Sound Art Class

Every few semesters I teach a class called Computer Applications in Conceptual Design at San Francisco State University. This class features sound, art, and technology. Below is part of the syllabus.

ART 412, Section (Number)                                7/30/14
Class Title  Computer Applications in Conceptual Design

INSTRUCTOR: Jeff Ray, Instructor
rayinsf@gmail.com
OFFICE: FA 264
OFFICE HOURS: Tuesday and Thursday @ Noon
OFFICE PHONE: text only at (415)xxxxxxxxxx
LAB FEES: 50 dollars

COURSE DESCRIPTION

Using sound as a foundation and a jumping off point, this will be an interdisciplinary course with an emphasis on new media that explores technology and interactivity in sound, visual, physical and virtual formats. We will be using computer programming language, primarily Pure Data and Max MSP,  to create sound and visual projects.
Topics such as sound theory, virtual reality, site specific art, how new media relates to contemporary art, history of New Media, aesthetics of art and technology, and more. Using and learning the basics of software such as Pure Data, Max MSP, Audacity, Processing, Logic, Illustrator, Garage band, Audacity, Iannix open source sequencer, Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, and applying to machines/ hardware such as your cell phone, laptop, analogue and digital synths, Midi controllers, mp3 players micro controllers such as Arduino, and microprocessors such as Raspberry Pi.
We will go on field trips to art exhibits, studios, and working labs gaining information and inspiration for those working in these fields.  We will have  visiting artists working in the field of new media.
We will have at least two exhibits of the students’ work.

PREREQUISITES
Priority registration is given to students with an emphasis in Digital Media Arts and Emerging Technologies [ks Conceptual Information Arts] , students majoring in Art or students with a minor in Art.

COURSE OBJECTIVES
The overall objectives are to gain an understanding of interactivity within a selected environment.]  This class will focus in sound and introduce students to environments such as Pure Data and Max MSP, software such as Audacity and various recording apps.

With these tools we want to create artful projects. In the process of learning the technical side to these programs/ computer languages and while creating technology based art we also focus on the concept and the aesthetics.

Through field trips, written essays, video presentations of artists. We will explore New Media artists for ideas and inspiration. The student is to try and understand the process and aesthetic and conceptual.

WORKLOAD
• There will be at least three field trips. The students are required to attend at least one or write an extra paper to compensate.
• Students will:
–  read articles on New Media.
– …create patches from Pure Data and/ or Max MSP
– …work on a sound project as well as a visual/ video project.
– …work with the professor to correct any mistakes/ glitches that may happen with your projects.
-… participate in class discussions and critiques.
-… work on In class exercises
-…You will follow tutorials with notes and with proper execution and understanding of the program
-…work on and develop conceptual ideas.
-…articulate and discuss these conceptual ideas in class
-…finish one smaller project and then a final larger more complex project due with potential public exhibition for both projects
-…participate in group critique of projects both in development as well as the final showing of project.
-…derive inspiration from other artists works, by viewing and discussing videos, websites and readings.
-…show a certain amount of flexibility  and understanding in what software and hardware is used in order to complete projects.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS
2 – 3 finished assignments/ projects
Critiques on all assignments [ in class discussions? You also mention critiquing in the line on homework] Class participation
You will  turn in general Homework  on time.
You will finish assignments (art installations) on time
You will read articles assigned and expect to be able to talk about them in class.
At least one field trip attended or a paper assignment
Participate in a class blog that may include notes on observations, links of artists that you have researched, and general notes on the class and the subject of New Media
Progress check ins with meetings with the Professor
Listening and executing the tutorials on the computer programming language of Pure Data
Bring any problems, questions or any circumstances that hamper full participation in class to the attention of the instructor as soon as circumstances arise. Do not wait.
Completion of all work on time. Unless otherwise stated, ½ grade point will be deducted from work each class an assignment is late. Participate fully in all studio critiques, discussion, exercises and projects.
Attend all classes and arrive on time.

ATTENDANCE POLICY
Consistent late arrivals, and missed class are unacceptable. Unless a family emergency and/ or a doctors note.
Only two unexcused classes are allowed  [is this for the entire semester? You might want to say something like: two unexcused absences… ]

Consequences of absenteeism:
3 late arrivals equals 1 unexcused absence, and a full final grade deduction.
3 unexcused absences equal an automatic “F.”

