written professional communication

Writing for the Web: The Art of Missing Information

Salisbury University | Spring 2017 | M/W 3-4:15pm | dr. campbell

 

about | goals | materials | policies | schedule | projects | resources | blog | students

 

dr. campbell

office: hh 351
email: professorcampbell7@gmail.com
office hours: M,W 1-3pm,
or happily by appointment

 


dij-i-tl

"I believe digital capture is about choosing to live, being brave. Looking is an act of courage. It's terrifying. It's possible to see too much, to witness things that we cannot hold. To record is to carry a burden, to surrender to beauty. I will never be powerful enough to save everyone."

--Laurel Nakadate

"I wish I could have documented all of these moments of my youth. Of course, the memories are always with me, but it would be so amazing to have contact sheets with real images from these extraordinary years."

--Mary Ellen Mark

"The desire to photograph and capture the whole world, all of it, is not an attempt to recover or create memories. It is a need to affirm experience as expressible, if not comprehensible, and to create an aura of talismanic protection."

--Lyle Rexer

“The archive has always been a pledge, and like every pledge [gage], a token of the future. To put it more trivially: what is no longer archived in the same way is no longer lived in the same way”

--Derrida, Archive Fever

This class begins with the idea of the missing photograph: the picture that was not taken, the story never recorded, the history failed. These are the moments of capture that could not or did not happen. Sometimes these moments are unrepresentable. Yet the reasons behind missing photos, documents, and stories are complex and various. There are pictures that were almost taken but then abandoned, videos that were prevented from being taken, documents that might have been recorded but then were renounced, pictures that were missed and became memories before they could be taken, and of course pictures that were taken of one thing and were really about something entirely different that could not be shown directly.

Digital media offers us the utter ability to document, capture, archive, photograph, produce, circulate, share, and "like" all kinds of stories, realities, and histories. This class will explore the art of missing information through our own intentional acts of composition -- our own pieces of media -- and thus work to construct new and different knowledge along the way. The act of making media is a productive act--it makes. And so as we consider each of our projects in this class, we will also consider what is missing or un-documented, and how we can lend voice to the missing. Our work will be to find and make seeable, hearable, and sayable parts of the world that have thus far been silenced. As we explore the art of missing information, we will also consider the role of "the archive" and digital media, rhetoric, affect and aesthetics. But: we must be careful and aware of this drive to document. Do all stories need to be documented? What do we make of our drive to document? Is the urge to document an act of appropriation? We will be reflective throughout the class on this process of composing and considering the art of missing information.

On the technical side, we will learn a range of critical media software for composing digitally and dynamically including web-authoring languages (HTML5, CSS3), text, sound editing, image editing, and video editing in proprietary and open-source software.

This class is fast-paced, and at times, very difficult. We take as our central pedagogy a DIY ethic, which means do-it-yourself. I will guide you through much of the software, but you will be responsible for advancing your knowledge, for making something worthwhile, and becoming an amateur digital composer.

WHY DIY

Digital technologies have made new forms of culture and communication. These forms rely on software, computation, and design. In this course, I aim to help you become producers of digital media and not merely consumers. This means you have to acquire digital literacy, which takes practice, intense thought, and long hours outside of our class. This also means you have to master the ability to problem solve and debug as part of your practice. In this way, students not only learn digital media, but they learn how to learn digital media and the logic of this new literacy.

syllabus top


 

Course Goals

the idea of practice-based research, long integrated into the sciences, is relatively new to the humanities. the work of making--producing something that requires long hours, intense thought, and considerable technical skill--has significant implications that go beyond the crafting of words. involved are embodied interactions with digital technologies, frequent testing of code and other functionalities that results in reworking and correcting, and dynamic, ongoing discussions with collaborators to get it right."

-- n. katherine hayles, how we think: digital media and contemporary technogenesis

1) Become fluent in the practices and theories of digital media. To this end, you will learn to read and write in the language of digital media. This means becoming fluent in image, sound, moving images, html, css, animations and word-image relationships. We will ask not only what does this media mean, but how does it work and what feeling(s) does it evoke.

2) Begin thinking about the relationship between composing and producing media and composing and producing new knowledge and information.

