FALL 2014 

Instructor: Jessica Posner

Class Time: Monday, 1:30pm- 5:30pm
Location: Shaffer 221a
Office Hours: Thursday 10am-12pm; and by appointment. PLEASE EMAIL.
Office: Light Work, 316 Waverly Avenue

This class is an interconnected studios course in Transmedia, an emerging discipline that encompasses time based and digital art forms including Art Video, Computer Art, Cinema and Art Photography. In this class, you will be encouraged to think critically and practically about your creative practices.

There are four main learning components to this class:
  • Develop your artistic understanding how visual images communicate.
  • Learn to use those images in an intelligent, informed, and skilled way.
  • Explore (expand!) how to use digital media: photography, video, text graphics, sound, and performance as a medium for personal creative exploration and expression.
  • Learn how your own creative process works as you approach different artistic challenges. What motivates you? What frustrates you? How do you perceive things? What is your unique artistic voice?

We will be exploring and using digital tools that will include computers, cameras, Photoshop CC, and Adobe Premiere Pro CC; and concepts such as compositing, the mash-up/cut up, narrative conventions, and video techniques.
Your responsibilities as a student in this class are to gather creative research, make artworks using digital tools, and share and talk about your work. In addition, you must actively engage with your fellow students by being generous with your thoughts and feedback about their work.

You are responsible for communicating respectfully, frequently, and punctually with both me (your professor), and your classmates. Always ask questions, and try to anticipate your needs. Some of your classmates may become life long resources, collaborators, and humans in your life. Trust, use, and respect each other. Ask for help and feedback; and be kind and generous with help and feedback when asked. This is a life skill and a two-way street. Practice frequently. Commit to being part of a community of critical thinkers and passionate makers.

If you feel stuck or “blocked,” it is your responsibility contact with me immediately. An important part of learning the creative process is learning how to move through it when things get hard, seem impossible, or feel futile.

I am here for you. Do not hesitate to contact me. I will always do my best to get back to you within 24 hours or sooner.
You are expected to complete at least 6-9 hours of work outside of class every week. Please be proactive about managing your time wisely and economically. Things often take longer and frequently go wrong when you wait until the very last minute—especially when dealing with technology. Procrastination often leads to unnecessary stress, and not completing things to your highest potential.

  • You will need a Mac laptop and Adobe CC (Creative Cloud) software, which you are required to purchase as an incoming freshman. We will be using Photoshop CC and Premiere Pro CC in this course. Student Subscriptions are $19.99/month at
  • If you do not already have one, you must purchase an external hard drive to regularly back up your computer and work. Computer failure and data loss are not acceptable excuses for not completing assignments. Please get one of these as soon as possible, and back up frequently. You will use this for backing up your entire computer-based life, and also for moving files between computers. Recommended size: 1TB. Lacie, WD, and Seagate are popular brands.
  • You must purchase an SD card for use with all Cage issued equipment (video cameras, SLRS, etc.). You will use this in other classes and for many year. Recommended size: 16 GB.
  • You must have access to a subscription to is an incredible resource offering professional level tutorials for the software that you will be required to learn in this class. Think of this as your textbook. You will be required to watch tutorials for homework. It will also serve as a resource for you 24 hrs a day. Subscriptions cost $25/month at
  • paper notebook, or sketchbook for your ideas, thoughts, notes. Your name and class time must be written on the cover. You will use this notebook to thoughtfully respond to writing prompts, questions, and readings. It will be collected from time-to-time. This will factor into your participation grade.
You will be given very few readings for this class, as your reading load in Colloquium is fairly heavy. The readings for both classes will provide you with a frame of reference and language for criticality, both in our time together and also for participating in the discourse of contemporary culture in general.

Expect to grapple with the texts. Reading about art can be challenging. You are not expected to perfectly understand everything you read. To help process these texts, you are required to take notes for each assigned reading in your notebook. Come to class with at least 5 prepared points you would like to discuss in class. These points should include (1) the main arguments of the reading and (2) any questions, concerns, disagreements, or agreements you have with the text. Bring these with you class, and be prepared to share (and sometimes turn them in). This will factor in your participation grade.
20% Class Participation, Blog, and Attendance
20% Artist Presentations
60% Projects (20% x 3)

Project grading:
50% demonstration of technical competence
50% conceptual merit

There will be three projects and six critique days during the course of the semester. Attendance on crit days is absolutely essential. Failure to attend will impact both your class participation grade and your project grade.

On crit days, all students are expected to be set-up and ready to participate vocally in critiquing at thebeginning of the class period (not rendering, not printing, not compressing, not uploading, not burning to disc and NOT still editing). Projects still in progress at the start of class on crit day will be considered late and an automatic deduction of one letter will be made to the project grade.

