Fall 2021

  1. This course will explore the technical and conceptual fundamentals of computer programming in the broader context of a sustained studio practice. In addition to teaching basic software coding skills from the ground up, the course will focus on the social and historical backgrounds of these technologies and how they shape the growth of media, identity, politics and the everyday. Related works from the contemporary art and design fields will be examined, ranging from visual, performance and sound art to architecture, product design and beyond. Students will be expected to engage with computer coding and related technologies conceptually or technically in their studio work. The course will consist of introductory exercises in computer programming, discussions of articles related to contemporary digital media, frequent critiques, and an intensive final project that pushes the boundaries of computer coding as a creative tool. Mistakes, pitfalls and frustrations will be expected and encouraged as students navigate this quickly changing medium. No prior programming experience is necessary. Graduate elective Open to Digital + Media majors only. Open to non-majors pending seat availability and permission of the department.
  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 DM 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 Open to sophomores and above. Also offerd as DM-2039; Register in the course for which credit is desired.
  5. 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.
  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 for DM credit. Also offered as GRAD-3104; Register in the course for which credit is desired.
  11. This studio course is comprised of intensive writing sessions, group critiques, and one-on-one meetings designed to support each student in assembling a comprehensive written thesis. Within this class, students will develop a critical, conceptual understanding of their studio work and process. Students will explore strategies for communicating the conceptual underpinnings of their studio practice clearly and effectively within a comprehensive document. To accomplish this we will address: thesis rationale, development of concepts, and an analysis of source material that may include 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; D+M majors only. Open to second-year graduate students. Registration by D+M Department, course not available via web registration.

Wintersession 2022

  1. Getting to know the universe means understanding the reality in which the Earth and all human experience is staged. A cosmic perspective is corrosive to the ego while at the same time giving us the liberty to find immense value in a mote of dust. With one eye for science and the other for art, this course will explore some of the basic concepts in astronomy while discussing how they can inform art. From the origins of time and space to reality fracturing black holes and eventually the inevitable heat death of the universe no topic is out of reach as we built a toolkit of vocabulary, critical thinking, and data processing for scientifically informed creative expression. This course is for artists seeking to further their practice with scientific discussion in a cosmic context. Estimated Materials Cost: $50.00
  2. This studio course focuses on deepfakes before and after the Internet through examining different forms of art including, but not limited to, painting, film, documentary, theater, and new media art. The theoretical and historical perspectives of Hanif Abdurraqib, John Berger, Legacy Russell, and others, will be explored through discussion, writing, and application to students' studio practice. This class will encourage critical thinking towards authorship, originality, and the systems that uphold these values. The course's technical demonstrations and assignments will seek to highlight the diversity of applications and techniques of deepfakes in art, and to creatively challenge existing ideas of ownership in each student's own studio practice.
  3. In this course, we will examine archival methods and practices as it relates to the creation of the personal archive. We will concentrate on late 20th, early 21st century archival processes to understand how they have contributed to the collective body of knowledge. Through a combination of readings, viewings, exercises and discussions, we will look at individual processes of archiving, and how it contributes to personal knowledge and memory.
  4. This intensive studio course investigates computational approaches to generating sound and image in real time. Precedents from experimental film and video, as well as sound installation and performance art will be examined in relationship both to human perception and the, students' artistic practice. The course will include discussion of key historical works and texts, hands-on demonstrations and in-class projects, as well as critical engagement with new works by class members. Students will use programming environments such as Max and its object libraries for sound and video, MSP and Jitter to explore the creative and expressive potentials of an intermedia production practice culminating in the development of a larger work that incorporates knowledge gained throughout the course. Estimated Materials Cost: $100.00 Also offered as CTC-W007; Register in the course for which credit is desired.
  5. Every art practice is a series of decisions. What happens when those decisions are executed as a script of code? How does an artist's sense of value shift when a hundred images are as easy to produce as one image? As pressure grows on creatives of all fields to "generate content" we can look to contemporary procedural generation models in video games as well as the history of generative systems in art and design to challenge the limits of quick and unique production models. Students will create new works though demos and workshops on digital photography, image archiving, photo editing, digital painting, scripting in Photoshop, and using Processing to generate thousands of images. Concepts and context around programming images will be provided through group seminars and multimedia mini projects that challenge the class to understand the line(s) between analogue, digital, manual, and automated methodologies. No prior experience in Photoshop or Processing is needed, assignments are flexible, and previous coding experience is not necessary. Estimated Materials Cost: $75.00
  6. What will future species be like? What does it mean if we are creating organisms that redefine species in the future? If we consider numbers, viruses are the most abundant biological entities on Earth, plants weigh the most, and even our human body is only 43% 'human', with all kinds of micro-beings in it. We are co-living on earth with all other species on it. As the technology of genetics, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence is developing fast nowadays, we are at a good point to consider our future with nature, and all other species in it. In this class, we will explore our relationship with potential new species through research-based projects. We will go through theories in Speculative Everything (Dunne & Raby, 2013) and Design Fiction (Bleecker, 2009), explore non-human ethics in Matters of Care (María Puig de la Bellacasa), and form fictional worlds with new biological futures. We will be using art and design as mediums to ask questions about what is and can be life forms, leading to ethical concerns emerging from advancements in science and technology. This class will be centered on the creation of strong concepts/reflections rather than a feasible solution or technology. Students will be given 2 assignments on quick prototyping and creative writing to form stories, scenarios, and diegetic objects; and then are encouraged to use all kinds of mediums to form their final speculative species/worlds. Coding or specific technical abilities are not required. Estimated Materials Cost: $50.00

Spring 2022

  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. 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.
  4. 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 for DM credit. Also offered as GRAD-3104; Register in the course for which credit is desired.
  5. 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.