Contacts | Program of Study | Major Program in Media Arts and Design | Clusters | Major Capstone Colloquium | Sample Plan of Study for the Major | Summary of Requirements: Major | Advising and Grading | Honors | Double Majors in Cinema and Media Studies and Media Arts and Design | Minor in Media Arts and Design | Summary of Requirements: Minor | Minor to Major and Major to Minor | Media Arts and Design Courses

Program of Study

In the early twenty-first century, “media” and “design” have become central terms. Media often refers to a wide range of storage and communication technologies, as well as the cultures and systems they connect. Design is no longer a term used simply to describe surface aesthetics or ornamentation, but now encompasses a wide range of human interactions with technical devices, environments, and communities that shape daily life. Overall, designed digital and networked media inspire feelings of attachment as well as frustration with few rivals in any contemporary cultural sphere. If you consider the number of screens in your immediate vicinity, it becomes evident how substantial an impact media arts and design have on the ways we learn, work, play, think, act, and communicate.

The Media Arts and Design major focuses on these rapid developments in media and design that have changed the character of contemporary life, opening these phenomena up to historical study, theoretical critique, and hands-on experimentation. The major offers possible pathways through video game design, transmedia puzzle development, digital filmmaking, electronic sound design, digital storytelling, algorithmic theater, podcast development, data visualization, computational imaging, speculative design, and media history and theory.

Students focusing in the Media Arts and Design major will be trained in critical, formal, theoretical, and historical thinking and analysis. The curriculum fosters discussion and writing skills, as well as creativity and experimentation. Students will gain the tools to approach today’s media environment and industries with critical, historical, and cultural perspectives. 

Major Program in Media Arts and Design

Students wishing to major in Media Arts and Design should meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies early in their second year to help construct their course plan going forward. By Spring Quarter of their third year, all students are required to file a major program worksheet with the department. Participation in the major must be declared to the Director of Undergraduate Studies, and the subsequent approved paperwork will be sent to the student's College adviser for official registration.

The major in Media Arts and Design requires a total of twelve courses with the following distribution:

  • Two Media Theory courses
  • Two Media History courses
  • Two Media Practice and Design courses
  • Five Electives
  • One Capstone Colloquium, taken during the student’s final year 

These requirements aim to give students a well-rounded foundation in theoretical and historical aspects of media and design, while also affording them opportunities for creativity. These courses will also prepare them for a multitude of media professions and fields, whether they aim to study media further in graduate school or become practitioners and artists.

To view the most updated list of courses being offered and their distributions, please see this Courses page and add the appropriate filters for the applicable year and quarter.

Media Arts and Design Electives

Students will select elective courses from offerings in areas such as video game design, transmedia puzzle development, electronic sound design, electronics prototyping and wearables, digital storytelling, algorithmic theater, data visualization, machine learning in the arts, computational imaging, speculative design, and media history and theory. There will be an expectation that students distribute their elective courses across areas of media theory, history, and practice, though this is not a requirement. The electives should also serve the student’s selected “Clusters” (for more, see below).

Clusters

Instead of detailed distribution requirements or strict tracks, students have the ability to specialize in a specific area while still exploring the broader field. Students will join “clusters'' that reflect their main interest, and these clusters will help students achieve depth in a specific area. The major offers the following clusters: 

  1. Games
  2. Creative Computing
  3. Network Art
  4. Electronic Music
  5. Digital Moving Image

In their second year, students will meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies for advising and preparation for cluster selection. No later than the Spring Quarter of the third year, each student will officially declare a cluster. In order to demonstrate a meaningful commitment to a cluster, three of the student’s required courses should be related to the cluster. Specifically, three of the student's Media Theory, Media History, Media Practice and Design, or elective courses should be relevant to the cluster. The Capstone Colloquium will not count for one of these three courses, though a component of the student's Colloquium portfolio project should also be related to the designated cluster. For example, a student with a Games cluster will plan to include a digital game as part of the final portfolio.

Each cluster will include a balance of coursework in theoretical, historical, and practice-based areas. The eligibility of a given course to count toward a given cluster is not pre-defined, but will instead be determined after an individualized consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies. 

Major Capstone Colloquium

As part of the Capstone Colloquium, students will be required to prepare a culminating capstone project and a portfolio. Students will take MAAD 29400 Media Arts and Design Capstone Colloquium in either the Autumn or Winter Quarter of their fourth year. 

The capstone project will include one substantive work or a constellation of smaller related pieces. The capstone project can also be a revision of a project initiated in a previous Media Arts and Design course. The portfolio can include digital media artworks and/or theoretical writing compiled from across courses taken for the major. Students will submit these materials by the end of Winter Quarter of their final year. Given the collaborative nature of Media Arts and Design, students will have the option to work on collaborative projects with another Capstone Colloquium participant, if this enhances their work.

The major capstone project can be focused on practice or on theory, but it must include a smaller supplementary piece that addresses the other domain. Thus, each capstone project will have a primary and secondary component. A practice-based project might take the form of a developed video game, but will also include a supplementary theoretical artist statement that explains the historical and theoretical motivations for the digital artwork. A theory-based project might be an extended research paper about the history of Twitch and rise of social media or a queer theoretical analysis of independent video games in the 2000s, but will include a supplementary practice-based component (such as a curated Twitch stream, a podcast, or a website). The pedagogical purpose of requiring both a primary and secondary component is to emphasize the integration of practice and theory across the major. This project will give students an opportunity to demonstrate that they have mastered all aspects of the major.

Capstone projects will be shared at an exhibition that takes place at the Media Arts, Data, and Design Center. This event will happen in the Spring Quarter of students’ final year and will include both a showcase (for media art projects) and presentations (for media theory and history projects).

Sample Plan of Study for the Major

Students will have numerous options for how to satisfy their selected cluster. The following is an example of one pathway through the major. 

Cluster: Games

Two Media Theory Courses200
Critical Videogame Studies
Introduction to Video Game Music Studies
Two Media History Courses200
1990s Videogame History
Data History: Information Overload from the Enlightenment to Google
Two Media Practice and Design Courses200
ARTGAMES
Alternate Reality Games: Theory and Production
Five Electives500
Embodied Data and Gamified Interfaces
Games and Performance: Live Action Role Playing Games
Introduction to Videogame Studies: Art, Play, and Society
Augmented Reality Production
Capstone Colloquium100
Media Arts and Design Capstone Colloquium
Total Units1200

Summary of Requirements: Major

Two Media Theory Courses*200
Two Media History Courses*200
Two Media Practice and Design Courses*200
Five Electives*500
MAAD 29400 Capstone Colloquium100
Portfolio and Capstone Exhibition000
Total Units1200

Advising and Grading

Prospective majors should meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies as soon as possible to discuss their interests and course plans, and to obtain advice and approval. In order to declare the major, students must complete a worksheet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies. This form must then be returned to the student's College adviser by the end of Spring Quarter of the student's third year.

Courses in the major program may not be counted toward general education requirements. Students may double count up to four courses with another major, with approval from both departments. See more on Double Majoring below.

Courses in the major must be taken for quality grades, and more than half of the requirements for the major must be met by registering for courses bearing University of Chicago course numbers.

Honors

Program honors are awarded by the faculty in Media Arts and Design on the basis of a GPA of 3.5 or above and assessment of the Capstone Colloquium. Program honors are awarded only to the most exceptional projects from a given cohort, meaning that the majority of students do not receive this designation.

Double Majors in Cinema and Media Studies and Media Arts and Design

Students double majoring in Media Arts and Design and another major (including Cinema and Media Studies) can count a maximum of four courses towards both majors, pending approval from both departments. However, the Capstone Colloquium cannot be replaced by the analogous course in the other major, given the uniqueness of the MAAD Colloquium and its importance to community building. Thus, double majors may have to take two capstones to fulfill both program requirements. 

Minor in Media Arts and Design

Distribution Requirement

The minor consists of six courses. Of those six courses, students must take at least one course in each of the following core areas: (1) Media Theory, (2) Media History, and (3) Media Practice and Design. Students minoring in Media Arts and Design must receive quality grades (not P/F) in all six courses taken to meet the requirements of the program. 

