Visual Arts 145a

Time and Process / Digital Media

Elizabeth Losh 

Office Hours: Mondays 10-11 AM and 7-8 PM

Pepper Canyon Hall 249  (858) 822-1666

This course for ICAM (Interdisciplinary Computing in the Arts) major and minor students provides a theoretical overview of approaches to time and process in media production and includes laboratory instruction on using web authoring software and writing computer code.  Student composers will create innovative electronic text works that experiment with poetic form, draw on rich media resources, and provide more interactivity, vividness, or access for public audiences.  

In the laboratory work, we will be working with the Archive for New Poetry from a comparative textual media perspective to see how examples of experimental work in the twentieth century that used poetic effects that referenced the concrete form of the text on the page, sound, nonlinear composition, procedurality, and chance can be adapted or translated to be new twenty-first-century computational media works appropriate for dissemination through distributed digital networks.

Grading is based on:

1) Attendance + participation (includes labs): 30% 

LAB 1: Flash

LAB 2: Audacity

LAB 3: HTML, CSS, and Javascript

LAB 4: Processing 1

LAB 5: Processing 2

2) Projects:

#1 - 15% - Flash Project

#2 - 30% - Processing Project

Each project will include both the project and a short written discussion.

3) Final paper

Short paper (3-4 double-spaced pages) that synthesizes readings and class discussions:


Grading addresses conceptual, rhetorical, stylistic, and technical issues.

Conceptual: How does the project develop original, coherent, and meaningful ideas that provoke thought in others?  What does the project say about big questions like “what is art?” or “what is poetry?” or “what is the difference between looking and seeing?” or “how do we make sense of the world?” or “what is the nature of power?” or “what should we value?” or “what does it mean to be alive right now in the present moment?” or “what did it mean to be alive in the past?”  (The questions are up to you!)

Rhetorical: How does the project address its implied audience?  How does the project respond to a particular situation of attention in time and space?  How does the project assert (or undermine) the identity of its speaker, author, or composer?  How does the project articulate a purpose?

Stylistic: How does the project express a particular aesthetic or design philosophy?  How is it organized?  How does it integrate its different components into a whole?  How does it acknowledge its own historical and cultural context or appropriate signature styles?

Technical: How well does the project launch and execute commands?  How efficiently does the project use resources?  How well does the project show an understanding of user experience?  Does the project meet the standards shared by communities of practice around expertise in typography, graphic design, sound design, file compression, codec choice, file naming conventions, programming, debugging, or other relevant fields?


Electronic Literature Organization

Electronic Literature Collection

Volume 1

Volume 2

Avenues of Access

E-Poetry at The Electronic Poetry Center

Net Art


Artists Websites from Art in the Digital Age


WEEK 1: Introducing the Course: Beyond Static Media (Slides and Podcast)

Opening Music: Erik Satie, “Vexations”  


Olia Lialina, My Boyfriend Came Back from the War (1996)

Jenny Holzer, Please Change Beliefs (1998)

Critics of Temporality

Gerard Genette, Narrative Discourse
Scott McCloud, “Time Frames” in Understanding Comics

Artworks and Artists (Static Representations of Time):

Trajan’s Column (113); Bayeux Tapestry (11th century); Mosaics at St. Mark’s Basilica (12th century); Ghent Altarpiece (1432); Isenheim Altarpiece (1512-1516); Codex Mendoza (1553); Transi Tombs (15th and 16th centuries); Stained Glass Windows, Janskerk Gouda (1555-1603); Napoleon’s March; Eadweard Muybridge; Photojournalism from Robert Capa, Eddie Adams, etc.; Harold Edgerton; Grand Rapids Michigan Stations of the Cross; Lev Manovich and Jeremy Douglass, TIME Magazine Covers (2009)

Artworks and Artists (Kinetic Arts):

Alexander Calder; Ryan Gander, I Need Some Meaning I Can Memorise; Jonathan Borofsky, Hammering Man; Tim Hawkinson, Signature Chair; Chris Burden, Metropolis; Jonathan Schipper, Slow Motion Car Crash

Artwork and Artists (Video Arts)

Bill Viola, The Passions (2003)
Natalie Bookchin, Testament (2009)
Christian Marclay’s The Clock (2010)

Artworks and Artists (Text Art)

Simmias of Rhodes; Islamic Art; George Herbert; William Blake; Guillaume Appolinaire; Raoul Hausman; Hannah Hoch; Barbara Kruger; Jenny Holzer; Micah Lexier + Christian Bok; ASCII Art


