teaching infectious art
This autumn I’m teaching a graduate course on Digital Media Aesthetics, and I’m going to make it about emergence, memes and viral art and narrative. I got the idea reading William Gibson’s latest novel, Pattern Recognition, which for the first half circles around viral marketing, distribution and thinking. Reading I found myself scribbling done notes for a course that would start with a reading of the novel and continue through theory, popular science and exploration of art, games and stories that use the network in these ways. The second half of Gibson’s novel wraps up the story far more cleanly and singularly than I’d hoped, leaving the viral stuff out, so I’m not entirely sure whether to use it or not. Maybe.
Here’s my current draft of the curriculum for the course – what do you think? What would you add?
Books: Gibson’s Pattern Recognition, Rheingold’s Smart Mobs, Johnson’s Emergence.
Print compendium: Benjamin “The Artwork in the Age of Reproduction”, McGonigal “This is Not a Game”, Weinberger “Togetherness” (from Small Pieces), Dawkins: “Memes: The New Replicators” (from The Selfish Gene, Baudrillard (something on simulation?), maybe Foucault: “Panopticism”.
Online articles: Walker: “Epostpoesi og epostfortellinger“, The Cluetrain Manifesto.
Primary Works: Etchells: Surrender Control, Montfort & Rettberg: Implementation, listserv interventions by N.N., Mez etc, Bonsai Kittens, Nigerian spam and responses, blogs, immersive gaming (unfiction.org), the Howard Dean campaign, community flash games, flash mobs, David Still.
I think students will write conventional essays but also design (and implement?) a viral work or campaign of some kind, probably in groups.