To view the most updated list of courses being offered and their distributions, please see this Courses page and add the appropriate filters for the applicable year and quarter.

Courses in the minor program may not be (1) double counted with the student's other major or minors or (2) counted toward general education requirements. Courses in the minor must be taken for quality grades, and more than half of the requirements for the minor must be met by registering for courses bearing University of Chicago course numbers.

Students interested in declaring a minor in Media Arts and Design should print and fill out the Consent to Complete a Minor Program form and email the Director of Undergraduate Studies and Program Advisor. This form must then be returned to the student's College adviser by the end of Spring Quarter of the student's third year.

Electives

Students will also need two elective courses from offerings in such areas as video game design, electronic sound design, computational imaging, or speculative design. Any MAAD course may count; students may use outside courses with approval of the director.

Capstone Colloquium and Portfolio

To complete the minor, students must enroll in MAAD 29400 Media Arts and Design Capstone Colloquium. As part of the colloquium, each member of this student cohort prepares a portfolio of digital media artworks and/or historical and theoretical writing that they submit by the end of Winter Quarter of their final year.

Summary of Requirements: Minor

One Media Theory course100
One Media History course100
One Media Practice and Design course100
Two electives200
MAAD 29400 Capstone Colloquium100
Portfolio000
Total Units600

Minor to Major and Major to Minor

Student circumstances change, and a transfer between the major and minor programs may be desirable to students who begin a course of study in either program. Media Theory, Media History, or Media Practice and Design courses, as well as electives, may count towards the minor. The Capstone Colloquium is mandatory for both minors and majors. Students should consult with their College adviser if considering such a transfer and must update their planned program of study with the Student Affairs Administrator or Director of Undergraduate Studies in Media Arts and Design.

Media Arts and Design Courses

MAAD 10199. Digital Ethnography. 100 Units.

This methods course prepares students for ethnographic research in an online environment. We will discuss practical steps to put together a research project-from research design to data collection and analysis. We will cover epistemological, ethical, and practical matters in online ethnographic research, and read articles and books showcasing methods for the study of virtual worlds (both game and nongame). This is a hands-on methods course: you will be required to formulate a preliminary research question at the beginning of the course, and you will conduct a few weeks of ethnographic research in a virtual field site of your choosing. Each week you will be asked to complete short ethnographic assignments, and to produce field notes to be exchanged and discussed in class. As a final project, you will have a choice between a research proposal or a short paper based on your observations.

Instructor(s): Cate Fugazzola     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): MAPS 35199, SOCI 30326, GLST 25199, SOCI 20558

MAAD 10992. Metapictures. 100 Units.

This course is based on an exhibition that was first staged at the Overseas Contemporary Art Terminal in Beijing in the fall of 2018, and subsequently re-enacted at the Royal Academy in Brussels in the spring of 2020. The exhibition explores "pictures within pictures," images that reflect on the nature of image-making, across a range of media and genres. A virtual version of the exhibition is available on the Prezi platform, and a physical installation, supported by the Smart Museum, will be installed in the Media Arts Data and Design Center (MADD). Visual materials for the course include paintings and drawings, diagrams, models of the visual process, image "atlases," multi-stable images, cinematic and literary representations of images nested within narratives. The readings for the course will include Michel Foucault on Velasquez's Las Meninas, Walter Benjamin on "dialectical images," C. S. Peirce on iconicity, Nelson Goodman on analog and digital codes, and Georges Didi-Huberman on Aby Warburg's Mnemosyne Bilderatlas. Students will be encouraged to explore traditional examples of metapictures such as the Duck-Rabbit (canonized by Gombrich and Wittgenstein) or to investigate newly emergent forms of self-reflexive media. Guest lectures will be given by Patrick Jagoda on experimental games and Hillary Chute on comics and graphic narrative; these might be coordinated with the Media Aesthetics ore sequence in the fall term, which focuses on the question of the image.

Instructor(s): W. J. T. Mitchell     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): This course is by consent only. Interested students should send a one-page letter describing their interest and preparation of the topic to Prof. Mitchell at wjtm@uchicago.edu.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 37505, ENGL 49992, ENGL 29992, ARTV 30022, ARTH 39992, CMST 27505, ARTH 29992, ARTV 20022

MAAD 10440. Desiring Machines: Artificial Intelligence in Contemporary Media. 100 Units.

Artificial intelligence is a cross-disciplinary field that seeks to imagine and develop machines able to reproduce, automate and exceed the cognitive and sensorial capabilities of biological organisms. This course will trace the conceptual genealogies that inform contemporary AI, and it will interrogate the uses and abuses of AI within social, legal, medical and creative contexts. Course materials will include a diverse array of media and theory including: Soma, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Natural Born Cyborgs, Ex Machina, War in the Age of Intelligent Machines, Speculative Everything, A Natural History of the Enigma, etc… No prior familiarity with AI or computation is necessary. In lieu of a traditional midterm and final, this course will ask students to develop a series of speculative design projects that imagine new intelligent organisms and their worlds. (Fiction, Theory)

Instructor(s): Ashleigh Cassemere-Stanfield     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 15440

MAAD 10513. Beyond Hashtags: Social Movements in Digital Society. 100 Units.

In today's global network society, the Internet permeates our lives, whether it be our jobs, politics, or relationships. You're probably reading this course description online, and perhaps next you'll check your email or social media accounts. Social movements, powerful drivers of social change, are no exception. Digital activism has transformed political and social protest over the past two decades, changing how events, protests, and movements are organized and generating alternative ways to build social movements. Students will receive an introduction to sociological perspectives on social movements and the Internet, and consider the influence of networked communication technologies on the mobilization of social movements throughout the globe, with particular emphasis on feminist, queer/trans, human rights, and racial equity movements.

Instructor(s): L. Janson     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 20513, SOCI 20513, CRES 20513

MAAD 10523. Digital Media & Social Life: Contemporary Methods. 100 Units.

Digital and networked media include forms and social phenomena such as memes, social media, live-streaming platforms, video games, virtual worlds, electronic literature, and online communities. What methods taken from the humanities and social sciences enable the study of these digital media forms and cultures? In order to model a series of methods, this course runs one shared media object (this term, the video game Stardew Valley) through a series of research methods, one per week, taken from the humanities (e.g., close reading, critical theory, response theory, and critical making) and social sciences (e.g., interviews, digital ethnography, discourse analysis, and quantitative analysis) methods. At the end of the course, students will compose a research paper or create a digital project that uses one or more of these methods to analyze a digital or networked media case of their choosing.

Instructor(s): K. Schilt, P. Jagoda     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 20523, SOCI 20523, CMST 27808

MAAD 12320. Critical Videogame Studies. 100 Units.

Since the 1960s, games have arguably blossomed into the world's most profitable and experimental medium. This course attends specifically to video games, including popular arcade and console games, experimental art games, and educational serious games. Students will analyze both the formal properties and sociopolitical dynamics of video games. Readings by theorists such as Ian Bogost, Roger Caillois, Alenda Chang, Nick Dyer‐Witheford, Mary Flanagan, Jane McGonigal, Soraya Murray, Lisa Nakamura, Amanda Phillips, and Trea Andrea Russworm will help us think about the growing field of video game studies. Students will have opportunities to learn about game analysis and apply these lessons to a collaborative game design project. Students need not be technologically gifted or savvy, but a wide-ranging imagination and interest in digital media or game cultures will make for a more exciting quarter. This is a 2021-22 Signature Course in the College. (Literary/Critical Theory)

Instructor(s): Patrick Jagoda; Ashlyn Sparrow     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 27916, GNSE 22320, ENGL 12320, SIGN 26038

MAAD 12830. Indigenous Media and the Politics of Representation. 100 Units.

This undergraduate seminar explores popular representations of Indigenous nations and issues across various modes of media such as film, photography, digital platforms, and museum installations. With a particular focus on media forms produced by Indigenous artists, filmmakers, and curators we will analyze these narratives through frameworks of self-determination, resistance, visual sovereignty, and relational futures. Throughout the course, we will consider Indigenous media production(s) in relation to the broader social, historical, and cultural contexts in which they circulate in North America and beyond. The material covered in this course will acquaint students with an introduction to the contemporary debates surrounding Indigenous media and representation as they intersect with the larger fields of visual anthropology and Indigenous Studies.

