Syllabus for Advanced Computer Imaging Professor Mark Amerika
Fall 2000
Tues/Thurs 1:00-3:30
N275 (New Media Arts Computer Lab)
email: Mark.Amerika@Colorado.Edu
Week One  
August 28 Course Introduction
What is Internet Art?
How does one evolve a net art practice?
The Conceptual Art Interface.
Manifesto Destinies.
First portfolio project: The Artist's Statement

Check out:

Sol Lewitt: "Sentences on Conceptual Art"

Alexei Shulgin: "Art, Power, and Communication"

Harry Polkinhorn: "Manifesto of Negativity"

Jerome Rothenberg: "A Personal Manifesto"

"Make Your Own Manifesto"

Assignment for the next two weeks
Read Shelley Jackson's popular hypertext MY BODY and see how she does this, i.e. how she confuses [de-familiarizes] autobiographical discourse into something "fictional." Also notice how she mixes hyperTEXT with illustration and, on the opening page, a sound-loop. As with much web art work, here we find textuality and narrative becoming privileged. Keep thinking about your own "digital narrative" and see if Jackson's work gives you any ideas for your online projects.
Read Debra Ackerman's creative response to Jackson in her mid-term project from last year and see how she used Jackson's work to trigger a "pseudo-fictional" discourse.
Weeks Two and Three  
September 4 and 11 Explorative Hypertexts and Time-Based Media
Lecture on hypertext: its history and evolution into becoming the all-"consuming" protocol of choice in both new media art and the new media economy.
We'll take a closer look at MY BODY as well as time-based works of narratively-driven web art, including Stuart Moulthrop's Hegirascope, David Blair's Waxweb and GRAMMATRON. Be prepared to discuss these works before practicing your own experiments with multi-linear linking and time-based screenal flashing.
Assignment for next week Now that you have a taste of the history, theory and practice of hypertext and how it eventually manifested itself in a networked environment like the one we associate with the World Wide Web, it's time to start investigating how online narrative art began moving out of the realm of the "literary" (per se) and quickly became absorbed into what has recently been called Internet Art [or net art, web art and even "I"-art, although who is to say what the "I" really stands for...any i-deas?].
Read Joachim Blank: "What is Net Art ;-)?".
For more background, you should also read Robert Adrian: "Net Art on Nettime."
But don't just read. See for yourself what early net art looked like. It quickly became more than hypertext and started integrating both visual and conceptual art practice into its domain.
We will now begin investigating many of the early works of Internet art that co-evolved with the hypertexts we've been looking at.
Start off by spending a great deal of time surfing through the adaweb site, now archived at the Walker Art Center.
Extra credit: why do you think they called it adaweb? Email me if you think you know.
Week Four  
September 18 Net Art For Net Art's Sake?
Let's look at adaweb more closely, paying particular attention to Jenny Holzer's "Please Change Beliefs" and Darcy Steinke's "Blindspot" (which was included in this year's Whitney Biennial).
Notice how one uses interactive forms to create a "collective" net art project (Holzer) and how the other experiments more with the visual layout of the story (Steinke). Both of these artists, Holzer the visual-conceptual artist, and Steinke the novelist, were approached by adaweb to create unique works of net art. adaweb provided technical support in both the design and programming of each piece.
This is significant. Why? Because it shows us how the early evolution of this art form was in many ways produced through collaborative efforts (GRAMMATRON and Waxweb were also collaborative projects).
We should also look at Alexei Shulgin's Form Art (he's Russian, so the title has resonance, like a hybridized Netscape Russian Formalism, yes?).
In fact, check out Shulgin's main web site at Easylife.
Let's play with forms, or: Form.
Other sites that you can peruse for ideas include Face Value, Identity Swap Database and Mongrel.
Assignment for next week Check out the Turbulence site. Turbulence commissions new works of Internet Art on a regular basis and features some of the most important web artists of our time.
Week Five  
September 25 Imagetexts: The Core of Digital Rhetoric
Close reading of Tina Laporta's "Distance" art work commissioned by Turbulence.
Notice how she too renegotiates the image/text icon (and uses simple hypertext links) to create a loose narrative structure that experiments with time and space.
Find images on the web (let's call them "found images") and continue creating your own loosely structured narrative art work by interweaving textual material (some of it from the "data dump") with the "found images" as part of your web art design. Try and be innovative with your link structure too.
Assignment for next week Take your accummulated source material (from your writings, graphics, sketches, web deisgns and the "found images") and begin to create a more elaborate web site that utilizes this material. Don't look for cohesion just yet. Look for the beginning of a "conceptual design" strategy that will enable you to start building a project that is at once "about" you but also connected to the collective "unconscious" of the Web (its content, source-code, commercialization, amateurish anything-goes style, etc.).
Now we are about to begin an exploration into "surf-sample-manipulate," a digital collage practice that requires both individual creativity and collective [collaborative] remixing.
Start off by reading the following online texts:
Lev Manovich's "Postmodernism and Photoshop" for a general intro to the subject.
Then read my own "Surf-Sample-Manipulate: Pla(y)giarism On The Net".
Also, you must read an essay by the Critical Arts Ensemble, one of the primary culture-jamming theory groups in the contemporary art world. The essay is called "Utopian Plagiarism, Hypertextuality, and Electronic Cultural Production". Though it was written pre-web, this essay has at its core some very valuable i-deas for an activist "surf-sample-manipulate" digital art practice.
Week Six  
October 2 Surf-Sample-Manipulate
Lecture on "Appropriation, Pla(y)giarism and the Cut-Up Method."
Continue building your online portfolio by applying the lessons of surf-sample-manipulate.
No class October 5th -- Fall break.
Assignment for next week See how the WWW, as a kind of "collective cut-and-paste" digital art collage, leads to the popular (and quite controversial) practice of "ripping." Become familiar with sites like MP3.Com, Napster and the think how Net Art and the Dream of Ongoing Digital Collage relate to the international attention being paid to so-called DJ remixing.
Read this six-page rant by musician Courtney Love where she attempts to show us how the RIAA, which represents the music recording industry, is already pirating (stealing) artist's work. Do you agree with her?
Weeks Seven and Eight  
October 9 and 16 Demo Days: Phase Two
Also: more Surf-Sample-Manipulate.
S-S-M across the spectrum.
Is it the contemporary Internet artist's responsibility to be a culture jammer?
When does the art become so political that it ceases to be art and is purely political?
What is a hactivist?
A viewing of Tribulation 99.
Copyleft vs. Copyright.
Assignment for next week Continue developing your midterm projects, finding ways to integrate all you have learned up to this point into the conceptual design and overall I-art strategy you are pursuing when constructing your unique online work. Details of your project assignments will be discussed throughout the first part of the semester as well as in individual one on one sessions during our lab hours and outside of class.
Week Nine  
October 23 In-class exercises.
Assignment for next week Finish mid term projects.
Week Ten  
October 30 WORK DAYS
Assignment for next week Continue working on your mid-term projects.
Week Eleven  
November 6 Share and Share Alike