3) Begin thinking about media from a rhetorical and affective perspective. This class will teach you about the rhetorical situation, available means of persuasion, exigence, kairos, and how to analyze a media text rhetorically, while also producing a media text using the productive framework of rhetoric. Along with rhetoric, we will also consider the affect of media--that is, what emotions, both subtle and overt--do different media attempt to make its audience feel, and how does it work to accomplish this feeling.

4) Learn to learn. Digital media is dynamic and constantly changing, so we must learn to learn its logics and methods. This is the DIY aspect of the course. As media changes, we must learn to change with it, advancing your literacy as it advances. This requires hours of time and focused concentration. We must be constantly looking for ways to speak fluidly with our machines.

syllabus top


 

Materials

 

Texts

There is no required textbook for this class. Instead, we will be reading a combination of articles (both academic and popular), book chapters, podcasts, videos, websites, etc, to help us think about different aspects of digtial media and the art of missing information. Readings will be posted online on the course schedule or in myclasses.

We will also spend a great deal of time discussing and analyzing examples of the "texts" and media you are producing. Some of the "texts" we discuss will be examples from outside of our class, but others will be the "texts" of your classmates. When we workshop your writing/media in class, it will be with an eye toward how the text in question takes up the demands of rhetoric of the piece, and we will discuss potential areas for revision along these lines. Just know in advance that we will be looking as a class at everyone’s writing/media at some point during the semester, and that I expect criticism to be careful (full of care) constructive—that is, to be critical, but respectful.

Web Accounts & Technology

You will need access to the Adobe Creative Suit. I guarantee that we will use the following applications: Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Soundbooth (CS5) or Audition (CS5.5/CS6), Premiere Pro, Flash, and Media Encoder. Version CS5 is installed on the computers in the lab and will be available for student use during scheduled weekly lab hours. If (1) you have difficulty making it to lab hours, (2) you would like increased flexibility in your workflow, or (3) you plan to continue doing digital media production in the future, I would recommend you consider purchasing this software through the new creative cloud. For $19.99/month, you can "rent" the software for our class and all the design software you could ever want.

USB DRIVE / PORTABLE EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE (16G)

This USB drive should be used exclusively for this course for backing up project files, working from the computers during class and lab hours, and handing in midterm and final projects. Please rename the drive with your last name.

HEADPHONES

You are required to provide your own set of headphones or earbuds for use with the iMacs during in-class workshops and screenings. Please bring these to every class.

ACCESS TO A MICROPHONE / DIGITAL AUDIO RECORDING DEVICE

You will need access to a basic microphone for digital audio recording. Radio Shack sells a very inexpensive clip-on mic that works well, and many iPod earbuds can also be used as microphones. You may use cell phones or the built-in microphone available on most computers, but they will produce poor sound quality and are not recommended. Whatever you choose, make sure it is compatible with your recording device. (Please note: The Macs in the lab require a USB microphone or adaptor). I also have 3 microphones I can checkout to you.

ACCESS TO A DIGITAL STILL AND VIDEO CAMERAS

With instructor permission, students may check out high quality digital still and video cameras for a three-day period from me. Whatever camera you use (especially if you borrow a video camera), make sure that you have the software to access the image files and download them to your computer or USB.

WEB ACCOUNTS

In order to participate in course communication and post your media projects to the web, you will need to sign up for free accounts with Twitter,WordPressSoundCloud, and Vimeo.

You will also need a website host. I use bluehost.com. but x10hosting is free and will work fine for our class.

RESOURCE PAGE

Here is a list of digital media resources

 

syllabus top


 

Policies

GRADING

Blogs: 12 total | (graded for quality, thoughtfulness, and polish): 2pts per post = 24 points possible
Video Portrait of a citizen + Reflection: 14 points
Recovery + Reflection: 14 points
Performative Sound Piece + Reflection: 14 points
Final Remix + Reflection: 14 points
Final Website (as portfolio): 10 points
In-class participation (including peer review): 10 points
TOTAL: 100 points

A = 92 – 100 points 
A- = 90 – 92 points
B+ = 88 – 89 points
B = 83 – 87 points
B- = 80 – 82 points
C+ = 78 – 79 points
C = 73 – 77 points
C- = 70 – 72 points
D = 60 – 69 points
F = below 60 points  

**I will give pop quizes from time-to-time. Do the reading!

ATTENDANCE

Your attendance is mandatory.

