Games, Interactive Art, and New Genres

Games, Interactive Art, and New Genres span offerings in visual arts, film and media, and computer science to foster technical and digital literacy in the arts. Designed for experimentation, this initiative helps students establish digital proficiency while supporting the exploration of a wide range of new media forms and technologies. Courses of study might include visual programming, artificial intelligence, gaming, robotics, experimental animation, computer arts, experimental media design, data visualization, real-time interactivity, digital signal processing, cross-platform media environments, and mobile media development. Students are encouraged to coordinate these project-based investigations of the digital throughout their studies in the humanities, including literature, philosophy, politics, sociology, theatre, and writing.

2018-2019 Courses

Understanding Experience: Phenomenological Approaches in Anthropology

Open , Seminar—Spring

How does a chronic illness affect a person’s orientation to the everyday? What are the social and political forces that underpin life in a homeless shelter? What is the experiential world of a deaf person, a musician, a refugee, or a child at play? In an effort to answer these and like-minded questions, anthropologists in recent years have become increasingly interested in developing phenomenological accounts of particular “lifeworlds” in order to understand—and convey to others—the nuances and underpinnings of such worlds in terms that more orthodox social or symbolic analyses cannot achieve. In this context, phenomenology entails an analytic method that works to understand and describe in words phenomena as they appear to the consciousnesses of certain peoples. Phenomenology, put simply, is the study of experience. The phenomena most often in question for anthropologists include the workings of time, perception, emotions, selfhood, language, bodies, suffering, and morality as they take form in particular lives within the context of any number of social, linguistic, and political forces. In this course, we will explore phenomenological approaches in anthropology by reading and discussing some of the most significant efforts along these lines. Each student will also try her or his hand at developing a phenomenological account of a specific subjective or intersubjective lifeworld through a combination of interviewing, participant observation research, and ethnographic writing.

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Specters of the Subject: Hauntologies of Ghosts, Phantasms, and Imaginings in Contemporary Life

Advanced , Seminar—Year

“The future belongs to the ghosts,” remarked the philosopher Jacques Derrida in 1996. As his interlocutor Bernard Stiegler phrases the main idea behind this statement, “Modern technology, contrary to appearances, increases tenfold the power of ghosts.” With the advent of the Internet, various forms of social media, and the ubiquity of filmic images in our lives, Derrida's observations have proven to be quite prophetic, such that they call for a new field of study—one that requires less an ontology of being and the real and more a “hauntology” (to invoke Derrida's punish term) of the spectral, the virtual, the phantasmic, the imaginary, and the recurrent revenant. In this seminar, we consider ways in which the past and present are haunted by ghosts. Topics to be covered include: specters and hauntings, figures and apparitions, history and memory, trauma and political crisis, fantasy and imagination, digital interfaces, and visual and acoustical images. We will be considering a range of films and video, photography, literary texts, acoustic reverberations, Internet and social media, and everyday discourses and imaginings. Through these inquiries, we will be able to further our understanding of the nature of specters and apparitions in the contemporary world in their many forms and dimensions. Students will be invited to undertake their own hauntologies and thus craft studies of the phenomenal force of specters, hauntings, and the apparitional in particular social or cultural contexts.

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Introduction to Computer Programming

Open , Lecture—Fall

This lecture presents a rigorous introduction to computer science and the art of computer programming, using the elegant, eminently practical, yet easy-to-learn programming language Python. We will learn the principles of problem solving with a computer while gaining the programming skills necessary for further study in the discipline. We will emphasize the power of abstraction, the theory of algorithms, and the benefits of clearly written, well-structured programs. Fundamental topics include: how computers represent and manipulate numbers, text and other data (such as images and sound); variables and symbolic abstraction; Boolean logic; conditional, iterative, and recursive computation; functional abstraction (“black boxes”); and standard data structures such as arrays, lists, and dictionaries. We will learn introductory computer graphics and how to process simple user interactions via mouse and keyboard. We will also consider the role of randomness in otherwise deterministic computation, basic sorting and searching algorithms, how programs can communicate across networks, and some principles of game design. Toward the end of the semester, we will investigate somewhat larger programming projects and so will discuss file processing; modules and data abstraction; and object-oriented concepts such as classes, methods, and inheritance. As we proceed, we will debate the relative merits of writing programs from scratch versus leveraging existing libraries of code. Discussion topics will also include the distinction between decidable and tractable problems, the relationship between programming and artificial intelligence, the importance of algorithmic efficiency to computer security, and Moore’s Law and its impact on the evolution of programming languages and programming style. Weekly hands-on laboratory sessions will reinforce the programming concepts covered in class.