GRADING
Grades are based in part on: Degree of effort in understanding and executing the assignments. Class participation including discussions about assignments, readings, critique of others work, original ideas brought to discussion. Listening and responding our main proponents to class participation. Finishing assignments related to the tutorials. Finishing projects.

Grades schedule

LATE WORK POLICY
Work can be up to one week late with a grade lowered one to two letters due to the lateness.

Grades are based in part on the following:
A  – Means Excellent Work.
Standards for receiving an A
B  – Means Very Good Work.
Standards for receiving a B
C –  Means Average Work.
Standards for receiving a C
D or F – Means below Average or Failing Work.
Standards for receiving a D or F

CLASS SCHEDULE
Rough schedule, very much subject to change.

Tuesday/ August 26
Introduction to each other/ class/ description of class/ Questionnaire hand out. Discussion about lab work. Add Drop information

Thursday August 28th
Lecture. New Media artists, History of New Media, Reading discussions
Go over homework, show Audacity, give ideas for first art assignment, show at least one sound artist (Youtube video), give an example of a Pure Data patch

Tuesday, September 2nd
Go over homework assignment/ critique  the assignment/ go over syllabus/ discuss the field trip/ videos/ examples of artists. Buy Biophilia tickets. Go over Biophilia App
Continue working on Audacity. Have students go out and record sounds around campus. If time, critique the sounds.
Readings given out. Brian Eno , Marshal Macluen, and John Cage
you have a month to read these.

Thursday September 4th
Go over syllabus
Go over any homework  not done/ go  into more details about the first assignment (art object)/  create material list, (mp3 players) over mp3 players, who has them. Assign / loan out those who don’t.  Lab fee discussion. What does it get you? Assign space in the gallery for exhibit. More youtube videos of sound/ new media artists.
We go over sound theory. We go over definitions DSP, MIDI, Pure Data tutorial Hello world.

Tuesday September 9th
We continue to go over sound theory. We go over definitions DSP, MIDI, Pure Data We start pure data tutorials if not started on Thursday September 4th,. Pure Data Tutorial #1. Pure Data Basics, Hello World. Pure Data Tutorial #2  Help! –
We continue discussion of the first art project, we do an equipment check in.
We show a video on at least one sound artist, one new media artist, and give an example of other computer software and languages

Thursday September 11th,
Lecture. New Media artists, History of New Media, Reading discussions
Continue with tutorials. Pure Data Tutorial #3, Basic Math and Bang Order Patches  Pure Data Tutorial #4 Metro Patches
More  sound theory. examples of other programming language you can use for sound and visuals such as Xennakis,
We discuss how our first installation is going.
Homework, work on patches over the weekend.

Tuesday September 16th Lab time! We switch over to the Lab room today. Meet at Lab room 238.
Go over patches you  worked on over the weekend. Pure data math and bang and metro patches. Review of tutorials. New tutorials. Pure Data Tutorials #5. Pure Data Midi Mac and Make Note. Create and play with this patch. possibly record and save a song.  Short introduction  Max MSP and the similarities to Pure Data.

Thursday September 18th.
Lecture. New Media artists, History of New Media, Reading discussions
More work on Sound Graffiti project. Put together the MP3 players. (low cost kit ordered online), Download sound project onto SD card/ Load and test the player.   Pure Data Tutorials #6 Conditional Logic

Tuesday September 23rd.
Sound Graffiti pieces are due.
Lab work, Pure Data tutorials continued. #6 Conditional Logic review.  Pure Data #7  A Simple Sequencer. Finish up with Sound Graffiti. Install Sound Graffiti pieces.

Thursday September 25th
Sound Graffiti show Gallery opening!!!
Pure Data Tutorial #8 Record and Save sounds.

