Thursday, August 27, 2009

by any means necessary

Due 9/1
Bring it!
When you're hot you're hot!
If you're not you're not!

have movies rendered as .mov files
do not forget to post an assignment write-up for this project
Useful tech tutorials
Working with image sequences

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Additional Screenings

European Avant-Garde – “Dada, Cubism, Futurism”
Rhythmus 21 (Hans Richter, Germany, 1921)
Symphonie Diagonale (Viking Eggeling, Sweden, 1922)
Ballet Mecanique (Fernand Leger, France, 1924)
Entr’acte (Rene Clair, France, 1924)
Retour a la Raison (Man Ray, France, 1926)

Screenings/Readings - 8/25

Anemic Cinema (Marcel Duchamp, 1926) 8min
Emak Bakia Cinepoem (Man Ray, 1926) 14min
Vormittagsspuk (Hans Richter, 1927) 7min
all may be found on

Walter Benjamin (1892-1940)
“The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1936)
*You will need to read this more than once*

write about what Benjamin says about the aura:

what is its value? is its withering away good or bad? neither or both?

how can today’s films (focus on one) be understood in terms of Benjamin’s ideas about the aura and mechanical reproduction?

what role does their “readymade” status play in this?

Post above to your blog.


situation of film/video to other arts
oriented to the “art world” rather than commercial cinema

individual/artisanal mode of production

although often rejecting notions of “artistic genius”

non- (or anti-) narrative form

related to other art movements (surrealism, futurism, dada,
minimalism, performance, etc.) and cultural issues (gay subculture; identity politics)

military term for advance troops;

Leninist term (vanguard) for leaders of revolution sense that this art practice is in “advance,” overturning older (bourgeois, mainstream) forms

pushes art to its formal limits; to its negation or destruction; to non-art and the end of modernism but doing so through art practice and issues questions art and art practice

less concerned with revolutionary progress (as is avantgarde)

formal experiments: tests and questions the formal limits of art
the “purity” or “autonomy” of art and art’s separation from other issues (politics, identity)

a term somewhat b/t avant-garde & experimental
“spatial” term

connected to subcultures: beats; queers; things situated “below” mainstream culture
Juan Antonio Suarez: “1960s underground as political postmodernism”

modernism to postmodernism
modernism and postmodernism are not opposites

nor are avant-garde, experimental, and underground
neither are they completely “sequential”

dialectical relationship: “sublation”

there is some postmodernism in modernism and modernism remains in postmodernism

Fall 2009 Syllabus

DM 475 Experimental Cinema
Fall 2009

Jill L. Wissmiller -- gmail is best
Office Hours: T, W, TH 3:45-4:45

Course Description

This class is designed to assist students in the development of alternative means of presentation for media. Topics include camera experimentation, the position of the viewer, and the material and form of the screen. Additionally, students will analyze selected works to enlighten their understanding of the history of non-traditional forms in video and film.

Course Outline

This course is broken up into evolving topical segments of approximately two weeks each. Online reading and film screenings outside of class will accompany these segments.

Assignments and Requirements

In Class Discussion, Critique, and Exercises
You will be expected to do original analyses of your work and that of others – your peers and recognized professionals and to complete in class exercises illustrating the techniques presented. Extra time outside of class will be needed to master the skills and complete the exercises presented in class.


You will be required to keep a blog for this course that includes thumbnails, storyboards, assignment write-ups and final documentation for each assignment. You should also use these spaces for idea development exercises and reading /screening responses. Rolling Due Dates.

Assignment write-ups

Each assignment will be critiqued in class. Each assignment is to be accompanied by a separate Assignment Write-up describing your process - the idea, both the conceptual and technical challenges you were dealing with, your approach, your frustrations, what you learned, as well as reference to any of the weekly readings and or screenings. These write-ups should be succinct, no more than 500 words.

Learning Accommodations

In compliance with MCA policy and equal access laws, I am available to discuss appropriate academic accommodations that you may require as a student with a disability. Request for academic accommodations need to be made during the first week of the semester, except for unusual circumstances, so arrangements can be made.

Health and Safety Precautions

As more and more work, education and recreation involves computers, everyone needs to be aware of the hazard of Repetitive Strain Injury to the hands and arms resulting from the use of computer keyboards and mice. This can be a serious and very painful condition that is far easier to prevent than to cure once contracted, and can occur even in young physically fit individuals. Paul Marxhausen – visit his site below

All students are required to follow the standards detailed in the "EPA Material Handling Protocols

Evaluation and Grading

Grading will be based on:
Creativity, aesthetic and conceptual development
Technical execution
Participation in critique and class discussions
Assignment write-ups

Assignments are due at 12pm on their scheduled dates. If you are to miss a scheduled due date, work must be handed in prior to absence. Points will be deducted for failure to participate in critique. Late assignments will not be accepted. Lost files are not an excuse for a late assignment. Loss of data, files, or other associated items needed for any assignment or project will require that you recreate your work, with no exceptions. You are solely responsible for the security of your files. Your files are not 100% secure on the server or computer desktop. You should have multiple copies on multiple sources at all times. No files are safe unless backed up to 3 locations.

Attendance Policy

Punctual, consistent attendance and serious participation in class is required for receiving credit. If there are five absences during the semester, credit will not be granted. If you have three absences, your grade will be lowered by one letter grade. Three late arrivals/early departures = 1 absence. *Reminder* equipment reservations/check-outs are made during class. If you miss a reservation day/check-out you will have to take what you can get.

Readings and Resources

There are no required textbooks for this course. All readings will be made available online or handed out in class. All films to be screened outside of class will be available through:
Videos and More 3125 Poplar Ave (901) 323-3251
Black Lodge Video 831 S. Cooper (901) 272-7744

difficulty of material
I’m not asking you to “love” this work

I want you to be critical of it (which is not the same as being

to attempt to understand what it is trying to do -- to respect that

this work is generally not for “enjoyment,” as is commercial film (or even “independent” film) -- where enjoyment is the main way to extract money from a paying customer

often un-enjoyable -- confrontational -- “boring”

Materials and Supplies

1 Spindle (25) DVD-R’s (copymax, compusa, bestbuy, etc.)
Jewel cases for DVD’s

1 external firewire 800 hardrive must run @ 7200 rpm.

School Department and Class Policies

No Food or Drinks in Lab. $50.00 fine if you are found in violation.

Your Lab Privileges will be revoked if you do not use headphones in the lab. Please email if you encounter problems during open lab time etc. In fact, please email if you have any problems of any kind during open lab time such as software or printer problems etc. The faster problems are brought to my attention the faster I can get them fixed.

Keep the Lab Clean. Dispose of all trash -- Paper scraps, old media etc.

Leave your workstation in an orderly fashion. Chair should be pushed in. Your monitor, keyboard and mouse should be placed in their proper positions.

All work should be backed up to an external device. Materials left on MCA workstations are NOT secure.


All lectures in Callicott at 7.00 pm unless otherwise noted
You are required to attend 50% of these lectures and post a short review to your blog. If you are in more than one of my classes you may cross post your response -- you only need to write one response and post to each of your class blogs.

Thursday, September 17
Janet Koplos
Art critic, editor
"The WORK of Art"

Tuesday, October 13
Julia Walker
Art historian, contemporary architecture
"Sustainable Chic: The Style of Building Green"

Thursday, October 22
Meda and Veda Rives
Hand made paper, prints, installation

Tuesday, October 27, 12.00 noon
Bill Stewart
Vamp & Tramp, Booksellers (artists’ books, zines)

Tuesday, November 3
Bill Plympton
Animator, film-maker