Faculty of Fine Arts Academic Equipment Plans 2009-2010 Completed by: John Greyson Tim Hampton Catherine Shook Nell Tenhaaf Renate Wickens February 2009
Table of Contents PART I – Computing Plan Section A. Introduction A1. Main Objectives for 2009-10 A2. Staffing and Support Issues Section B. Review of 2008-09 Initiatives B1. Faculty Initiatives B2. Unit Initiatives B3. Research Initiatives B4. Faculty and Staff Support Section C. Planned 2009-10 Initiatives C1. Faculty Initiatives C2. Unit Initiatives C3. Research Initiatives C4. Faculty and Staff Support
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PART II – Summary of Planned Expenditures and AEF Request Section A. Summary of Planned Expenditures Section B. AEF Request Priorities PART III – Non-Computing Plan Section A. Equipment additions and renewal Section B. AEF Request Priorities 11 13 11 11
APPENDICES Appendix A: Appendix B: Appendix C: Appendix D: Appendix E: Appendix F: Academic Equipment Planning Timetable Workstation Inventory Summary of Computing Initiatives Summary of Non-Computing Initiatives Financial and Support Staff Summary Computer Lab/Facilities
PART I – Computing Plan Section A. Introduction A1. Main Objectives for 2009-10 “The human production of art may be full of craft and decorative intent, but above all, and definitively, the art of humans consists in our singular capacity to use our imaginations.” Nigel Spivey
The Conference Board of Canada asserts that a “…dynamic culture sector is a magnet for talent and a catalyst for economic prosperity [estimating that] the economic footprint of the culture 2 sector was approximately $84.6 billion in 2007, or 7.4 per cent of Canada‟s real GDP.” representing a promising job market for Fine Arts graduates, who are also in demand in the 3 corporate sector. Daniel Pink argues that artistic (creative, conceptual, right brained) thinking is vital to our economic future, in a world where logical and linear (left brained) tasks are increasingly being done by machines or people overseas. The modern economy does not just need problem solvers, it needs problem discoverers. The Faculty is committed to providing its students with a critical, scholarly grasp of the arts (creative, conceptual), rather than simply training arts skills. To this end students are exposed to both contemporary and traditional techniques, learning centuries-old forging techniques, working alongside stereolithography machines and numerically controlled lathes; learning the techniques of film and then digital image and video capture; silk-screening and then digital printmaking. At first glance this commitment to traditional techniques may seem nostalgic or stubborn, until one appreciates that the arts have always been influenced by technology, and that the study of how the arts have changed over the years inevitably requires an understanding of the coincident evolution of technology. Each discipline has had seismic changes as a result of technical innovations (e.g. electric light, electric guitar, sound recording, paper, pigments) or was born as a result of technology (e.g. film). Understanding the opportunities and challenges that faced artists using latter day technologies leads to informed investigation of the impact of the latest technologies on the arts. Digital arts are a growing component of the Faculty‟s research and curriculum. In 2009-10, in just its second year of operation, the Digital Media BA Program in the Faculty of Fine Arts is expected to double in size. This program was launched by Fine Arts Cultural Studies with the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (Faculty of Science and Engineering) and Communication Studies (Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies). The program is clearly flourishing, and its success points to the growing strength of digital arts in the Faculty‟s future. Graduates from the Digital Media BA will have hybrid creative/technical knowledge and skills that shape a new breed of artists as well as being highly in demand in many types of culture, entertainment and technology development domains. Digital arts in the Faculty are expanding in both research and curriculum, in relation to ongoing shifts in culture as well as to the new reality articulated by Richard Florida, among others, that creativity-oriented jobs have risen steadily in terms of their 4 contribution to Ontario‟s economy . The proliferation of digital techniques in the arts presents exciting opportunities. First, it has improved the efficiency of production, storage and distribution of fine arts material, making cultural experience and participation available more broadly and at lower cost. Second, digital
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Nigel Spivey, How Art Made the World Valuing Culture, Measuring and Understanding Canada‟s Creative Economy
A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age by Daniel H. Pink Martin Prosperity Institute, Ontario in the Creative Age, February 2009. <http://martinprosperity.org/media/pdfs/MPI%20Ontario%20Report%202009%20v3.pdf>
technologies allow collaboration across time and space at near zero cost, supporting interdisciplinarity and openness. Individuals can email one another, construct a wiki together, share files and video conference across the hall or across the world with equal ease. Each discipline has its own techniques and history, but as new technologies emerge to meet their common needs, opportunities arise to share techniques and vocabulary. The priorities for this coming academic year are: Maintaining and expanding digital studio/production facilities The development of an institutional repository Providing adequate computer support to staff and faculty Maintaining equipment to support traditional techniques in the classroom (detailed in Part III: Non-Computing Plan).
