1020 sections 01, 02, 03, 04
Fall Semester 2008
Please click here for more detailed syllabus


Entropy by James DeWitt, MS:I Fall’07


Course Description:
Media Studio: Imaging is an introductory studio visual arts class using raster and vector based digital imaging, basic animation, and web technologies for creative expression. Inquiry and experimentation are encouraged as students develop basic skills through a series of short studies which lead to a final project and web portfolio.

Projects reflect equal attention to concept, expression, and technique. Screenings, related readings, and discussions of influential themes help give background to the history and theory of contemporary visual arts practice in highly technological and scientific cultures.

Fall and spring terms annually. 4 credit hours


Course Structure:
The course includes a lecture and a studio lab. Lectures provide an overview of digital arts and related cultural issues which inform the required projects. Studio labs consist of skills development workshops and critiques.


Kathleen Ruiz  email:  
phone: 518-276-2539
office: West Hall 314c
office hours: by appointment Tuesdays 1:30 -3:30 PM


Studio Lab Instructors:


Sections 1& 2:

Byeong Sam Jeon email:

office: Studio 214
office hours: by appointment
Sections 3 & 4:

Victoria Kereszi email:

office: Studio 214
office hours: by appointment



Student Mentors:


Section 1: WH Studio 211, 10 to 11:50am

Sarah Stump   email:

office: WH Studio 214
office hours: TBA


Section 2: WH Studio 211, 12 to 1:50pm

Brent Campbell email:

office: WH Studio 214
office hours: TBA


Section 3: WH Studio 214, 10 to 11:50am

Natt Phenjati  email:

office: WH Studio 214
office hours: TBA


Section 4: WH Studio 214, 12 to 1:50pm

Ben Esposito email:

office: WH Studio 214
office hours: TBA

Please click here for more detailed syllabus chart


Samples of previous student work:
Fall 2006

Fall 2007


Class Times:

(attendance is mandatory and is taken at each lecture

and each studio lab)


Tuesday, 6:00pm to 7:50pm, Sage 5101

Studio Lab Sections:
Section 01 Wednesday, crn 26027, 10 -11:50AM, West Hall 211

Section 02 Wednesday, crn 26028, 12 -  1:50PM, West Hall 211
Section 03 Wednesday, crn 26032, 10 -11:50AM, West Hall 214

Section 04 Wednesday, crn 26465, 12 -   1:50PM, West Hall 214



Course Goals:

Media Studio / Imaging is a pre-requisite to a significant number of other courses. The following are the topics and skills that students coming out of Media Studio Imaging aim to have:

* Introduction to the history and theory of digital imaging in the context of contemporary technological and scientific cultures 

* Ability to discuss and analyze the work of others and oneself critically

* Ability to express oneself artistically

* Increased ability to think non-linearly and solve abstract and concrete problems creatively

* To be able to communicate and work effectively in group teams

* Basic proficiency in raster imaging

* Basic proficiency in vector imaging
* Familiarity with web based media

* Basic animation: GIF and Flash based

* Introduction to basic 2-D design principles

* Basic use of  a digital camera & basic photo skills

* Familiarity with resolution

* Basic scanning techniques

* Familiarity with image formats and compression

* Basic printing skills

* Familiarly with drawing using a digital stylus

* Color manipulation skills

* Understanding of the technical work flows of digital imaging for print and for the web 



How to upload your projects


Assignments & Evaluation:

7 Short Studies: Students must complete all short studies and final projects by the deadlines given.
Final Web Portfolio: Please work on this throughout the semester as you update your work. All of your perfected assignments will be put together in an web portfolio submitted by upload to your drop box and also via a CD. Hand this in on the last day of class with your name, course name and section number written on the physical cd.

Readings: The instructor will provide readings and the students will be asked to write a brief one-page reaction paper to them.
Performance Requirements: There are 3 performance attendance requirements with a follow up reaction/critique paper.
Final Project: The final project is an exploration that expands on a more in-depth approach to one of the short studies.  For the pre-review process you are required to articulate your final project in an artist statement of from one to two paragraphs whereby your concept, methodology and at least 5 bibliographic references/influences are stated
Class participation is also an important factor for your grade.