Regular attendance in this course is required. If you miss more than 3 class meetings, you will not pass the course.

It is your responsibility to get the assignments, class notes, and course changes from a classmate if you do miss a class. It is also your responsibility to complete the missing work. In-class work cannot be made up.

I understand that things happen and you may need to miss a class because you’re sick, you’ve missed your flight back to campus, or you have pressing personal or family issues. The policy above allows for such absences without penalty. If you need to be absent for some extraordinary reason—because of a severe accident or illness, a family emergency or death, a religious holiday or jury duty—please let me know, and we will work something out. For such absences, either prior notification or subsequent documentation will be required.

LATE WORK

I will not accept late work.

Technology Policy

I will ask that on our designated "discussion" days (or if I indicate we are having a discussion), you don't even touch that pretty machine--no logging in, no touching its tempting keyboard, etc. If you do fall to temptation, I will mark you absent for the day. It is imperative for you to be fully present in each moment of our course. If you're finding this difficult, you might think about why technology is so tempting and see if you can give it up for a week!

There will be designated "studio" days for you to engage the machine--not to worry.

No phones or iPods either unless I specify otherwise.
 

PARTICIPATION

I take participation very seriously. You make this class what it is; you are integral to our discussions, ideas, and progress. That said, there are many ways to participate in class. The most obvious one is to contribute substantially to discussion every day, and I do expect that for most people in class, this will be the case. I expect you to speak at least once each class and to respectfully listen to me and your classmates during discussions. Your phones will be off. It might help you to think of this as a casual business meeting where you’re hoping to network with colleagues and impress your boss. I reserve the right to mark you absent if you don’t follow these guidelines. Participating in class also means speaking up in small group discussions and workshops, listening and taking notes attentively, and so on. If you are a quiet student and would like to talk to me about strategies for speaking up in class, please do so! I’m happy to help however I can. Simply being present in class does not guarantee a strong participation grade (in fact, attending and occasionally contributing to discussion is equivalent to a C participation grade), but attentively contributing to our class in the ways I mentioned above, both in-person and online, does. Similarly, being inattentive or disruptive (doing other work or texting in class) or tardy will hurt your participation grade. If I see you doing other work or using your cell phone in class, I will make a note of this and your participation for that day will be marked down and you may be marked absent. I will not call you out on this in class (as I mentioned above)—it is your responsibility to pay attention to the work we are doing together every Monday and Wednesday.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

All work must be composed in accordance with course instruction and guidelines regarding copyright, educational Fair Use, and Creative Commons licensing practices.

Plagiarism will not be tolerated. All instances of plagiarism will result in an automatic “0” on the assignment, a full revision without credit, and a report to the Dean.

 

DISABILITIES

Special Assistance: Salisbury University offers support services for students with disabilities. If you have a physical, learning, or emotional impairment that has an effect on your grades, please call Disability Support Services at 410-543-6080.

 

syllabus top



SCHEDULE

Week 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | finals

WEEK 1

 

30 Jan | Course Introduction

In-class assignment: write about a picture not taken in your life
Begin Watching RIP: A REMIX Manifesto (in class)

DUE:

Sign up as an author on the class blog (send me an email)

1 Feb | Discussion

Finish watching RIP: A Remix Manifesto
Go over project #1| assign partners
Read over all materials on the course website and take note of any questions

DUE:


Blog Post #1 (due by Wednesday at noon)
Read: The Rhetorical Toolbox (on myclasses)
Read: Archive Fever (on myclasses)
Read: "How Documentary Became the Most Exciting Kind of Filmmaking"
Peruse (read + scroll to the bottom): ARCHIVE FEVER: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art Read: Misty Keasler's picture not taken [handed out on the first day of class]

 

top

WEEK 2 | VIDEO PORTRAITS

 

6 Feb | Discussion | Thinking about the Archive

 

DUE:

ReadAbout the Archive
Read: "The Role of Archives in the Creation of Memory"
Blog Post #2 (due by Noon on Monday)
Read: Erika Larsen's picture not taken
Assign partners and start project 1: Come with ideas!