You may continue to work on any assigned project for a higher grade until the end of the semester. However, this will only be an option if you have presented a final version of the piece on time for in-class critique.

You are required to check your email account daily. I will be sending you emails to these accounts , AND ONLY THESE ACCOUNTS, via blackboard and regular email.

You will be required to maintain a class blog, where you will post documentation of all finished and revised works. We will go over this in greater detail on the second day of class. I will also post important information on a class website, which will serve as an important resource for you. This factors in your participation grade.

Attendance is mandatory. 3 or more absences will result in failure.

DO NOT BE LATE. A tardy counts as arriving more than 15 minutes after the start of class, or leaving more than 15 minutes early. More than one tardy counts as an absence. I begin every class with important information, and will not repeat it for late comers. If you regularly arrive after the start of class, your grade will suffer. You are responsible for information you miss.

Only illness or family emergency with a signed excuse from your legal guardian, note from a physician, or a notification of religious observance (within the first two week of class, via blackboard) are considered excusable absences according to University policy. Please do your best to inform me prior to the start of class if you will be missing class.

Cell phones and devices off for the duration of class.The only time laptops are open is during lab time. Breaking this policy results in a drop in your participation grade, and can result in removal from the classroom.

Equipment checked out from the cage is your responsibility entirely. If it is lost, stolen, or broken; you are responsible for the replacement costs. You may want to consider purchasing equipment insurance through the University. This is optional, and more details are available at the cage. Your renters insurance or parents' insurance may cover this, so be sure to check.

Academic integrity is an essential core value of the University for which we all share responsibility. If it becomes apparent that any student has failed to uphold this value in their work, either by plagiarizing the work of another, failing to provide citation for quotations in written work, or by aiding another student to do so, this will be reported to the relevant university authorities. This will result in a failing grade on the assignment in question, and may result in expulsion from the University.

It is the policy of Syracuse University that no student should be refused admission or be expelled because he or she is unable to participate in any examination, study or work requirement because of his or her religious holy day requirements. Please inform me if you anticipate a religious requirement interfering with your ability to attend a class meeting or complete a project on time, and we will work something out on a case-by-case basis.

Our community values diversity and seeks to promote meaningful access to educational opportunities for all students in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990). If you believe that you need accommodations for a disability, please contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS), located at 804 University Ave, rm. 309, or call 315.443.4498 for an appointment to discuss your needs and the process for requesting accommodations. ODS will issue students with documented disabilities “Accommodation Authorization Letters” as appropriate. Since accommodations may require early planning and generally are not provided retroactively, please contact ODS as soon as possible.


There will be three main projects and one presentation.

Part of your grade is how much you ‘push yourself to learn’ new digital tools and new ways to utilize those tools. If you don’t use them perfectly at first, do not worry! Your grade will reflect your ability to bravely explore and creative problem solve. Your grades will not suffer from bold experimentation; but will from laziness and excuses. Try stuff out, challenge yourself and the programs.

You may choose to use other media (performance, objects, etc.), in addition to digital tools, in your work. There are no limits to what you can do.

For each project you must:
  • Come up with a concept - an idea or way of thinking about something, a philosophy, a narrative story, abstractions, etc.
  • Research. Sketch. Follow inquiry. Develop your ideas.
  • Determine how you will use the digital art making tools and how this will add to your education. Do you need to learn audio, masking, color correction, new transitions, text, graphics, etc.
  • Meet with me and discuss your project plans.

Assignment 1: The Synthetic Image
This is a photoshop compositing assignment. Compositing is the combining of separate images into a single image. Students will be expected to make a new image out of at least three pre-existing images. Images can be your own original photographs or found images from other sources. Please consider the way your selection of source imagery. Technical choices effect the meaning of your final work. For final critique, be ready to present your source images, the photoshop document you worked on (with layers and history intact) and a final jpeg.

Assignment 2: The Mashup
For this assignment, we will discuss Marcel Duchamps's Readymade, William Burroughs's Cut-Up, and the more recent notions of the Supercut and the Mashup. Students will be expected to create a new video work using pre-existing footage.

Assignment 3: The Three Shot Movie
In preparation for this assignment, we will discuss the Three Act Structure from theater and cinema. Students will be expected to storyboard and shoot a three shot movie. Be prepared to show your storyboard and your final movie.

Artist Presentation
You will present for 5-7 minutes on an artist that uses digital tools in their art making and lead a Q & A following the presentation. I will provide you with a list of suggested artists, though you may also propose your own.

For your presentation, you must extensively research and show visual examples of the artist's work to the class. Your presentation must address:

  • the artist and their development
  • what makes them special in the art world
  • what other reviewers/critiques say about their artwork
  • framework for interpreting the artists frame of mind/goals/technique

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