Instructor(s): Teresa Montoya     Terms Offered: Autumn. Autumn 2021
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 22830, CRES 23830

MAAD 13012. Caricature. 100 Units.

Though usually traced to Renaissance experiments with drawing deformed heads, caricature as a mode of parody, humor and invective has various roots, in ancient comedy, ancient modern physiognomy and psychology, the literature and (pseudo)science of social types, and above all in the rise of a public sphere of newspaper readers and broadsheet buyers avid for the ridiculing of public figures, beloved or otherwise. We approach caricature broadly, considering its inverse relation with a neoclassical aesthetics of the ideal body, its theorization around historically significant moments like 1848 and 1939, its relation to technological developments like the newspaper comic and the animated cartoon, and most recently, the viral meme.

Instructor(s): Andrei Pop     Terms Offered: Spring. Course scheduled for Spring 2022
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 35012, ARTH 35012

MAAD 13303. Chris Marker. 100 Units.

Chris Marker (1921-2012) is one of the most influential and important filmmakers to emerge in the post-war era in France, yet he remains relatively unknown to a wider audience. Marker's multifaceted work encompasses writing, photography, filmmaking, videography, gallery installation, television, and digital multimedia. He directed over 60 films and is known foremost for his "essay films," a hybrid of documentary and personal reflection, which he invigorated if not invented with films like Lettre de Sibérie (Letter from Siberia, 1958) or Sans Soleil (Sunless, 1983). His most famous film, La Jetée (1962), his only (science) fiction film made up almost entirely of black-and-white still photographs, was the inspiration for Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys (1995). In 1990, he created his first multi-media installation, Zapping Zone, and in 1997 he experimented with the format of the CD-Rom to create a multi-layered, multimedia memoir (Immemory). In 2008, he continued his venture into digital spaces with Ouvroir, realized on the platform of Second Life. Marker was a passionate traveler who documented the journeys he took, the people he met, and revolutionary upheavals at home and afar. We will follow Marker's travels through time, space, and media, during which we will also encounter artists with whom he crossed paths, with whom he collaborated, or who were inspired by his work.

Instructor(s): Dominique Bluher     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 26102, ARTV 20032, CMST 26303, CMST 36303

MAAD 14109. Machine Learning at the Archive. 100 Units.

In "An Archival Impulse," Hal Foster describes the archive as "found yet constructed, factual yet fictive, public yet private." This is a hybrid seminar / workshop course that brings together making, researching and collecting with the goal of expanding the discourse around archives to address machine learning. Foster's set of tangled binaries provide a foundation on which to build a formal and critical inquiry into the procedural, technological and institutional pressures involved in working with machine learning, particularly as an individual researcher or artist. Topics include: How do the datasets used for machine learning correspond to or differ from traditional physical archives? How does the speculative discourse around the potential for artificial intelligence inform data collection and usage? How has the archive's problematic history of informing and feeding on various "-isms" translated to the digital age and how do we respond to that situation? How can art be used to investigate or interfere with all of the above?

Instructor(s): Cameron Mankin     Terms Offered: Winter

MAAD 14207. Mindfulness: Experience and Media. 100 Units.

How do we experience media (of all kinds) with (or without) awareness? Methods of mindfulness offer principles and practices of awareness focusing on mind, body, and embodied mind. Mindfulness (a flexible, moment-to-moment, non-judging awareness) is an individual experience and at the same time, practices of mindfulness can be a mode of public health intervention. Mindfulness involves social epistemologies of how we know (or don't know) collectively, as we interact with immediate sensory experience as well as with mediated communication technologies generating various sorts of virtual realities (from books to VR). In addition to readings and discussions, this course teaches embodied practices of attention and awareness through the curriculum of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.

Instructor(s): M. Browning     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HUMA 25207, HLTH 25207, HIPS 25207, TAPS 20507

MAAD 14920. Comparative Media Poetics: Horror. 100 Units.

Cinema, videogames, and VR: all moving-image media, which have at times exerted multi-directional aesthetic influences on each other. This course will investigate the raw materials and basic forms at the disposal of artists working in and across these media, with a special focus on horror as a genre. Along with fundamental questions regarding the social, psychological, and political uses (and abuses) of horror as a genre, this course will also look at how horror works across a variety of media. In what way do the possibilities available to game developers differ from those available to filmmakers, and vice versa? How are space, time, and action presented and segmented differently across moving images (cinema), interactive moving images (games), and fully-immersive virtual environments (VR)? How do techniques ranging from psychological identification to jump scares work in each medium, and what aesthetic effects are open to one that are not open to the other? Course materials will include horror cinema, horror games (video and otherwise), VR experiences, and written horror literature.

Instructor(s): Ian Bryce Jones     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 14920

MAAD 14945. Digital Storytelling. 100 Units.

New media have changed the way that we tell and process stories. Over the last few decades, writers and designers have experimented with text, video, audio, design, animation, and interactivity in unprecedented ways, producing new types of narratives about a world transformed by computers and communications networks. These artists have explored the cultural dimensions of information culture, the creative possibilities of digital media technologies, and the parameters of human identity in the network era. This course investigates the ways that new media have changed contemporary society and the cultural narratives that shape it. We will explore narrative theory through a number of digital or digitally-inflected forms, including cyberpunk fictions, text adventure games, interactive dramas, videogames, virtual worlds, transmedia novels, location-based fictions, and alternate reality games. Our critical study will concern issues such as nonlinear narrative, network aesthetics, and videogame mechanics. Throughout the quarter, our analysis of computational fictions will be haunted by gender, class, race, and other ghosts in the machine.

Instructor(s): Ian Bryce Jones     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 25945, CMST 25945

MAAD 15310. Art and Technology Since World War I. 100 Units.

This seminar tracks the entanglements of visual art and "technology," a term which took on an increasingly expanded set of meanings beginning in the early decades of the twentieth century. Focusing on the period between World War I and the present, we examine these expanded meanings and ask how the work of art fundamentally shifted with, extended, tested, or acted upon "technology." We consider cases from the art historical avant gardes, the impact of cybernetics and systems thinking on architecture and visual perception, midcentury collectives that sought to institutionalize collaborations between artists and engineers, as well as more subtle exchanges between art and technology brewing since the Cold War. Course readings drawn from art history and the histories of science and technology, as well as site visits to art collections on campus, will inform our investigation. Students will gain historical insights into the relation between visual art and technology; develop analytical tools for critically engaging with the present-day interface of art, science, and engineering; and consider the implications for the futures we imagine. Students will have the option to propose alternative final projects that incorporate or extend practices across visual art and the sciences on campus.

Instructor(s): T. Shabtay     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): KNOW 21310, ARTH 31310, ARTH 21310

MAAD 15521. Music and the History of AI. 100 Units.

Centuries before the first mechanical computers, music helped define artificial intelligence. 18th-century philosophers theorized the origins of cognition by imagining moving statues capable of singing songs and playing instruments. Later writers like E.T.A. Hoffmann feared such automata, describing the dangers of inanimate objects that are able to sway and seduce listeners with music. Even today, music humanizes our computer hardware and software (both real and imagined): Star Trek's Data croons, Pandora's "Music Genome Project" recommends, and even HAL-9000, the AI of 2001: A Space Odyssey, dies with a song on its virtual lips. In "Music and the History of Artificial Intelligence," students will explore the humanistic impulses of artificial intelligence research since the seventeenth century. Students will study a broad array of machines-musical automata, mechanical toys, computers, symbolic AI, and modern neural networks-to understand how mechanical theories of cognition developed alongside aesthetic theories of art and music. By analyzing mechanical music, students will consider the chief philosophical debates of modern AI research: Can intelligence be quantified? Is there a mechanical basis for art, language, cognition, creativity, or emotions? Is there a meaningful difference between human thought and computer processing? What is "intelligence" (artificial or otherwise) and how can it be evaluated?