 

8 Feb | Studio | Begin Adobe Premier Pro | workshop proposals

 

DUE:

Watch: Amar (All Great Achievements Require Time) / A Brief History of John Baledessari / Odysseus’ Gambit 
Watch: Every Runner has a reason
Watch: Delivery
Watch: Something about Mary
Watch tutorials: Shooting Basics / Framing and Composition / Visual Grammar
Citizen Video Portrait- Proposal (uploaded to courseweb + 3 hard copies to class)

 

top

WEEK 3 | VIDEO PORTRAIT

 

13 Feb | Studio | Workshop Storyboards

 

DUE:

Blog Post #3: Video Portrait rhetorical and affective analysis

Watch: Premiere Pro Tutorials - Interface Overview | Import Media | Select Shots | Edit to the Timeline |Refine the Edit | Add Transitions | Add and Adjust Music | Create a Video Story


15 Feb | Studio

DUE:

Video Portrait – Storyboard (2 paper copies to class)
Read about Storyboards - (Click here for a storyboard template - optional
Watch: How to create a storyboard

Read: Laurel Nakadate's picture not taken
Bring raw footage you've shot to class on your USB
Watch: Premiere Pro Tutorials - Create and Edit Titles | Apply Video Effects | Working with Keyframes|Clean up Audio with Audition | Export Video from Premiere Pro

 

top

WEEK 4 | VIDEO PORTRAITS

 

20 Feb | Workshop: Video Portraits | Be ready!

 

DUE:

Be prepared to workshop your draft. I will blindly choose 3-5 for workshopping!
Video Portrait - Export your video-in-progress and upload to Vimeo (put link on class blog) . These are rough drafts for workshopping.

22 Feb | DIY Video

Continue revising and editing video portraits |

DUE:

Blog Post #4: DIY Video Production

 

top

WEEK 5 | BEGIN RECOVERY STORY

 

27 Feb | Discussion | Begin Recovery Story


Watch in class: Ira Glass on Storytelling

WORKSHOP part 2: Citizen Video Portraits
 

DUE:

Read: "Top 10 Photography Composition Rules" and "The Photo Essay: Give It Your Best Shot"
 

1 March | Workshop Proposals | Analyze images

Begin Pigeon body + partner's head assignment
Image analysis

DUE:

View: This is what it looks like at the center of America
View: Paradise, Paved
View: The People you meet at Mcdonalds
View: What Hadn’t Happened
View photo essays:"The Ruins of Detroit" | "Where the Children Sleep" | "Remembering Hardware"
Recovery story Proposal (uploaded to courseweb + 2 hard copies to class); revisit writings we did on the first day of class for ideas.

 

DUE FRIDAY 3/3! Citizen Video Portrait– Final video (uploaded to Vimeo and embedded in class blog, reflection turned into myclasses w/ link)

 

top

WEEK 6 | RECOVERY STORY

 

6 March | Studio Photoshop | Word + Image relationships

 

DUE:

Read: McCloud "Show and Tell" (on courseweb)
Pigeon body + partner's head assignment (to class blog after studio in class)

Blog Post #5: Image Analysis of one of the photo stories (due by Monday at noon)

Recovery Story – Shoot  or bring at least 15 possible photos – post on class Flickr group + bring on USB drive
Watch Photoshop Tutorials (CS4)Getting Started 02 / 03 / 04 / 05 / 06 / 08 / 09 /10 / 11and (CS5)GS-05 / GS-06 / GS-07 / Photo Effects / Fine-Tuning Filters / + 2 more of your choice

 

8 March | Studio HTML | Purchase or find a host | Adobe Creative Cloud

 

DUE:

Blog Post #6: DIY Photo Editing 
Complete HTMLDog HTML Beginner Tutorial and W3Schools: HTML Basic Tutorial and HTML5 Tutorial
Watch Dreamweaver Tutorials (CS4)Getting Started 01 and (CS5)GS-01 / GS-03 / GS-04 / GS-05 / GS-06 
Purchase or find a host

top

WEEK 7 | WEB DESIGN | RECOVERY STORY

 

13 March | Studio CSS

 

DUE:

Blog Post #7: Web Design Analysis



 

15 March | No class (professor at conference) || You still have things due

 

DUE:

Website – First two (ugly) fully-functional pages online (index and photo page) with text, link, and images, complete with external CSS.[[ post link to myclasses for dr. campbell's viewing]]
Sign up for Creativist-- Begin converting your recovery story photos + words into the Creativist interface.

