Thursday, January 31, 2008

CPhoto Competition

The photo department has begun a collaboration with CPhoto which means one winning student essay will be published in the magazine on a regular basis. The cash prize is $600. The essay topic is "The Persuasive Image".

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Class Syllabus

Hi All, This is subject to change, but the changes will always be posted here!

Neighborhood Narratives
Spring 2008, New York University, NYC
Instructor: Hana Iverson

Overview Mobile media are tools that connect the physical to the virtual, by handheld connectivity to networks and webs. New public sites are emerging as a result of this mix - situated storysites, community mapping, environmental installations that incorporate technology, to name a few - that open up the process of authorship. Many of the art projects created in this space are dependent on physical movement and spatial behavior, which shifts the representational status that is classically applied to the screen/surface of artistic representation to space and embodiment.

How does photography engage with this space? How do we understand a larger framework for visual culture? With the urban landscape as both canvas and palette Neighborhood Narratives is an evolving out-of-the-classroom international locative media theory and production course that introduces students to the concept of situated storytelling - stories that are tied closely to the local environment, which can bring neighborhoods to life. In this course all types of media (analogue, digital, text, sound, image etc) are applied to real places in order to enagage in real social interaction. The class researches the relationship between the body and place, the reciprocal action between navigating the built environment and an awareness of our physical bodies.

Students design their own projects, using alternative methods to explore formerly known forms of photography and documentation, as well as narrative structure, to consider how they can be reinvented in a non-traditional fashion, combining with all different types of media. The final assignments are presented on location in the city. No prior technological expertise is required.

The course is divided into three themes:

Theme one: Place. The course begins with a close examination of the concept of place. We explore questions such as: What is place? What is the difference between place and space? How are places mapped? What is the relationship of place to location?

Theme two: Visual Culture. Traditional values of visual culture and how they are modified by new technologies. What is the relationship of the social information of the frame to the information data and electronic structure of the information. How has the visual relationship to the city been changed by the augmentation of technology in the landscape.

Theme three: Mixed Reality and mobility. We will look at current practices in locative media. We will discuss the relationship between the idea of ubiquitous, locative media and the site-specific project. We will examine the idea of globalization and ubiquitous technologies. What is the future?

Format The class is 3.45 hours long once a week.
The class will introduce methods of collecting data and artifacts, internet and field observation, mapping and scoring, "show and tell" and the examination of project presentations with rigorous discussion. Mobile city-wide exploration (public transportation, on foot) will include the presentation of the final project on location in the city. The class will also engage in peer dialogue and interdisciplinary teamwork, to extend the breadth of a project through collaboration. Students will keep semester long blogs including observations, photos, video and audio recordings (where equipment and resources allow) - a personal diary of the Neighborhood Narrative experience.

International Network
Under construction.

Internet Access All students are expected to have frequent, dependable access to the internet. It is essential that you have an active email account that you ACCESS FREQUENTLY, for email with faculty and with each other. IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT YOU CREATE AND ACTIVELY MAINTAIN A BLOG. If you have any difficulties with either Internet access, your email account or your blog, please see the instructor after the first class.

Technology requirements
You are required to have access to the internet and a working email account. You will also need some form of memory stick to save and transport your work. Access to a mobile phone and digital camera is recommended. If you have technology such as cameras, mobile phones, ipods, laptops or GPS devices it would be advantageous to bring these items to each class.

Readings The reading packets will be handed out in the first class. There may be a small fee (depending on cost of xeroxing).

Course costs
As expected with production courses, you may need to purchase supplies to produce your final project. Also, while it is not required, I would like to encourage you to use the communications features of your mobile phone: costs for voice calls and text messaging will depend on your phone plan.

Instructor Contact
The best way to reach me is by email. I am in New York once a week and am available to set up individual appointments, if requested.

Attendance and Lateness Policy
Attendance Policy: Attending the sessions outlined in the schedule is a requirement of this course. More than two unexcused absences without the instructors’ permission (medical certificate might be requested) will decrease the overall grade by one unit for each additional missed class. Five absences will result in a failing grade for the course. If you are going to be absent, please inform me by email at least 24 hours in advance. If you are absent, it is YOUR responsibility to contact another student who took notes on that day, and to make up any work in a timely fashion.

Lateness Policy: Three times arriving late will be considered as one unexcused absence. Being more than 10 minutes late will be counted as an absence. If you are late, it is your responsibility to let the teachers know when you come into class that you are here, and to make sure you have been marked as present.