Short Studies and Assignments


Due Date

Grade %





Environmental Collage




Seeing the Other: Pixel Art




Self Portrait: Beauty/Age




Identity: Personal Logo




Stop Action Animation

Still images to motion/Quicktime/other



BioArt/NanoArt BOTS & Net Project




Belief Structures: SuperHero




Final Project

any or all

11/25 pre review

12/3 final due date


Web Portfolio



With all perfected projects/papers for final grades/posting

Class Participation in Plenary & Studio



Reading Reaction Papers

MS Word


Event Reaction Papers

MS Word


100 %

Grade Scale
A=4.0, A-=3.67, Outstanding; pushing limits of student’s conceptual, technical, artistic ability

B+=3.33 B=3.0, B-= 2.67, Good; thoughtful, thorough, and creative completion of project

C+= 2.33, C=2.0 C-= 1.67, Average; Project completed according to minimum requirement

D+=1.33, D=1.0, Poor; does not meet minimum assignment

F=0.0,  Fail; failure to complete the assignment


Lecture Topics:
Please click here for more detailed overview info chart

Week 1 

Aug 26 – Introduction/ What is Digital Imaging?/

Intuition & Creativity/  tangram exercise/ intro to Manovich reading /  Intro to Photomontage & Collage short study


Week 2

Sept 2 –The Temple of Art

composition, form, perspective, light, color, proportion, motion

Screenings: Genius-Leonardo da Vinci/
more Photomontage & Collage samples, ideas

Week 3

Sept 9 – The History of Digital Culture

Screening: The Story of Computer Graphics

Intro to Pixel Art short study & group team formation/ work on pixel art projects & anims

Week 4

Sept 16 –

Work in plenary
Visiting artists: Byeong Sam, Victoria Kereszi, Kathleen Ruiz


Week 5

Sept 23–  Digital Portraiture: Issues of Beauty/Age /Photomontage

Screening: Decoding photographic images


Week 6 

Sept 30 – Discussion & Intro to Identity / Logos / Logo Count/

Screening: The Merchants of Cool


Week 7

Oct 7  – Identity Politics and Gender / Race /& Class Representation


Week 8

Oct 14–  OFF (no plenary today)
Institute-wide Tuesdays FOLLOW MONDAY SCHEDULE


Week 9

Oct 21 –  Motion/Emotion “To give life to”

Visiting artist: John Crawford

Screening: William Kentridge


Week 10

Oct 28 – BioArt: issues and ideas/ web projects

visiting artist: Boryana Rosa



Week 11

Nov 4 –  Nano Perspectives

Screening  Biomed/Biotech


Week 12

Nov 11 – The Military Entertainment Complex/

gaming / machinima/ superheros / Flash animation

Visiting artist: Paolo Pedericini

Screening: Gamer Revolution


Week 13

Nov 18 – Critique of Super Hero projects & Final Project Pre-reviews/discussions

Screening: Waking Life


Week 14(before Thanksgiving))

Nov 25 – Final Project Pre-reviews/discussions


Week 15

Dec 2 – Final Project Pre-Reviews/Critiques

Please click here for more detailed overview info chart


During the semester there will be required readings related to the short studies and lectures. You will write a short reaction paper for each - a one page double spaced summary of the essay’s major points and your personal reactions to the content.


