There are twelve ACTLab New Media courses, and we offer three of them per semester. Each is a combination of theory and making, with emphasis on making and the role of the whole body in the learning process.  Ideally, six of the twelve courses make up a rich New Media sequence in which we cover almost everything we think you need to know in order to be an interdisciplinary practitioner in New Media production and studies. You'll find suggestions for a complete New Media course of study below.

Although the topic names are fixed, actual course content changes each semester, so you may take a course with the same name more than once. All the courses involve elements of boundary transgression, epistemic rupture, and play.  In no particular order, the complete current list is:

The Uncanny:  Things, situations, sounds, and discourses that give you the creeps. Beginning with Freud's theory of the "Unheimlich", the Uncanny Valley effect in extreme digital animation, Nineteenth Century fascination with spirit communication, and technology in science fiction/fictions of science, we'll study and practice making things that evoke that sense of something hovering just beyond comprehension.

Extreme Freestyle Hacking: Investigation of hacking as the political art of "detournement" in all facets of society. The way we modify things to make them to things they aren't supposed to do.

Trans:  Dangerous border violations. Transformation and change, boundary theory, transgender, gender and sexuality in the large and its relation to positionality and flow; identity.

Weird Science:  Social and anthropological studies of innovation, the boundaries between "legitimate" science and fakery, monsters and the monstrous, physics, religion, legitimation, charlatanism, informatics of domination.

Postmodern GothicExtreme Freestyle Hacking electronic suit: Monsters, desire, and epistemic rupture.  Theories and histories of the gothic, modern goth, vampires, monsters and the monstrous, genetic engineering, gender and sexuality, delirium, postmodernity, cyborgs.

Death:  Cultural attitudes toward death, cultural definitions of death, political battles over death, cultural concepts of the afterworld, social and critical studies of mediumship, "ghosts" and spirits, zombies in film and folklore; the spectrum of death, which is to say not very dead, barely dead, almost dead, all but dead, brain dead, completely dead, and undead.

Performance (Taking It to the Street):  Practicum in culture hacking with a documentary component. Performance and the performative, performance as political intervention, history and theory of theatre, masks, puppetry, spectacle, ritual, street theatre.

When Cultures Collide:  Building multinational virtual communities for purposes of social transformation. Language and episteme, cultural difference, subaltern discourses, orientalism, mestiza consciousness.

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      phoenix sculpture by ACTLabbie

Disruptive Technologies What constitutes disruptive technology, history of disruptive technologies, techniques of intervention, oppositional and emergent discourses, subversion and media, political power and postmodernity, hypothetical future medias.

Soundscapes:  Theory and practice of audio installation, multitrack recording, history of "music" (in the sense described by John Cage).

Dream/Delirium: An exploration of the space between waking and dream states. Consciousness continuums and the creative discoveries that emerge from this space. Where do dreams end and realities begin?

Blackbox:  An advanced course intended for students who have taken at least one ACTLab course and are familiar with our unusual expectations and requirements. Students electing Blackbox should already have completed at least three projects and their ACTLab website. Topics vary and may be determined in consultation with students enrolled in the course. The course includes an intensive component in ACTLab methods: how to build an ACTLab program and teach ACTLab courses.


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