Digital Studio/Production Facilities With constant improvements to digital hardware and the ingenuity of software producers, computers have become indispensable in many areas of fine arts practice and are constantly making new inroads. The creation and manipulation of graphics, audio and video all require time at a well equipped workstation. Some fields that until recently could be thought of as a preserve of traditional methods increasingly incorporate computers as a valuable teaching and production tool. In dance, computers can assist in choreography and the creation of interactive performance environments. In theatre, computers are used for computer aided drafting, lighting design and to provide biofeedback for improved vocal range and clarity. New media art not only harnesses the latest digital technologies to create art, but uses that technology as a new canvas, with digital displays, computerized interactivity reacting to sensors and cameras, and web-mediated art. The Faculty faces well-funded competition, with new Fine Arts facilities and programs at rival institutions such as Concordia, Ontario College of Art and Design, Ryerson, McGill, Sheridan and Humber. The Faculty must maintain a reputation for excellence nationally and internationally to attract the best possible students, especially as it introduces more graduate programs and higher enrolments at the masters and doctoral level. It is critical that the Faculty maintain the high standards of its student facilities. Institutional Repository “A Harris poll conducted in the United States more than a decade ago asked respondents, „If your house is on fire, what‟s the first thing you‟ll grab when you run out the door?‟ The overwhelming answer: „family photographs‟. And I say to you, the arts are our family photographs.” Ben Cameron5 There is an inexorable shift underway from physical media (transparencies, slides, tape) to digital media (audio, video, image files). Faculty members encounter this shift when teaching in smart classrooms where traditional slide projection is often unavailable. Manufacturers are abandoning analog technology. Slide development facilities have become increasingly rare and expensive. Requiring media for teaching and research, faculty members often turn to internet search to assemble the information they need, “…usually to no standards and with less-than-necessary metadata.”6 Alternatively, some subject matter can be addressed with resources provided by the University Libraries, including access to large image collections such as ArtStor. When these
The Arts are Our Photographs. January 8, 2008. <http://www.ispa.org/ideas/cameron.html>
Building Cyberinfrastructure for the Liberal Arts. July/August 2008 <http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERM0842.pdf>
options are insufficient, faculty will assemble their own collections. It is vital that this digital content be “…routinely and rigorously collected, curated, managed and preserved.”7 The value of digital repositories stems “…from the collocation, the interconnection, the archiving, and the preservation of the intellectual output of the institution.”8 The repository will form an extensive and reusable digital collection that will be available to all and preserved forever. “Making such resources openly available can be an important marketing tool and helps inform potential students about the quality of the academic experience they can expect from the 9 institution.” A robust institutional repository can act as a medium of exchange and collaboration for interdisciplinarity within the Faculty and beyond. It could also improve the productivity of teachers and researchers and act as a resource outside the Faculty, attracting not only students, but potential faculty members, donors and collaborators as well. PART I – Computing Plan Section A. Introduction A2. Staffing and Support Issues Technical staff members are required to support digital facilities, faculty and staff computing, server administration, and application development. As the capabilities of computers, software and peripherals expand, the breadth of skills the Faculty needs to appropriately harness these capabilities also grows. The increasing number and variety of specialized computing needs in each academic unit have led to demand for more technical staff local to the units where expertise in the application of the technologies to artistic practice is required. This is an issue that the Faculty will certainly be wrestling with more in the coming years. With additional graduate programs, enrolment growth and advancing technology needs of graduate students, the need for someone to be available to orient students on the technologies they need for their research and thesis work is becoming more acute. The graduate computing lab is staffed with graduate assistants, but this is on a part-time and limited term basis. It is difficult to assemble a full complement of deep skills in graphics, audio, video and web development that the room‟s technical capabilities require. Web support for administration and development continues to be a critical need. A Web Communications Coordinator has joined the Dean‟s Office. As the title implies, in addition to Faculty communications duties, the Coordinator will also guide the Faculty‟s web strategy and provide technical and editorial support for academic unit and support unit web sites. The Coordinator will work with Fine Arts Computing to establish a web content management system which will permit more productive web edit distribution and workflow. A vacuum remains, however, for the support for course websites and sites for individual research projects. Assistance has been provided in an ad hoc manner by Fine Arts Computing and parttime student assistance at the academic unit or individual professor level. Some faculty members have been able to take advantage of the Faculty Support Centre‟s expert assistance, but that department‟s workload is so great that their staff is booked long in advance.