1.     New Media from Borges to HTML

By Lev Manovich
(commissioned for The New Media Reader, edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort, The MIT Press

Reaction paper Due Sept 3

2. Global Warming: The Heat is On: Issues, Ideas, What YOU Can Do


3. On Photography
By Susan Sontag
In Plato’s Cave
Reaction paper Due Oct 1

4. Bioart in Question


The Nanomeme Syndrome: Blurring of fact & fiction in the construction of a new science
Jim Gimzewski and Victoria Vesna
Nanotechnology: Issues

“Drexler and Smalley make the case for and against 'molecular assemblers'”  by Rudy Baum
Reaction papers for all Bio/Nano readings Due: Oct 29

5. From Sun Tzu to XBox  (Introduction)
by Ed Halter
Reaction paper Due: Nov 19

Other suggested, but not required, readings:

New Media Art by Mark Tribe

Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality, Expanded Edition (2002)
edited by Randall Packer and Ken Jordan

The New Media Reader (2003)
edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort

The Language of New Media (2001)
by Lev Manovich

Snap to Grid: A User's Guide to Digital Arts, Media, and Cultures (2000)
by Peter Lunenfeld

Studio Schedule:

Please see overview chart for detailed info

Aug 27 –

Sept 3 –

Sept 10 –

Sept 17 –

Sept 24 –

Oct 1 –

Oct 8 –

Oct 15 –

Oct 22 –

Oct 29 –

Nov 5 –

Nov 12 –

Nov 19 

Nov 26 – off for Thanksgiving

Dec 3 –  FINAL CRITS Last class: all perfected projects in web portfolios due, NO EXCEPTIONS



REQUIRED to attend for this semester: 3 events from the following list and to write a reaction paper review.

Guideline for the paper and a guide to writing a critique 
Kyle deCamp

Darrin Communications Center, Room 174, RPI Campus
Sep 4 2008 7:30PM
A Create @ iEAR Residency presentation. (Event Details) 
Jordan Crandall

West Hall Auditorium, RPI Campus
Sep 17 2008 7:30PM
Media artist and theorist Jordan Crandall will present the keynote lecture for the Fall 2008 iEAR Presents! Series Out of Time.(Event Details)
Signs of Social Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now

Exit Art, 475 Tenth Avenue, corner of 36th Street in NYC
Sep 20 2008 7:00PM
Chronicling 50 years of the cultural productions of social movements, Dara Greenwald and Josh MacPhee have curated over 600 posters, prints, photographs, moving images, audio clips, and other ephemera from over 30 countries. (Event Details) 
David Rokeby
West Hall Gallery, Room 111, RPI Campus
Sep 24 2008 5:00PM
Part of the Fall 2008 iEAR Presents! Series Out of Time, Rokeby's video installtion "Machine for Taking Time" will be on exhibit September 24-October 17, 2008.

EMPAC: Grand Opening Celebration —
OCTOBER 3-19, 2008  RSS

Celebrate the Grand Opening of the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) with three weekends of world-class artistic performances and workshops, premieres of commissioned artworks, eye-opening exhibitions of research at the frontiers of science, and social events ranging from black-tie elegant to come-as-you-are eclectic.

Particularly try to see:

Dumb Type Japan

The Wooster Group / Jeffrey Shaw
USA / Australia

Workspace Unlimited Belgium
Wendy Hui Kyong Chun
Nov 6 2008 7:30PM Digital media theorist, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, will present a guest lecture for the Fall 2008 iEAR Presents! Series Out of Time.  Co-sponsored by EMPAC.(Event Details)


For more detailed info on any of the events please see:

iEAR Presents!
and/or EMPAC Events 



Required materials:

* Software: We will be using Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and Flash. (These applications are available on the computers in the studio labs in WH 214 & 211, Sage 4510, and VCC NW Lobby, and elsewhere on campus.) There is no key-served software. It is highly recommended that you purchase these programs with an educational discount at the RPI computer store. The Adobe CS3 Design Edition has these applications. (Please note: if you are taking other media related courses you may wish to check with your professors and purchase larger suites of applications.)


* A digital camera dslr is preferred if you are considering further advanced work in the field or a digital point and shoot which enables you to set aperature/shutter priority. The Arts Department equipment room (ER) has some digital cameras available to sign out. The equipment room is located on the ground floor of West Hall (please follow the signs.) Please reserve ahead of time. (Film cameras, or 4 disposable cameras can be used, but are not preferred and will require extra time in scanning.)