Instructor(s): Bradley Spiers     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): MUSI 25521

MAAD 15540. Comics at the Crossroads. 100 Units.

Mid-1985 to mid-1986 is the most important year in comics history. This course is an introduction to comics through the prism of this period with snapshots of comics "before" and comics "after"; major texts are Maus, Watchmen, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and The Dark Knight Returns, all of which were released (or released in accessible formats) in '85-'86. We will try to identify the various forces that made this remarkable year possible: changes in the comics business, in American politics and culture, and in the life cycle of the superhero. In the mid-80s the "high" and "low" of comics blended like it never had before. This course is designed for the newbie and afficionado alike, whether you're meeting these four of the greatest comics of all time, or rediscovering them within a new milieu. (Fiction)

Instructor(s): Zoë Smith     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 15540

MAAD 15620. Japanese Animation: The Making of a Global Media. 100 Units.

This course offers an introduction to Japanese animation, from its origins in the 1910s to its emergence as global culture in the 1990s. The goal is not only to provide insight into Japanese animation within the context of Japan but also to consider those factors that have transformed it into a global cultural form with a diverse, worldwide fanbase. As such, the course approaches Japanese animation from three distinct perspectives on Japanese animation, which are designed to introduce students to three important methodological approaches to contemporary media - film studies, media studies, and fan studies or cultural studies. As we look at Japanese animation in light of these different conceptual frameworks, we will also consider how its transnational dissemination and 'Asianization' challenge some of our basic assumptions about global culture, which have been shaped primarily through the lens of Americanization.

Instructor(s): Thomas Lamarre     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): EALC 25620, CMST 25620, CMST 35620, SIGN 26070, EALC 35620

MAAD 15630. Television in an Age of Change. 100 Units.

As streaming options proliferate, we think of television today in a moment of upheaval, but the history of television is a history of a medium in flux. This course will provide an overview of television theory and U.S. television history, using specific programs and theoretical concepts to explore major shifts in television's relationship to audiences, technology, and other media-all in an effort to answer, or complicate, the question, "What is television?" This course counts towards the Media History requirement for the MAAD program.

Instructor(s): Ilana Emmett     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 28730

MAAD 17880. Videogame Consoles: A Platform Studies Approach. 100 Units.

While videogames' mix of art, play, and advanced technology gives game studies much of its vitality, the technological and computational aspects of the medium can be daunting for many would-be students and designers. And yet no approach to the study of videogames can be exhaustive without some consideration of the material and technological grounds that make games possible. With this in mind, this course will introduce approaches to videogame studies that emphasize the platforms - the hardware, operating systems, etc. - on which games are played, and is intended for students with all levels of familiarity with the technological side of videogames. How do the various components of game platforms, from computer architecture to controllers to the underlying code, affect how games look, sound, and feel, how they are played, who designs them and how, how they are marketed and to whom, and how they are preserved? How do platforms emerge from particular technological, industrial, social, and cultural contexts, and how do they in turn affect the course of game history and culture? Classroom lectures and discussions of readings will be accompanied by weekly gameplay sessions at the MADD Center, which will provide close, hands-on engagement with game platforms. Possible objects of study include the Atari 2600 (1977), ColecoVision (1982), Sega Game Gear (1990) and Genesis/CD/32X (1988-94), Panasonic 3DO (1993), Nintendo 64 (1996) and Wii (2006), and PlayStation 4/VR (2013-16).

Instructor(s): Christopher Carloy     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Instructor consent required.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 27880, CMST 37880, MAPH 37880

MAAD 17887. The Platformer: History and Theory of a Videogame Genre. 100 Units.

This course will provide an introduction to genre history and theory in videogame studies through a focus on the "platformer." Though not a common name outside of videogame culture, the platformer has introduced or popularized some of the medium's most recognizable figures (Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, Donkey Kong) and gameplay mechanics (running, jumping, avoiding enemies, and collecting items). The genre has also been instrumental in and reflective of changes across the videogame medium. This course will cover two decades (roughly 1990 - 2010), emphasizing both historical details and theoretical questions, such as: How have game genres been defined? How do distinct genres emerge and change over time? How do broader trends (technological, formal, industrial, discursive, experiential, etc.) influence individual genres, and what roles do individual genres play in these broader trends? What resources and methodologies exist for studying videogame genres? Throughout the course we'll see the platformer alternate between an emphasis on linear, acrobatic movement across two-dimensional spaces and the free exploration of three-dimensional virtual worlds; between providing mascots for the biggest game companies and becoming a marker of independent, small-team production; and between being hailed as "revolutionary" and epitomizing the retro-nostalgic. Classroom lecture and discussion of readings will be accompanied by weekly gameplay sessions on original hardware at the MADD Center.

Instructor(s): Christopher Carloy     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Instructor consent required
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 27887, CMST 37887, MAPH 37887

MAAD 18500-18600-18700. History of International Cinema I: Silent Era; History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960; History of International Cinema, Part III: 1960 to Present.

This sequence is required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies. Taking these courses in sequence is strongly recommended but not required.

MAAD 18500. History of International Cinema I: Silent Era. 100 Units.

This course provides a survey of the history of cinema from its emergence in the mid-1890s to the transition to sound in the late 1920s. We will examine the cinema as a set of aesthetic, social, technological, national, cultural, and industrial practices as they were exercised and developed during this 30-year span. Especially important for our examination will be the exchange of film techniques, practices, and cultures in an international context. We will also pursue questions related to the historiography of the cinema, and examine early attempts to theorize and account for the cinema as an artistic and social phenomenon.

Instructor(s): A. Field     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 required. Required of students majoring or minoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): For students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies, the entire History of International Cinema three-course sequence must be taken.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 48500, ENGL 29300, CMLT 32400, MAPH 33600, ENGL 48700, ARTH 38500, CMLT 22400, ARTH 28500, CMST 28500, ARTV 20002

MAAD 18600. History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960. 100 Units.

The center of this course is film style, from the classical scene breakdown to the introduction of deep focus, stylistic experimentation, and technical innovation (sound, wide screen, location shooting). The development of a film culture is also discussed. Texts include Thompson and Bordwell's Film History: An Introduction; and works by Bazin, Belton, Sitney, and Godard. Screenings include films by Hitchcock, Welles, Rossellini, Bresson, Ozu, Antonioni, and Renoir.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 required. Required of students majoring or minoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): CMST 28500/48500 strongly recommended
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 20003, REES 25005, CMLT 32500, ARTH 28600, ENGL 48900, CMST 48600, REES 45005, MAPH 33700, CMST 28600, CMLT 22500, ENGL 29600, ARTH 38600

MAAD 18700. History of International Cinema, Part III: 1960 to Present. 100 Units.

This course will continue the study of cinema around the world from the late 1950s through the 1990s. We will focus on New Cinemas in France, Czechoslovakia, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries. We will pay special attention to experimental stylistic developments, women directors, and well-known auteurs. After the New Cinema era we will examine various developments in world cinema, including the rise of Bollywood, East Asian film cultures, and other movements.

Instructor(s): J.Lastra     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): This course follows the subject matter taught in CMST 28500/48500 and CMST 28600/48600, but these are not prerequisites.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 38700, CMST 28700

MAAD 20230. From Theater Games to Gaming Theater. 100 Units.

Uniting methodologies and readings from media and performance studies, this interdisciplinary course explores the historical and contemporary proximities between games and theater as interactive media. Each unit of this course interrogates the generic boundary of "games," seeing games as the content of, source of, medium for, and engine behind compelling performances. Our course will make a study of "immersive" and game-like theatrical works that provoke meaningful questions about audience agency, interactivity, and the role of technology in our contemporary understanding of what it means to attend or take part in "play." Students in this course can expect to read theatrical scripts, attend and participate in performances, and perform game exercises in class. Part of taking this class is "being game" - open to participating in the various forms of play we will explore together. Students will watch contemporary works of gaming theater and participate in a hands-on gaming theater workshop, in addition to attending live improv comedy and an escape room. In the midterm assignment students will compose a performance game of their own, designing and testing the piece over three weeks. The final assignment emphasizes the process of producing scholarly writing and asks students to apply performance and game studies approaches to texts from our class.

