Fall 2010

Graduate Course Descriptions (Archived)

600-level courses :: 700-level courses


Elder :: TR 3:00pm-4:50pm :: CFA 235
Reg #094455 Grad and Undergrad

This course is an advanced workshop in which students create an original documentary project in video (or film, still photography, audio or web-based formats with the permission of instructor). Creativity and originality will be stressed with exercises to encourage “seeing”, “listening” and artistic risk taking. Individual projects may go in many creative directions including the political, personal, humorous, experimental, conventional, transgressive, ethnographic, client-based or activist. Students will gain a solid understanding of contemporary non-fiction forms and the particular problems which non-fiction makers face. Films by contemporary artists will be shown on a regular basis with special attention to experimental documentary work. We will look at dramatic structure, story telling, and narrative/non-narrative forms of editing. Emphasis will be given to production techniques which bring access and intimacy to the video subject and integrity to the documentary. The course will explore ethical issues and problems of privacy and intrusion. Students will develop production skills in research, fieldwork, collaboration, interviewing, location sound recording, camera skills, and production management. Each student will produce one short documentary piece, with supporting assignments in shooting, sound, and digital editing on the Media 100. A written production book will be required. A class film festival ends the semester. Prerequisite: DMS Basic Documentary, or DMS Basic Video and DMS Intermediate Video. Lab fee: $100. Attendance is mandatory.


Henderson :: MW 1:00pm – 2:50pm :: CFA 232
Reg #

This course is concerned with the diverse roles that theory has played in various close readings of film. Those theories usually organize the energies of the text. Tracing this process is another goal of the course. Approaches that contextualize a film contrast with other, shorter approaches. We will look at select shorter articles that are excellent at what they do. There will be a close analysis of the 1970 “Collective Text by the Editors of Cahiers Du Cinema: John Ford’s Young Mr. Lincoln (1939).” It may not be too much to say that this reading launched perhaps a dozen and a half of other readings. These include Charles Eckert’s reading of Marked Woman, Stephen Heath’s reading of Touch of Evil, Virginia Wright Wexman’s reading of Vertigo, Brian Henderson’s reading of The Searchers, Esther C.M. Yau on Yellow Earth, and David Ehrenstein’s reading of Desert Fury. This course is an Advanced Analysis course or can also be used as an Elective.


Henderson :: MW 9:00am – 10:50am :: CFA 235
Reg #321053 Grad and Undergrad

This course is an exploration of the principal theories of film through a critical reading of texts and a close examination of films. The texts to be perused comprise several groups. Classical film theory includes Munsterburg, Kuleshov, Pudovkin, Eisenstein, Balasz, Arnheim, Bazin, and Godard. The critique of classical film theory includes Burch, Perkins, and Henderson. The course will also explore semiotics, psychoanalysis, and poststructuralism, in Barthes, Eco, Metz , Pasolini, Baudry, Heath, and in feminist film theory, including Gledhill, Mulvey, Silverman, Modleski, Doane, and Studlar. A section on avant-garde theory will include Vertov, Epstein, Deren, Brakhage, Sitney, and Michelson. These topic areas will be set in interaction throughout: e.g., Soviet editing and antirealism are continued in the avant-garde; rhetorical figures such as metaphor, metonymy, ellipsis, condensation, and displacement, can be traced in very different theoretical contexts and in close readings of individual films.


Elder:: TR 11:00am – 12:50pm :: CFA 235
Reg #108134

This course examines popular American documentary films looking at diverse representations of American culture. We explore independent award-winning contemporary works with themes of gender, ethnicity, popular music, sexual orientation, murder, justice, rock stars, racism, disability and history. Particular focus is on the curious relationship between the images of reality and reality itself, and on America’s love affair with reality media. Emphasis is placed on understanding the thin shifting line between fiction and non-fiction and challenging the notion of documentary �truth.� Students develop analytical and interpretive media skills that are applicable to all film and video. Students learn non-fiction critical theory including Nichols, Winston, Ruby, and Renov and analyze artistic elements of non-fiction film and video including visual narrativity, storytelling, spontaneous camera work, editing, audio, and common elements for artistic and commercial success. The class explores different documentary styles including experimental docs, cinema verite, fake docs, diary and reflexive docs, collaborative making and cutting edge contemporary work. We address the ethical and artistic considerations of filming real people and real communities. Works of Wiseman, Pennebaker, Kopple, Maysles, Freidrich, O’Rourke, Riggs, Morris, and more. Attendance is required as well as two papers and a take-home exam. Be prepared to see a lot of great films!