Places to check for digital cameras: B&H Photo Video , New Egg , Tiger Direct or directly to the manufacturer such as Cannon, Sony, Nikon, Kodak, etc.

* An ink jet printer capable of photo quality is highly suggested.

* Wacom or cordless graphics tablet and stylus. If digital art is your area of study, a graphics tablet is highly recommended as you will use it for future work.


* Digital Storage: please back up all your good files 3 times each, even while in process. Suggested backup forms are: Flash drive (aka jump drives, memory sticks). Look for USB 2.0 Hi-Speed or greater.

You can additionally use cds (approximately 10 to 11) or dvds (approximately 5 to 6).


* Other materials on a per project basis


* A journal for your thoughts and ideas concerning your projects is highly recommended



a selection of some of the following:

Genius - Leonardo da Vinci The story of the brilliant Italian artist, sculptor, architect and engineer is told in this informative program. Leonardo’s legacy to the world came in so many forms; in the breathtaking beauty of The Last Supper and The Mona Lisa; his rich collection of drawing; the mirror-written notebooks containing original thoughts on astronomy, biology and physiology. This DVD features: State of the art 3D graphics to explain and test Leonardo’s theories and designs, outstanding computer animated reconstructions, the paintings and drawings, rare period imagery, expert commentary and analyses by Dr. Alan Cartwight, School of Engineering at the University of Warwick, Dr. Peter Borcherds, School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Birmingham and Dr. Martin Kemp, Trinity College Oxford. 50 min.

The Story of Computer Graphics From its early development as an obscure topic of research, to its widely accepted role as an important communication tool, Computer Graphics has a rich history of human accomplishment. This movie attempts to document some of the most compelling stories behind the striking graphics and technology that we take for granted in today's imagery. This is the "human" story of the pioneers that are revolutionizing visual communication, through a community with its own unique culture. 93 min

The Merchants of Cool Examines the tactics, techniques, and cultural ramifications of these marketing moguls in 'The Merchants of Cool.' Rushkoff talks with top marketers, media executives and cultural/media critics, and explores the symbiotic relationship between the media and today's teens, as each looks to the other for their identity." The Merchants of Cool Website at features interview, information, and STREAMING VIDEO of the entire documentary.

BioArt dvd 

Gamer Revolution Anticipation builds in Seoul, South Korea as 20,000 screaming fans await the arrival of their video game idols for the ultimate game-off - Beatlemania 21st century style. In Romania, teens slave away in a "virtual sweatshop" racking up points for Westerners who are too busy to play their own games. And somewhere in a small town 100 miles from the Arctic Circle, the largest gathering of online gamers in the world is getting underway.

Computer games are a global phenomenon and a $25 billion dollar a year industry. Over 800 million people worldwide are regular players. GAMER REVOLUTION, shot in HD, is the first full-length documentary to look past the hype, paranoia, and hoopla to explore the real stories behind the computer game revolution.

GAMER REVOLUTION explores how computer games are not only a new medium for the 21st century, they are a massive form of change in our world." says Rachel Low, President, Red Apple Entertainment. "The idea of living inside a computer-generated universe is happening right now. The line between the real world and the virtual world is disappearing. Millions of people feel that they have a life inside these games."


William Kentridge Drawing the Passing documentary by Maria Anna Tappeiner and Reinhard Wulf, Exploring a space between the personal and the political,  the work of South African artist William Kentridge has since the 1970's investigated the diseased, amnesiac consciousness of the late and post-apartheid South Africa. Kentridge has received international acclaim for his animated films, drawings and theatre work. In his 'stone-age filmmaking technique', Kentridge films his charcoal drawings as they mutate through hundreds of successive erasures and alterations. Erasure is never complete, and the drawings and films carry within them the history of their making. N3830.K47W54

Waking Life written & directed by Richard Linklater. PN1997.5 .W353 2002 Dreams. What are they? An escape from reality or reality itself? Waking Life follows the dream(s) of one man and his attempt to find and discern the absolute difference between waking life and the dreamworld. While trying to figure out a way to wake up, he runs into many people on his way; some of which offer one sentence asides on life, others delving deeply into existential questions and life's mysteries. We become the main character. It becomes our dream and our questions being asked and answered. Can we control our dreams? What are they telling us about life? About death? About ourselves and where we come from and where we are going? The film does not answer all these for us. Instead, it inspires us to ask the questions and find the answers ourselves.