Instructor(s): A. Gass     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): TAPS 20230

MAAD 20370. Inclusive Technology: Designing for Underserved and Marginalized Populations. 100 Units.

Creating technologies that are inclusive of people in marginalized communities involves more than having technically sophisticated algorithms, systems, and infrastructure. It involves deeply understanding various community needs and using this understanding coupled with our knowledge of how people think and behave to design user-facing interfaces that can enhance and augment human capabilities. When dealing with under-served and marginalized communities, achieving these goals requires us to think through how different constraints such as costs, access to resources, and various cognitive and physical capabilities shape what socio-technical systems can best address a particular issue. This course leverages human-computer interaction and the tools, techniques, and principles that guide research on people to introduce you to the concepts of inclusive technology design. You will learn about different underserved and marginalized communities such as children, the elderly, those needing assistive technology, and users in developing countries, and their particular needs. In addition, you will learn how to be mindful of working with populations that can easily be exploited and how to think creatively of inclusive technology solutions. You will also put your skills into practice in a semester long group project involving the creation of an interactive system for one of the user populations we study.

Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): CMSC 20300
Equivalent Course(s): CMSC 20370, CMSC 30370

MAAD 20500. ARTGAMES. 100 Units.

This studio course playfully explores the methods, tools, and poetics of video games as art. Develop interactive new media art, machinima, and experimental 3D environments by using (and misusing) contemporary game engines. Projects will include hypertext adventures, walking simulators, abstract platformers, and metagames. By hacking, modding, and recontextualizing existing game assets, we will challenge the rules, mechanics, and interfaces of video games. This course counts towards the Media Practice and Design requirement for the MAAD program.

Instructor(s): J. Satrom     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 25403

MAAD 20505. Adaptation for the Screen. 100 Units.

This course introduces students to the rewards and difficulties of adapting literary material to the big screen. In addition to reading short stories and viewing the films that were made from these stories, all students will be given the same short story to adapt into a 50-60 minute film. Progress on these scripts will be addressed through in-class readings, leading to final meetings with the instructor about your completed first drafts. Screenwriting experience is helpful, but not essential. Class size is limited to 10 students.

Instructor(s): J. Petrakis     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Attendance at first class is mandatory.
Equivalent Course(s): TAPS 25505

MAAD 20620. Pivot to Digital: Adapting Performance Practices To Online Spaces. 100 Units.

How are performance-makers adapting their practices to online spaces? Many theater and live art makers are discovering new dimensions of their work as they 'pivot to digital', experimenting broadly with expressive form and audience engagement. In this course we will examine a set of case studies drawn from the current pandemic-inspired movement towards online performance, gamification, live/recorded hybrid models of performance, and socially distanced performance practices. We will look at the translation of theater design techniques such as scenery and sound design to digital platforms, audio-play forms, and at-home experience design, plus ask questions about the democratization of content available much more widely online than in conventional performance spaces. Students will be asked to adapt a theatrical work (play or devised project) to digital form as part of their work in class.

Instructor(s): S. Bockley     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): TAPS 20620

MAAD 20621. Electronic Music: External Sensor Use in Real-Time Performance. 100 Units.

This course explores practical applications of external sensing hardware in live and interactive electronic music and interdisciplinary art creation. We will explore topics such as motion detection, gesture mapping, and machine listening in depth though readings, in-class activities, and assigned projects.

Instructor(s): Benjamin Whiting     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): The class will be taught using the SuperCollider programming language, and motion detection will be achieved using the Kimari MUGIC sensor, developed by violinist and composer Mari Kimura. While completion of MUSI 26817/36817 or other prior experience with SuperCollider will prove helpful, all programming skills necessary for the successful completion of course material will be covered in class sessions and assigned readings.
Equivalent Course(s): MUSI 26621, MUSI 36621

MAAD 21011. Experimental Captures. 100 Units.

This production-based class will explore the possibilities and limits of capturing the world with imaging approaches that go beyond the conventional camera. What new and experimental image-based artworks can be created with technologies such as laser scanning, structured light projection, time of flight cameras, photogrammetry, stereography, motion capture, sensor augmented cameras or light field photography? This hands-on course welcomes students with production experience while being designed to keep established tools and commercial practices off-kilter and constantly in question.

Instructor(s): M. Downie     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 37011, ARTV 37923, ARTV 27923, CMST 27011

MAAD 21111. Creative Coding. 100 Units.

This course is an introduction to programming, using exercises in graphic design and digital art to motivate and employ basic tools of computation (such as variables, conditional logic, and procedural abstraction). We will write code in JavaScript or related technologies, and we will work with a variety of digital media, including vector graphics, raster images, animations, and web applications. Throughout the course, we will reflect on how graphical user interfaces of the future might unleash the fundamental building blocks of programming for everyday computer use.

Instructor(s): Professor Ravi Chugh     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMSC 11111

MAAD 21500. Metamedia. 100 Units.

Computers dynamically simulate the details of any other medium. This course looks past traditional media to engage with the computer as a "metamedium"; an environment with infinite degrees of representation. Relationships between form and content will be explored and exploited through deconstructing, augmenting, and experimenting with the data that makes up digital media. Studio time will be spent digitally improvising with expanded approaches to creating new media art. Topics surveyed will include: algorithms as art, metadata as content, and our digital shadows. In addition to making new media art, we will consider our relationship to contemporary media and the politics of digital agency in our connected world. This course counts towards the Media Practice and Design requirement for the MAAD program.

Instructor(s): J. Satrom
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 25402

MAAD 22920. Art and Digital Fabrication. 100 Units.

Digital fabrication practices are transforming the way that the world of objects we interact with daily are designed and manufactured. Naturally, as those tools have become more available to the public, artists have latched onto them in order to develop their own projects, responding to and informing that world. In this workshop course, students will develop individual creative projects as a means of developing technical familiarity with digital fabrication techniques (particularly laser cutting and 3d printing) and exploring the ways these processes have impacted the material, social, and economic spaces in which we live. The course is primarily intended as an introduction to these techniques, software, and tools, so no prior experience is required. Topics include: How are artists synthesizing digital fabrication techniques with those taken from more traditional material practices? How can we print "tools" that expand the range of work we can make beyond the technical limitations imposed by a laser cutter or 3d printer? What opportunities does digital fabrication present to intervene in or change our relation to the built environment?

Instructor(s): Cameron Mankin     Terms Offered: Spring

MAAD 22911. Augmented Reality Production. 100 Units.

Focusing on experimental moving-image approaches at a crucial moment in the emerging medium of augmented reality, this class will explore and interrogate each stage of production of AR works. Students in this production-based class will examine the techniques and opportunities of this new kind of moving image. During this class we'll study the construction of examples across a gamut from locative media, journalism, and gameplay-based works to museum installations. Students will complete a series of critical essays and sketches towards a final augmented reality project using a custom set of software tools developed in and for the class.

Instructor(s): Marc Downie     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 37911, ARTV 37921, ARTV 27921, CMST 27911

MAAD 23218. Surveillance Aesthetics: Provocations About Privacy and Security in the Digital Age. 100 Units.

In the modern world, individuals' activities in both the physical and digital worlds are tracked, surveilled, and computionally modeled to both beneficial and problematic ends. Working jointly with students and faculty from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), this course will examine privacy and security issues at the intersection between the physical and digital world. Coursework will encompass both technical problem sets with substantial programming components and the creation of a capstone interactive art installation following the studio art process. The course will introduce algorithms for processing and modeling various types of data: (i) mobility data; (ii) video data; (iii) audio data; (iv) natural language data; (v) structured information archives. Through both the lenses of computer science and studio art, students will be asked to design algorithms, implement systems, and create artworks that communicate, provoke, and reframe pervasive issues in modern privacy and security. The course will both unpack and re-entangle computational connections and data-driven interactions between people, built space, sensors, structures, devices, and data. Synthesizing technology and aesthetics, the collaboration between UChicago and SAIC will communicate its findings to the broader public not only through typical academic avenues, but also via provocative and compelling public art and media.