Larsen :: TR 1pm – 2:50pm :: CFA 112
Reg #159384

What defines the future of the Internet? The strategic tag cloud of tomorrow includes terms like The Internet of Things, RFID, Web2.0, Grid Computing, LambdaRail, Internet2 and many others. Social Web Media maps online group formation and emerging computing technologies that amplify cooperation and distributed creativity. While most of the theory in this field is dominated by entrepreneurial management rhetoric, we will focus on independent social web media in the cultural sector. What is worth defending about the current end-2-end Internet? The middle-class household Internet of the developed world enables a culture of sharing in the unregulated commons, free culture (i.e. file sharing, open source culture), cultures of participation and generosity (i.e. citizen journalism, open archives, open journals, knowledge repositories), and network culture (i.e. the ability for self-organized social networks to form). Today, more often than not we are users *and* producers online.


Bouquard :: F 11:00am – 2:40pm :: CFA 278
Reg # 351991

This graduate level course will explore and experiment with the media of film, video and sound through a series of short projects geared toward establishing a proficiency in media production. Improvement of technical skills will be emphasized and creativity encouraged. This course will guide students through the acronymic maze of HD and SD, BNC, VGA, RCA and HDMI, mpeg2 and h.264; through circles of confusion surrounding film stocks, F-stops and depth of field; sample rates, signal to noise and pick-up patterns. Students will be introduced to the array of equipment available to them in the Media Study Department, from 16mm film loopers to the latest solid-state high-definition camcorders, and will be given hands-on instruction as to their use. Other specific topics to be covered will include film and video formats, camcorders and projectors; compositional concepts and shooting techniques; sound recording & editing; lighting for the studio and the field; digital video editing (Final Cut Pro) and DVD authoring (DVD Studio Pro); preparing video for the web and additional topics to be decided. Regular screenings of experimental, documentary and narrative work will be included. A lab fee of $100 is assessed for this course.


Rueb:: R 5:00pm-6:50pm :: CFA 232
REG#219729 Grad Only

This critique seminar introduces conceptual and theoretical issues in media practice with an emphasis on individual development of a practice-led research methodology. How do we position ourselves within the professional discourse of independent media practice? How can we evolve a personal methodology that is informed and responsive to this broader discourse? How do we present and communicate our work as contributors to the field, toward the goal of making significant contributions? Weekly topics will be complemented by occasional readings / viewings, guest lectures, and field trips. The goal of the course is to provide a context for synthesis of practical, theoretical, and historical studies as addressed throughout the required curriculum. Students will develop and refine a body of references to support their practice-led research and creative inquiry, building the early foundation of the thesis process. The class will be comprised of a mix of group meetings and critiques. Two short writing assignments (a grant proposal and an artist statement) will be due at midterm and at the end of the semester, respectively. The course culminates in a final critique in which students present their work in an integrated fashion � i.e. work produced should be supported through a summary of one’s artist statement and annotated bibliography.


Larsen :: MW 5pm – 6:50pm :: CFA 244
Reg #339188

Introduction to New Media is designed to give students a firm basis in the fundamentals of website design and authoring, as well as to explore current web technologies. To create websites, we will begin by coding HTML and CSS “by hand,” gradually adding the use of popular software tools like Dreamweaver, Photoshop and Flash. Students should finish this course with a good ability to create attractive websites and knowledge of the fundamentals required to engage with online developer communities to further advance skills on their own, pursue advanced coursework in web development, or both. Lab fee $100.