No class. Please use the time to edit and compose your sites.

top

WEEK 8 | WEB DESIGN

 

20 March | No Class | Spring Break

Play with your recovery project in the Creativist interface

22 March | No class | Spring Break

 

DUE:


 

top

WEEK 9

 

27 March | Studio HTML/CSS & Creativist

 

DUE:

Website – Rough layout of two pages with use of dynamic CSS (in HTML5 with external CSS stylesheet) + a link called Recovery Story
Recovery Story– Rough Photo sequence posted in Creativist interface + words (fully edited and optimized images, posted in order)

Familiarize yourself with Creative Commons
Watch “Lawrence Lessig on laws that strangle creativity”
Read from Colors on the Web: Color Theory (ALL menu items)
W3Schools CSS3 Tutorial

29 March | No Class (Professor at conference) || Online workshop

 

DUE:

Online workshop [on Myclasses]] | Be ready to workshop your recovery stories online! These should be fully layed-out with words and intro in the Creativist interface. You will be required to interact and repond to each other's pieces.

top

WEEK 10

 

3 April | Preview Recovery Stories | Share reflections

 

DUE:

Recovery Story– Final sequence + text formatted "published to web" in Creativist + a link on your website, written reflection in courseweb
Select and embed a Creative Commons License in your website

 

5 April  | Begin Performative Sound Project

 

DUE:

Blog Post #8: DIY Web Design
Final Design Mockup (three pages + color scheme / fonts / image ideas) - bring to class!
Read:"On Your Mark. Get Set. Start Your Story."
Read: Story Structure: E
Read: Sylvia Plachy's picture not taken
Listen: Ira Glass on Storytelling, Part 1

top

WEEK 11

 

10 April | Studio Audacity

 

Learn Audacity in class

 

DUE:

Blog Post #9: Audio Analysis 
LISTEN: Radiolab: Behind the Scenes 
LISTEN: This American Life--Superpowers!
LISTEN: Lament for Joe Hall
Listen: Ira Glass on Storytelling, Part 2



 

12 April | Studio || Writing for the ear

 

DUE:

Website – Progress on design implementation
Read: From Sound Reporting "Writing for Broadcast" by Kern, pp 25-38 [on myclasses]
Read: From Sound Reporting "Reading on the Air," pp 132-140 [on myclasses]
Read about "Writing for the Ear": Basic Tips and Geoffrey Nunberg's Principles
Listen: Ira Glass on Storytelling, part 3 and part 4
Performative sound piece : Proposal (upload to courseweb + 3 hard copies to class)

top

WEEK 12

 

17 April | Writing for the Ear |

Discuss:

Listen: “Be Quiet: In Praise of the Pause” / Biewen (Transom, 2011)
Listen: “Ugly Pew” / Wheeler (Missouri Review, 12:10)

DUE:

7 variations of your own voice

Rough audio for your sound piece


top

WEEK 13 | Sound

 

24 April | Script + Outline

 

Performative Sound Piece– Script and Outline (1 hard copy to class!)

Open Studio Time

 

DUE:

Blog Post #10: DIY Audio Editing

26 April | Rough cut workshop

DUE:

Performative Sound piece WORKSHOP day– Bring roughcut to class on USB drive!