Suggested Additional Texts/Lessons:

Art of the Digital Age
by Bruce Wands

New Media Art (Taschen Basic Art Series)

by Mark Tribe (Author), Reena Jana (Author), Uta Grosenick (Editor)

Digital Art (World of Art)., Christiane Paul. Thames and Hudson: 2003.

on-line tutorials:






How to Succeed in Class

This class will require that you challenge your preconceived notions of computer-based art by expanding and challenging your vision, inventiveness, imagination and motivation. The successful student in this class will be highly self-directed and disciplined in exploring new techniques for using the tools. Although self mastery of the tools is encouraged, the successful student will be willing to explore, experiment, and invent new ways to achieve his/her creative goals.

• Be self-motivated and self-disciplined. You will succeed by your own efforts. You are expected to do at least 4 hours preparation for each class.
• Be on time for class
• Learn the technical material in a timely way via application tutorials and astute following during studio lessons.
• Do your readings and contribute to the class discussions.
• Do your work – on time. There are no extensions.
• Be involved in discussions and critiques. Critique of each other’s work is to be constructive. It is a gift to your fellow classmates to help them and yourself improve in your technique and criticality.
• Do not do your email, instant messenger, text messaging, or other class work in class. Just don’t be tempted and do not open these applications during class. Turn off your cell phone. Infraction of this rule will result in final grade penalization.
• Do not alter any material or file that you did not create.
• Ask questions! This is a beginning class and no question is too elementary or advanced. Demonstrating the willingness to experiment, ask, and fail while discovering is a guaranteed path to success in this class.
• MS: I is a taste of the field that will give you the opportunity to explore the possibilities of digital creativity using computers. You are encouraged to continue taking electronic media classes to continue gaining more in-depth knowledge, skills and creativity.

Time Management:
DO NOT PROCRASTINATE! Waiting until the last minute to complete the assignments will guarantee long nights and incomplete work. Take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions about your assignments in class by starting your work early and managing your time.

Always back-up your work frequently. Systems crash when least expected and you could lose your work. It is a good idea to make more than one backup -- that means making a copy onto your flash drive, a CDR and/or the server. Software or media failure is not an adequate excuse for missed deadlines or assignment extensions. Remember to also save often while you are working. Save each file as a new file by giving it a new name. You can discard your earlier versions later.

It is required that you bring your laptop to every lecture and studio lab.


Focused Attention: Important: Writing emails, instant messages and other unfocused forms of communications, unless specifically desired by the instructor, are not tolerated and count directly against your grade at a loss of 10% for each offense and will be grounds for dismissal from class.


Card Access:
As a student enrolled in Arts, you have card access to West Hall 211 and 214, which are undergraduate imaging labs.

Any problems with card access or studio facilities, please contact Greg Palmer Technical manager ext. 8015 or Seanna Biondolillo Studio Engineer ext. 4779.

Please take great care of all gear in the studio labs and all facilities. Please do not lose files and folders belonging to our class or other classes.  The facilities are all of ours and Arts does not have funding to replace any broken or lost gear. Please report studio lab problems to lab staff immediately via email at:

Please follow the guidelines for working in each studio very carefully, as you will be held personally responsible for problems you incur.

Always save onto your own media or into your account as files left on hard drives will be removed.

Also, please keep in mind the highly addictive aspects of working with computers. Many people lose track of time and later wonder why they have severe back, neck and eye problems.  It is a good idea to take a rest every 15 to 20 minutes.  Look up or beyond your computer or, better still, at a long distance to relax your eyes.  Take a walk or stretch.  Fatigue can lead to frustration. Stay in touch with your body's needs. Working with computers can at times be frustrating.  Before having a breakdown, take a break.

