this is not an online course

Course Syllabus - AVT 280: Introduction to New Media Art | Course Outline | Resources

PLEASE NOTE: Course content may be revised during the semester. Any changes will be announced during class and edits will be made to this document. Please refer back to this document on a weekly basis.

Professor: Mark Cooley
Fall 2016
Office hours: Office hours: by appointment MW 9:00 - 10:30 rm 2030
Contact: mcooley(at)

Strategies and Goals

This course investigates a variety of tools, tactics and concerns of artists working with new media and forms of art. The course explores, through research and practice, the cultural significance and impacts of technoculture and new media technologies with a focus on the context of modern and contemporary art.

Students are expected to:

Research: Develop a familiarity with a variety of artworks and key concepts that have contributed to art and cultural inquiry in the context of media and technocultures;

Practice: Demonstrate a thoughtful and creative understanding of various concepts, issues and tools in the process of making meaningful artworks;

Critique: Demonstrate a functional vocabulary for critically evaluating contemporary artworks.

Course Requirements


Students are required to complete a series of projects forming a constellation of concepts, approaches, concerns, technologies, and genre of importance to media artists. Each project requires students to complete assigned research, think and practice critically and creatively, show responsibility for the content of their work, provide meaningful justifications for aesthetic decisions and display a convincing and proficient use of appropriate tools. Each project must be posted (in accordance with the syllabus requirements and due dates on the course outline) to a dedicated page on a website using the blogging service of the student's choice. Each project page should include the following:

A. Research - Artworks & Assigned Reading and Media
The function of research in this course is to create an understanding of the issues, concepts and technologies employed in each project.

A discussion of at least 3 Artworks from the artists referenced in the course outline (100 words minimum for each artwork). Artworks should be taken seriously, and an effort should be made to understand the cultural significance of the works (even if you find them personally . Additional research beyond the links provided will be necessary.

Read, Watch or Listen
A discussion of one of the listed readings or media in the project references located in the course outline. Blog entries concerning assigned readings or media should summarize the main points of the text/media and be a minimum of 200 words. Additional research beyond the links provided will may be necessary.

B. Artwork

Completed artwork in the required format and posted to the blog, and if relevant, including documentation of the making of the project.

C. Project Summary

Including a minimum of 200 words explaining the meaning of your work, including the main concepts explored and how your aesthetic choices and technical execution contribute to the work with respect to its intended impact on an audience.

Discussion & Critique

All students are expected to participate in class discussions. Thoughtful, creative, critical and sincere attitudes are encouraged. In the context of group critique, it is important that the class openly, honestly and respectfully discuss the work presented. Remember that the goal of critique is to examine and make meaning from what we see. Critique also functions to question the motives, creative decisions, and the conceptual and technical proficiency of the artist. Students are expected to give and take criticism seriously but not personally, and where appropriate, incorporate responses to criticism into future work. The overall goal of critique is to uncover meaning and aid the artist in improving their work. Various methods of critique will be introduced by the professor and practiced by the class during critique sessions. All class members will participate in critical discussion of the works produced in this course in an attempt to:

Identify, practice, and question various approaches to theory and criticism in the arts;

Identify meaning and discuss how meaning is reproduced through artworks;

Explore the development of technology, media and aesthetics as socially, politically, and economically charged activities rather than as neutral entertainment;

Encourage and empower people to create and to help make their creative works better, and...

Discuss what "better" might mean.


Students are required to start a course blog to which ALL assignments, in the appropriate formats (audio,video,image,text), are to be posted (depending on the blogging platform, additional online services may be needed to post audio & video works). The blog should be private with the professor and course members given viewing access. Blogs should contain a separate page and corresponding menu item dedicated to each course project. Blog entries should be edited for content, spelling and grammar prior to posting. Work will NOT be considered complete until it is posted to the course blog as well as displayed in any additionally assigned formats.


Only extraordinary circumstances should prevent students from attending class. Two absences are allowed. A letter grade reduction is made to final grades for each additional absence. Arriving late or leaving early more than twice results in an absence. Students spending class time on social media, video games and other distractions are counted absent. In the event of an absence, students are responsible for getting all missed information from their classmates unless extraordinary circumstances require a meeting with the professor during office hours. Class time is not used to review previously covered material in order to compensate for student absence or inattentiveness. In addition, email concerning information missed or misunderstood because of absence or inattentiveness will likely go unanswered. In short, instruction is not conducted by email. Students who make a habit of being unprepared, inattentive, or absent do not pass this course. Students may schedule an appointment during the professor's office hours if additional instruction is needed outside of studio hours.