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Introduction to Web Programming

Open , Lecture—Spring

This lecture introduces the fundamental principles of computer science via the creation of interactive Web pages. We will focus on the core triumvirate of Web technologies: HTML for content, CSS for layout, and—most important for us—JavaScript for interactivity. Examples of the kinds of Web applications that we will build include a virtual art gallery; a password generator and validator; and an old-school, arcade-style game. We will learn programming from the ground up and demonstrate how it can be used as a general-purpose, problem-solving tool. Throughout the course, we will emphasize the power of abstraction and the benefits of clearly written, well-structured code. We will cover variables, conditionals, loops, functions, recursion, arrays, objects, JSON notation, and event handling. We will also discuss how JavaScript communicates with HyperText Markup Language (HTML) via the Document Object Model (DOM) and the relationship of HTML, JavaScript, and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Along the way, we will discuss the history of the Web, the challenge of establishing standards, and the evolution of tools and techniques that drive the Web’s success. We will learn about client-server architectures and the differences between client-side and server-side Web programming. We will consider when it makes sense to design from the ground up and when it might be more prudent to make use of existing libraries and frameworks rather than reinvent the wheel. We will also discuss the aesthetics of Web design: Why are some pages elegant (even art) when others are loud, awkward to use, or—worse yet—boring. Weekly hands-on laboratory sessions will reinforce the programming concepts covered in lecture. No prior experience with programming or Web design is necessary (nor expected nor even desirable).

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Drawing for Animation: Character Design

Open , Seminar—Fall

This course focuses on the concepts of animated-motion and character-design development as a preproduction stage to animation. Students will gain knowledge in drawing by engaging with formal spatial concepts in order to create fully realized characters, both visually and conceptually. Through the development of character boards, model sheets, beat boards, and character walk-cycle animatics, students will draw and conceptualize human, animal, mechanical, and hybrid figures. Students will research characters in their visual, environmental, psychological, and social aspects to establish a full understanding of characterization. Both hand-drawn materials and digital drawing tablets will be used throughout the semester. Photoshop, Storyboard Pro, and Final Cut Pro software will be utilized for character boards, model sheets, and walk-cycle animatics. The final project for this course will include a concept-based, fully developed, multi-character animatic. Knowledge from this course can be used to create and enhance animations, to establish a character outline for an interactive media project, or to help in developing a cast of characters for a graphic novel or narrative film.

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Drawing for Animation: Concept Art

Open , Seminar—Spring

This course will explore the preproduction aspects of animation concept development. Students will gain knowledge in character development, background environments, object and prop design, flora and fauna, scene building, color keys, aerial mapping, and techniques for digital painting. Through the development of matte paintings, model sheets, and animatics, students will draw and conceptualize spaces, characters, and props that are visually harmonious and consistent in both form and function. Students will research and produce narrative outlines that include visual and environmental components to establish a full understanding of an animated project. Both hand-drawn materials and digital drawing will be used throughout the semester. Photoshop, Storyboard Pro, and Final Cut Pro software will be utilized for character design, background paintings, and concept presentation animatics. The final conference project for this course will include a fully developed, multicharacter/multi-environment animatic. Knowledge from this course can be used to create and enhance an animation portfolio, to establish a concept outline for an interactive media project, and to help when developing a cast of characters and environments for a graphic novel or an animated film.

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Hand-Drawn Animation

Open , Seminar—Spring

This course focuses on the fundamentals of drawing as they pertain to two-dimensional, hand-drawn animation. Students will gain an understanding of value, motion, and light logic and learn to establish form and structure utilizing concepts in perspective. The course will introduce students to traditional techniques of hand-drawn, frame-by-frame animation, where movement is created through successive, sequential drawings. Students will learn about body mechanics and motion flow in the development of animated characters through techniques that include walk cycles, turning of forms, transformations, holds, squash and stretch, weight, and resistance. Students will design and create pencil test projects using Dragon Frame and Final Cut Pro software. Examples of animations illustrating hand-drawn techniques will be screened regularly. The course will conclude with a final project, for which students develop, conceptualize, and produce a fully animated, hand-drawn short film. Information and skills established in this class can be used to improve basic drawing proficiency, to establish fundamentals for later digital animation production, to create and enhance an animation portfolio, and/or to develop tangible skills for producing graphic novels.​

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Storyboarding for Film and Animation

