This studio is an introduction to video production within the artistic practice. Through a combination of screenings, discussions, examples, and hands-on tutorials, we will be building a strong base comprehension of the history and issues related to the field. The emphasis in this course is not on technical mastery but on understanding digital media technologies as tools for creative cultural practice.
Term: Spring 2014
Course number: 60210 Section B
Classroom: CFA 318 - CFA 307
Days / time: Monday Wednesday 1:30AM - 4:20AM
Professor: Paolo Pedercini - paolop [at] andrew [dot] cmu [dot] edu
GA: Daniel Pillis - mrpillis [at] gmail [dot] com
Office: School of art 419A - 4th Floor
Office hours: By appointment

Upon completion of the course students will be able to:

> Work creatively with digital cameras, Premiere/Final Cut Pro, Adobe After Effects.

> Approach critical issues related to art and cultural production in the digital age.

> Discuss their works in the context of new media art and in relation with pop culture.

> Question authority and challenge convention.


All students are required to have a FireWire 800 hard drive to store their media files on (NOT a USB key or drive). The recommended portable drive is this one:
OWC Mercury Elite Pro mini
And the power adaptor
This will allow you to capture video directly to your drive and save you lots of time. And you'll have a good hard drive for other projects.

If you choose to buy another drive please make sure it meets these minimum specifications:
Firewire 800, 7200rpm, 16mb cache.

> Attendance: three or more unexcused absences result in the drop of a letter grade.

> Absences: you are responsible for what happens in class whether you’re here or not. Organize with your classmates to get class information and material that you have missed.

> Participation: you are invited, encouraged, and expected to engage actively in discussion, reflection and activities.

> Net addiction: you can exist for few hours without twitting, facebooking, chatting, texting, sexting or emailing. Any device for mediated communication is banned during theory classes, crits and discussions. A .5% grade reduction will result from being found using them.
During the lab hours you will be allowed to network as long as your behaviour is not disruptive.

> Assignments: late assignments are only accepted with permission of instructor. You lose 10% of your points per day late up to a max of 7 days late.

Every unit takes about two weeks, and it revolves around a conceptual/technical topic coupled with an assignment. Units might change and there may not be time for all the listed screening, what follows is the best case scenario.


Assignment option 1: create a found footage work by remixing, re-contextualizing, justaxposing different audio, text and video sources. The video should be a detournement of the original material.

Assignment option 2: create a music video for a musical piece using found footage. Content, mood and pace of the video should be consistent with the soundtrack.

Screenings: Alberto Grifi Gianfranco Baruchello - La verifica Incerta, Bruce Conner - A Movie, Dara Birnbaum - Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman, Gorilla Tapes - Invisible TV, Matthias Müller - home stories, Jesse England - staring newscasters, Oops - Chris Beckman.
Craig Baldwin - Tribulation 99, Martin Arnold - Alone, Penny Lane - The Voyagers, Cory Arcangel - Drei Klavierstucke op. 11, Naomi Uman - Removed, Carl Burgess - Drugs by RATATAT, Alma Harel - Postcards from Italy by Beirut, Bill Morrison - Decasia,.

Case Study: Appropriation and plagiarism, Shepard Fairey

Skills: Online and offline archives, downloading, ripping, editing, basic compositing, time remapping, transitions.

Download: The art of stealing video PDF (links, apps, tips and tricks)


Assignment option 1: Devise a simple set of rules and shoot a performance-based art video. Use a fixed camera and no or little editing. Stay in an indoor or "safe" space.

Assignment option 2: Make something unexpected happen in an outdoor space and document the intervention. Try to make it site-specific. The interaction with passerbys is allowed but not required.

Screenings: Chris Burden - Shoot, Bruce Nauman - Bouncing in the Corner no1, Dara Greenwald - Bouncing In the Corner #36 DDD, Liza Steele - Birthday Suit – with scars and defects, Martha Rosler - Semiotics of the Kitchen, Marina Abramovic - 4 Performances, Marina Abramovic Ulay - Relation Work.
John Baldessarri - I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art, William Wegman - 2 dogs and a ball, Cory arcangel - Sans Simon, Kate Gilmore - anything, Kate Gilmore - with open arms, William Lamson - William Tell.

Performing in public & performing for the camera: Valie Export, Ant Farm, Roman Signer, Francis Alys, etc.

Case Study: Contex and Art audience, Interior Semiotics and Downhill Derby.

Skills: basic camera, importing videos, risk taking.


Assignment: shoot a video accompanying (but not directly illustrating) a written piece. Use the tripod and avoid camera movements, pay special attention to composition and light. The narrative can be a monologue, a diary entry, an essay, a poem, original or not, and can be delivered through voice over or text - no acting.
(Recommended: groups of 2)

Screenings: Lumiere - Shorts, Dziga Vertov - The Man with the Movie Camera, Jem Cohen - Lost Book Found, Matt McCormick - The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster - Parc Central - Brasilia, Everynone - Words.
Werner Herzog - Lessons Of Darkness, Our Daily Bread - Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Jorgen Leth - The Perfect Human, Godfrey Reggio - Koyaanisqatsi.

Case Study: Beauty and ruin porn, Godfrey Reggio and the Pruitt-Igoe Myth, Detroitism, Braddock and Levi's.

Skills: lenses, shutter, field of depth, light, white balance, composition, rule of thirds, tripod, getting out of the campus, unprepared audience.


Assignment: Shoot and edit a documentary-style interview with a graduating major.
(Groups of 2)

Screenings: Errol Morris - First person episode, Lenka Clayton and James Price - People in Order, Elizabeth Barrett - Stranger with a Camera, Chris Wait - Heavy metal Jr.

Case Study: Ethics in documentary making, Stranger with a Camera, Mondo Cane, the Bridge.

Skills: microphones, lighting, interviewing, documentary grammar, documentary ethics.


Assignment: Shoot an experimental or surreal short going through all the phases of pre production and post production.
(Groups of x)

Screenings: Luis Bunuel - Un chien andalou, Maya Deren - Meshes of the Afternoon, Alejandro Jodorowsky - El Topo, Matthew Barney - Cremaster 3 pt.II, Matthew Lessner - Darling Darling, Mika Rottenberg - Squeeze.

Extra: Blink - Radiolab interview with Walter Murch.

Skills: screenplay, storyboard, continuity, post-production.


Assignment option 1: Create a short animated collage to be published as a looping animated gif.

Assignment option 2: Create a short video by compositing animations or special effects on amateur-looking footage. The special effects can be subtle as in a hoax video or overt and psychedelic.

Screenings: Frank Film - Frank & Caroline Mouris, Jan van Nuenen - optimizer customizer, Anita Fontaine - Knightshift, Melting Man by Jennifer Levonian, Cyriak - cows cows cows, Cyriak - Cycles.

Screenings: Explosions - tabor borak, Méliès - L'Homme orchestre, Paik - Global Groove, Three Transitions - Peter Campus, Hermine Freed- Art Herstory, Zbigniew Rybczynski - Tango, Michael Gondry + Chemical Brothers - Let Forever Be, Michael Gondry + The Chemical Brothers - Star Guitar, Why Cecco Beppe Does Not Die (Scratch 'n' Sniff Edition) - Ben Coonley, Marco Brambilla - Civilization, Marco Brambilla - Power, A turn for the worse - Carl Burgess, Takashi Murata - Monster Movie.
Video Hoaxes.

Case Study: Green screen malaise, Star Wars and contemporary blockbusters.

Skills: After effects, compositing, filters, chroma key, animation.


To be defined



Background illustrations by Dan Hillier