Late work will not be accepted except under extraordinary circumstances (see the professor for permission). In the event that late work is accepted, grades will be reduced one letter grade for each class day they are late.

Students may rework projects to be considered for a reevaluation during the semester. However, projects are reevaluated only if the project was originally completed on time.


Each project requires students to complete assigned research, think and practice critically and creatively, show responsibility for the content of their work, provide meaningful justifications for aesthetic decisions and display a convincing and proficient use of appropriate tools. Each project must be posted (in accordance with the syllabus requirements and due dates on the course outline) to a dedicated page on a website using the blogging service of the student's choice. All grades will be given equal value and averaged together at the end of the semester to obtain a final grade. Grades are distributed through email with little or no comment. Comments concerning grades are given during critique and individually in class.

A | Work that is highly creative, well informed, researched, and applied with a high degree of skill.

B | Work that is creative, informed, researched, and demonstrates commitment to craft, ideas, and expanding one's vocabulary.

C | Work that is complete, though perhaps derivative, and/or could benefit from further research, a more creative direction and/or skillful application.

D | Work of below average quality that suffers from unskilled, uninformed, and/or derivative work.

F | Work that demonstrates consistent neglect of course requirements, nonexistent work, excessively late work, or poor application of processes, thought, creativity and/or skill.


An appropriate personal data storage device (min. 32 Gb)
Output Materials (and costs) as needed
Digital Camera and tripod
Digital Video Camera

General Resources

ARTStor - as a Mason student, you have access to the ARTStor art image database. Please use this database when researching artworks. The images are larger with quality far superior to most versions you'll find online. - as a Mason student, you have access to, which provides excellent software instruction. Take advantage of this newly available university resource.

University and School of Art Policies

Students with Disabilities and Learning Differences: If you have a diagnosed disability or learning difference and you need Academic accommodations please inform me at the beginning of the semester and contact the Office of Disability Services (SUB I room 234, 703-993-2474). You must provide me with a faculty contact sheet from that office outlining the accommodations needed for your disability or learning difference. All academic accommodations must be arranged in advance through the Office of Disability Services.

Technology: In accordance with George Mason University policy, please silence all cellular telephones and other wireless communication devices at the start of class. The instructor of the class will keep his/her cell phone active to assure receipt of any Mason Alerts in a timely fashion; or in the event that the instructor does not have a cell phone, he/she will designate one student to keep a cell phone active to receive such alerts.

Commitment to Diversity: This class will be conducted as an intentionally inclusive community that celebrates diversity and welcomes the participation in the life of the university of faculty, staff and students who reflect the diversity of our plural society. All may feel free to speak and to be heard without fear that the content of the opinions they express will bias the evaluation of their academic performance or hinder their opportunities for participation in class activities. In turn, all are expected to be respectful of each other without regard to race, class, linguistic background, religion, political beliefs, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, veteran’s status, or physical ability.

Statement on Ethics in Teaching and Practicing Art and Design: As professionals responsible for the education of undergraduate and graduate art and design students, the faculty of the School of Art adheres to the ethical standards and practices incorporated in the professional Code of Ethics of our national accreditation organization, The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Open Studio Hours: SOA teaching studios are open to students for extended periods of time mornings, evenings and weekends whenever classes are not in progress. Policies, procedures and schedules for studio use are established by the SOA studio faculty and are posted in the studios.

Important University Dates:

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ArtsBus - Dates for Fall 2016:  September 24th, October 22nd and November 19th.

ArtsBus Credit and Policies:  You are responsible for knowing and following Artsbus policies and rules. Please go to the ArtsBus website: "Student Information" for important information regarding ArtsBus policy. For credit to appear on your transcript you must enroll in AVT 300. This also applies to anyone who intends to travel to New York independently, or do the DC Alternate Assignment. 

If you plan/need to go on multiple ArtsBus trips during a semester and need them towards your total requirement, you must enroll in multiple sections of AVT 300.

Non-AVT majors taking art classes do not need Artsbus credit BUT may need to go on the Artsbus for a class assignment. You can either sign up for AVT 300 or buy a ticket for the bus trip at the Center of the Arts. Alternate trips must be approved by the instructor of the course that is requiring an ArtsBus trip.

Visual Voices Lecture Series: Fall 2016 Visual Voices is a year-long series of lectures by artists, art historians and others about contemporary art and art practice. Visual Voices lectures are held on Thursday evenings from 7:20- 9:00 p.m. in Harris Theater:  Dates for Fall 2016:  September 1st, September 8th, September 22nd, October 6th and October 20th.