Open , Seminar—Fall

This course focuses on the art of storyboard construction as the preproduction stage for film and animation. Students will be introduced to storyboard strategies, exploring visual concepts such as shot types, continuity, pacing, transitions, and sequencing. Both classical and experimental techniques for creating storyboards will be covered. Emphasis will be placed on the production of storyboard drawings, both by hand and digitally, to negotiate sequential image development and to establish shot-by-shot progression, staging, frame composition, editing, and continuity. Instruction will concentrate primarily on drawing, from thumbnail sketches through final presentation storyboards and animatics. The final project for this class will be the production by each student of a full presentation storyboard and a hi-res animatic in a combined visual, audio, and text presentation format. Knowledge of storyboards and animatics from this class can be used later for idea development and presentation of your project to collaborators, for pitching projects, for professional agencies, and—most importantly—for you, the maker.

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Advanced Projects In Writing for the Screen

Advanced , Seminar—Fall

This one-semester class is for the serious, advanced screenwriter. Consideration for the course requires a writer’s statement about the project you wish to pursue, a list of courses taken, and screenwriting experience, as well as a five-page screenwriting sample that must be emailed in advance of any fall interview to fstrype@sarahlawrence.edu. Once the materials are received, an interview will be scheduled between instructor and student. The seminar will be devoted to reconceptualizing, redeveloping, and restructuring your project-in-process, naturally depending upon your starting point. We will then pursue a rigorous schedule of weekly workshops and diagnostic trouble-shooting critiques. By semester’s end, you will be expected to have a polished draft.

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Game Theory: The Study of Conflict and Strategy

Open , Lecture—Spring

The minimum required preparation for successful study of game theory is one year each of high-school algebra and geometry. No other knowledge of mathematics or social science is presumed.

Warfare, elections, auctions, labor-management negotiations, inheritance disputes, even divorce—these and many other conflicts can be successfully understood and studied as games. A game, in the parlance of social scientists and mathematicians, is any situation involving two or more participants (players) capable of rationally choosing among a set of possible actions (strategies) that lead to some final result (outcome) of typically unequal value (payoff or utility) to the players. Game theory is the interdisciplinary study of conflict, whose primary goal is the answer to the single, simply-stated, but surprisingly complex question: What is the best way to “play”? Although the principles of game theory have been widely applied throughout the social and natural sciences, their greatest impact has been felt in the fields of economics, political science, and biology. This course represents a survey of the basic techniques and principles in the field. Of primary interest will be the applications of the theory to real-world conflicts of historical or current interest.

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Discrete Mathematics: A Bridge to Advanced Mathematics

Intermediate , Seminar—Fall

Your voice will produce a mostly continuous sound signal when you read this sentence out loud. As it appears on the page, however, the previous sentence is composed of 79 distinct characters—including letters and a punctuation mark. Measuring patterns—whether continuous or discrete—is the raison d'être of mathematics, and different branches of mathematics have developed to address the two sorts of patterns. Thus, a course in calculus treats motion and other continuously changing functions. In contrast, discrete mathematics addresses problems of counting, order, computation, and logic. We will explore these topics and their implications for mathematical philosophy and computer science. The form of this seminar will be that of a (mathematical) writing workshop. We will work collaboratively to identify and reproduce the key formal elements of mathematical exposition and proof as they appear in both mathematical literature and each other's writing. This seminar is designed for students interested in advanced mathematical study and highly recommended for students with an interest in computer science, law, logic, or philosophy. Some prior study of calculus is highly recommended.

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Virtually Yours: Relating and Reality in the Digital Age

