpreted and privileged. Within this course, students will be expected to identify, analyze, and critique readings that critically inform and underwrite the foundations of their written thesis and studio practice. Students will contribute to the focus of the course through discussions and writings that contextualize their own work as it relates to critical theory. Class time will be mainly used for discussion of readings and concepts, critique of work and to introduce methods and theory. Graduate major requirement; D+M majors only. Open to first-year graduate students. Registration by D+M Department, course not available via web registration.
  2. This combined studio and seminar forum supports Digital + Media first-year graduate students during their second semester as they research and develop the theoretical, social, material, technical, and contextual aspects of their emergent arts practices. Students are encouraged to break comfort zones and practice through experimentation. Students pursue and refine individual interests, as well as collaborative projects within the department. Students conceptualize and discuss their work and their ongoing practice. 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. Each student is responsible to select readings and works important as references in individual research and to co-lead a discussion on a set of self-chosen readings and artists' works during the semester. The course is a mix of group discussions, group critiques, and individual meetings. 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 their thesis, and will contribute to the dialogue concerning the research and work of their classmates. Estimated Materials Cost: $100.00 - $300.00 Graduate major requirement; D+M majors only. Open to first-year graduate students. Registration by D+M Department, course not available via web registration.
  3. Experiments in Digital Media and Performance will introduce students to the multiplicity of contemporary digital performance practices within the field of fine art production. All aspects of digital media and performance will be addressed, from concept to proposal writing, presentation, exhibition to audience and community engagement, distribution, and site specificity. The focus of this course will be on an integrated approach to performance and digital media; including technical instruction, formal experimentation and critical dialogue. Students will engage in new media applications/production techniques alongside exposure to key contemporary and historical digital performance practices, from conception to archival practices. Biweekly performance workshops will develop the student's skills in "thinking the live", from web-based performance to site specificity, digital interventions, private and public performances, projects designed for live streaming and black-box theater. Workshops in improvisation, sound recording, video documentation, greenscreen and live-feed video will be incorporated into the weekly sessions. We will also consider the histories of performance within a fine art context, from Dada, Surrealism and Fluxus to endurance, process-based work and contemporary black, indigenous, feminist and queer strategies. We will develop several collaborative projects as well as create individual performances to be presented live in an end of term event, open to the greater RISD community. Contemporary Performance and Digital Artists will include: Andrea Fraser, Sharon Hayes, Mendi and Keith Obadike, Laurie Anderson, Marina Abramovic, Carolee Schneemann,Yoko Ono, Faith Holland, Steve Reinke, Valie Export, Chloe Bass, Dynasty Handbag, Rashad Newsom, The Yes Men, Pope L., Clifford Owens, Constance De Jong, My Barbarian, Kalup Linzy and The Wooster Group, among others. Critical Reading: Lucy Lippard, Maggie Nelson, Rebecca Schneider, José Esteban Muñoz, Malik Gaines, Laura Mulvey, Vaginal Davis, Amelia Jones, Johanna Fatemen and Eric Bogosian. Software: Adobe Premiere, After-Affects and Photoshop. Open to DM students only. Open to non-major graduate-level students pending seat availability and permission of instructor.
  4. In this seminar we will examine the potential of sustainable material innovation and biotechnology to inform art and design. Topics will include: living materials, bio art, synthetic biology, fluidic interfaces, bio materials, and more. We will examine a diversity of approaches - speculative art and design projects, research papers, emerging technologies - and discuss their future social implications. The goal is to create an interdisciplinary dialog and a shared literacy of research methods that will allow practitioners from different fields to innovate together towards a more sustainable and just future. Students will formulate a materials-based research proposal. The proposal will take the form of a research paper or/and a material prototype depending on students' interests. Students will be encouraged and supported to submit their research papers to a relevant conference in their field. Open to seniors and graduate-level students.
  5. Introduction to Computation focuses on computational techniques, methods, and ideas in the context of art and design. Studio projects first center on the design of algorithms then shift to involve computer programming and scripting. Critical attention is given to code as a body of crafted text with significant aesthetic, philosophical, and social dimensions, as well as the tension, conflict, and potential possible when computation generates, informs, or interacts with drawings, materials, forms, and spaces. Historical and contemporary works of computational art and design will be presented and assigned for analysis. This course is open to students of all majors and is designed for those with little or no experience in programming. In order to conduct work in this course, students will need a laptop computer. This course fulfills one of two core studio requirements for CTC Concentration. Estimated Materials Cost: $250.00 Concentration requirement.
  6. This course will look to early cybernetics as well as contemporary artists to explore the ontological, cultural, and practical implications of artworks produced with machine learning. Creative applications will include building and tagging datasets, training generative image networks (GANs), language models (GPT-3), custom deepfakes, and more. Readings will provide historical and technical context while helping students question if contemporary AI systems are tools, collaborators, or creative agents in their own right. Topics will include AI embodiment, the ethics of "thinking" machines, glitch in the age of machine learning, AI copyright law, and data as an aesthetic force. We will use ML as a chance to hybridize biology and technology, considering the applications of genetic algorithms, notions of evolved aesthetics, and the simulation of neurons as a basis for art making. Class time will be used for discussion, technical demos, and group exercises applying ML tools to concept art, brand design, creative writing, music making, and more. While we will take a broad view of ML's place in culture, our focus will be on practical applications for artists today. No coding experience is required for this course. Estimated Materials Cost: $40.00 Elective Open to seniors and above. Open to non-majors pending seat availability and permission of instructor.
  7. 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. Estimated Materials Cost: $100.00 - $200.00 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 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. Estimated Materials Cost: $100.00 - $200.00 Elective Open to seniors and graduate students. Permission of Instructor required.
  9. 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 DM Thesis Guidelines and Policies for clarification of the goals and expectations of the RISD DM MFA. Estimated Materials Cost: $100.00 - $300.00 Graduate major requirement; D+M majors only. Open to second-year graduate students. Registration by D+M Department, course not available via web registration.

SS 2022

  1. 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.