Using Digital Images in Teaching and Learning. October 2006 <http://www.academiccommons.org/files/image-report.pdf> 8 The Value Proposition in Institutional Repositories. September/October 2005. <http://connect.educause.edu/Library/EDUCAUSE+Review/TheValuePropositioninInst/40584> 9 Malcolm Read, Cultural and Organization Drivers of Open Educational Content
The Faculty is currently reassessing the resources it has (office space, computer hardware and software, staff) that currently is geared toward media and web support for students and faculty. With consolidation and reorganization, the Faculty expects to better meet the needs of graduates and researchers. The stability of the desktop environment has allowed Fine Arts Computing the ability to address higher order needs, such as server administration and software development, without additional staff. Challenges lie in the increasing complexity of the portfolio of services the department provides, with ten physical servers (Dell and Apple), a variety of operating systems (Windows, OSX and Linux on twelve virtual machines), database platforms (MS SQL, MySQL, Oracle) and customized applications (PHP-based). This variety has been provoked by specific needs, but nonetheless presents challenges in terms of staff training (for which scarce funds are available) and succession. PART I – Computing Plan Section B. Review of 2008-09 Initiatives B1. Faculty Initiatives Forerunner Replacement A new Forerunner Macintosh OS X server was installed to replace its predecessor in the CNS machine room. It provides online storage to Fine Arts Cultural Studies, Visual Arts, Dance, Theatre and Graduate students. Forerunner plays a pivotal role authenticating students into most Faculty digital labs and storing private and shared work. Students can log into Forerunner from any computer on the Internet. It is also possible for faculty members to review student work online. Forerunner provides web hosting services, including PHP, MySQL and WIKI to facilitate the creation of interactive web pages. The old Forerunner server will be redeployed as a MySQL replication. Temporary OS X Backup Server A new Dell Linux server was installed to create copies of the volume structures on the Faculty‟s new OS X 10.5 servers for tape backup. All current Macintosh servers require OS X 10.5 in order to function properly, but this operating system is not compatible with CNS‟s current implementation of NetBackup tape backup. The Faculty looks forward to CNS‟s upgrade to NetBackup, which will be able to backup the OS X 10.5 servers directly and thus improve speed, reliability, reduce bandwidth utilization and free up this new server for addition to the Faculty Windows server cluster. Catalyst Media Server Fine Arts Performance Facilities has added a Catalyst Media Server to its equipment. This Macintosh-based system can project almost any kind of video or image in many layers, giving a set designer a great deal of flexibility for background images and stage effects. Custom Administrative Applications In 2008-09, using the Vanilla OS X server, with its MySQL and PHP platform, Fine Arts Computing has developed web-based custom applications such as: part-time staff time and attendance recording and reporting, performance facility room booking system, and supplemental application support with online payment. These applications join systems previously developed in house for: inventory control, batch student account creation, and prospective student evaluation booking.
While these systems have proven to be effective at improving student service or reducing administrative workload, they represent an accumulating maintenance burden on Fine Arts Computing staff. The Faculty would welcome opportunities to adopt University-wide implementations of similar services and contribute lessons learned to their development. Both the emerging York IT Strategy (recognizing the value of a pan-University computer inventory) and CNS‟s 2009-2010 plan (proposing a future students portal) offer hope in this regard. Visual Resources Centre The staff members who support the Visual Arts slide library have been partnered with Fine Arts Computing to pursue a digital media strategy. This team and its resources, now referred to as the Visual Resources Centre (VRC), will participate in both the existing Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art (CCCA) project and the institutional repository project which will collect and preserve materials created in support of research and teaching. The VRC has been updated with new scanners, computers, projectors and software for image processing. VRC staff have received basic training in PhotoShop, DreamWeaver and are slated to attend the Visual Resources Association conference in Toronto in March. PART I – Computing Plan Section B. Review of 2008-09 Initiatives B2. Unit Initiatives Dance Three more laptops were purchased last year, with choreography and anatomy software, bringing the total available for student use to fifteen. Design Twenty-eight new Intel Mac Pros were purchased to replace aging equipment. One hundred licenses for OS X 10.5 Leopard were purchased to ensure a common platform for students and faculty. Two MacBook Pros were purchased for faculty member use. The department also replaced its aging Digital Locker server, with a new Xserve, reflecting the extent to which students rely on this service. Four laser printers replaced heavily used printers in student labs and a large format ink jet printer was added. Film The Department continued its program of networking its student machines, replacing some film editing stations with digital technology and upgrading projection and audio facilities in classrooms and labs. The department installed six high-end Macintosh desktops with Final Cut Pro and MBox