Ellen Lupton, “Design and Production in the Mechanical Age

Tom McCormack, “Emoticon, Emoji, Text II: Just ASCII

LAB 1 – James Schuyler, “Love’s Photograph” (files for lab)


WEEK 2: Animation (Slides and Podcast)

Opening Music: Lasse Gjertsen, “Amateur”


Brian Kim Stefans, The Dreamlife of Letters

Robert Kendall, Faith

Alison Clifford, The Sweet Old Etcetera

Artworks and Artists:

Émile Cohl, Fantasmagorie (1908); Ladislaw Starewicz, The Cameraman's Revenge (1912); Winsor McCay,Gertie the Dinosaur (1913); Oskar Fischinger, An Optical Poem (1938); Norman McLaren and Evelyn Lambart, Beyond Dull Care (1949); Kara Walker; William Kentridge; Ben Laposky Oscillation 4 (1952); Ivan Sutherland, Sketchpad (1963); Charles Csuri; Hummingbird (1968); Peter Fouldes, Hunger / La Faim (1974); Utah Teapot (1975); Lillian Schwartz, ALAE (1975); Abel and Associates, Sexy Robot (1985); Dancing Baby (1996); Hamster Dance (1998); Paul Debevic, Fiat Lux (1999); Roth/Engebreth, White Glove Tracking; Saul Bass (examples of kinetic typography)


Rita Raley, “Living Letterforms: The Ecological

Lab 1 Due!




WEEK 3: Editing and Montage (Slides and Podcast)

Opening Music: Giovanni Sollima, "Sogno ad Occhi Aperti" (Daydream)

Guest Lecture by Heidi Kayser


Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, Cunnilingus in North Korea

Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, Dakota


Le Cochon Danseur (1907); Birth of a Nation (1915); Les Vampires (1915); Kuleshov experiment; The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920); Sergei Eisenstein, Battleship Potemkin (1925); Dziga Vertov, Man with a Movie Camera (1929); Bertolt Brecht and Slatan Dudow, Kuhle Wampe (1931); Rear Window (1954) Orson Welles, Touch of Evil (1958); Jean Luc Godard, ň bout de soufflé (1960); Andy Warhol, Sleep (1963); Stan Vanderbeek and Kenneth Knowlton, Poem Field No. 2 (1967); Frank Gillette and Ira Schneider, Wipe Cycle (1969); David Hall, TV Interruptions (1971); The Shining (1980); Nam June Paik, Video Flag (1985); Bill Viola, The Greeting (1995); Douglas Gordon, 24-Hour Psycho (1993); Russian Ark (2002); "Montage," Team America (2004); Alan Becker, Animator vs. Animation (2006)


Lev Manovich, "Generation Flash"

Jacob Nielsen, "Flash 99% Bad" (recommended)

LAB 2 - Hannah Weiner's Clairvoyant Journal


WEEK 4: Layering and Compositing (Slides and Podcast)

Opening Music: The Ronettes, “Be My Baby”


Ingrid Ankerson, While Chopping Red Peppers

Jhave, Sooth

Serge Bouchardon, Vincent Volckaert, and Hervé Zénouda, Opacity

Artworks and Artists:

Out of the Inkwell (1918-1929); Sunrise (1927); The Fall of the House of Usher (1928); The Invisible Man (1933); King Kong (1933); The Last Days of Pompeii (1935); The Thief of Baghdad (1940); Opfergang (1944);The Ten Commandments (1956); Ben Hur (1959); Mary Poppins (1964); Ray Harryhausen; 2001 (1968); Peter Campus, Interface (1972); The Sting (1973); Star Wars (1977); The Empire Strikes Back (1980); Escape from New York (1981); Tron (1982); Nancy Burson, First and Second Beauty Composite s (1982); Jeffrey Shaw, Legible City (1988-91); Granular Synthesis, Modell 5 (1994-6); Moriko Mori, Nirvana (1996-7) and Oneness (2002); Camille Utterback, Text Rain (1999); The Matrix (1999); 300 (2006); Brian Knep, Healing Pool (2005-8); Christian Marclay, Chalkboard (2010)


Vilém Flusser, selections from Technical Images

Friedrich Kittler, selections from Optical Media

Norman Klein, selections from The Vatican to Vegas: A History of Special Effects (recommended)

A Timeline of Visual Effects


Audio Project Due!