Instructor(s): Blase Ur     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): One of CMSC 23200, CMSC 23210, CMSC 25900, CMSC 33210, CMSC 33250, or CMSC 33251.
Equivalent Course(s): CMSC 23218

MAAD 23220. Inventing, Engineering and Understanding Interactive Devices. 100 Units.

A physical computing class, dedicated to micro-controllers, sensors, actuators and fabrication techniques. The objective is that everyone creates their own, custom-made, functional I/O device.

Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): CMSC 15400
Equivalent Course(s): CMSC 23220

MAAD 23620. Internet Censorship and Online Speech. 100 Units.

Information dissemination and online discourse on the Internet are subject to the algorithms and filters that operate on Internet infrastructure, from network firewalls to search engines. This course will explore the technologies that are used to control access to online speech and information, and cutting-edge technologies that can empower citizens in the face of these information controls. Students will learn about and experiment with technologies to control online discourse, ranging from firewalls that perform network traffic filtering to algorithms for content personalization and content moderation. We will also explore underlying technical trends, such as the increasing consolidation of Internet infrastructure and protocols, and the implications of consolidation for control over online discourse. Each course meeting will include a technical overview, reading discussion, and a hands-on laboratory activity.

Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): None
Equivalent Course(s): CMSC 33260

MAAD 23631. Internet Art I. 100 Units.

This studio course examines the Internet as an artistic medium (computers, networks, and code), as an environment (media ecology), and as "the masterpiece of human civilization" (à la Virginia Heffernan). Our focus will be on producing creative contributions to this collaborative space by learning the core coding languages of the web, HTML, and CSS. While we will occasionally be discussing the contributions of self-identified artists (from the net.art movement of the 1990s, for example), we will generally be taking a broader cultural view, exploring the histories, philosophies, and practices of various online cultural niches. We will learn how hackers use the command line to break into networks and how the open source community uses special tools that facilitate large-scale collaborations. We'll learn about AI praised by singularity evangelists in the "age of spiritual machines," as well as the digital rights activists who protest against the algorithms of surveillance capitalism. Throughout this journey, we will be learning the craft of the Internet, and in particular browsers and the web. We will be borrowing techniques from demoscenesters, meme-makers, cyberpunks, and web designers as we learn to produce work with the web's generalized media format (HTML and CSS), as well as how to distribute that work online (deploying web sites). This course counts towards the Media Practice and Design requirement for the MAAD program.

Instructor(s): Nick Briz     Terms Offered: Autumn

MAAD 23632. Internet Art II. 100 Units.

Though the web was originally conceived as an online space for sharing hyperlinked documents, the modern Web browser has evolved into a creative coding playground capable of producing all manner of networked art and algorithmic compositions. In this course we'll learn JavaScript, the Web's defacto programming language. Throughout the quarter we'll experiment with various different Web APIs for creating generative and interactive Internet art including HTML5 video, Canvas (2D/3D animations) and Web Audio. We'll learn how to produce work that responds to various input sources (trackpad/mouse, touchscreen, keyboard, cameras, microphones) and how to fetch and incorporate data from external APIs elsewhere on the Internet. This course counts towards the Media Practice and Design requirement for the MAAD program.

Instructor(s): Nick Briz     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Mandatory pre-reqs: MAAD 23631 or CMSC 10100. Students who have taken other CMSC programming courses (10500, 10600, 10200, 11500, 15100) are also welcome to enroll.

MAAD 23645. Body and the Digital. 100 Units.

As digital technology advances, the separation between IRL and URL blurs. Participants enrolled in this course will explore techniques that will help them create thought-provoking work, strengthen their ability to give critique, and build an understanding of how the corporeal interacts with the digital. Throughout this course, students will offer and receive constructive feedback during instructor-led critiques on peers' works. By the end of this course, students will feel comfortable utilizing different processes of development to create digital artwork.

Instructor(s): Crystal Beiersdofer     Terms Offered: Spring

MAAD 23650. Culture Jamming in the Digital Age. 100 Units.

From the détournement images of the Situationist International to the plundered sampled tracks of sonic outlaws, activist media artists in the later half of the 20th century deployed a medley of piratical practices in their quest to challenge and subvert our mainstream media culture. While the institutional critiques posed by these "culture jammers" remain as salient as ever, the creative techniques themselves no longer have the same effect in the age of social media and surveillance capitalism. As new media theorist Curt Cloninger asked in 2009, "How do you hack/resist a platform that already allows (indeed, invites) you to customize it?" This is the question we will set out to answer in this course. We'll look at works and study the practices of new media artists who have adapted these culture jamming techniques for the present moment. We'll learn how glitch artists exploit bugs in software to databend and datamosh media files. We'll learn how hacktivist use information security tools for creative political ends. We'll explore radical networks that exist outside the mainstream Internet and learn to tactically misuse our apps to circumvent restrictions imposed by popular platforms. At the end of this journey we'll respond to Cloninger's challenge by reframing these techniques as new modes of culture jamming for the digital age. This course can count towards the Media Practice and Design or Media Theory requirement for the MAAD program.

Instructor(s): Nick Briz     Terms Offered: Winter

MAAD 23655. Collaborative Artware. 100 Units.

In this course we'll be working together as an open source arts collective. We'll produce an online app which explores the expressive space between software as a tool and software as art. We'll learn the processes (Agile, Scrum, etc) and tools (git, GitHub, etc) that professional creative technologists use when working together to produce "software art" projects. This is an intermediate level coding course with work being predominantly written in JavaScript (server side and client side). While proficiency in JavaScript is not required, it's recommended that students have a background in basic programming concepts (data types, variables, functions, conditions, loops, etc) as this course will build on those to introduce more intermediate level concepts and programming paradigms. This course counts towards the Media Practice and Design requirement for the MAAD program.

Instructor(s): Nick Briz     Terms Offered: Winter

MAAD 23805. Minimalist Experiment in Film and Video. 100 Units.

This multilevel studio will investigate minimalist strategies in artists' film and video from the late 1960s to the present day. Emphasis will be placed on works made with limited means and/or with "amateur" formats such as Super-8 and 16mm film, camcorders, Flip cameras, SLR video, and iPhone or iPad. Our aim is to imagine how to produce complex results from economical means. Important texts will be paired with in class discussion of works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, Kurt Kren, Jack Goldstein, Larry Gottheim, Bruce Baillie, James Benning, John Baldessari, Morgan Fisher, Stan Douglas, Matthew Buckingham, Sam Taylor-Wood, and others.

Instructor(s): D.N. Rodowick     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 38006, CMST 28006, ARTV 23805, ARTV 33815

MAAD 23808. Introduction to 16mm Filmmaking. 100 Units.

The goal of this intensive laboratory course is to give its students a working knowledge of film production using the 16mm gauge. The course will emphasize how students can use 16mm technology towards successful cinematography and image design (for use in both analog and digital postproduction scenarios) and how to develop their ideas towards constructing meaning through moving pictures. Through a series of group exercises, students will put their hands on equipment and solve technical and aesthetic problems, learning to operate and care for the 16mm Bolex film camera; prime lenses; Sekonic light meter; Sachtler tripod; and Arri light kit and accessories. For a final project, students will plan and produce footage for an individual or small group short film. The first half the class will be highly structured, with demonstrations, in-class shoots and lectures. As the semester continues, class time will open up to more of a workshop format to address the specific concerns and issues that arise in the production of the final projects. This course is made possible by the Charles Roven Fund for Cinema and Media Studies.

Instructor(s): T. Comerford     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Students will need written permission to enroll in the course. To bid for entry into the class, please email tcomerford@uchicago.edu with your name, major and year -- and please list any other media production or photography experience. Enrollment priority will be given to graduate and undergraduate CMS students, beginning with seniors, then to DoVA graduates and undergraduates, then to students in other departments.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 38921, ARTV 33808, ARTV 23808, CMST 28921

MAAD 23833. Oral History & Podcasting. 100 Units.

This class explores the potential of the podcast as a form of ethical artistic and social practice. Through the lens of oral history and its associated values - including prioritizing voices that are not often heard, reciprocity, complicating narratives, and the archive- we will explore ways to tell stories of people and communities in sound. Students will develop a grounding in oral history practices and ethics, as well as the skills to produce compelling oral narratives, including audio editing, recording scenes and ambient sound, and using music. During the quarter, students will have several opportunities to practice interviewing and will design their own oral history project. This class is appropriate for students with no audio experience, as well as students who have taken TAPS 28320 The Mind as Stage: Podcasting.