audio editing systems and upgraded its existing computers, including new software and monitors. Fine Arts Cultural Studies The FACS New Media Lab and the FACS Project Centre provide flexible performance/installation capabilities and drop-in times for students. The labs host over thirty-five hours of scheduled instruction for the equivalent of nearly two hundred students in eleven courses. FACS replaced eight aging machines with four laptops and four desktops and added memory to the remaining machines. Software was purchased for the new machines, along with upgrades to existing licenses, for video, audio, web and graphics editing. The media lab has been configured with a new projector and screen to permit group review of work. Music Music purchased seventeen MusicXPC Pro S3 desktops for its new facilities in Accolade to address the needs posed by increased enrolment in undergraduate and graduate programs and growing student interest in digital and electronic Media courses. Theatre
Theatre installed a new SFX system, hardware and software for sound design and playback to allow students to download sounds from various sources and manipulate them into sound cues to be played during theatre performances. Visual Arts 328 GCFA is the main teaching computer lab in Visual Arts supporting courses in Photography, Print Media and Time Based Art. Seven aging computer stations in this lab were replaced as they were unable to run new software. Additional hardware and software upgrades brought all the stations up to a common standard. The new centralized digital printing facility was equipped with a wide format printer, a high-end Macintosh workstation, and software for image, web and print processing. A laptop was purchased to support the need for portable equipment of the department‟s graduate programs (MFA Visual Arts, MA Art History, PhD Visual Arts). PART I – Computing Plan Section B. Review of 2008-09 Initiatives B3. Research Initiatives Fine Arts Computing provided minor support to many research projects with desktop installation and repair, web design and server administration. Substantial contribution has been made to the following projects. Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art The Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art (CCCA) was founded in 1995 to introduce and showcase the careers of Canada's leading professional artists and art writers and to develop a context for their work by documenting the history of Canadian Art through the activities of Canada's artist groups and arts organizations. The CCCA has assembled a growing collection of previously inaccessible or hard-to-find, information on Canadian art in all media, and images, video and audio clips of works produced by a broad range of artists working in Canada. The CCCA is hosted in the Faculty of Fine Arts on a server maintained by Fine Arts Computing, housed in Steacie. The CCCA site provides faculty members with a platform for digital image management, supporting teaching and research. In 2008-09, the CCCA server was upgraded with current versions of Linux and Oracle. Future Cinema Project, Visible City Project Located within the Faculty of Fine Arts at York University, the Future Cinema Lab investigates how new digital storytelling techniques can critically transform a diverse array of state-of-the-art screens. The Visible City Project seeks to understand the different roles that artists play in imagining and helping to design 21st century cities. A new server supporting both these projects (housing files and hosting its website) has been purchased and installed in Steacie. Configuration is underway. Hollis Frampton Project This project is intended to document the life and influence of avant-garde film maker Hollis Frampton. A component of this project is an on-line annotated bibliography. This project is trialing the use of OpenCollection (a free, open-source, online collections management system). Digital librarians from the York Libraries have participated in the development of metadata standards and strategies for the project. Digital Sculpture The Digital Sculpture project seeks to examine artistic possibilities and challenges presented by three-dimensional scans, data collection and automated object production (stereolithography, numerically controlled lathes, etc.). Data management for this project presents some particular challenges, as the files involved may at once refer to a scan of an object, the object itself, or the object produced from the file. York Libraries has contributed to the evaluation of these issues. The project first trialed OpenCollection, but found that altering the metadata standard in that
system was overly complicated. More recently, a simpler open source collections management system, Omeka, has been selected for use. PART I – Computing Plan Section B. Review of 2008-09 Initiatives B4. Faculty and Staff Support The Computer Renewal Program (CRP) met the basic needs of twenty-five faculty members. Operating funds were used to upgrade systems for new faculty members where necessary, and for existing faculty members with specialized needs. Six computers and twelve Network Computers (NCs) were purchased for administrative use. While the new PCs are capable of Vista, they have been installed with Windows XP to be consistent with the existing administrative systems. The NCs have proven to be much simpler to configure and maintain. Printers still play a pivotal role in the day-to-day activities of many staff and faculty. While this need can often be met with networked printers serving several users, there are circumstances where access to such shared printers is problematic. Thus, some funds were applied to purchasing local printers. Photocopiers are playing a larger role, as heavy duty printers and scanning stations. PART