 

top

WEEK 14 | Begin Remix

 

1 May | Begin Remix, finish sound pieces

  Finish watching RIP: The Remix Manifesto

DUE:

 Read Rhythm Science (on myclasses pg 1-20)

3 May | Studio day

 DUE:

Remix– proposal for possible concept (300 words - 1 paper copy to class + Upload to
 myclasses)

STUDIO

Performative sound piece– Final Project  (SoundCloud embed in website + reflection in Myclasses by midnight on Friday)

top

WEEK 15

 

8 May | Open Studio Time | remediation/remix projects

STUDIO DAY for Websites and Remix Projects

 

10 May | studio | Last day of class | Bring treat, celebrate your work

Blog post #11: stick a spork in it (bring your post to class!)

 

top

FINALS WEEK

 

19 May | Re-mix/Re-vision + Reflection due to myclasses along with Semester video Reflections directed to me + future students (no assignment guidelines, just make a video however long or short telling future students about the course and anything else you want). Due to myclasses, host on vimeo) and final website and its full archive due by midnight | It should be beautiful!

 

Thank you!

top

schedule top | syllabus top


 

Course Projects in detail

Blog Posts & Reflections | Project 1 | Project 2 | Project 3 | Website & Final Project



Blogging Project Guidelines

Blog Guidelines
Throughout the term, you will be asked to compose two different kinds of blog posts—critical blog posts and DIY blog posts. The requirements are different for each of them.

These are always due by NOON the day of our class. 

Critical Blog Posts: should engage with one or more of the media objects we are viewing / listening to / interacting with for the assigned class period, providing a detailed “reading” of the object’s specific compositional elements and how you see them working toward particular rhetorical or aesthetic ends.

  • 1) Take up the prompt loosely as a point of departure.
  • 2) Refer to specific examples from the text under examination. Do "close-reading."
  • 3) Pose at least one question for class discussion.
  • 4) Be a minimum of 300 words.
  • 5) Include a descriptive title and relevant tags for navigation and indexing.
  • 6) Must be proofread and spell-checked.

DIY Blog Posts: (no prompts provided) should provide practical instruction on a particular skill or technique that is not covered by the in-class studio instruction or assigned tutorials but that might be useful for other students in the course. DIY posts should include relevant images (screenshots, etc.) and links to additional web resources or tutorials, as needed.

Blog posts are due by NOON the day we discuss the text in class. Before coming to class, I expect you to review the blog and post a brief response to at least one other student’s post.
Please note: We will also be using the blog as a space to submit and share course projects.

Commenting:

Feel free to comment on each other's posts and engage each other in conversation. I will take note of comments as hints of your participation and engagement. 

REFLECTION(S) (DUE FOR EACH PROJECT):

 

Response Paper format:
• 500 words or longer
• standard margins
• standard 12 pt. Times New Roman font.
• works cited list, if applicable (does not count towards page length)

You should always be prepared to discuss your reflection papers in class.

projects top | syllabus top


 

PROJECT 1: VIDEO PORTRAIT OF A CITIZEN

Technology used: Adobe Premier Pro

In groups of 2 or 3, this project invites you to venture out into your/our community, where community is broadly defined by you, and pay a little more attention to someone who is un-documented and un-archived in our/your national memories and community definitions. This person can be someone forgotten or overlooked--it's up to you. Choosing an interesting person will make for an interesting video portrait. I can point you in the direction of some organizations and neighborhoods, but you should think of yourself as a kind of rogue journalist on the investigative route toward a person-to-archive.

You will plan, storyboard, shoot, and edit a short (3- to 5-minute) digital video in which you compose a documentary portrait of a largely undocumented person in your community (broadly defined). Drawing upon the models of video portraits we have discussed in class, your project should revolve around a central theme relevant to the person’s life and the rhetorical, aesthetic and affective decisions you make should reflect that theme. Your goal is to archive that person and make (your audience) care about who this person is as a person in the community and in our own collective and digital memory. 
Before beginning your project, you will compose a 250-word group proposal for your video portrait. Your proposal should provide a rationale for: the individual(s) you will involve, the questions your project will raise, the methods you will employ, the audience you will target, and the significance of the theme you will take up.
Also in the planning stages, you will produce a detailed storyboard for your video, laying out sketches of at least 12 scenes with written annotations for set direction, camera movement, resources needed, etc.
While the bulk of the materials you use should be shot by you for the purposes of this assignment, you may, if you choose, source and use additional audio (music, etc.) and archival materials (photographs, etc), provided that you do so in accordance with the Fair Use Doctrine.