Shepard :: R 9:00am – 12:40pm :: CFA 246
Reg# 129311

MediaRobotics I: Physical Computing is the first in a series of courses that exposes students to concepts and techniques that enable them to begin appreciating, designing, constructing and programming behaving artifacts for complex environments. This course introduces basic concepts and techniques for creating objects, spaces and media that sense and respond to their physical surroundings and the actions and events that transpire there. Moving beyond the interface paradigm of screen, keyboard and mouse, physical computing enables alternate models for interaction with (and through) computers that afford more subtle and complex relations between a range of human and non-human actors. Combining readings, presentations and discussions on the theory of computer enabled art forms with a series of hands-on technical workshops in computing methods and techniques, the course provides a critical context for emerging forms of experimental practice. Topics include fundamental ideas in computing (languages, representation of thought), embodied interaction (situated actions, responsive systems), practical aspects of hardware design (electricity, electronics, microprocessors, components, sensors and actuators), functional programming (variables, datatypes, control structures, functions, objects, communication protocols), and various material fabrication techniques (wood, metal, plastics, elastomers, fabrics). This is an introductory course open to artists, architects, engineers and all other media makers. No prior expertise in computing required. Curiosity about how things work is a must. Lab fee $100.


Rueb :: R 1:00pm – 4:40pm :: CFA 246
Reg #080697

This production course addresses technical, aesthetic and theoretical issues in locative media and landscape-scale or environmentally themed projects. The title of the course implies that technological, biological, social and information networks are inter-related at the scale of landscape and, therefore should be designed from an ecological perspective. Emphasis will be placed on critical and experimental approaches to designing ”network landscapes“ with a range of media from mobile phone and wireless network media, to geo-spatial information systems (GPS, Google Earth Pro, ArcView, satellite photography, etc.), sound, radio, photography, installation, performance, film and video. Specific instruction in the design of locative media and site-based projects will open onto a broader critical inquiry into the cultural construction and representation of landscape across a variety of media from film, video, photography and sound, to mobile media and geospatial information systems.


Permission of Instructor

A student may enroll for this course after completing course requirements and while working on the thesis project. This course is for non-written projects only. One to six credits of the “project supervision” may be applied toward the MAH degree. Course syllabus form should be prepared prior to semester start and one copy should be on file in the Media Study office. Lab fee: $100. For registration information, see Nancy King in 231 CFA.


Permission of Instructor

See Nancy King in 231 CFA.



Permission of Instructor

Students may arrange for special courses of study with faculty through “independent study.” The instructor will set the guideline for the course on an individual basis. It permits the student to study independently in an area where no course is given. Course syllabus form should be prepared prior too semester start and one copy should be on file in the Media Study office. For registration info, see Nancy King in 231 CFA. Lab Fee: $100. For registration information, see Nancy King in 231 CFA.


Anstey :: MW 1:00pm – 2:50pm :: CFA 232
Reg #157564

This course examines the machines (ideological, psychological, biopolitical) that produce and reproduce our binary gender system. It will explore how issues of power, violence, domination, submission, desire, love and sexuality are effected by and understood with reference to gendered humans. It will include texts by feminist, queer, and transgender theorists and activists. “Texts” will include scholarly, fictional and interactive media works.


Glazier :: T 3:00pm – 4:50pm :: CFA 246
Reg #389155

Experimental media, sound poetry, sound installation, and digital poetics interrogate perception, performance, improvisation, and reception. This seminar will concentrate on a close examination of innovative literary and media forms from the perspective of sound. It will involve careful reading of experimental poetry, close listening to sound poetry and sound art, and examination of digital media works, where applicable. The point will be to establish a framework for what might be innovative in relation to digital media design. This graduate seminar will allow students the chance to examine a range of experimental poetry and sound works, with an emphasis on hearing the potential for innovative sound through a focus on the marginal, the “other”, performance, dissonance, jazz and non-narrative musical forms, and works where meaning is problematized. Undoubtedly, a seminar about sound must also address concepts of listening, which will be covered from a number of perspectives, including theoretical, experiential, and literary, in a conductive sense. Seminar requirements: (1) readings on a constellation of topics related to experimental sound practice, including one-page response papers; (2) oral presentation on a sound artist/poet, genre, or work (possibly related to your thesis or dissertation), and (3) a final project (paper, project, performance, reading, screening, or other manifestation, with accompanying documentation) stemming from, related to, dependent upon, or in defiance of material discussed in class. Course texts: Possibly include material from Morris, ed., Sound States, Bernstein, ed., Close Listening, manifestos, writings/screenings/recordings by Glazier, McCaffery, Spinelli, and living poets, and canonical sources such as Attali, Barthes, Cage, Thoreau, etc., as relevant. Readings/screenings will depend, in part, on scholarly interests of seminar participants.