I – Computing Plan Section C. Planned 2009-10 Initiatives C1. Faculty Initiatives Graduate Computer Lab (338M GCFA) The Graduate Computer Lab is available to students in all the Fine Arts graduate programs and students in the Graduate Program in Interdisciplinary Studies (IS). In 2007, almost two hundred students were provided with access to the lab, from Dance, Film, Interdisciplinary Studies, Music, Theatre, Design and Visual Arts graduate programs. This room has recently benefited from the installation of an elevator and cascaded furniture. There is a need for additional resources in the Graduate Computer Lab due to the increased growth in Fine Arts graduate programs. There are fifteen graduate programs (Masters and PhDs) in the Faculty of Fine Arts, including new programs that began in September 2008 (PhD in Art History, Visual Arts, Theatre Studies, and Dance MFA in Choreography). Two additional machines will be added to accommodate the growing number of students using the lab. All machines will be set up with the full suite of applications to avoid contention over specific machines during busy times. Effort will continue to ensure the availability of expert help for students with the hiring of graduate assistants. Windows Cluster In the event that the temporary OS X backup server described above cannot be redeployed in the summer of 2009, the Faculty will purchase another Intel-based server for addition to the administrative Windows cluster to support the growing demand on the remote desktop server, which hosts NCs and users connecting from off-campus. The cluster will also require new user licenses as the user population grows. Backup and Development Server A new Intel-based server will be purchased to host multiple virtualized servers, including ad hoc test environments for safe testing of new applications, as backup for applications on other servers, particularly Vanilla, which have failed or are shut down for service.
Forerunner RAID Unit The Forerunner server, described above, has a new server chassis, but relies on its original RAID chassis, which is now over six years old. It houses fourteen ATA drives and is a discontinued product line, posing a serious risk in the event of component failure. A new RAID chassis will be installed to replace the old one. Vanilla Application Server The Vanilla server hosts a growing number of critical applications. As the data sets grow, the original minimal hard drive configuration is strained. Two internal 1TB drives, mirrored, will be added to increase capacity. Visual Resources Centre The Visual Resources Centre will take on a significant role in the institutional repository initiative described below. In order to support the digitization and editing of material to be preserved, additional media devices (e.g. sound and video scanners, cameras) and software packages (e.g. sound and video editing, web editing) will be required. MySQL Replica Server In order to ensure consistency of backed up data, without periodic shutdown of active databases, a replica server will be configured to maintain a complete copy of the MySQL data on the two academic servers, one administration server and two research servers. This server is being built from cascaded server parts and does not call for additional funding. Faculty Lounge Presentation Computer The Faculty Lounge is a common location for seminars, presentations and meetings. It currently is equipped with a projector and a VGA port on the wall. It is cumbersome for visitors to the lounge to use this system. A cascaded computer will be used to create a permanent “podium”. Web Communication In the summer of 2009, the Faculty will undertake an overall reorganization, redesign and upgrade of its websites using Joomla as the primary content management system. The Faculty‟s communications team is working closely with counterparts in the Faculty of Graduate Studies to ensure visual and structural coherence between undergraduate and graduate websites. The Faculty will continue working with CNS Development Services to improve selected content areas and functions of its websites. Features will include integrated events calendars and news content, using customized templates, RSS feeds and Wordpress. The Faculty will participate in the new University-wide faculty database being developed by CNS and is working with CNS to customize the template for Fine Arts requirements. PART I – Computing Plan Section C. Planned 2009-10 Initiatives C2. Unit Initiatives Dance Without a permanent space in which to house a digital lab, Dance has instead opted for a “virtual lab” consisting of laptop computers with choreography and anatomy software for use in class or to be loaned to students for “drop in” use. These computers have been provided production students with practical hands-on experience controlling recorded audio/visual media and sequencing of sound and video cues for live performance. The laptops are also of value to graduate students who have been capturing and editing video for archival and research purposes. To date fifteen laptops have been purchased and the plan is to purchase three more, along with video editing software. Design The department continues its steady replacement of the oldest computers and printers in their computer labs (with stations numbering over one hundred). The department‟s other priorities