Instructor(s): S. Geis     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): TAPS 28330, TAPS 38330

MAAD 23930. Documentary Production I. 100 Units.

Documentary Video Production focuses on the making of independent documentary video. Examples of various modes of documentary production will be screened and discussed. Issues embedded in the genre, such as the ethics, the politics of representation, and the shifting lines between "the real" and "fiction" will be explored. Story development, pre-production strategies, and production techniques will be our focus, in particular-research, relationships, the camera, interviews and sound recording, shooting in available light, working in crews, and post-production editing. Students will work in crews and be expected to purchase a portable hard drive. A five-minute string-out/rough-cut will be screened at the end of the quarter. Students are strongly encouraged to take Doc Production 2 to complete their work.

Instructor(s): J. Hoffman     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Prior or concurrent enrollment in CMST 10100 recommended for undergraduate students.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 23930, HMRT 25106, ARTV 33930, CMST 33930, HMRT 35106, ARTV 23930, CHST 23930

MAAD 24270. Children & Architecture. 100 Units.

Many who pursue architecture do so initially out of a childlike fascination with buildings, places and worlds. Curiosity and limited understanding naturally provide children with an exploratory relationship to the built environments they traverse, and children also often show a heightened sense of wonder -- heightened emotions of all kinds -- as that relationship plays out. (This can be positive and formative, or scary and traumatic.) And yet, many of the adults who make choices about the worlds we inhabit think mostly of adults, and as adults, in doing so. This architecture studio course investigates the built world through a child's eyes, across different moments in history, including our own. Readings and seminar discussions will range from playgrounds to blocks, preschools to family relations, swimming pools and sandcastles to the very construction of childhood as an idea. We will explore Chicago, and meet with builders of all ages, likely culminating in designing (and potentially building) a real playground space. While previous experience with architectural skills is not necessary to excel in this course, childlike curiosity is required.

Instructor(s): L. Joyner     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): As with most architecture studio courses offered, consent is required to enroll, for fit, not prior experience. Interested students should email the instructor (Luke Joyner, lukejoy@uchicago.edu) to briefly explain their interest and any previous experience you might have with the course topics. Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. / Please also note that architecture studio courses comprise one 80-minute meeting and one 170-minute meeting per week. Scroll down to see timing.
Equivalent Course(s): ENST 24270, ARCH 24270, ARTV 20029, CHST 24270, ARTH 24270

MAAD 24420. Games and Performance: Live Action Role Playing Games. 100 Units.

This experimental course builds on the emerging genres of "immersive performance," "alternate reality," and "Live Action Role Playing (LARP)" to investigate the dynamics of role-playing games through case studies, gameplay, and original student design. Our focus will include the 1913 Gettysburg reunion, parlor games including Parker Brother's 1937 Jury Box, Society for Creative Anachronism in1966, Dungeons and Dragons (both its inception in 1974 and current resurgence), Brian Wiese's Hobbit War in 1977, Mind's Eye Theater's development of World of Darkness, and Ground Zero, which began the Nordic Larp movement in 1998. We will explore role of the game master, emergent narratives, improvised community formation as well as "bleed." Previous course work in Games and Performance encouraged but not required.

Instructor(s): H. Coleman     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): TAPS 24420, TAPS 34420

MAAD 24550. Evolution of Improvisation in Chicago. 100 Units.

This course traces the history of improvisation for performance, beginning with the "High Priestess" Viola Spolin's work exploring the educational and social benefits of play at Hull House through Paul Sill's development of The Compass Players in Hyde Park to include current companies including Second City, The Neo Futurists, The Annoyance, and IO. The course will include attendance at performances, student presentations, and practice-based workshops.

Instructor(s): H. Coleman     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): TAPS 24550, TAPS 34550, CHST 24550

MAAD 24618. Electronic Music: Composing with Sound. 100 Units.

Electronic Music I presents an open environment for creativity and expression through composition in the electronic music studio. The course provides students with a background in the fundamentals of sound and acoustics, covers the theory and practice of digital signal processing for audio, and introduces the recording studio as a powerful compositional tool. The course culminates in a concert of original student works presented in multi-channel surround sound. Enrollment gives students access to the Electronic Music Studio in the Department of Music. No prior knowledge of electronic music is necessary.

Instructor(s): Sam Pluta
Equivalent Course(s): MUSI 26618, MUSI 36618

MAAD 24920. Virtual Reality Production. 100 Units.

Focusing on experimental moving-image approaches at a crucial moment in the emerging medium of virtual reality, this class will explore and interrogate each stage of production for VR. By hacking their way around the barriers and conventions of current software and hardware to create new optical experiences, students will design, construct and deploy new ways of capturing the world with cameras and develop new strategies and interactive logics for placing images into virtual spaces. Underpinning these explorations will be a careful discussion, dissection and reconstruction of techniques found in the emerging VR "canon" that spans new modes of journalism and documentary, computer games, and narrative "VR cinema." Film production and computer programming experience is welcome but not a prerequisite for the course. Students will be expected to complete short "sketches" of approaches in VR towards a final short VR experience.

Instructor(s): M.Downie     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Film production and computer programming experience is welcome but not a prerequisite for the course. Students will be expected to complete short "sketches" of approaches in VR towards a final short VR experience.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 27920, ARTV 37920, CMST 27920, CMST 37920

MAAD 25080. Spectacle in Miniature. 100 Units.

This course explores how the grand theatrical event can be 'miniaturized'. Students will investigate forms of spectacle and contemporary puppetry, toy theater, performance installation, and designed environments, along with artists who work in intimate and miniature scale. Students will create works experimenting with how large dramatic stories can be told with detailed and intimate sets, puppets, transforming objects, mechanical contraptions, and text. Sources for narrative will include but not be limited to dream and myth.

Instructor(s): F. Maugeri     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): TAPS 27080, ARTV 20216

MAAD 25171. Robots, animals, technologies: Science fiction and the more-than-human. 100 Units.

Science fiction allows encounters with other beings that variously encourage or strain the bonds of kinship, and many of those beings are related to entities with whom we already share a world. From companion animals and modified humans to starfish and androids, estrangement from familiar categories allows us to trouble assumptions about the certainty of species, the superiority of consciousness, and what care looks like in relation with those who may not respond to, recognize, or return care in familiar ways. In this class, we'll look at relations with the more-than-human in the context of urgent and emergent lived experience, in which social, political, and environmental realities require a response that thinks beyond entrenched approaches and takes wild and revolutionary imagination as a reparative possibility. We'll explore these and other questions through science fiction novels, poetry, graphic novels, music, and video (by Octavia Butler, Ursula Le Guin, Vonda McIntyre, Janelle Monae, Grant Morrison, Margaret Rhee, and others). We'll engage with theoretical work on topics including multispecies kinship, race and technology, and non-conscious/non-biological life (by Karen Barad, Beth Coleman, Wendy Chun, Donna Haraway, N. Katherine Hayles, Shannon Mattern, Sophia Roosth, Alan Turing, and others). [Note: this class pairs well with "Rocks, plants, ecologies: science fiction and the more-than-human" offered in Spring, and may also be taken as a stand-alone course.]

Instructor(s): William Hutchison     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): MAPH 40171, ENGL 20171, ENGL 40171

MAAD 25300. Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction. 100 Units.

An introduction to the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), with an emphasis in understanding, designing and programming user-facing software and hardware systems. This class covers the core concepts of HCI: affordances, mental models, selection techniques (pointing, touch, menus, text entry, widgets, etc), conducting user studies (psychophysics, basic statistics, etc), rapid prototyping (3D printing, etc), and the fundamentals of 3D interfaces (optics for VR, AR, etc). We compliment the lectures with weekly programming assignments and two larger projects, in which we build/program/test user-facing interactive systems.

Prerequisite(s): CMSC 15400
Equivalent Course(s): CMSC 20300

MAAD 25630. Videogames and Genre Storytelling. 100 Units.

