Monday, September 9, 2013

Art 441 Seminar on Art and Technology Syllabus 2013

Art 441 Seminar on Art and Technology
Professor Joseph DeLappe
Mondays: 7:00pm-9:45pm CFA 153
office: CFA 158

Encourages an analytical and critical approach to historical and contemporary issues related to the human/machine creative interface. 
Maximum of 6 credits. Prerequisite: ART 350

“Science fiction films are not about science. They are about disaster, which is one of the oldest subjects of art.”
-Susan Sontag

“Science fiction is any idea that occurs in the head and doesn't exist yet, but soon will, and will change everything for everybody, and nothing will ever be the same again.”
-Ray Bradbury 

“If science fiction is the mythology of modern technology, then its myth is tragic.”
-Ursula K. Le Guin 

“You will be assimilated, resistance is futile!”
-The Borg

Course Objectives:
The science fiction film genre has become, since the invention of film, a mainstay of popular entertainment.  Our objective in this course is to consider science fiction film from a critical and creative perspective.  We will be exploring the myriad of themes available through watching, reading about and discussing science fiction films.  Our primary goal is to achieve a level of historical and critical understanding and discourse that delves into the theoretical and sociological underpinnings of such popular forms of entertainment.  Science fiction writing largely emerged in the 19th century, coinciding and given rise to by the incredible changes to western societies through the evolution of scientific thought and the mechanization of modern live as caused by the industrial revolution.  Science fiction film and writing have boomed in the 20th century, as the deep integration of science and inventions into daily life encouraged a greater interest cultural experiences that explores the relationship between technology, society, and the individual. We will explore the larger ramifications and underlying context of the sci-fi film genre as a relevant form of cultural expression in order to gain a more in depth understanding and the ability to view such content with a critical and informed eye. 

Course Structure and Content:
This offering of Art 441 Seminar on Art and Technology is unique in that it will function as an historical and critical survey of the science fiction film genre.  This course will involve a careful series of activities from screenings, careful observation, required readings, open dialogue, and research into the history and context of contemporary and historical science fiction films. 

1) We will be viewing numerous science fiction films – on average one full-length film per class period and considering brief segments from others in thematic groupings – considering films from throughout the history of the genre.  Each class will involve assigned reading(s) either from the required text or from provided Xeroxed articles as well as additional films to be viewed on reserve in the KC or through free online contexts.  All students are required to complete all reading and screening assignments, take notes and be prepared to discuss in class. 

2) We will be going on at least one field trip to a local theater – most likely to see “Ender’s Game” on release.  

3) There will be several writing assignments.  These assignments will have specific due dates – no late assignments will be accepted. 

Required Texts:
-Liquid Metal: the Science Fiction Film Reader, Sean Redmond.  Available online used through  Purchase this immediately.  

-Other assigned readings will be provided as electronic pdf’s or through online links.

Course Requirements: 
•Attendance is mandatory at all scheduled class meetings. If you are to be absent for any reason please contact me via email the day of the class that you are missing.
•Participation in all class screenings, post-screening and reading discussions are  expected and mandatory. As a seminar class this is the central activity of this course. 
•Students must have a current e-mail account.
•Each student will keep a class blog – this will be where all writing assignments will be posted as well as weekly written analysis of films.

•Students will be assessed as to how well they participate in the class and by the successful completion of writing assignments.


Class Participation 1000 pts
Writing Assignments 250 pts
Blog 250 pts
Attendance      300 pts
         15 classes -  20 pts ea wk
Reviews on Two Sci Fi Films    200 pts
         2 reviews – 100 pts ea
Total Possible Points:                 2000 pts

GRADING SCALE: 2000 – 1800 = A; 1799 – 1600 = B; 1599 – 1400 = C; 1399 – 1200 = D; 1199 – 0 = F

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