Open , Seminar—Year

This yearlong seminar will examine relating and reality in the digital age. In the fall semester, we will focus on ways in which humans have evolved to relate to each other and to be related to and how our innate relational patterns fit (or do not fit) within the rapidly evolving digital world. We will consider ways in which digital life is changing how people relate and ways in which this may be challenging for some but beneficial for others. We will begin with relevant historical and developmental perspectives on attachment theory, human bonding, and shifting relational expectations. We will move on to consider how various realms of the digital world (e.g., social media, messaging, dating apps, video chats, artificial intelligence, virtual reality) impact our relational patterns, as well as aspects of self- and identity expression (e.g., of gender, sexuality, values, beliefs, interests). We will consider the role of digital spaces in making new connections, building friendships, falling in love, and maintaining romantic bonds, along with bullying, revenge, trolling, and potential barriers to empathy that may occur when our gazes are fixed on screens and not on each other. We will also consider our emerging engagement with artificial intelligence and our attachment to digital devices themselves. In the spring semester, we will examine how reality has been defined historically, clinically, and culturally; how one’s sense of reality is shaped through development; and what internal, environmental, social, and cultural factors contribute to one’s sense of reality. Can reality ever truly be objective? Building on material from the first semester, we will examine the innate, developmental, cultural, and social psychological factors that shape our perception of reality and our choice of reliable sources, including the roles of race, gender, and ethnicity in these processes. We will consider how psychological constructs and psychometric measures of reality have taken those factors into consideration, both currently and historically. We will next consider ways in which one’s sense of reality may be impacted by clinical conditions such as brain injury, psychosis, depression, trauma, and anxiety; altered by substances such as psychedelics; influenced by dreams; and potentially enhanced through meditation. We will then consider how the content, pace, and sheer volume of information currently cycling through social media and 24-hour news outlets may impact our perception of reality. Classes will be both discussion-based and experiential, with opportunities for observation (e.g., observing children relating/engaging in play in the SLC Early Childhood Center free from digital devices) and in-class activities related to weekly topics (e.g., comparing experiences engaging with early logic-based digital toys such as Simon and Speak ’n’ Spell vs. digital toys that express affection such as Furby and contemporary AI). Class reading will include primary- and secondary-source academic material from diverse perspectives in developmental, neuropsychological, clinical, and cultural psychology and related fields. Supplemental material will include relevant literature, memoir, TedTalks, and popular media coverage of related topics. Conference topics may include, but are not limited to, the role of digital spaces in forming and maintaining relationships; relationships formed to artificial intelligence and/or digital devices; and/or developmental, neuropsychological, clinical, social, and/or cultural perspectives on/shifts in relating in the digital age. Conference projects may be completed in the form of an APA-style literature review, original data collection, and/or a creative piece with academic justification and will include a class presentation. All students will be required to make a one-time observational visit to the SLC Early Childhood Center (ECC) and to the Wartburg, a center for older adults. Optional weekly fieldwork is available and encouraged for any interested students. When placed at the Early Childhood Center (ECC), for example, students will work closely with classroom teachers one hour per week and will become part of the classroom (as advised and supervised by classroom teachers) while maintaining weekly observation logs relevant to seminar objectives and conference work. When placed at the Institute for Music and Neurological Function at Wartburg, students, working with staff, will use digital tablets to help residents in dementia and Alzheimer’s care develop individualized playlists of meaningful songs and music in order to help them connect with important memories and important relationships throughout their lives. Students will help residents access these playlists and write up a playlist protocol to be shared with future caregivers and family members for continued use. Optional fieldwork requires a two-hour weekly time commitment plus 15-20 minutes travel time.

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Art From Code

Open , Small seminar—Fall

This course is a “live-coding,” practice-based introduction to visual-arts programming—including color, shape, transformations, and motion—designed for artists with little or no prior programming experience. We’ll meet twice weekly to code together live—working on short, in-class exercises within a larger analysis of the social, cultural, and historical nature of programming cultures. All students will be required to keep a sketchbook and participate in installation. Artists include Reas, Davis, Riley, MacDonald, and others. Taught in p5js, HTML5, and Processing.

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First-Year Studies: New Genres: Drawing Machines

Open , FYS—Year

In 2016, So Kanno and Takahiro Yamaguchi used skateboards and pendulums to create “The Senseless Drawing Bot,” a self-propelling device that sprays abstract lines on walls. Meanwhile, François Xavier Saint Georges used power tools to create “The Roto,” a small circular machine that prints orbital graphite patterns on flat surfaces. In 2011, Eske Rex, a designer in Copenhagen, built two nine-foot towers to stage a double harmonograph for Milan Design Week. Joseph Griffiths uses exercise bikes. Alex Kiessling uses robot arms. Olafur Eliasson simply vibrates balls covered in ink across paper. For centuries, artists have been obsessed with machines that make pictures; today, their ongoing experiments with software, robots, and weird bizarro contraptions have become a core aspect of the studio’s relationship to technology. While many drawing machines look backward through history for ideas about mechanized art, contemporary projects are often based on computer programs that engage programming as an artistic practice. Part art studio, part history, part programming, and part mad scientist lab with a bit of eBay salvage thrown in, the goal of this FYS course is to study the history of drawing machines with the intent of turning ordinary objects into marvelous machines and goofy gadgets that know how to draw—hopefully, in a way all their own.

