Arts Practicum: An Introduction to Contemporary Arts Practice and Theory

Chris Csikszentmihalyi


Arts Practicum is an introduction to contemporary arts practice, combining:

-readings in contemporary theory around art, science, and technology
-a series of incremental assignments leading students through designing and producing increasingly more sophisticated art works
-a modest historical survey of 20th century art

The purpose of the course is to introduce Media Lab grad students to working in the fine arts, allowing them to develop proficiency in authoring for various media. Twentieth century experimental practices in film, audio, and sculpture/installation technique will be investigated as a counterpoint to commercial motion pictures, music, and product design. Students will work to master terminology and techniques of film, radio, and sculpture with a view towards understanding general problems around media technologies and authorship, old or new. In particular, weíll discuss the notion of inventing new media that may produce the ìcomplex pleasuresî associated with literature, film, and music. One can think of the class as "How to Make (Almost) Anything" in terms of content, narrative, and signification.

The course is divided in two parts per week: A studio class, used for technical training and critique, and an evening screening session for presentations of historical and contemporary works in the field, with occasional presentations by invited lecturers. Students will do small weekly experiments in film, audio, and installation for the first two thirds of the semester. The last third of the semester, however, students will each author a single work of art appropriate to the media lab -- art that produces or utilizes advanced contemporary technologies. Notions of autonomy and agency, interaction and network, and cultural context will be explored through readings and screenings, while students work to produce their final project over a five week period. Throughout the semester, student work will be critiqued by the class and the instructor; a constructive if occasionally brutal process.

15 second movie about love


30 second movie about arguing

Thanks to the actors Paulo Blikstein and Cati Vaucelle


Five minute sound piece: The Conflict

Final project: Cati Dance

Thanks to the dancer Cati Vaucelle