Andreas Gursky,  The Rhine II , 1999

Andreas Gursky, The Rhine II, 1999

Digital Media and Interactive Design


In this course we will explore historical, political, theoretical, and practical issues in art and image-making in the context of digital media and interactive design. We will investigate how the digital transforms different media including photography, the moving image, text, and the interface. In our studio work, you will be introduced to digital manipulation, CGI, hypertext, and web coding. Through critical readings, artists’ works, and historical case studies we will work to situate the media we are creating in a theoretical, historical, and political context. Our ultimate goal will be to develop a working definition of what it means to use digital tools to make art across different media.


By the end of this course a student who has completed the course successfully will be able to:

  • Use digital media and interactive design tools and techniques to produce digitally manipulated photographs, simulated video, and web projects
  • Create digital artwork that contributes to and challenges the history, culture and theory of digital media and interactive design
  • Critically analyze and contextualize their work and the work of other digital media artists
  • Think critically about the people and events that create historical and theoretical context for their work


  • Subscription to
  • External hard drive
  • Additional drawing and design supplies as needed


Your final grade will be compiled from your participation grade, your presentation grade, your journal grade, and your grade for projects.

Each grade will be weighted as follows:

Participation: 10%
Response Journal: 10%
Case Study Presentation: 10%
Project 1: Synthetic Photograph 15%
Project 2: One Rule Film 15%
Project 3: Linked Conversation 20%
Project 4: Interactive Wunderkammer 20%

Participation (10%)
The ability to speak for yourself and your work is one of the most important skills a digital media artist has. In this class there will be many forums for you to practice speaking, including discussions of texts and case studies, collaborative exercises, critical conversations about artists’ work, and peer critiques. Your participation in these activities will be taken into account in your final grade.

Response Journal (10%)
For this assignment you will be creating your own blog and then posting blog entries that respond to questions from this website. This assignment has three main purposes. The first is to provide a place for you to look at artists and test the theories we discuss in class. The second is to allow you a place to voice your own responses to the theories—I encourage you to disagree loudly with authors or artists in your response journal entries. The third purpose is to help you to start to compile a mental library of artists that you find interesting or that relate to your work.

Case Study Presentation (10%)
In addition to the projects there is also a presentation that will be assigned on the first day. Each student will be responsible for presenting a case study to the class and leading the discussion that follows. Case studies can include issues that have been debated through court cases, research papers, or proposed legislation.

Projects (70%)
In this class there are four projects including the final project. At the beginning of each project we will review the project overview on this website. Please take note of the due dates. Assignments MUST BE READY at the START of class on the date due to be considered on time. If you cannot be in class the day that the projects are due the project must be uploaded or sent to me before class starts to be considered on time. Late projects will be marked down one grade for each day they are late including the date they are due if they are received after the start of class.

Project evaluation criteria
Each project will be evaluated on the following criteria:

Does the project have strong aesthetic and formal qualities?

Conceptual Framework–30%
Are the concepts or ideas behind the project original and thoughtful?

Technical skill and technique–40%
Does the project demonstrate a mastery of the tools and techniques covered in class?

I use a rubric to evaluate all projects.


We will schedule individual mid-term and final critiques in the middle and end of the semester. The individual critique is an important opportunity to ask questions and think about the progress of your work in the class.


Attendance in this class is critical. In each class you will learn tools and techniques and discuss ideas that you will build upon in subsequent classes. I keep track of attendance by passing around a sign-in sheet at the beginning of class. If your name is not on the sheet you will be considered absent. I do not distinguish between excused and unexcused absences—instead I consider how the classes and content you have missed will impact your success in the course. Each student is allowed up to four absences. If you have missed more than four classes you will not be able to continue in the course.

Frequent lateness will also have a negative effect on your performance in the course: every three latenesses will be considered equal to one absence. If you are not in class you must review the material on the website and get notes from a classmate since you are still responsible for the material covered in class as well as any in class assignments. You can also visit my office during my office hours to get an overview of what I went over in class.


In order to complete the assignments for this class, you must be prepared to work independently during the hours that the lab is open. The Digital Media Lab is reserved for students enrolled in Digital Media classes. The lab will be open 24 hours a day and on weekends during the semester through swipe access. You may not use the lab when other classes are in session without prior permission. It is important to familiarize yourself with the lab schedule that is posted on the door to the lab and on the website.