Project Presentations begin on November 9th.

We will focus on all workshop participants sharing the work they have developed thus far in the semester. As always, attendance is mandatory, and participation in group discussion of your fellow workshop member's work is essential.

Assignment for next week Visit LinguaMOO and learn how to practice MOO-ing.
Week Twelve  
November 13
Project presentations continue.
Also: Entering MOOspaces

And: Teleconference to Finland.

Assignment for next week Ezines (electronic magazines) are all the rage of both the cultural overground and alternative underground. On the net, the playing field is leveled as both individuals and collectives create some of the wildest, weirdest sites on the web. Plow through this excellent ezine list and find at least one example of an ezine that is, to you, a work of art. Bring that example to class so you can tell us why. Also, check out these popular ezines:
Week Thirteen  
November 20 Finish in-class presentations.
Intro to ezines.

No class on Thursday due to the holiday.

Assignment for next week Investigate the potential of new media art resources, particularly email lists. For the interests of our course, we will focus on the Rhizome site.
Check out Rhizome's Artbase project.
How would you define this site? A digital archive? An online museum? An always in-progress I-art exhibition space? A database? A community?
Pick one net art site from the Artbase and prepare to make a presentation on that site in next week's class.
Week Fourteen  

How does net art differ from the other art forms, especially when it comes to communication, direct interaction with the artists, and building distributed online communities?

Also:Tuning In To The "Art Entertainment Network"

Net art as pop media construct.
Let's see.

Assignment for next week Start finishing your final projects.
Week Fifteen  
December 4 WORK DAYS
Assignment for next week Finish up your final projects.
Week Sixteen  
Final Presentations.