Tuesday September 30th

Final Assignment/ Project  introduced!!! “Altered Sound and Video”
Three possibilities.
Medium to High Grade . Alter your sound graffiti using Pure Data patches
High to Higher Grade . Use Pure Data GEM/ or Jitter/ Vissex to alter a video
Highest Grade. Do both. Use an soundtrack created/ altered in Pure Data as well as a Visual component created/ altered in GEM

Lecture/ discussion.  Instructables, and tech labs What is Instructables? Why are we visiting Instructables? What is The Exploratorium? Why are we visiting the Exploratorium. Pure Data Tutorial  #8 Random Numbers Pure Data Tutorial #9 Send and Receive

Thursday  October 2nd
Field trip to Instructables . Class meets at Instructables.3pm,  Address Pier 9, Embarcadero, 94111

Tuesday October 7th
Meet at Lab. Field trip discussions, Introduction to visuals (GEM) on Pure Data and Jitter/ Vissex on Max MSP
Discuss Biophilia App
Syllabus change/ review
Pure Data Tutorial #10 Lists with Reactivision

Readings discussed, Those who have gone on field trips only have to do one short paper. Those who haven’t have to do two papers on readings/ things we have covered in class

Thursday October 9th
Featuring a presentation and show by PINE and Elia Vargas ( speaking about visuals and Max MSP/ Jitter and Pure Data )

Saturday October 11th 2:30PM  Extra Credit Field Trip Bjork Biophilia Live

Tuesday October  14th
Papers on readings and new media.
Final Assignment/ Project Introduced “Visually and Sonically Altered”
Go over archive.org (prelinger’s archive)
Discus Bjork’s Biophilia
Pure Data Tutorial #11 The Espression Object, Pure Data Tutorial # 12 Altering video in GEM

Thursday October 16th

Pure Data Tutorial Reviews
Class ,  Guest Lecturer/ New Media Artist Greg Gigawatt,

Tuesday October 21st
Pure Data review, catch up. Class makes their own patch.
Pure Data Tutorial  Tutorial # 13 Sub patching. Tutorial # 14 Altering Video with Gem/ Vissex/ Jitter

Thursday October 23rd
Continued Lecture on New Media artists. Examples of new media artists. Reading discussion.
Pure Data Tutorial #15 AU Lab / MIDI controllers Pure Data Tutorial  #16 Visual with Gem/ Vissex/ Jitter
Paper or Papers due on Reading

Tuesday October  28th
Go over previous Pure Data patches
Pure Data Tutorial #17 AU Lab / MIDI controllers Pure Data Tutorial  #18 Visual with Gem/ Vissex/ Jitter

Thursday October 30th
Lecture. New Media artists, History of New Media, Reading discussions
Pure Date Tutorial #19 Creating a Beat Machine, Pure Data Tutorial #20,  Visual with Gem/ Vissex/ Jitter
Work on Final Project
Videos of sound and new media artists

Tuesday November  4th
Pure Date Tutorial #21 Tables and Array Pure Data Tutorial #22,  Visual with Gem/ Vissex/ Jitter
Work on Final Project

Thursday November 6th
Lecture. New Media artists, History of New Media, Reading discussions
Pure Data Tutorial #23, Reading Tables with Expression. Tutorial #24 Visual with Gem/ Vissex/ Jitter
Work on Final Project

Tuesday November 11th (School is closed, Holiday)

Thursday November 13th
Lecture. New Media artists, History of New Media, Reading discussions
Download free trial version of Max MSP
Download free trial of Adobe Creative Suite
Go over both programs
Pure Data Tutorial #25 Useful Objects, Simple Abstractions. Tutorial #26 Visuals with Gem/ Vissex/ Jitter
Work on Final Project

Tuesday November 18th
Go over Max MSP/ Adobe Creative Suite
Pure Data Tutorial # 27 Smoothing Amplitude/ Beginning FM Synthesis  Tutorial #28 Visuals with Gem/ Vissex/ Jitter
Work on Final Project

Thursday November 20th
Lecture. New Media artists, History of New Media, Reading discussions
Pure Data Tutorial #30 , Reverb and Delay         Pure Data Tutorial #31 Visuals with Gem/ Vissex/ Jitter
Work on Final Assignment
Critiques
Fixes, changes,

Tuesday November 25th (closed, for Holiday )

Thursday  November 27th  (closed for Holiday)

Tuesday December 2
Final assignment rough draft due
Critiques
Fixes, changes,

Thursday December 4
Lecture. New Media artists, History of New Media, Reading discussions
Work on Final Assignment
Critiques
Fixes, changes,

Tuesday December 9
Install Art show opening

Thursday December 11
Art Show closing. Party/ Celebration