Multimedia Criticism

Multimedia Criticism

University of Pennsylvania – Spring 2017 – Thursdays 1:30-4:30

CIMS202/ENGL292 – Van Pelt 113 (collaborative classroom)

Prof. Peter Decherney – 211 Fisher-Bennett Hall

All course readings and viewing material is available through this course website.
Detailed assignments are below (after the syllabus).
Participation (20 points)
Curate Microfest (10 points)
60 Second Multimedia Essay (20 points)
Collaborative VR or 360 project (ungraded)
Final Project (50 points)


Jan 12 – Introduction

Jan 19 – Multimedia Criticism
     Read: Timothy Corrigan, “Of the History of the Essay Film”
            Conor Bateman, “The Video Essay as Art”
     Explore before class:
        Tony Zhou, Every Frame a Painting
        Richard Brody, Movie of the Week, The New Yorker
        Anatomy of a Scene, The New York Times
        Matt Zoller Seitz, Moving Image Source
       Catherine Grant’s video essays 
        Jeremy Kaye (YouTube) curates video essays
        The Organization for Transformative Works

bring laptops for editing workshop

Jan 26 – Art, Avant-Garde and Experimental Media Criticism
    Peter Wollen, “Two Avant-Gardes”
    Lessig, from Remix, chs 1&2
    due: 60 sec clip analysis (group 1)

Feb 2 – Fans, Amateurs, and Participatory Culture
      read: Jenkins, Ito, boyd, Particpatory Culture, intro
     due: 60 sec clip analysis (group 2)

Feb 9 – Virtual Reality
    explore: NYTimes VR app
    in-class make a collaborative VR project

Feb 16 – Fair Use
    read Cariou v Prince 

Feb 23 –  microfest (group 2) and final project proposal (group 1)

March 2 –  project proposal (group2)
     director Mike Figgis visiting class
     Premiere Workshop (in Goldstein lab)

March 9 – spring break

March 16 – microfest (group 1), project updates (all)

March 23 – rough cuts (group 1)

March 30 – no class

April 6 – rough cuts (group 2)

April 13 – final cuts (group 1)

April 20  – final cuts (group 2)

April 22, 23, 24 (as schedules allow) — Tribeca Film Festival


Participation (20 points)
Come prepared. Be alert and engaged. Be courteous to your colleagues as they present their work and offer constructive feedback. 

Curate Microfest (10 points)
Choose a video critic, a genre of multimedia criticism, or a platform for presenting multimedia criticism. Bring in two to three short excerpts and come prepared to present your topic in class for 10 minutes. Since presentation time is very limited, it is unlikely that you will be able to use entire works of criticism; you will need to choose your excerpts carefully.
60 Second Multimedia Essay (20 points)
Choose a 60 second excerpt from a movie, TV show, video game, or other work of visual media and narrate it. You might want to discuss some aspect of the visual style, the sound design, the content, the narrative, or anything else that you think is important to analyze. You can do a lot in 60 seconds if you keep your topic narrow and write your script carefully. Also be sure to read it as clearly and effectively as you can and record it in a space that will minimize other sounds. You may use iMovie, voice over PowerPoint, or another authoring tool. We will learn iMovie in class, and the Vitale Digital Media Lab can help you with technical questions.
Collaborative VR or 360 project (ungraded)
This is an in-class project. Together, we will come up with a few ideas for short Virtual Reality projects, and we will make one or two of them.
Final Project (50 points) 
Propose a work multimedia criticism for your final project. It might be a 4-7 minute video essay or a Virtual Reality project or a work of machinima or anything else that you propose. I will respond to proposals (due Feb 23) and help you to craft an interesting and manageable project. You will have an opportunity to screen a rough cut and a final cut in class.

For production help visit the Vitale Digital Media Lab or consult the lab’s iMovie guides.