new directions in digital art
ARTS 4176/5176
New Directions In Digital Art
Fall 2004
Professor Mark Amerika
Tues/Thurs: 5:00 - 7:30 PM
N275/N274 (Experimental Digital Arts Lab)

Professor Amerika:


This section of New Directions In Digital Art will focus on many parallel threads of artistic development particularly the intersection of electronic literature, digital narrative, net art, experimental audio, digital video, and digital installation/performance. Areas of investigation will include but not be limited to hypertext, net art, animation, hactivism, sound art, DVD art, online exhibitions, codework, hyperimprovisational performance art, and DJ/VJ culture. Everyone in the course must have an email account that they check daily as well as ftp access to your campus account by the second class meeting.

Prequisites for this course include Fine 2126 (formerly 2120) and FINE 4316/5316 or the instructor's consent. There will be no exceptions to these requirements. This is the advanced digital arts studio course in the curriculum. Therefore, students enrolled in the course must have a familiarity with the computer and, more importantly, the Internet as a unique artistic medium and must come to this course with all of the necessary technical skills in place to finish your project assignments and complete your advanced digital art portfolio.

In this regard, we will focus on taking the computer skills you have developed thus far and using them to investigate emerging digital art forms. Work assignments will be evaluated both qualitatively (how much impact they have, how successful they convey their intended meaning) and quantitatively (file sizes, bandwidth issues, etc.). For example, all Internet art projects need to be designed so that someone who accesses the net from home can easily experience your site with a DSL or cable modem connection.

NOTE: a great deal of self-motivation and open-mindedness to the developmental process of your online portfolio is required. A digital arts practice means 1) coming up with powerful ideas and 2) self-learning and/or collaborative team-learning what you need to know in order to execute the project so that it manifests itself as a work of digital art.


Grades will be measured on the following scale:

1. Digital art portfolios (including project assignments and class blogs) 80%

2. Attendance and participation in group discussions and critiques (in class and on-line) 20%

The digital art portfolios will consist of work generated over the semester. The specific assignments designated for this course are reflective of recent developments in compositional methods influencing the emerging forms of digital art.

In general, each of the assigned projects for this semester of New Directions In Digital Art will consist of the following:

  • an introductory lecture
  • readings/WWW researching/discussion
  • work days (aka "lab days")
  • presentations/critiques

We will also have the occasional visiting artist presentation and/or workshop depending on our schedule and the availability of visiting artists. Please be aware that the syllabus and flow of events in this course are subject to change.

All reading assignments are required as is participation in the classroom discussion. For example, your ability to sample some of the ideas explored in the reading assignments and your ability to integrate/manipulate them into your introductory artist statements, presentations, project documentation, collegial critiques, and class discussions, will be a major part of your grade.

IMPORTANT: Each of the main project assignments (with the exception of the opening artist statement) will require proper documentation when the project is due. By documentation we mean the equivalent of 1-2 pages of personal writing that connects your art projects to an individual poetics that you are constantly in the process of creating. Think of it as a "formal diary" that documents how you came to create the particular work you generate for each assignment. This too should be part of your online portfolio and should be included in your CLASS BLOG.

As previously mentioned, there will be four main project assignments. These project assignments include:

  • The Artist's Statement: Manifesting A Self-Interview

  • Conceptual Storyspaces: Using the Web As A Real Fictitious Medium

  • The Future Sounds of Boulder

  • R.E.M.ix

The art projects must be turned in when they are due. Failure to complete work when it is due will result in a full letter grade reduction for each subsequent class in which assignment is not turned in. Final versions of your complete online art portfolios must be turned in at the beginning of class on Thursday, December 9th, to receive credit. No portfolios will be accepted late and no grades of "incomplete" will be given.

Note: It is absolutely essential that you attend class. Prior experience teaching this class consistently reveals that those who attend all of the classes and finish all of their work on time perform the best. There will be no unexcused absences and only one excused absence per semester. After that, every absence will result in a grade reduction. Also be aware that every two times you come to class late and/or leave class before we are finsihed for the day will count as an absence unless otherwise excused. Being prompt and staying the course are required.

Remember: attendance and participation in discussion accounts for 20% of your total grade.


This is a Digital Art studio course which means that all of the work you will do in this class will be digitally stored. Be prepared to burn CDs or DVDs as back up. Not having backed up your work which then gets erased is not an acceptable excuse.

For some of the assignments, particularly the "Conceptual Storypaces" project, you may want me to suggest some useful books that you should read for background material. Feel free to ask me for a supplemental reading list of books and/or websites focused on subjects relevant to the course!

STATEMENT concerning accommodations for disabled students and religious holidays: Any student eligible for and needing academic adjustments or accommodations because of a disability, or needing to take leave of a class due to a religious holiday is requested to speak with the Professor no later than August 26th.

DISCLAIMER: Some of the reading/surfing material in this advanced Digital Art workshop is of an adult nature and may be offensive to some. If this is something that concerns you, you need to let Professor Amerika know the first day of class so that we can assess if this is the right course for you to take.

check out the syllabus!