Experimental Game Design
Course taught for Digital Media Graduate and Computational Media Undergraduate students focusing on experimental uses of games in fine art and activist applications.
This section will focus on the experimental uses of video games in fine arts and activist applications, exploring how games created in such contexts interrogate traditional assumptions about video games to produce cultural, aesthetic and technical innovation. The course will look at the historical subversive, activist, experimental and avant garde uses of games. Twentieth Century practices of games as fine art and activist media will be explored, and their connection to other related practices, such as scores, performances, tactical media and public interventions, as well as art movements that explicitly included games as part of their oevre, such as Dada and Fluxus. The course will include a series of readings on the history of games in these alternative contexts, as well as a series of art-based studio assignments where students will engage practices of game-making in both analog, digital and hybrid forms. The course itself is experimental, and will include field trips, and innovative indoor and outdoor alternative play and game design exercises.
Game Design as Cultural Practice
This is the core class in game design for Digital Media Graduate and Computational Media Undergraduate students.
Students analyze games as cultural artifacts and gameplay as a patterned cultural experience. The course will survey the history of board games and video games with an emphasis on the cultural, historical and economic contexts in which these forms were produced. Students will conduct analysis of influential and representative games from ancient times to the present, across cultures, eras and genres. This will cover not only traditional, commercial games, but also various cultural and art movements which have used games as an expressive medium or intervention strategy, such as the Dada, Fluxus and Situationist Art, the New Games Movement. The course will also look at issues of representation, identity, gender and diversity in games, as well as the ways narrative and values can be expressed through game design.
Class time will consist of lecture/discussions and structured play and design activities. Students will develop a critical play method by keeping a journal/blog of their gameplay, which they will analyze with reference to specified readings. Through this process students will develop analysis skills and versatile command of the expressive capabilities of games. The course will culminate in a team-based game project, which will include generation of pitch and design documents and team evaluations. Students taking this course for graduate credit will also be asked to do additional readings give presentations and run class sessions during the course of the semester.
Experimental Digital Art
Course for Digital Media Graduate and Computational Media undergraduate students in interactive and digital art.
Students examine the conceptual, formal, aesthetic and technical basics of creating and analyzing digital artistic artifacts in areas of: virtual, augmented and mixed reality; ubiquitous and distributed computing; networks; tangible objects; physical and physiological computing; social computing; information and scientific visualization; and artificial intelligence. The course includes analysis, experimentation, creation, and critique of artistic projects and short analytical papers. Numerous areas of converging and diverging issues among artistic and scientific knowledge bases will be explored, in order to understand how emerging technologies and critical practices may offer us ways to reshape and rethink the world.
This section will give a particular focus to the contributions of fine artists to cultural, aesthetic and technical innovation in interactive and electronic media. Since the early 20th Century, artists have been at the forefront of experimentation with new technologies and media, exploring and redefining public realms, and “culture jamming” popular forms and practices. Because these artists often navigate the borderlands between mainstream art, public art, industrial research, and entertainment, their work often falls through the cracks of history, in spite of the fact that work has had major impact on the trajectory of technological development. They frequently tackle problems that may not yet exist, anticipating future trends and putting technology into a profoundly human context. And they often work in public contexts, exploring the everyday relationships between humans and technology. In the past decade, practitioners who operate at the intersections of R&D, art and invention, increasingly being dubbed “arts researchers,” are finding roles in universities, academia and industry. This course will provide a comprehensive survey of experimental media and art from the early 20th Century to the present day. Students will be guided through a series of highly experimental problems designed to stretch their creativity and explore questions that fall outside the realm of traditional academic, scientific or industrial research.
Multimedia Studies Program (SFSU)
Taught at San Francisco State University’s Multimedia Studies Program (MSP), one of the first professional training programs for new media in the U.S.
- Exploring Spatial Media: A three-day intensive seminar that I taught for several years, focusing on real-time 3D and virtual reality. Included readings from William Gibson and Neal Stephenson, hands-on exercises, and guest speakers from the San Francisco new media community.