Spring 2016

DMS 512 Film and Media Theory

Shilina-Conte :: T 11:00AM – 2:40PM  :: CFA112

This course will guide you through the maze of “pre-” and “post-,” “-isms” and “-ships” in film studies.  We’ll examine theories of realism, formalism, semiotics, psychoanalysis, feminism, structuralism, post-structuralism and cognitive criticism with a particular emphasis on the sensory dimension of the moving image.  Assigned readings for the course will include selections from the writings of Bazin, Eisenstein, Baudry, Metz, Balasz, Gunning, Arnheim, Mulvey, Bordwell, Deleuze, Marks, Sobchack and Shaviro, among others. Following Thomas Elsaesser’s approach to film theory through the senses, and focusing on the role of the spectator in cinema, we will study classical and contemporary film paradigms through the interaction between Moving Image and Senses, Body and Mind, emphasizing such metaphors of filmic experience as Window and Frame, Door and Screen, Mirror and Face. Watching such films as Peeping Tom by Powell, Repulsion by Polanski, Persona by Bergman, Stalker by Tarkovsky, The Hand by Wong Kar Wai, we will not only interpret the way we “see” and “hear” films but also explore them through our senses of touch, smell and even taste. As Elsaesser points out, “film and spectator are like parasite and host, each occupying the other and being in turn occupied.” This unique approach to the confrontation and conflation of mind and body with the screen will open for us new models for knowing and representing the world through film and media.

DMS 515 Cinema in the Post Media Age

Shilina-Conte,Tatiana :: T 5:00PM – 8:40PM :: CFA 112

“Cinema Is Dead, Long Live Cinema,” Peter Greenaway recently declared. This class will examine a “moving” target, focusing on the current ontology of cinema as it attempts to redefine its status in a “multi-sensory milieu” (Rancière) of digital technologies and emerging media.

As cinema has been uprooted from its former habitat and is being transplanted into the new media ecosystem, will it wither away as an alien species or become acclimatized and blossom in an unprecedented way?  The post-cinematic phenomenon already resembles the explosion of a supernova, ranging from definitions of cinema as an “incredibly shrinking medium” (Rodowick) to a “chameleon-like inter-medium” (Petho) and embracing such distribution platforms as the mini-displays of personal mobile devices and gigantic public IMAX screens.

In this class we will become witnesses to cinema’s death(s) and reincarnation(s), as we watch its shape-shifting process from the analog to the digital body. We will probe a host of symptoms, including decomposition, fading, flammability of the film stock, and CGI, digital remastering, and 3-D modeling that affect the digital cinematic tissue. We will touch upon such topics as database cinema, soft cinema, multiplex cinema, cinema of attractions and cinema of effects (spectacular cinema), cinema and surveillance, post-media aesthetics, new film history and media archaeology and preservation of moving images.  We will consider the aesthetic, cultural, and social repercussions promoted by the global media convergence, which entails cardinal shifts in the patterns of production, reception and distribution of cinematic images.

As is the case with all transitional periods, a set of questions arises:  Does cinema equal technology and should be understood in the strict sense of medium specificity, or should we adopt a broader approach to cinema as a form of “world viewing” (Cavell)?  Has film in fact been purely organic and asymptomatic in its indexical status as many theoreticians seem to claim?  Is the cinematic metamorphosis voluntary or forced?  Is this transplantation merely an occurrence of cultural nostalgia?  Will it diminish or increase the media biodiversity?  What kind of new cinematic genres will evolve as the result of this transplantation?  Does cinema live in a “digital dark age” (Usai) or will the digital divide signal the arrival of a “brave new world” for cinema?

These questions lead to the pressing demand for a new film history and theory (Elsaesser) that will substantially modify, if not supplant the methodological apparatus of classical film theory.  This class will explore the foundations of this new film theory, scrutinizing writings by Manovich, Elsaesser, Shaviro, Sobchack, Jenkins, Krauss, Siegert, Rancière, Rodovick, Naficy, etc.  Works by Michael Haneke, Chris Marker, Jean-Luc Godard, Elia Suleiman, Esteban Sapir, Ettore Scola, Mike Figgis, Ari Folman, Chan-wook Park, Guy Maddin, Peter Greenaway, Alexander Sokurov, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and others will be considered as media examples.

To sum up, the major agenda of this class will be to arrive at a dynamic definition of cinema in the thriving environment of digital diversity by analyzing the glo(c)al energy flows and processes that govern today’s media ecosystem. Perhaps, together with Niels Niessen, we will come to the realization that “the declaration of cinema’s death arrives prematurely.”


DMS 516 Sound and Sense

Rueb :: M 1-4:40pm :: CFA 235

This seminar will be organized around a close reading of philosophers writing on sound and sense.  We will also read and audition the work of sound artists and practitioners who have inquired into the nature of sound and sense through a variety of enactments.  Students will keep media journals–including short listening exercises, writings and sound productions–through which they can explore and reflect upon their everyday sound experiences throughout the semester.  Part seminar, part experimental practice-based research, the course encourages a self-reflexive and performative inquiry into questions regarding the relationship of sound and sense.  Some questions to be considered include:  How has sound been historically understood as one of the (five) senses, how does the naming and categorizing of the senses structure knowledge and ways of knowing, how are hearing and listening related, how do sonic and acoustic metaphors structure consciousness, how do new forms of secondary orality mutually inform ways of knowing and ways of doing, what political implications can we read into an acoustically articulated epistemology?