Masonlive/Email: Mason uses electronic mail to provide official information to students. Examples include communications from course instructors, notices from the library, notices about academic standing, financial aid information, class materials, assignments, questions, and instructor feedback. Students are responsible for the content of university communication sent to their Mason e-mail account, and are required to activate that account and check it regularly.

Attendance Policies: Students are expected to attend the class periods of the courses for which they register. In-class participation is important not only to the individual student, but also to the class as a whole. Because class participation may be a factor in grading, instructors may use absence, tardiness, or early departure as de facto evidence of nonparticipation. Students who miss an exam with an acceptable excuse may be penalized according to the individual instructor's grading policy, as stated in the course syllabus.

Honor Code: Students must adhere to the guidelines of the George Mason University Honor Code. Student members of the George Mason University community pledge not to cheat, plagiarize, steal, or lie in matters related to academic work.

Writing Center: Students who are in need of intensive help with grammar, structure or mechanics in their writing should make use of the services of Writing Center, located in Robinson A116 (703-993-1200). The services of the Writing Center are available by appointment, online and, occasionally, on a walk-in basis. The Collaborative Learning Hub Located in Johnson Center 311 (703-993-3141), the lab offers in-person one-on-one support for the Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, Blackboard, and a variety of other software. Dual monitor PCs make the lab ideal for collaborating on group projects, Macs are also available; as well as a digital recording space, collaborative tables, and a SMART Board. Free workshops are also available (Adobe and Microsoft) through Training and Certification; visit to see the schedule of workshops and to sign up.

Course Outline

NOTICE: Additions, subtractions and reorganization of course content are likely to be made in response to particular class needs. Changes will be announced during class meetings and/or sent to student GMU email accounts. This web-page will be updated as changes are announced.

All work completed for this course must be posted in the appropriate format to the course blog. Students may also be required to present work in print or other formats before being considered for evaluation.


| M 8/29 | W 8/31 | M 9/5 - Labor Day, University closed

Concepts: Appropriation, Sampling, Authorship, Originality, Context, Mechanical & Digital Reproduction, Proprietary & Open source cultures, Copyright, Fair Use
Genre: Dada, Pop, Installation Art, Conceptual Art, Video Art, Net Art, Digital Art
Operations: Copy/Paste, Re-contextualize, Document, Blog


The ecstasy of influence: A plagiarism Jonathan Lethem

Marcel Duchamp Duchamp and the Readymade, Fountain, 1917
Robert Rauschenberg Erased De Kooning Drawing, 1953
Richard Prince Untitled (Cowboys), 1980 -84, Landmark Case
Sherrie Levine, After Walker Evans, 1979, Fountain (after Marcel Duchamp A.K.), 1991, Mayhem exhibition pamphlet, 1
Chapman Bros. Insult to Injury, 2003, Francisco Goya Disasters of War 1810-1820
Louise Lawler 1 2
Bruce Conner - a Movie
Craig Baldwin - Spectres of the Spectrum, Sonic Outlaws - BLO
Hans Haacke
Andy Warhol, Interview, Campbells Soup, 1962, Little Electric Chair, 2, 1964-65, Boxes, 1964
Elaine Sturtevant 1
Jeff Koons, Koons on Colbert, Michael Jackson and Bubbles
John Baldessari Art 21
Yes Men - Chamber of Commerce
Improv Everywhere
Cory Arcangel
Banksy 1 | 2

a series of six appropriations. Remember that the meaning of appropriation exists in the displacement or recontextualization of subjects. Three of your appropriations must take place in a public space and be documented in a way that effectively communicates your ideas, and three of your appropriations must be in cyberspace, also be seen/heard by others and documented effectively. All of the appropriations should form a series of works that explore the same issue, idea or concept. Complete project description given in class.

Due Dates

Research - W 9/7

Artwork & Project Summary - W 9/7


| W 9/7 | M 9/12 | W 9/14 | M 9/19 |

Concepts: Representation and Power, The Optics of Power, Detournment, Reconfiguration, Juxtaposition
Genre: Photomontage, Cinematic Montage
Operations: Selection, Cut & Paste, Image Adjustments, Layers, Layer Masks, Blending Modes
Demos: Essential Training Photoshop


Ways of Seeing: Publicity Images John Berger

Montage/Critique: Another Way of Writing Social History George L. Dillon
Boundaries of Representation: Holocaust Manipulation, Digital Imaging and the Real Alessandro Imperato

