Skip to main content

Fall 2020

  1. Code As Medium

    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. DM Graduate Studio/seminar 1

    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. DM Graduate Studio/seminar 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. 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.

  5. Immersive Spaces

    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 and IDISC-2039; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

  6. 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; D+M majors only.

    Open to first-year graduate students.

    Registration by D+M Department, course not available via web registration.

  7. Of Sound and Vision

    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

    Open to sophomores and above.

    Also offered as IDISC-2007 and CTC-2007; 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. Web Art As Site

    This course addresses the history and practice of art/literature made for and inseparable from the web, while teaching basic coding (in HTML, CSS, and jQuery), web-VR frameworks, and AI collaboration tools. Web art is space/ place/ landscape/ setting/ site; it is not held or beheld, but filled and inhabited. So, while exploring the growing canon of web art, we will also consider a broader tradition of site-building or site-altering art practices, including installation, performance, and video games. Questioning what it means for art to occupy space, we will focus on work by web artists whose bodies have not historically owned or controlled physical sites in the US. In the first half of the course, students will make one mini-project each week, reflecting new technical skills. Students will then focus on a larger web artwork (either a website or a "web intervention"), for which they will independently develop their technical skills. For all sites, students will be encouraged to deploy language, music, video, painting, and/or any other media, as experts or novices.

    Estimated Materials Cost: $100.00

    Open to non-majors, juniors and above pending seat availability and permission of the department.

  10. Writing

    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 2021

  1. Digital Ecology

    This course introduces students to the fundamentals of digital imaging/video, creative coding, and theory using ecology as a theme. We will explore links between digital technologies, the geophysical environment, and natural history through readings, class discussions, workshops, and presentations. Students will learn to collect, create, and alter digital media using Photoshop, Premiere, Max/MSP/Jitter, and experimental processes. Projects will emphasize reusing, repurposing, and recycling, and ask students to examine the environmental origins and impacts of digital media technologies.

    Estimated Materials Cost: $100.00

  2. Literacy_in_3-D.obj

    This course approaches computer-generated images and three-dimensional models from both a technical and conceptual perspective. Students will be able to enhance their artistic practices through gaining introductory skills in 3D production, as well as explore histories of digital image-making and their function as a conceptual vehicle. Communicating ideas with an audience and decoding media texts through developing understandings in media literacy, cultural production, and how 3D design and its interfaces shape user's understanding of the world around them will inform student's making process. Through cumulative investigation, students will build upon skills of critical analysis and knowledge of digital production's history.

    In tandem to building ideological understandings of media, students will develop an entire 3D production workflow and be inspired to claim ownership of their individual research methodologies. Fully immersed in the digital production realm, the importance of self-learning and researching will contribute to student's semester projects. Instead of staying with one software to solve everything, students will be exposed to a range of softwares in order to engage with 3D production efficiently and effectively. Students will experience 3D making as a creative process that enhances their existing art and design practice, rather than trying to merely replicate reality. Student's work will not only reflect on the digital production process and its technical elements, but also be created with an awareness of broader cultural context through deep conceptual development.

    Estimated Materials Cost: $100.00

  3. Remixing The Digital Commons

    In this course, we will develop techniques for remixing digital materials within the public domain. Through class discussions, we will re-evaluate originality as an artistic merit, examine the institution's role in distributing knowledge, and work to define ethical re-use practice given current legal frameworks on intellectual property. Casting a wide net to accommodate diverse research interests, we will learn to navigate databases and archives maintained by NASA, Prelinger, C-Span, Phenocam, and others. With an emphasis on open-source software, the course will introduce tools for collecting and recomposing audio, visual, text, and 3-D samples. Through ongoing individual research, students will scrutinize sources for encoded messages and interpret digital artifacts in relation to social, cultural, and environmental issues. Through assignments and group exercises, students will translate, juxtapose, and re-contextualize their digital collections through other forms - including, but not limited to: print, audio, film, sculpture, and architecture.

    Estimated Materals Cost: $40.00

  4. Speculating Systems

    - In your pocket lies money. Printed money. A system of control. -Above the drinking fountain is a flyer. Event tonight. A system of control. -You stand on the side of the street and stick out your thumb. A car stops. A system of control. -You sign into a webpage. Access denied. Systems of control. Our lives are full of systems of control. As scary as "systems of control" sounds, they have just as much potential to be a force for good as they can be monstrous. In practice, helpful and harmful systems are quite tangled together. In this course we will be seeking to detangle these knots and deliberately make knots. Specifically we are looking at how recent events (i.e. global pandemic) have created new systems of control in our everyday lives as individuals and artists. Students will explore the role of the artist as a printmaker, creative researcher, an innovator, a liar, and a design fiction theorist. Using printmaking, CNC processes and collaborative techniques students will dissect what it means to create art as a system.

    In order to comprehend, transgress, and dismantle the structures that we participate in and perpetuate we will be reading works by Donna Meadows, Edward A. Shanken, Jena Osman, and Frances Robertson. In combining printmaking and digital fabrication methods, this class aims to explore the possibilities of conventional printmaking to conceptualize, design, and produce art with respect to systems and creativity.

    Estimated Materials Cost: $100.00

    Also offered as DM-1516; register in the course for which credit is desired.

Spring 2021

  1. Critical Theory + Artistic Research In Context

    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. DM Graduate Studio/seminar 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. Futurities Of The Pluriverse

    If today's technologies are built upon yesterday's science fictions, it matters which fictions we embrace and it matters what technologies we speculate. In this course we will employ a science fiction lens as we co-create future worlds which value ethical, equitable, and sustainable relationships. Imagination is our greatest resource for reaching beyond 'techno corrections' and dismantling oppressive systems. We will study artists, activists, and theorists whose works casts light on mass resource extraction, racial bias in tech, surveillance capitalism, and climate migration. We will also look into Octavia Butler and Ursula K LeGuinn's works of fiction as we examine the interrelationship between those worlds and the broader culture.?

    Estimated Materials Cost: $100.00

    Elective

    Open to seniors and graduate students.

  4. 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 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.