Finally, you will each compose a 500-word reflection on your video composition process, discussing (1) your rhetorical, aesthetic and affective aims in selecting, layering, and arranging your video content and (2) how your project responds to and expands upon the approaches to video documentary and archiving that we discussed in class. (3) You might consider whether you “captured” this person, whether you made him/her come alive in the medium or not and why this enriches our sense of archiving or changes the course of our collective memories. Discuss successes as well as failures.

Upload videos to your Vimeo account and embed them in our blog and eventually your website.

 


projects top | syllabus top


 

PROJECT 2:  RECOVERY STORY


Technology used: Photoshop and Creativist

This project invites you to compose an original recovery story (see Erin Anderson’s “What Hadn’t Happened,” think about the art of missing information)—consisting of between 7 and 12 photographs, an introduction text, and effects in photoshop—which brings to life someone or something that has been forgotten, untold, or un-archived. This can be a recovered story about someone you know, someone in your family, or about someone or something you want to know about. The photographs may be of any style or subject of your choosing (landscape, portrait, etc), as long as (1) they are shot and edited by you for the purposes of this assignment and (2) they cohere into a unified narrative demonstrating attention to the principles of visual composition and sequencing we have discussed in class. You may take current photographs or collect old photographs. 
The idea behind this project is to collect and gather (dig up photos, texts, anything you can find about the person or thing) the remnants of someone or something in history, where "history" is broadly defined.  This will take a bit of research on your part. Don’t tell a story everyone already knows, try to tell the missing story. 
Before taking and collecting your photographs, you will compose a 250-word proposal for your project, laying out: the subject you will address, the story you aim to tell about that subject, the significance of this story, the feeling you wish to convey, and the types of shots you hope to capture and edit.

As mentioned, your project should include a written component (250 to 350 words), which demonstrates your attention to word-image relationships. This will likely serve as your introduction to the story as previewed in the creativist stories.  You may also—if it suits your rhetorical and aesthetic aims—choose to incorporate words into the images themselves. Keep in mind that the text should be used to enhance your narrative, not to carry it. In other words, your photographs should stand alone as a meaningful visual account of the story you’re recovering.

Once your photos are edited and you've written your text and introduction, you will translate your material into the Creativist interface. This will be how your recovery story gets rendered, once it's ready. After you have fully formatted your recovery story in Creativist, you will "publish to web" and make a link to it on your website.

Finally, you will compose a 500-word reflection on your composition process, including (1) a discussion of your rhetorical and aesthetic aims in shooting, selecting, and sequencing your images and (2) an in-depth analysis of a single image (choose your favorite one!) as it demonstrates your attention to principles of photographic composition. (3) Some reflective thought on how this speaks to theme of missing information and archiving. (4) Discuss how you attempted to convey your "feeling" and whether it was successful.

 

projects top | syllabus top


PROJECT 3: PERFORMATIVE SOUND PIECE

Technology used: Audacity

This project asks you to aurally un-archive and then re-archive or bring to digital life a remnant from any archive or historiography. You will research a person or event, using either court documents, historical documents, or any other documented and archived material in the archive of your choosing, and then bring it alive performatively by writing your own script, using yourself or actors to animate people and events, all through the medium of sound.This sound piece is part non-fiction, all performative, and part fiction.
You will record, and edit a 4- to 6-minute performative sound piece. Your sound piece should weave together a range of sonic elements (oral interviews, voiceover commentary, field recordings, music, sound, sound effects, etc.) that you have produced and collected (archive.org or freesound.org) to re-animate your person or event. 
You will need to collect the sound and then edit it, making it flow, giving it a beginning, middle and end, using suspense, adding effects, etc. This piece needs to have a "so what" or what Ira Glass calls, "reflection."

Before beginning your project, you will compose a 250-word proposal for your performative sound piece, providing a rationale for: the questions your project will raise, the individual(s)your project will involve, the methods you will employ, the audience you will target, the feeling you wish to convey, and the significance of telling this story. Also layout what you imagine this project to look like at this stage--the different parts, content, etc.