John Heartfield  1  2  3 4
George Grosz
Hannah Höch 1
Raoul Hausmann
Kurt Schwitters
El Lissitzky
Aleksander Rodchenko
Max Ernst 1
Grete Stern
Romare Bearden
Edward & Nancy Keinholz 1 2 3
Martha Rosler 1
Peter Kennard 1
Winston Smith  1
Klaus Staeck 1  2
Seán Hillen
Yoshio Itagaki
Tsunehisa Kimura 1 2
Kenneth Hung 1  2,
Martina Lopez 1
Megan Boody 1
Sally Grizzell Larson 1
Tom Chambers 1
Nancy Davenport 1
Alan Schechner | 2

at least one (depending on complexity) digital photomontage employing the aesthetics of radical juxtaposition. Print quality, Size 300 dpi. Size 11"x17". Complete project description given in class.

Due Dates

Research - M 9/14
Summarize - Montage/Critique: Another Way of Writing Social History George L. Dillon & 3 artworks according to syllabus

Artwork & Project Summary - (posted to blog) - M 9/19

Printed Project - W 9/21


| W 9/21 | M 9/26 | W 9/28 | M 10/3 |

Concepts: Identity, Simulation, Media Construction, Manufacturing Truth
Genre: Photography, Digital Art, Performance
Operations: Image Capture, Compositing, Blending, Morphing, Cloning, Layering
Demos: Essential Training Photoshop


Stuart Hall: Representation & The Media
part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

William Wegman - Family Combinations, 1972
Martha Rosler - Vital Statistics of a Citizen Simply Obtained, 1977
Tibor Kalman 1, 2
Nancy Burson
Chris Dorley-Brown - Haverville 2000, 2000
Daniel Lee
- 2
Jason Salavon - Every Playboy Centerfold 1988-1997, 2002
Meg Cranston - The Average American Woman, 1996
Gillian Wearing 1, 2,
Don Suggs - Portrait Machine, 1993
Danny Evans - Celebrity Make-unders, 2006 - 2014
Sheila Pree Bright - Plastic Bodies, 2013
Barbara Kruger, You Are Not Yourself, 1984
Cindy Sherman
Nikki S. Lee, Projects 1990's-00's
James Ostrer 1,  2
Innocence en Danger Emoticon Campaign
Dove campaign 1, 2, 3
Esther Honig Before and After
killing us softly - MEF
The Gender Ads Project

a series of 4 composite portraits. Size = 300dpi, 11"x17". Printed images (inkjet prints) Complete project description given in class.

Due Dates

Research - M 9/26
Summarize - Stuart Hall: Representation & The Media
part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4
& 3 artworks according to syllabus

Artwork & Project Summary - M 10/3


W 10/5 | T 10/11 | W 10/12 |

Concepts: Fandom, Media & Cultural Critique, Parody, Satire, Reimagine
Genre: Databending, Glitch
Operations: Databending, Glitch
Demos: Tutorial on Databending and Glitch Art Paul Weiner
Databending and glitch art primer, part 1: the wordpad effect
Glitch Art Tutorial for Audacity and Gimp/Image Manipulation
Glitch Art Resources from Phillip Stearns
An Easy 7-Step Protocol for Databending Michael Betancourt


Critical Glitches and Glitch Art Michael Betancourt

The Art of Glitch | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios
Apple Computers, Nick Briz

Look & Listen
Ben Baker-Smith
Glitch Artists Collective
Jehad Nga, The Green Book Project
James H. Connolly
Rosa Menkman
Daniel Temkin
Phillip Stearns
Joseph Nechvatal
Nam June Paik

a series of glitch artworks. The works can be audio, video or photo based.

Due Dates

Research - W 10/5
Summarize - Critical Glitches and Glitch Art Michael Betancourt
3 artworks

Artwork & Project Summary - W 10/12


| M 10/17 |W 10/19 | M 10/24 | W 10/26 |

Concepts: Improvisation, Hardware Hacking, DIY, DIWO
Genre: Field Recordings, Found Sound, Musique Concrète, Electronic Music, Sound Art
Operations: Construction, Improvisation, Hacking, Synthesizing, Multitracking, Mixing
Demos: Audacity Tutorials


I Dream of Wires (available on netflix streaming)
Sound Art USC

Look & Listen
Halim El-Dabh Wire Recorder Piece 1944
Pierre Schaeffer 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 1948
Karlheinz Stockhausen
musique concrète video
BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Lee Scratch Perry, Doc, 2, 3
Pink Floyd - Ummagumma, Pompeii - Saucer Full of Secrets, Echoes, Money
The Making of Dark Side of the Moon 13:30 - 18:00. 37:11 - 42:55
Bob Moog
Don Buchla
Kraftwerk | Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution
Brian Eno & David Byrne, Bruce Conner - Mea Culpa from My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
Evelyn Glennie & Fred Frith improvising

an instrument and use it to make a library of at least 10 sounds. Share your library with the class. Make digital alterations of your collected sounds and compose a piece using your custom sounds. Complete project descriptions given in class.

