The paradox of shadows:

"Shadow is all appearance, immateriality, without substance; but at the same time gives a way of avoiding the seduction of surface--often referred to as appearance as opposed to essence." 

 -William Kentridge, Excerpt from a lecture delivered at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, on the occasion of the exhibition William Kentridge, 20 October 2001-20 January 2002


This class aims to create a collaborative practice based research structure surrounding the history, techniques and critical discourse surrounding automata, mechanical theaters, toy orchestras and shadows.  Students and instructore will pursue a literature review whose findings will be shared through in-class presentations and on-line documentation.  This research will include past and present-day technologies and aesthetics, as well as the analog and digital means through which the theatrical experience incorporates information.  

As the course is intended for students with a primary interest in <em>making</em>, the research methodology will be practice-based and divided into two halves: for the fist half of the semester, students are expected to read, write, research, find, tag, organize, gather.  This phase focuses on building a practice in working with mixed media as opposed to creating a finished object/work.  In March we will hold mid-term reviewers, where students will lay-out all that they have gathered in their research and get feedback on the materials, directions, aesthetics, references and imagery they have gathered.  The 2nd half of the course is dedicated to the creation of a new work.

Since this graduate-level seminar meets only once per week, students are expected to dedicate studio/making-time to this course outside of the class-period.  In class studio days will be dedicated to demonstration of and monitored experimentation with the subject matter's instruments and techniques; in-class hours will also be used for group critiques.

Automated/Kinetic/Interactive projects are often complicated and always multi-faceted in their technological needs.  Students are highly encouraged to work collaboratively with others on group projects, as opposed to solo ones.  

Course Work

Week 1 (1/21/10): 

Week 2 (1/28/10):
-Practical: Electronics and Microcontrollers

Week 3 (2/4/10): 
-Discussion: "The Uncanny"
-Practical: Laser Cutter Techniques

Week 4 (2/11/10):
-Presentations: Shadow Theater
-Lecture + Discussion: Electro-mechanical Movements, Resources for Kinetics

Week 5 (2/18/10):
-Practical: Lighting, Cinematography, Live projection in miniature theaters

Week 6 (2/25/10):
-Studio Time

Week 7 (3/4/10):
-Mid-term critiques

Week 8 (3/11/10):
-Mid-term critiques

Week 9 (3/25/10):
-Practical: Analog and Digital Sensors

Week 10 (4/1/10):
-Presentations: Mechanical Theater

Week 11 (4/8/10):
-Lecture: Mechanical and Toy Orchestras

Week 12 (4/15/10):
-Visiting Artist lecture

Week 13 (4/22/10):
-Studio time

Week 14 (4/29/10):
-Studio time

Week 15 (5/6/10):
-Final Critiques

Week 16 (5/6/10):
-Final Critiques

Grade Breakdown:
-%50 two in-class presentations
-%25 final projects 
-%25 attendance and participation

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