After collecting your recordings, you will produce a detailed outline of your project, laying out the sequence, arrangement, and transitions of your narrative. For all sections that will feature your own authorial voice as voice-over (i.e. setting the scene, providing commentary, etc.), write out a verbatim script for your oral performance, with attention to principles of “writing for the ear.” You may use your own voice and the voice of actors or other volunteers, but you must write the script.

Finally, you will compose a 500-word reflection on your audio composition process, discussing (1) your rhetorical, aesthetic and affective aims in selecting, layering, and arranging your audio content and (2) how your project responds to and expands upon the approaches to audio media, archiving and missing information that we discussed in class.

Upload to Soundcloud and embed in your website.

 

projects top | syllabus top


SEMESTER LONG PROJECT: WEBSITE

Technology used: Dreamweaver, HTML5, CSS3

For this project, you will create a fully designed, formatted, and styled website that will serve as a creative portfolio and archive for housing all of your projects for the course. 
This project requires you to:

  • Purchase a host: (this one is free and easy to use: https://x10hosting.com/ or biz.nf).
  • Draft and present your design concept—informed by research on relevant examples—including three preliminary sketches, a final design mock-up, and a navigational plan. 
  • Author your site from scratch in HTML5 (Hypertext Mark-up Language) and CSS / CSS3 (Cascading Style Sheets). Please note: While you are encouraged to use a web-authoring editor, such as Adobe Dreamweaver, you may not use pre-made templates or “sand-box” web tools to produce your site.)
  • Compose and edit relevant informational text and images for the site and employ a consistent design conceptualization and navigation system throughout.
  • Update your website throughout the term, integrating feedback from in-class workshops and maintaining an up-to-date portfolio of all assignments and course projects.

You are expected to revise and refine your website design for your Final Portfolio Archive at the end of the term. For full credit, your site should have some kind of dynamic design element (think CSS 3).

REMIX

With your assigned partner, you’re going to remix our class archive (consisting of different pieces each of you has produced throughout the semester, the blog, my feedback, etc) to say something else, something new. You may remix only bits and pieces of your own archive. The idea is to take our entire class archive as a whole and remix it. You may not use any outside texts, nothing from youtube or google, etc. You can only use materials made in our class, but you can cut them and re-purpose them any way you'd like. In short: imagine a different future. 
Your remix video should be two to three minutes long (not including credits) and should demonstrate clear conceptual forethought and creative attention to techniques of arrangement, juxtaposition, and overlay. Keep in mind that while remixes may appear chaotic, good remixes are carefully constructed, concept-driven media objects, which take the familiar and put it in new -- sometimes strange -- contexts to a desired effect/affect. Your project should reflect this.
As with the previous video project, you will be expected to present your remix concept to the class for feedback. Your concept proposal (300+ words) should address the following, in as much detail as possible:

You will begin by writing a 300-word proposal that lays out the parameters of TWO potential remix projects, including: the sourced materials you will work with, the methods or strategies you will employ, and the messageoreffect that you aim to produce.

Finally, you will each compose a 500-word reflection on your remix composition process, discussing (1) your rhetorical and aesthetic aims in selecting, layering, and arranging your content and (2) how your project responds to and expands upon the approaches to archiving that we discussed in class. You might reference Rhythm Scienceor Archive Fever in your reflection

 

OR REVISION

Alternatively, you may choose to revise yor video portrait from the beginning of the semester. Yet revision here refers to an actual re-vision, that is, a re-seeing, of the project. As Adrienne Rich puts it, "Re-vision-the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction-is for us more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an act of survival. Until we can understand the assumptions in which we are drenched we cannot know ourselves" (18).

Now that you've made media all semester, you should have the ability to look with fresh eyes. BUT: there's more. We have been thinking about storytelling, missing information, and archives all semester, which means your perspective should have opened up, too. What do you know now you didn't know at the start? Can you enter your old text, the video portrait documentary, with these fresh eyes, bring it back to life in order to say something else? Remember that what we document is powerful, but what haunts us is what we didn't document, archive or tell. Using your knew technical expertise along with your thoughts on our course theme, revise your video portrait, re-see it, in order to say something else.