DROPBOX for Lab 2


WEEK 5: Hypermedia (Slides and Podcast)

Opening Music: Steve Reich, Different Trains


Joe Davis, I Made Tea

Scott Rettberg, The Unknown

Artworks and Artists:

Emily Short; Raymond Queneau, Sonnets; Michael Joyce, Afternoon; Shelley Jackson, Patchwork Girl; Andrew Plotkin, Shade (2000)


Nancy Kaplan, “Politexts, Hypertexts, and Other Cultural Formations in the Late Age of Print

Theodor Nelson, “Complex information processing: a file structure for the complex, the changing and the indeterminate” and “The Heart of Connection: Hypermedia Unified by Transclusion

LAB 3 – George Oppen, “Route”

Flash Projects Due!



WEEK 6: Procedurality (Slides and Podcast)

Opening Music: John Cage, “Water Walk”


Sam Barlow, Aisle

Nick Montfort and Stephanie Strickland, Sea and Spar Between

ELO Works in Processing: Wordscapes & Letterscapes, mémoire involuntaire no. 1, Roulette

Artworks and Artists:

Michael Mateas, Andrew Stern and John Grieve, Faćade ; Lynn Hershman Leeson: The Ruby Files; JODI; Electronic Disturbance Theatre; Radical Software Group


Michael Mateas, "Procedural Literacy: Educating the New Media Practitioner

Michael Mateas and Nick Montfort, “A Box Darkly: Obfuscation, Weird Languages, and Code Aesthetics

Recommended: Various, 10 Print

Recommended: Rosa Menkman, “Glitch Studies Manifesto

LAB - Project Proposals - Come to class with a proposal for what you would like to do with Processing! Put on file exchange in TED.

Hypertext Adaptation Due!

DROPBOX for Lab 3: Hypertext Adaptation


WEEK 7: No Lecture


WEEK 8: Databases

Special Guest: Jessica Pressman

Opening Music: DJ Earworm


William Poundstone, Project for Tachistoscope

Sharon Daniel, Public Secrets

Illya Szilak, Reconstructing Mayakovsky

Artists and Artworks:

Natalie Bookchin, Mass Ornament; Sharon Daniel, Blood Sugar; Grahame Weinbren, Frames (1999); Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin, Listening Post; Hasan Elahi, Tracking Transience (2002); Subservient Chicken (2004); Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Laura Kurgan, Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin, Exit (2008); Ben Fry, On the Origin of Species: The Preservation of Favoured Traces (2009); Lev Manovich, Soft Cinema; Victoria Vesna, Bodies Incorporated (1998); Elisa Kreisinger; Korsakow films


Lev Manovich, “Database as a Symbolic Form

Proposal for Final Project Due!

LAB 5 - Processing 1: Harryette Mullen's "Eurydice

DROPBOX for Eurydice


WEEK 9: Interfaces

Opening Music: Chicago Sinfonietta, Concertino for Cellular Phones and Symphony Orchestra


Jörg Piringer, konsonant

Eric Loyer, Strange Rain

Judd Morrisey, The Jew's Daughter

Dan Waber and Jason Pimble, I, You, We

Artworks and Artists:

Nonny de la Peña, Hunger in Los Angeles; Char Davies, Osmose (1995) and EphémŹre (1998); Tim Hawkinson, Emoter (2000); Garnet Hertz Outrun (2009) and Cockroach Controlled Mobile Robot (2005); Christian Moeller, Cheese (2003), Do Not Touch (2004); Blast Theory, Can You See Me Now? (2001); Ricardo Dominguez and Brett Stalbaum, The Transborder Immigrant Tool; Sputniko! Design Interactions Department, Royal College of Art, Menstruation Machine – Takashi’s Take (2010); Keliichi Matsuda, Augmented (hyper) Reality: Augmented City 3D (2010); subRosa, SmartMom; Mary Flanagan, Giant Joystick; Caitlin Fisher; Amaranth Borsuk; Elektrobiblioteka; Caleb Larsen, A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter (2009).


Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin, “Immediacy, Hypermediacy, and Remediation

LAB 6 – Final Project in Process



WEEK 10: Games and Simulations

Opening Music: Okay Go, "This Too Shall Pass"


Ian Bogost, A Slow Year

Artworks and Artists:

Cory Arcangel; Blinkenlights; Super Columbine Massacre RPG;Gonzalo Frasca’s September 12th; Tracy Fullerton and Bill Viola, The Night Journey; Jason Rohrer, Passage; Tale of Tales, The Path; Waafa Bilal, Domestic Tension (Shoot an Iraqi Online); Anne Marie Schleiner, Velvet Strike; Jim Munroe, My Trip to Liberty City; Joseph Delappe, Dead in Iraq; Jamie Antonisse, Hush (2008); Molleindustria


Ludica, “The Hegemony of Play





DROPBOX for Final Processing Project