Electronic Communication:
All students are expected to have an active Rensselaer electronic mail account, and should check mail at least four times a week for class information. Some essential class information is communicated by email only. 

Statement On Academic Integrity:
Class Specific:
Collaboration and discussion about class projects is actively encouraged, and is in no way considered cheating. This is a studio course, and personal ownership of information is not deemed to be appropriate. Original images are required except where indicated otherwise. Projects are expected to reflect personal endeavor, but may also be collaborative in nature when indicated. In this class, all assignments that are turned in for a grade must represent the student’s own work. In cases where help was received, or teamwork was allowed, a notation on the assignment should indicate your collaboration. Submission of any assignment that is in violation of this policy will result in a penalty of an F. If you have any question concerning this policy before submitting an assignment, please ask for clarification.

Academic Honesty
Student relationships are built on trust. Students must be able to trust that their teachers have made responsible decisions about the structure and content of the course and that they are conscientiously making their best effort to help students learn. Teachers must be able to trust that students do their work conscientiously and honestly making their best effort to learn. Acts that violate this mutual respect and trust undermine the educational process. They counteract our very reason for being here at Rensselaer and will not be tolerated. Any student who engages in any form of academic dishonesty will receive an F in this course and will be reported to the Dean of Students for further disciplinary action. The Rensselaer Handbook defines various forms of Academic Dishonesty and procedures for responding to them. All of these forms are violations of trust between students and teachers. Please familiarize yourself with this part of the handbook.

Gender-fair language:
Because the way we speak and write affects the way we think, everyone in this course is expected to use gender-fair language in all discussions and writing. A guide to gender-fair language is available from the Writing Center and from the Library.

Class Attendance and Participation Policy:
As an enrolled student, you have made a commitment to this class and your attendance is a significant part of that commitment. Attendance is mandatory at each and every lecture and studio class. Two (2) unexcused absences will result in a reduction of one entire letter grade. Two lates = one absence. A good amount of your participation evaluation is in your contribution to class critiques. Critiques are peer review discussions on a project’s artistic and technical approach. Your studio lab instructors will help facilitate critiques during lab.
(An absence is considered excused if the student has informed his/her Teaching Assistant by phone, email or in person before the beginning of the class (lecture or studio) and the excuse is considered reasonable.)

Helpful sites:
Rensselaer Computer HelpDesk:
Rensselaer Library RenSearch:

Other References:
How to make Very cool things:

Bare Bones Guide to HTML:

Web Style Guide :

WWW Help Pages:

W3C HyperText Markup Language (HTML) Home Page


ARTS Sites:

1. Google the artist’s name on the Web

2. On-Line Journals and Listserves to Subscribe to:





RunMe (Code Art)

3. Archives


Women’s New Media Gallery

Netartistas Latinoamericanos

Digital Performance Archive

4. Electronic Arts Institutions and Festivals

Ars Electronica

Banff Centre for the Arts

Daniel Langlois Foundation

ISEA (International Society of Electronic Arts)

DEAF (Dutch Electronic Arts Festival)

Transmediale (Germany)

VIPER Festival (Switzerland)


5. Some other Recommended Art Sites:

Tiffany Holmes

Miguel Chavalier

Emergent Systems



The Remedi Project

Turbulence (Net Art)

ArtPort (Whitney Museum)


6. Online Exhibition Archives

Techno Seduction

Beyond Interface (net art and hypertext)


Art Entertainment Network (Walker Art Center)

010101 (SFMOMA)



Art Museums in the general area which may be of interest to you:

North Adams Mass (40 minutes west of Troy)

The Tang Museum
Saratoga Springs (30 minutes north of Troy)

The Center for Curatorial Studies Bard College
Annandale on the Hudson (1 hour south of Troy)

The Center for Photography Woodstock
(1 hour south of Troy)

New York, New York (2 1/2 hours south of Troy)

Whitney Museum of American Art
New York City
(2 1/2 hours south of Troy)

The Museum of Modern Art
New York City
(2 1/2 hours south of Troy)