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Zack McCune

Woody Schneider

Liat Berdugo


Main » Syllabus


This course is a project-oriented workshop to explore techniques for effective and innovative use of text in digital media. We will investigate a broad range of examples of electronic writing as well as non-digital works that influenced writing in new media, such as visual poetry, hypertext, animation, soundscapes, and games. Throughout our investigations, we will emphasize issues of design, interactivity, and usability.

Course Web site: http://technekai.com/ewriting/wiki/

Meeting Time: Tuesdays 4-6.20pm in Sayles 204

Instructor: Aya Karpinska :: contact me


Students are expected to arrive on time to all sessions, complete weekly assignments, and contribute to class critiques and discussion. Students will put together an online portfolio to showcase their work, and complete a final project. Please be on time. If you are more than fifteen minutes late, you will be considered absent. If you have to miss class for any reason, let me know, and be sure to check with me or your classmates for work you may have missed. Assignments are due at the beginning of class. Make sure you back up your work - lost or corrupted files do not excuse you from handing in assignments.


We will use the labs to cover basic digital media skills (scanning, digitizing video, recording sound) and/or software (Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver). You may wish to purchase a USB memory stick as well as CDs/DVDs to back up your work. Lab sessions are Thursdays 5-6pm in the Multimedia Lab, Grad Tower E.


Below is an outline of the semester's topics and assignments. This schedule is not written in stone, it's written in a wiki, thus it is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor. Be sure to check this Web site for the latest version.

29 January, Week 1 :: What is digital literature?

Syllabus and overview of course.

Examples: Julius Popp : Bit.Fall. Typographic Illustration. Mai Ueda : Domain Poems. Michael Joyce : Afternoon. CODeDOC: W. Bradford Paley. Paul Notzold : TXTual Healing

Assignment: Visit UBUWEB and find one piece that appeals to you, to share next week in class. Read Brian Kim Stefans : What is Electronic Writing and explore linked works.

5 February Week 2 :: Just the text, ma'am

Review UBUWEB works. Manipulating text: cut-ups, erasures, and general dada madness.

Examples: Florian Cramer : Cut-ups Self-Explained. David Hirmes : erasures. Richard Kostelanetz : A Poetry-Film Storyboard: Transformations.

In-class exercise: Paper-based erasures (handout). Play Exquisite Corpse, using these rules.

Assignment: Read William Gillespie's The Oulipo: Constraints and Collaboration. Write an original one-paragraph creative piece for next week, then transform using all three of the Triple Anagram methods. Edit to your satisfaction, to be presented in class next week.

12 February, Week 3 :: Invited guests: cris cheek & John Sparrow

Discuss Triple Anagram pieces. Guest presentations.

Assignment: Document through images (photo, hand drawing) all the words in your life for one day, and get them into digital form. You should end up with 25+ images.

19 February, Week 4 :: President's Day

No class.

Assignment: For next week, be prepared to describe your word-image documentation process and unique trends or observations of your data set.

26 February, Week 5: Curse the alphabet

Letter as image; words as part of our daily landscape and documentation of our experiences.

Examples: TyPoCiTy. José Antonio Hernández-Diez : Hegel, Kafka, Kant, Jung. Jean-François Coen : La Tour de Pise. Kenny Goldsmith : fidget. Screening of Sucking on Words.

Assignment: Read Johanna Drucker : The Art of the Written Image. Two students will prepare questions about the reading for next week's discussion. Stitch your day-in-the-life images into a new work. Use only still images, no animation just yet.

4 March, Week 6: A thin line between text, image and space

Discuss Drucker article. Share last week's assignment.

Examples: Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries : Samsung Means To Come. Motomichi Nakamra : Bcc. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer : 1000 Platitudes. MovieAssembly.

Assignment: Revise your words-in-a-day pieces for next week OR do a new piece using found word-images and techniques from MovieAssembly.

11 March, Week 7: Visual narrative

Share revisions/MovieAssemblages.

Examples: PC only - geniwate : rice. Luc Courchesne : Portrait One.

Mac or PC - Flickr : Signs. Mission Stencil Story. Brothers McLeod : Spamland#3. Funny Garbage : Experiments

Book - Ann Jonas : Round Trip.

In-class exercise: Writing to a photo-novel (Chris Marker's Le Jetee).

Assignment: Visit poems that go, Electronic Literature Collection, or Drunken Boat and write a one-page response to a work of electronic writing of your choosing. You will be presenting the work you selected in class next week.

Also write up three ideas for your final project and email them to me. I will be meeting with each of you next Thursday to go over these ideas. Think big--what is your ideal project? What do you want electronic writing to be?

18 March, Week 8: Kinetic

Present and critique a work of electronic writing you have chosen. Focus on text in motion. Daniel Howe presents his work with RiTa.

Examples: Brian Kim Stefans: Dreamlife of Letters. Marion Bataille : ABC3D. Dan Waber : Strings. Jarrett Moody : Say What Again. Jenny Holzer : Truisms

Assignment: With a partner, create a new piece that combines text, image, and motion in a meaningful way. You will have three weeks to complete this collaboration, though you must show work-in-progress in class April 1. Mid-semester check-in - set a time to meet with me this Thursday.

25 March, Week 9: Spring Break

No class.

Assignment: Continue working on image, text and motion pieces.

1 April, Week 10: Animation

Guest John Cayley. Digital writing piece critiques: Liat and Scott.

Examples: Compare Ken Perlin : Kinetic Poetry and FlashComGuru : Just Letters. Film titles - Saul Bass: Psycho, North by Northwest. Richard Greenberg : Altered States.

Assignment: Continue working on image, text and motion pieces.

8 April, Week 11: Sound poetry

Share image+text+motion pieces. Microphones and sound editing.

Examples: Kurt Schwitters : Ursonate. Steve Reich : Come Out. Alvin Lucier : I Am Sitting In A Room. The Four Horsemen : Allegro 108. Jaap Blonk : Ursunography.

Assignment: Record yourself (or someone else) reading out loud, minimum 2 minutes in length. Using the sound you've recorded, create a short piece (1 minute minimum). Equipment suggestion: Marantz Audio Recorder, available via Media Services.

15 April, Week 12: Sound poetry

Share sound poems (consider live reading on top of recorded piece).

In-class exercise: Phoneme-names: pair up and compose a sound piece based on the phonemes in your name, or the name of someone you feel strongly towards.

Examples: Jackson Mac Low : Phoneme Dance in Memoriam John Cage. Caroline Bergvall : More Pets. Christian Bok : Motorized Razors. Joerg Piringer : Bilder, Schwarzweiss. Ben Rubin : Open Outcry.

Assignment: Post a final project description project plan to the class wiki; details to follow.

22 April, Week 13: Networked / Documentation

Special guest Justin Katko presents and performs select work.

Planning work: Mapping, Occam's Razor, Prototyping from Universal Principles of Design

Examples: Christophe Bruno : The Google AdWords Happening. Jonathan Harris : We Feel Fine.

Planning your online portfolio page, documentation as artform - Kelly Heaton : Reflection Loop.

Assignment: Continue working on your final project. You will be presenting your work-in-progress next week.

29 April, Week 14: First round final project presentations

Documentation continued; share final Projects-in-progress. Documentation continued (example, Cristobal Mendoza : Missed Connections).

Tips for performance – shortcuts to work, “cover” page/image, no hunting through files and apologizing, having a plan B.

Assignment: Polish up your final projects for next week.

6 May, Week 15: Second round final project presentations

Share final projects.

Page last modified on April 18, 2009, at 02:40 PM EST