Skip to main content

Fall 2019

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Immersive Spaces

    This course explores the relationships between new media languages and physical space. Using technologies ranging from the intimacy of handheld devices to the monumental scale of a building façade, in this class we will learn to activate the space through multimedia content and relational strategies. Based on conceptualizations such as "Relational Architecture" by Lozano Hemmer and the "Poetics of Augmented Space" by Lev Manovich, we will design interactive and audiovisual elements to enhance and re-contextualize spatial experiences that are media-rich, relational, and responsive. We will use software, video-projectors, VR headsets and various tracking technologies to investigate techniques of video-mapping, mixed reality, computer vision and interactive media. We will learn to deploy not only vision, but also hearing and touch to create true immersive and multi-sensorial environments. The class comprises of lectures, hands-on workshops and individual projects. The students will gain a deep understanding of topics on spatial thinking, spatial design and user-generated experiences related to space, as well as a theoretical and historical understanding of installation and interactive art.

    Estimated Materials Cost: $150.00

    Permission of Instructor required.

    Open to sophomore and above.

    Also offerd as CTC-2039; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

  5. Magic, Mysticism and Digital Technology

    Throughout time artists have operated in the realm of healer/shaman, magician/mystic, and fool while teasing between technologies and offering visions into the unseen. In this course we will create performance works utilizing audio, digital video, and/or installation to spark the spiritual mind. Students will develop a comprehension of the term 'technoetics', and discuss readings from Erik Davis' book TechGnosis. The semester will consist of a series of meditations, short projects and performance exercises, culminating into one final work. We'll review works by Roy Ascott, Tabita Rezaire, La Pocha Nostra, Laurie Anderson, Meriem Bennani, Juliana Huxtable, Frederick Heyman, Sun Ra, and Troika Ranch among others and discuss ways we can make and hold these connections in our work.

    Estimated Materials Cost: $150.00

    Permission of Instructor required.

    Open to sophomore and above.

    Also offered as CTC-2037; 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. Performing Post-internet

    This interdisciplinary studio course explores the critical perspectives of internet-based performance art. Students will be provided with the conceptual frameworks and historical contexts necessary to make compelling performances that either exist on the internet or make use of networked technologies like routers and IP cameras. Students may perform using their bodies, simple machines, twitter bots, or any medium of choice for one's followers, algorithms, strangers, trolls, and even viewers IRL. If a platform exists online, whether it is YouTube or email, Yelp or Reddit, then it is relevant to this course and ripe for performance. We will analyze performances by Marisa Olson, Ann Hirsch, Dynasty Handbag, Jayson Musson, Michael Mandiberg; and read work by Artie Vierkant, Hito Steyerl, Marvin Carlson, Micha Cárdenas, and many more.

    Permission of Instructor required.

    Open to sophomore and above.

    Also offered as CTC-2038; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

  8. Research Studio: Networked Realities

    Moving beyond the traditional framework of author and audience let us consider artworks as totems around which social connections emerge. Networked and interactive media now allow artists to actively shape intra-audience connections in a way that static, material art objects never could. This research studio attempts to fuse the social sciences, network theory, and the seemingly limitless possibilities of server, web and interface programming.

    Open to sophomore and above.

    Permission of Instructor required.

  9. 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.

    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

    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. Course not available via web registration.

  11. 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 2020

  1. Body 2.0

    Our bodies will be different in the future. This interdisciplinary course encourages students to reimagine the future human body. Students will explore the fundamentals of science storytelling, performance art and design fiction to develop innovative objects, performances and experiences. These explorations could be technological, political, environmental, spiritual and so on.

    Students will be exposed to contemporary discourses on body and performance to further explore theories on embodiment, materiality, bodily practices and spatiality of body. We will pose new questions about the role of the body, learn to use body as a medium to approach artistic practice and reflect on current problems and social issues through "hacking" bodies, spaces and narratives.