I created this website to accommodate the changing needs of this class. All of the lectures, projects, and demonstrations that are discussed in class will be on this website. If class is canceled or you are absent you can check the website to see what you need to do for the next class. This is also an excellent resource to review skills and concepts.


In this course there are many opportunities for lively discussion and debate. However it is important to think about how your comments may impact other members of the class. When you speak you must speak respectfully of all people–including your peers and myself. In this class we will work to create an environment that is intellectually safe and has a spirit of collaboration and trust. If you say something that is disrespectful you will be given a warning and then asked to leave.

Turn off all cell phones, beepers, and other potentially distracting noise-makers during class. Pay attention to what we are doing in class and take notes. Be polite, respectful, and attentive while others are speaking. Failure to conduct yourself in a professional manner during class may result in your being asked to leave for that particular class session.


If you are a student with a disability and believe you will need academic accommodation, you must formally request accommodation from Meg Hegener, Coordinator for Student Access Services.  You will also need to provide documentation which verifies the existence of a disability and supports your request.  For further information, please call 580-8150 or stop by the office of Student Academic Services in Starbuck Center.


I want each of you to be successful in this class. I want you to make work that that inspires you and your peers. I want you to push me and the other students to find new ways of approaching the materials and the tools we are using. I want you to emerge an innovative and creative digital media artist. I am here to support you in these goals. If you have any questions, small or large, technical or conceptual, please come see me. My office hours are Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30 pm to 2:10 pm. I can also make an appointment to meet with you at another time that is more convenient. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you are having trouble or need help.



Week 1

Course Introduction | What is Digital Media?
Reading: Mark Poster, "Everyday (Virtual) Life"
September 4th

Week 2

Photography, Indexicality, Manipulation
Individual Work Presentations
Reading: Martin Lister, "Photography in the Age of Electronic Imaging"
Project: Synthetic Photograph
Artists: Jeff Wall, Andreas Gursky, Beate Gütschow
Demonstration: Layers and Masking (Photoshop)
September 9th/11th

Week 3

Photography, Indexicality, Manipulation
Demonstration: Cloning and Adjustment Layers (Photoshop)
September 16th/18th

Week 4

Photography, Indexicality, Manipulation
Case Study: Intellectual Property and Copyright Laws
Critique: Synthetic Photograph
September 23rd/25th

Week 5

Virtual Cameras and Hybrid Cinema
Reading: Seth Giddings, "The Virtual Camera"
Project: One-Rule Film
Tang Exhibition: I was a double
Artists: Monica Eunji KimJamie Caliri
Demonstration: Keyframes and Timeline (Photoshop or AfterEffects)
September 30th/October 2nd

Week 6

Virtual Cameras and Hybrid Cinema
Case Study: CGI as evidence
Demonstration: 3D Objects and Cameras (Photoshop or AfterEffects)
October 7th/9th

Week 7

Virtual Cameras and Hybrid Cinema
Export Settings
October 14th/16th

Week 8

Textuality, Nonlinear Narratives, and Navigation
Critique: One-Rule Film
Reading: Espen J. Aarseth, "Nonlinearity and Literary Theory"
Project: Public/Private Interaction
Artists: Brian Kim StefansHeavy IndustriesTiny Story
Demonstration: Paragraphs, headings, and linking (HTML)
October 21st/23rd

Week 9

Textuality, Nonlinear Narratives, and Navigation
Case Study: Privacy & Data Protection Directive
Demonstration: Text styles and format (HTML/CSS)
October 28th/30th

Week 10

Textuality, Nonlinear Narratives, and Navigation
Demonstration: Positioning (HTML/CSS)
Demonstration: Hide & Show (JQuery)
November 4th/6th

Week 11

Textuality, Nonlinear Narratives, and Navigation
Critique: Public/Private Interaction
Project: Wunderkammer
Artists: 100 ObjectsHeart of the ArticOctagon Room
Reading: Pierre Lévy, "Interactivity"
November 11th/13th

Week 12

Interface and Interactivity
Demonstration: Positioning (HTML/CSS)
Critique: Collections
Case Study: Net Neutrality
November 18th/20th

Week 13

Interface and Interactivity
Demonstration: Movement (JQuery)
November 25th

Week 14

Interface and Interactivity
Demonstration: Audio (JQuery)
Work in Class
December 2nd/4th

Week 15

Interface and Interactivity
Critique: Wunderkammer
December 8th/10th

 Final Critique