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Game Studio: Level Design

Sophomore and above , Small seminar—Fall

This is a guided code and tutorial class designed to introduce students to the basic tools, concepts, and techniques used in game development, including games programming basics, game art, sound effects, music, narrative design, interactables, and game mechanics. Taught in Unity 2D/C#, with Pyskel, Tiled, and LMMS Studio.

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Game Studio: Nonlinear and Interactive Narratives

Sophomore and above , Small seminar—Spring

Prerequisite: Game Studio: Level Design

>As more stories are delivered on interactive devices, our idea of narrative keeps changing. This course explores the strategies of nonlinear, multilinear, modular, and interactive forms of design while analyzing several examples of the nonlinear story design found in games, electronic literature, and interactive art. Students will develop the critical tools to create and analyze interactive projects. All students will keep a sketchbook, participate in game night, develop one nonlinear or interactive narrative, and write one five-page design document. Artists include Leishman, Gysin, Eco, Calvino, Mateas, and others. Taught in Unity 2D/C#, with Pyskel, Tiled, and LMMS Studio.

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New Genres: Systems Aesthetics

Sophomore and above , Small seminar—Spring

Prerequisite: Art from Code

From Gordon Pask’s Colloquy of Mobiles to Paolo Cirio’s Google Will Eat Itself, the shift from object to process or system has had a profound influence on contemporary art. This class looks at the history, theory, and practice of systems aesthetics through art making, readings, lectures, demonstrations, discussions, critiques, and writing. Class time consists of demonstrations of technique, balanced with presentations of artist examples and discussions of systems theorists presenting these practices within the broader social, material, and political aspects of the field. Artists and theorists include Benjamin, Weaver, Shannon, Burnham. Ascott, Luhmann, and others.

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3D Modeling

Open , Seminar—Spring

This course introduces students to the process of constructing digital objects and environments in the virtual space of the computer. Emphasis will be on a strong grasp of form, space, and composition. Fundamentals of hard-edge and organic surface modeling will be thoroughly exercised, while further exploration of the digital tools will cover shading and texturing, lighting, and rendering with the virtual camera. Over the course of the semester, students will be challenged to create increasingly complex objects, environments, and imagery. Through readings and discussion, students will also be encouraged to consider the conceptual ramifications of working in computer space. Contemporary examples of computer-generated imagery in art, film, and media—juxtaposed with historical views on visual illusion from art and philosophy—will form a broader context in which to examine the medium.

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Introduction to Digital Imaging

Open , Seminar—Fall

This course covers contemporary digital practice, with an emphasis on Photoshop skills and imaging techniques from scanning to printing. Proper digital workflow is the focus, while working through the basics of image manipulation tools, color correction, and retouching. The skills covered will build a solid basis for further exploration of photography, fine-art printing, and more radical digital experiments. The broader classroom discussion emphasizes computer-generated and -manipulated imagery as a new paradigm in contemporary art, photography, and culture in general. Students are encouraged to explore the potential of digital tools in the context of their personal work—visual arts-related or otherwise—stressing open-ended visual possibilities, as well as technical and conceptual rigor.

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First-Year Studies: The New Narrative Photography

Open , FYS—Year

A photograph presented alone and without a descriptive caption is like a simple utterance: “ooh!” or “aah!” or “huh?” When pictures are presented in groups with accompanying text and perhaps in conjunction with political or poetic conceptual strategies, however, any statement becomes possible. Collectively, photographs can begin to function as a sentence, a paragraph, or a larger discourse. Whether working in fiction or nonfiction, artists such as Alan Sekula, Robert Frank, Susan Meiselas, Taryn Simon, Jim Goldberg, Roni Horn, and others have transformed the reach of the photograph. Collectively, they have created a medium: The New Narrative Photography. In this course, students will study the work of artists and others and will create their own bodies of work. If you have a story to tell or a statement to make, this course is open to you. No previous photographic experience is necessary nor is any special equipment. The opportunity to forge a new medium is rare. This course aims to create the forum and the conditions necessary for all to do so in a critical and supportive workshop environment.

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The Ideas of Photography

Open , Seminar—Year

This course is a hybrid. Each week of the first semester, a different photographic idea or genre will be traced from its earliest iterations to its present form through slide lectures and readings. And each week, students will respond with their own photographic work inspired by the visual presentations and readings. Topics include personal dress-up/narrative, composite photography/photographic collage, the directorial mode, fashion/art photography, new strategies in documentary practice, abstraction/”new photography,” the typology in photography, the photograph in color, and the use of words and images in combination. In the second semester, the emphasis will shift as students choose to work on a subject and in a form that coincides with the ideas that they most urgently wish to express. No previous experience in photography is necessary nor is any special equipment. A desire to explore, to experiment, and to create a personally meaningful body of work are the only prerequisites.