Historically, the genre categorization of videogames has been based around what the player does. In place of iconography or thematic content, videogame genres are typically defined in terms of actions: shooting, jumping, pointing, clicking. This course takes a sideways approach to videogame genre, examining the ways in which games have taken inspiration from, and put their own unique mark on, genres borrowed from popular literature and cinema. The aesthetic formulas for popular genres such as horror, romance, comedy, science fiction, and the detective story will be examined using examples in literature and cinema, before turning to games and examining the unique challenges and interactivity brings to these genres' typical plot beats and affective techniques. How does the player-avatar relationship complicate point-of-view and identification in the horror genre? What happens to the literary rules of "fair play" in detective stories as they are adapted into actual game form? Can the performative pain of slapstick be successfully adapted into interactive form? How do dating games re-structure the traditional forms of intimacy of the romance novel and cinematic rom com? This course will take advantage of the resources of the Weston Game Lab of the Media Arts, Data, and Design Center, and will be structured around played examples, in addition to examples from popular literature and film.

Instructor(s): Ian Bryce Jones     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 27840

MAAD 26059. Media, Environment, and Risk. 100 Units.

In 1991, Ulrich Beck wrote that "society is made into a laboratory." Following the Chernobyl disaster, Beck articulated how modern technology and its potential side-effects-such as radiation or chemical poisoning-had created the novel epistemological category of environmental risk defined by threats that escape human perception and transcend borders. Institutions monitoring ecological conditions gained responsibility for communicating public health. Political conflicts emerged between formations of expert and lay environmental knowledge. The technological application of modern science, and its associated environmental risks, pushed research beyond the laboratory and into the governmental fabric of social order: nuclear reactors had to be constructed and chemicals distributed to populations before their properties and safety could be understood. This seminar reads the debates on risk in environmental sociology alongside the emergence of risk criticism in media studies to interrogate the probabilistic thinking inherent to the communication of ecological threat. Two common traits characteristic of recent environmental catastrophes ranging from Bhopal, Fukushima Daiishi, Deepwater Horizon, Exxon Valdez, Hurricane Katrina, and the varied crises of global climate change, are that each disaster involves the failure or side-effect of an implemented technological project and that the corresponding risks-whether imperceptible or probable-are necessarily communicated to publics by media

Instructor(s): Thomas Pringle     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CHSS 36059, CMST 42802, KNOW 36059, SOCI 30329, HIPS 26059

MAAD 26210. Media Art and Design Practice. 100 Units.

This studio-based course explores the practice, conventions, and boundaries of contemporary media art and design. This can encompass areas as diverse as interactive installation, app design, and the Internet meme. Through projects and critical discussion, students engage with the problems and opportunities of digitally driven content creation. Fundamental elements of digital production are introduced, including basic properties of image, video, and the global network. Further topics as varied as--though not limited to--web production, digital fabrication, interfaces, the glitch, and gaming may be considered. Sections will vary based on the instructor's fields of expertise.

Instructor(s): J. Satrom     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 16000 and HUMA 16100 or instructor consent
Note(s): This course meets the general education requirement in the arts. This course may not double count for general education requirements and the Media Arts and Design minor.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 16210

MAAD 27022. Surveillance Media. 100 Units.

Surveillance media are ubiquitous: in your pocket, on the street, at school, underground, and in the air. They work incessantly and quietly, often without our knowledge but always with the goal of producing knowledge about us. But they don't do so equally. Wedded to concepts of security, risk, and crisis, surveillance is itself a technology of power. While some of us benefit from surveillance in certain contexts, many others are disproportionally targeted based on differences of race, gender, sexuality, class, religious affiliation, ability, citizenship, and more. This course will explore how surveillance media distribute power in the United States and across its global connections. Throughout, we will understand surveillance media not only as the specific technologies used for surveillance, but also how these technologies differentially mediate our bodies, behaviors, communities, and political relationships. Beginning with various theoretical frameworks of surveillance, this course will track surveillance media across various sites and systems. These include borders, policing, drones, algorithms, and labor. In each, we will examine both contemporary and historical materials in order to consider how our dominant ideas and values about surveillance media are rooted in the ideologies and violences of capitalism, colonialism, and empire. We conclude by exploring modalities of resistance in art and grassroots organizing that imagine more just futures.

Instructor(s): Gary Kafer     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 27022

MAAD 27522. Experimental Futures: Re-figurations of Human/Environment Relationships. 100 Units.

The naming of the current era after the human-Anthropocene-is widely criticized. Scholars such as Donna Haraway bemoan the emphasis on the human being and its control over earthly matters at a moment when non-human entanglements with the world are simultaneously overlooked. Other thinkers point out that the planetary changes of the Anthropocene have occurred mainly due to capitalism and industrialization. In the course of these debates, the role of the human and the understanding of the human as part of the Earth's ecosystem is discussed again and again. Especially in the arts and design, new figurations of the human and a future outside anthropocentrism are being developed. This course follows fundamental questions around the emergence of this discourse: Which tropes, materials, and concepts do we collectively use to imagine our future? Who gets to participate in these imaginaries and who is thereby excluded? What role do the arts and design play in this process? In this class, students will gain understanding of an emerging area of interdisciplinary research that reframes the category of the "human" in face of contemporary environmental challenges such as climate change and resource scarcity. Students will become familiar with concepts and theories associated with post-humanism, new materialisms, and environmental humanities and use them to reflect on examples from architecture, design, and the arts.

Instructor(s): Desiree Foerster     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 27522, ARCH 27522

MAAD 27558. No Future: Visual Media and Contemporary Life. 100 Units.

No Future seeks to establish the grounds by which we might examine contemporary theories of the future--and perhaps its negation--through visual media and the production of art in the age of the algorithm. We will use this course as a means to consider new modes of subjectivity that arise as effect and response to mutating forms of control in society-and how we might refuse such mechanisms. Speeding through (art) history with detours at groups like the Futurists-with their violent reimagination of the human as a productive machine-and the Situationists-who vowed never to produce again, we will examine the fluxes and flows of subjectivity through the historical movement from Fordist production to the immaterial labor that powers the economies of today and tomorrow. We will discuss issues of work and non-work, image production and the labor of the artist, subjectivity and identity, the ends of cinema and History, and the state of the spectacle today. But what is left of the future? Is it already over?

Instructor(s): Andrew Pettinelli     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): This class will present theory that might be new to us; yet, it should remain our goal to work together to think through these texts and visual texts collectively, utilizing the classroom as a space for collaboration and experimentation.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 27558

MAAD 28003. Issues in Film Sound. 100 Units.

Taking advantage of recent developments in the field of sound studies, this course examines issues in film sound (technology, sense experience, histories of listening, sonic space, soundscape construction, the materiality of sound formats, etc.) that speak to broader concerns in the humanities, especially sound-related arts. While we will focus on a film or films every week, from blockbusters like Gravity to avant-garde and experimental films, the readings and issues will touch on everything from noise pollution, architecture, musical performance and recording, and mp3 files. Students interested in installation and environmental arts, sound in literary studies, music, and other sound-focused fields are welcome.

Instructor(s): James Lastra     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 38003, CMST 28003

MAAD 29400. Media Arts and Design Capstone Colloquium. 100 Units.

In this capstone colloquium, students will prepare a portfolio of digital media artworks and/or historical and theoretical writing that reflect their interests.

Instructor(s): J. Satrom     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor.
Note(s): This course is required for students completing a minor in Media Arts and Design and must be completed no later than Winter Quarter of the fourth year. The course will meet weekly throughout the quarter.

MAAD 29700. MAAD Reading and Research. 100 Units.

This course is primarily intended for students who are in Media Arts and Design and who can best meet program requirements by studying under a faculty member's individual supervision. The subject matter, course of study, and requirements are arranged with the instructor prior to registration.

Terms Offered: Autumn Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent of faculty adviser and MAAD Program Director
Note(s): Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Form. This course may be counted toward distribution requirements for the minor.


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Program Director
Patrick Jagoda


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Progam Advisor
Jon Satrom


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Student Affairs Administrator
Riss Ballard


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