Due Dates

Research - M 10/17
Summarize film - I Dream of Wires (available on netflix streaming) & 3 artworks according to syllabus

Artwork & Project Summary- W 10/26


| M 10/31 | W 11/2 | M 11/7 | W 11/9 |

Concepts: Stop Motion, Object Animation, Pixilation, Cut-out Animation, GIF Animation
Genre: Gif Art, Animation
Operations: Appropriation, Montage, 2D Animation
Demos: How-To: Cut-out Animation with Monty Python's Terry Gilliam
How To Create Animated GIFs Using Photoshop
How to Create a GIF Animation in Photoshop
Photoshop GIF animation


Avant-GIFs Turning online animations into high art by Jesse Walker

Sholim | 2
Lorna Mills
Eva Papamargariti
Micaël Reynaud | 2
David Szakaly
Scorpion Dagger | 2
Dennis Cooper
Museum of the Moving Image, First Look at GIFs

a series of at least 3 GIF animations. Complete project description given in class.

Due Dates

Research - 10/31
Summarize - Avant-GIFs Turning online animations into high art by Jesse Walker
& 3 artworks according to syllabus

Artwork & Project Summary - 11/9


| M 11/14 | W 11/16 | M 11/21 | W 11/23 - 11/27 No class |

Concepts: Cinematic Montage - (Sergei Eisenstein) Metric Montage, Rhythmic Montage, Tonal Montage, Overtonal Montage, Intellectual Montage, (Vsevolod Pudovkin) Contrast, Parallellism, Symbolism, Simultaneity, Leitmotif, sampling, mashup
Genre: Mashup, Remix
Operations: Video capture, Nonlinear Video and Audio Editing, Montage Techniques
Demo: Essential Training Final Cut Pro


History of Cutting: The Soviet Theory of Montage
Vsevolod Pudovkin's 5 editing Techniques
Eisenstein's montage theory 5 methods

Lev Kuleshov's film
an amusing take on the Kuleshov's film
A Man with a Movie Camera - Dziga Vertov
Hitchcock on Cutting

Intellectual Montage

October, (montage of the gods) (intellectual montage sequences), Director - Sergei Eisenstein
Strike, Director - Sergei Eisenstein
Apocalypse Now, Director - Francis Ford Coppola
Godfather, Director - Francis Ford Coppola
Naked Gun 2 1/2, Director - David Zucker

Famous Cuts

Psycho, Director - Alfred Hitchcock
Bonnie and Clyde, Director - Arthur Penn
Lawrence of Arabia, Director - David Lean
City of God
, Directors - Fernando Meirelles Kátia Lund
Dawn of the Dead, Director - Zach Snyder

Video Art & Avant Garde

Dara Birnbaum - Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman
Bruce Conner - a Movie, Mea Culpa, Three Screen Ray, the 70s
Spectres of the Spectrum, Director - Craig Baldwin
Montage, Remix, Mashup
Rebirth of a Nation, 2 - DJ spooky,

Audio Mashups

DJ Danger Mouse,The Grey Album - Encore
The Kleptones, A Night at the HipHopera - Rock, Bite
Negativland "Gimme Some More"
The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2, 2
DJ Earworm, United State of Pop 2013 (living the fantasy)
Mash-up Breakdown
pbs Copyright Criminals, film
RiP: A remix manifesto

Literary Cut-ups

Willam Burroughs 1, 2

Make a 1 minute video montage using methods: Metric Montage, Rhythmic Montage, Tonal Montage, Overtonal Montage, Intellectual Montage. Complete project description given in class.

Due Dates

Research - 11/14
Summarize -History of Cutting: The Soviet Theory of Montage
Vsevolod Pudovkin's 5 editing Techniques
Eisenstein's montage theory 5 methods
& 3 artworks according to syllabus

Artwork & Project Summary - 11/28


| M 11/28 | W 11/30 | M 12/5 | W 12/7 |


Complete a reading or film viewing on the subject of your choice and discuss

Select 3 artists of your choice and discuss

A project of your choice -completed individually or as a collaboration with other members of the class.

Due Dates

Research - 11/28

Artwork & Project Summary - 12/7