    Also offered as DM-1545; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

  2. Future Mind

    Can catastrophic thinking hold the key to true happiness? This question and more will be explored in this studio informed seminar that proposes a practical transdisciplinary research and artistic methodology for a troubling digital age of information over-saturation and despair.

    Employing a nomadic, tangential, and rhizomatic methodology for investigation and making, we will draw upon ancient wisdom teachings; critical and cultural studies; and emergent neuroscience findings related to embodied mindfulness to uncover theoretical and evidence based models aimed at decreasing suffering for self and, in turn, other. We will investigate mindfulness in theory and practice; analyze deconstructionist, feminist, and scholarly texts; read medical and public health journals; and watch films and videos. Examining the incomprehensibility of the singular, social, and environmental crises we face, we will examine whether deeply held ideological self-identification is the root cause for much of our shared dis-ease.

    Students will be encouraged to make brave connections across disciplines through written, oral, and artistic creation in order to foster critical thinking that occupies the in-between spaces of ambivalence and uneasiness so they may cultivate new arts-integrated toolsets for change. Running headfirst into the big issues facing our time, together we will question whether confronting suffering directly offers possibilities for transcendence here and now.

    In short, this course encourages getting lost as a way to get found and asks, 'what kind of future-mindedness is necessary to succeed in our troubling times?'

    Estimated Materials Cost: $100.00

  3. Multisensory Practices

    Multisensory Practices offers a studio-lab context to explore modes of integrating alternative sensory modalities in artworks. By understanding cognitive processes active in perception, we will look at methodologies for making embodied sensory environments that stimulate experiential encounters. Through experimentation, lectures on cognitive science, and guided discussions on artistic practices, we will carefully examine elements within and around the work that communicate intent, mediate the audience's sensory experience and stimulate embodied connections through various perceptual channels.

    This course will focus on providing tools to engage audiences at varying affective levels through an understanding of human sensibilities and methods of communication. We will discuss scientific readings about cognition, perception and the senses - identifying a sensorial spectrum including proprioception, spatial information and time - as well as their use in multisensory artworks. Through studio research, dialogue and critiques, students will then explore how to employ the senses into felt content. Centrally and throughout the course, students will be encouraged to find alternative means to communicate intent into sensorial encounters with the work.

    The students will be provided with scientific readings on sense perception and installation art, as well as workshops on loudspeaker and video projector arrays. Lectures by guest speakers and a field trip to experience multisensory works will augment our research in this studio course as well.

  4. 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.

  5. Origin Story

    We all construct our identities daily whether it's during introductions at a party or while writing an artist bio for a gallery. Sharing your background in a succinct, sincere, and engaging way to connect you to others. Beyond this surface, the experiences, people, and locations that have shaped you can and will continue to inform your voice as an artist. However, with any choice in the design process, critical thought needs to be applied.

    Some artists choose to focus on origin stories while others occupy formal or conceptual realms. Regardless, of the thrust of the work, the artist's hand is always present. In this class we will explore our own origin stories while examining and questioning mid-career contemporary artists and theorists who address issues related to personal narrative in art. Sparked by an interest in stories centering on a hero's transformation through the adaptation of technology, students will research and explore models of origin stories while developing projects relating to their own history. Technology workshops will focus on a DIY approach to tool-making. Whether it is a masked crusader from popular culture, an Ancient Greek mariner, or former RISD alumni who have developed a grad thesis into an international community action think tank, this class will aim to equip the student with the tools to examine their origin story now and fold it into their artistic careers.

Spring 2020

  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. Research Studio: Networked Realities

    Moving beyond the traditional framework of author and audience let us consider artworks as totems around which social connections emerge. Networked and interactive media now allow artists to actively shape intra-audience connections in a way that static, material art objects never could. This research studio attempts to fuse the social sciences, network theory, and the seemingly limitless possibilities of server, web and interface programming.

    Open to sophomore and above.

    Permission of Instructor required.

  4. 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.

    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.

  5. 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.

    Estimated Materials Cost: $100.00 - $200.00

    Elective

    Open to seniors and graduate students.

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

  6. 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.