Rueb :: T 1:00pm – 4:40pm :: CFA 246
Reg #495961

This course introduces students to the practical and technical aspects of realizing mobile and locative applications using cellular, wifi, GPS and other wireless network technologies. It is intended to support the development of projects that have already been articulated as concept designs or projects that require custom programmed applications. The course is geared toward students who already have a basic knowledge of electronics and programming for serial and / or network communications using mobile devices, microcontrollers, sensors, etc. or those who have taken a prior course in project concept development using off-the-shelf applications in mobile and locative media (e.g. DMS561 Network Landscapes). Specific technological skills addressed will vary according to student interest and enrollment, as well as in response to trends in mobile and locative computing. $100 lab fee.


Bohlen :: MW 5:00pm – 6:50pm :: CFA 246
Reg #061194

Groups can know things individuals do not. This somewhat nebulous ‘knowledge’ contained and formed in groups ( of people or sensors, say) is difficult to measure and tricky to gauge. Today, there is substantial interest in finding ways to harvest such knowledge or shared features. Results from internet users for example are collected to find common traits and read consumer sentiment. Sensor network mesh data is mined for signatures of uncharacteristic events over time and space.
The knowledge collected from large groups (of people or sensors) is sometimes referred to as collective intelligence. MediaRobotics IIIb: Collective Intelligence will gently introduce students to the challenges of procedurally finding meaning in large and diverse sources of information. Product recommendations, social book marking, and matchmaking all rely on finding patterns in large data sets. Sometimes truly interesting details (in addition to plenty of junk) emerge from data collected from large groups, whether they are people, animals, plants, weather patterns or genes. The course will deal with concepts and methods that allow one to address collective intelligence phenomena. While the course will cover challenging conceptual and computational issues in collective intelligence, we will place considerable focus on giving them agency for media art inquiry. Students should expect a challenging course that will open new venues for creative and analytical work for media analysis in the widest sense. We will work with the open source programming language python on ubuntu linux for all programming assignments. Prerequisites: MediaRobotics I or equivalent, proficiency in python or consent of instructor. $100 Lab fee.



Conrad, T. :: T 7:00pm – 8:50pm Lec CFA 112/ R 7:00pm – 8:50pm CFA 232
Reg #382216

Professor Tony Conrad:
“I have a collection of about 600 contemporary video works by artists, more than anybody would be able to watch. Some of these are also viewable online, many are not. I am organizing Tuesday evening screenings for Video Analysis (and for students in the Graduate Video Analysis Seminar DMS 422). Then — on Thursday evenings — we will have a general discussion of the work, and of related topics of media arts interest.”
“On several Thursdays I will communicate with the Thursday class via skype, accompanied by ‘visiting’ artists in New York, London, Texas, and Canada. There will be plenty of review of the in-class screenings possible, by watching related work online. I will make tons of articles and other readings available online too, so you will be able to follow up your interests. However, the assignments will be simple: journal entries on videos screened or seen, with accompanying citations from online sources.”
“I have structured this course specifically to provide you with access to the most contemporary media arts information that is available to me — but that is almost completely inaccessible otherwise in Buffalo — and then by providing a forum for discussion and developing our own ideas.”
No lab fee. Attendance is mandatory.
Permission of Instructor

This course permits a student to do independent reading in an area where no course may be given. The instructor will set the guidelines for the course on an individual basis. Course syllabus form should be prepared prior too semester start and one copy should be on file in the Media Study office. For registration info, see Nancy King in 231 CFA. Lab Fee: $100




DMS 627 A-X Supervised Reading
Staff *** :: ARR, ARR – ARR





Contact the Media Study Department for registration.



Staff *** :: Permission of Instructor :: ARR, ARR – ARR :: CFA ARR

A student may enroll in this course after completing course requirements and while writing the thesis. This course is for the written thesis only. One to six credits of  Thesis Guidance may be applied toward an MAH degree. Permission of the instructor is required. Course syllabus form should be completed before the semester s start, and one copy should be on file with the department. For registration info, see Nancy King in 231 CFA.


Staff *** :: ARR, ARR-ARR :: CFA ARR

Contact the department for registration.