Schedule of Classes and Assignments


Jan. 28 – Introduction: Sight, sound, place, time – an overview. What I carry with me. The bag exercise. The archeology of everyday life. Create your blog. Daniel Spoerri – An Anecdoted Topography of Chance. Introduction to space and place.
Assigned Reading: Of Other Spaces, Foucault.
Assignment: take photos in the city using mirrors or reflection

Feb. 4 - Theme one: Place. The material – architecture. Monuments and power.
Review Foucault.
Suggested Viewing: Pan’s Labyrinth
Assigned reading: from architecture book.
Assignment: How the image engages with architecture… Tell a “narrative” of physical places.

Feb. 11 Theme one: Place and Space. The fluid – walking, the situationists. proximity, distance. Walking alone, walking with someone, moving in a crowd. Talking and walking etc.
Weather permitting, part of class will be outside.
Review architecture
Assigned Reading: The Situationists
Assignment: Rearrange something/where in your life and document as two versions of a self-portrait.

Feb. 18 Presidents day – no class
Theme two: The visual city. Urban Planning and Mapping. Design, politics and economics. How-to GPS.
Review Situationists + assignments
Assigned Reading: Mapping the Homonculus, Critcial Vehicles 1.
Assignment: Maps

Feb. 25 Theme two: Public installation. Kystof Wodizcko and “Public Address”. Public memorials, counter-memorials.
Review Maps.
Assigned Reading: Critical Vehicles 2
Assignment: Put something here

March 3 Theme three: Mixed reality. Virtual vs. synthestic spaces. New neighborhoods where we don’t know our neighbors… Second Life, Facebook. Cell phone cameras. Data/tagging. Two layers of information in a photograph…social and meta. How do can photographs function in a mixed reality?
Assigned reading: Views from Above: Locative Narrative and the Landscape
Assignment: Cell phones exercises – overhearing, moblogging etc.

March 10 – Theme three: the geoweb. MilkProject. Let us now face Famous Men. The Housing Works Project and documentary photography. Google earth.
Assigned Reading: Connecting Creatures, from Me++.
Mid-term assignment: Photo + google earth/maps

March 17 Spring Recess

March 24 Mid-term Review
Review discussion
Outside – balance, chaos, signs

March 31 The sonic world: Sonic Interface, Janet Cardiff
Assignment: Following

April 7 Review Following. Begin discussion of final projects. More photo based examples, beginning research evaluations about visual values in the mobile arena.
Look at the Lower East Side in google maps. Glow Lab: One Block Radius.

April 14 – no David Field trip –Lower East Side, Tenement Museum and Chinatown. Artifact, labyrinth, layers, sound, connectivity, physical structures and physical navigation. Scale.

April 21 Final Project research assessment.

April 28 Final projects due. On-site presentations.

May 5 Class critique and wrap up.

Evaluation and Assessment

Research, attendance and participation 35%
In class assignments 30%
Final project 35%

Late assignments and exercises will not be tolerated. Failure to hand in an assignment by the due date and time will result in a zero grade for that assignment.

Research, attendance and participation
The International Assignment (if there is one in this semester), group work, communicating and sharing knowledge through discussions, posting to the class blog, in-class presentations, and overall student participation are an essential part of the process of understanding course material.

Readings and blog postings are mandatory.

Prior to each class you will be required to complete a short reading and make notes of relevant points to bring up in class discussion.

Blog postings
Each week you will be required to a) make one post to your NEIGHBORHOOD NARRATIVES blog and b) to comment on at least one other student’s blog. Your post can be on: 1) a locative media project and your reaction to it or 2) a new media technology and how it relates to former ideas about photography (e.g. Spellbinder) or 3) if applicable, one of the required assignments.

International assignment (maybe)
You will be assigned to an international team of students and asked to complete an exercise. Success of the assignment depends on your ability to negotiate and communicate with fellow team members who are based in different time zones and have varying electronic communication styles. Please keep in mind that working internationally can be incredibly rewarding, but has its frustrations: Solving frustrations is integral to the creative process!

Assignments and Final project
The remit for the final project is to create an urban, on-site, locative (cell phone, GPS, mapping, sensory altering) media art project that engages visual as well as embodied (spatial + body) ideas, and document the final project on your blog.

Assignments in first half of classes will provide you with the skills and knowledge required to realize your final project.