DMS 517 Contemporary Cinema

Roussel :: W 9:00am – 1:40PM :: CFA 246
REG# 24063

The Other appears to us in many forms – parent, sibling, teacher, lover, enemy, friend. One thing is constant, however. No matter what form it takes the Other seems to hold the key to our identity. We live in the paradox that what we are in ourselves is determined by someone who is, well, Other.

This course examines a number of films and written texts that address this paradox. The films include works by Joseph Lousy, Eric Rohmer, Luis Bunuel and William Wyler among others. The texts include several frown-inducing essays but nothing really overwhelming. Many short written assignments plus a longer essay is required at the end of the semester.


DMS 526 PhD Seminar 2

Karppi,Tero Jukka :: W 3:00 – 6:40pm :: CFA 232
REG# 24066

Phd Seminar 2 is a research seminar designed to answer to the changing needs and demands of academic publishing. The central focus is on writing and publishing academic articles and papers. We will go through each phase of academic publishing from writing abstracts to preparing, reviewing and editing manuscripts in different phases. We will discuss about peer-review process and finding right publication venues and formats. The hard core of this seminar is based on analyzing, commenting and improving the texts of each participant collectively. You can bring texts that are in different phases to the seminar and the goal is that in the end you will have a first complete draft of that paper. You will also have capabilities to review and analyze academic papers. This seminar is targeted especially for doctoral students at the Department of Media Study. However, doctoral students working with media specific subjects at other departments can apply to participate in this seminar by contacting Tero Karppi directly karppi@buffalo.edu.


DMS 532 Graduate Seminar 2

Elder :: W 4 – 7pm :: CFA 232

Graduate Seminar provides a creative setting for critique and discussion of your work. We will develop a roster of readings, viewings, and other material that can encourage an awareness of contemporary works and discourse in our various field areas. There may be short in-class production experiments, which may incorporate performance.

This course is an introduction to core aspects of the DMS grad program: organizing and writing your thesis abstract, sharing fundamental critical texts, making contact with the full range of Media Study disciplines, and developing a sense of the contemporary media arts field. It will introduce technological, conceptual, and theoretical issues in media practice, with an emphasis on individual development of a research-led methodology.

Note that regular attendance is mandatory. Lab fee is $125


DMS 551 Methods Of Making III

Clark :: F 1 – 4:40pm :: CFA 244

Lab fee is $125


DMS 562 Game Design

Pape, David :: MW 9am-10:50am :: CFA 242

Production course on the design of games, both computer-based and analog.Games are considered as a new art form and in order to create compelling games, students must be aware of the particularities of the form in both structural and aesthetic terms. Clearly the most important difference between games and other art forms are the interactive and interpersonal dynamics of gaming. Core isues of game design; what is a game? what is the nature of play? what makes for good game play? what are the core characteristics and structure of a game? and what are the roles of engagement, narrative, and interactivity in games? Encourages experimental thinking about the boundaries and possibilities of games. Students work in teams to produce a complete game. Thorough, hands-on grounding in the process of game design, including brainstorming, paper prototyping, play-testing, and iterative design. From conception to play-testing, and fosters the skills required to produce, examine, and critique games.
Lab fee $125.



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: $125. For registration information, see Ann Mangan in 231 CFA.



Permission of Instructor
See Ann Mangan in 231 CFA.



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: $125. For registration information, see Ann Mangan in 231 CFA.



Glazier :: M 5-9pm :: CFA 112

Performances, Lectures, and Screenings in Media Art (PLASMA) is a course in which students are exposed to contemporary practices and discourses in media art and culture. Beyond the model of a lecture series course, PLASMA engages students in performative, field-based and workshop encounters with professional practitioners operating at national and international levels of visibility. Roughly every other week brings a guest to the course, with alternating weeks providing an opportunity for screenings, critical reflection and discussion. Readings are assigned to complement topics addressed in the work of guest practitioners, including publications of their own, where relevant. The course is part of the undergraduate foundations sequence in Media Study, but is also open to graduate students who meet in a graduate only section to discuss graduate implications of the course content and to explore further concepts and practices.


DMS 605 Full Scale Computational Media

Bohlen :: T/Th 11am-12:50pm :: CFA246

This is a course in ‘advanced project development’ in the realm of computational media. The course will have three distinct components: iterative concept design, skills workshops and project realization. The goal of the class is the end to end realization of a powerful media-enabled artwork conceived for a specific context. Results from the class will be presented to the public in a show or special event.

Prerequisites: graduate standing, prior exposure to computational media, programming experience


DMS 605 Media Architecture Studio: Lab

<strong>Shepard :: T/Th 1:30-7:30pm :: Crosby


DMS 606 Documentary Praxis

<strong>Jackson :: M 3:30-6:10pm :: Clemen 610


DMS 606 Media Architecture Studio: Seminar

<strong>Shepard :: T/Th 1:30-7:30pm :: Crosby



Shepard :: Thursday 1:00-4:40pm :: CFA 235
Reg# 24345

Structured as an open framework for presentation and critique of ongoing student work, this seminar provides a critical context for experimental media practice. Each session is organized around the presentation of work in progress by two people, followed by a sustained discussion with the group. Students present twice in the course of the semester, and are responsible for determining assigned readings/precedents/references for the session in which they present. Additional readings by the group will provide a common reference for the development of critical positions vis-a-vis contemporary practices in the media arts.



Staff *** :: ARR, ARR – ARR



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 to semester start and one copy should be on file in the Media Study office. For registration info, see Ann Mangan in 231 CFA.





Contact the Media Study Department for registration.



Staff *** :: ARR, ARR-ARR :: CFA ARR
Contact the 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 Ann Mangan in 231 CFA.