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Media Burn: Moving-Image Installation in Practice

Open , Seminar—Year

This yearlong production seminar investigates histories, strategies, and concepts related to the production and exhibition of moving-image installation. Over the year, students will investigate the histories of moving-image installation and create their own works of time-based art. We will look at artworks that use moving images, space, sound, loops, performance, site-specificity, chance operations, multiple channels, and games as tools for communicating ideas. In the fall semester, our work will be inspired by close readings of specific seminal artworks on installation from the late 1960s to the present, including pieces that utilize feedback loops, multiple projections, home movies, and new technologies. Students will simultaneously learn craft and concept through collaborative and individual production. In the spring semester, we will engage with our own concepts and ideas of how time-based installation can be activated. Site-specificity, social practice, and interdisciplinary projects are introduced, and students are encouraged to connect their conference in this class to collaborations in theatre, dance, sculpture, painting, and academics. Conference works involve research, craft, and rigorous conceptual and technical practice and are presented in exhibitions at the end of each semester. A component of the class will take place outside the classroom at museums, galleries, nonprofits, performance spaces, and historic sites in and around New York. P.S. The title of the class, Media Burn, comes from the 1975 performance by the San Francisco-based art collective Ant Farm (https://www.eai.org/titles/media-burn).

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Wood, Dust, Nail

Open , Seminar—Year

This yearlong class gets its name from the materials list for a sculpture by the artist David Hammons. What can these three things tell us about contemporary sculpture? How can a wall, dust, and a nail work together to produce sculptural meaning? Hammons was an elusive figure and made artworks that reflected his belief that sculpture could function within the space where the poetic overlapped with the absurd, where absence was just as important as visibility, and where the mundane could reveal profound truths. In this class, we will use this artwork as inspiration as we take a broad look at what it means to make sculpture against the backdrop of contemporary art. We will focus on sculpture’s ability to act as commentary, critique, or even perversion of the existing physical world. Assignments will deal with all aspects of making, including, but not limited to, technique, materials, textures, scavenging, sleep, Metamucil™, omelettes, Amy Winehouse, the state of Georgia, thirst traps, a semicolon, dirt. We will spend time really LOOKING at things and trying to unpack all the ways in which objects in the world can produce complex ideas. The act of looking informs how we think and how we feel, and this class will dwell at length on this. Experimentation will be highly encouraged, as students learn to work within sculptural language and realize the way it can produce meaning on a material, emotional, and even psychological level. The fall semester will focus on assignments aimed at getting students familiar with basic concepts. The spring semester will work toward more individualized projects geared toward students’ interests. In addition, studio demonstrations, in-class presentations, related readings, and field trips to galleries and museums will supplement class time, as we absorb contemporary sculpture in all its possible forms. While this is an open-level seminar, students should expect a demanding class. Be prepared to bring a strong work ethic, along with a desire to challenge yourself. This class is ideal for students with some familiarity working sculpturally and who have ideas they already want to explore.

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First-Year Studies: Forms and Fictions

Open , FYS—Year

This class explores the gift of form as it comes to us from writers from around the world. We will read and then write our versions of folk and fairy tales, epics, short stories, short plays, and anything else we care to try. Second semester will involve writing seven episodes of a fiction. In other words, we will learn how to use a short form to write a long work. Class may involve a discussion of literature, a sharing of our writing, an exercise, a collaboration. While we are exploring the boundaries and premises of various forms, we will step over other boundaries—between the real and the imaginary, this world and another, text and picture, and one form and another. Students will be invited to add visual and sound components to their work, if they wish. In addition to classes, students will have an individual conference every other week and a half-group conference on alternating weeks.

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Our World, Other Worlds

Open , Seminar—Year

This course explores prose writing, with an emphasis on the creation of a world. The writing can be fiction or nonfiction and can take place in this world, another, or several. We will explore ideas about this world and writing about this world and others and work on our writing to make it livelier and more real no matter how imaginary our world is. This course runs in two parts, one semester each. You can take one or both parts. One part will involve writing episodes to build a world that, revised, will become a conference project; the other part will work on craft and content exercises of all kinds, with the conference project distinct from the exercises. Readings include folk tales, religious writing, philosophy, fiction, and newspaper items.

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