include the replacement of four outmoded scanners with new, larger scanners. The department will purchase an iPhone developer program membership in order to deploy finished applications to Apple devices. To support a new course for the interactivity stream exploring the interactions between digital and physical environments, new software and hardware will be purchased to support graphical programming (user interface, timing, communications and MIDI), real-time audio synthesis, digital signal processing, video and matrix data processing. Film The department will purchase five new high-end computers for editing large files associated with digital cinema media. These machines would allow production students to work using state of the art post-production tools to complete their films, from off-line editing through to on-line conforming of their projects. Equally vital is the purchase of Final Cut Pro software to bring all computers to the same version, allowing for consistency in instruction, maintenance and use, and compatibility with digital cinema cameras in use by the students. The department also requires laptop computers for their production students, permitting them to off-load digital video from flash memory cards while out on location. This reflects industry practice, permitting on-location review of footage. The laptops will also be useful in the classroom. Fine Arts Cultural Studies (Digital Media degree) The closure of the BA program in Fine Arts Cultural Studies has been approved in Faculty Council and, as of this writing, Senate is in the process of giving its approval. Nonetheless, student use of The New Media Lab and the Project Centre (currently FACS‟ facilities) is expected to grow over the coming years, in terms of enrolment and hours of instruction. These facilities provide teaching space, flexible performance/installation capabilities and drop-in times for current FACS students finishing their degrees and a growing number of students in the Digital Media degree (offered jointly with Computer Science and Engineering, and Communication Studies). Eight aging machines will be replaced and four added, along with larger monitors and an external hard drive to support maintenance tasks in the lab. Music The department plans to purchase twenty-one Macintosh computers with large Apple displays, to support both undergraduates and graduates. Two rooms have been set aside in anticipation of a new Pro Tools studio package for music recording, editing and production. Software for music annotation and editing will be purchased for graduate use, and Adobe Illustrator will be installed for the staff Event Coordinator. Theatre Theatre plans to purchase four laptops for use in classroom and for research compilation. The laptops will be used in a pilot program as a virtual lab, similar to what is being done in Dance. Visual Arts 328 GCFA is the main teaching computer lab in Visual Arts supporting courses in Photography, Print Media and Time Based Art. The department intends to replace eight monitors which have dead pixel lines and are past warranty. The department will also replace an old colour laser printer which is heavily used by undergraduates, graduates and faculty. In order to get the entire lab running common, current software, seven Final Cut Studio 2 licenses will be purchased. The new digital printing facility is integrated with the recent Photo area expansion and the GCFA 328 computing lab, and serves studio areas across all levels of undergraduate and graduate study. New digital and mural equipment for use by both the Photography and Print Media programs was funded by a private donor while other aging equipment was relocated to this new facility to increase functionality and to begin to address pedagogical needs. Fall/Winter 2008-09 is the first full year of use and the trial period to assess long term needs. It is expected that demand for use of this equipment and facility will greatly increase in 2009-10 and another printing/computing station is planned for the following year as well.
In order to fulfill the ongoing research and program requirements of the new PhD program as well the ongoing needs of the MFA program, the department intends to purchase equipment required for research, exhibition and presentation, including video players, a laptop, media software and video/audio capture devices. PART I – Computing Plan Section C. Planned 2009-10 Initiatives C3. Research Initiatives Fine Arts Computing has participated in the preparation of several Fine Arts research proposals, outlining the support required and committing to providing it. Once research awards are made, a clearer picture will emerge of the computing support required. One common thread in most of the projects was the need to gather and organize digital media. Proposals being submitted are strengthened by the Faculty‟s commitment to preserve and publish research results online. FABOK Institutional Repository In its original implementation, the Fine Arts Body of Knowledge (FABOK) cluster will consist of a pair of Intel Linux servers with Apache, MySQL and PHP supporting open source Collections Management Systems (e.g. OpenCollection, Omeka, MDID, GreenStone). These servers will be housed in the Steacie machine room. Research funds will be sought to maintain the cluster on an ongoing basis. All digital material prepared by the Visual Resources Centre will be considered for addition to FABOK, designing the collections with long-term academic value, intellectual property issues and the ease with which interested parties can find and relate the materials in mind. The York Libraries are active participants in two database-driven research projects currently underway in Fine Arts, providing expertise on appropriate database schemas and thinking ahead to the potential for federated search across various databases. The Libraries are also playing a role in the selection of platforms appropriate to the goals of individual databases. FABOK will benefit greatly from support of this nature. Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art In order to maintain the reliability of the CCCA server, licenses for Oracle and Red Hat Linux will be renewed. The CCCA will serve as an example of a thriving, popular (over 100,000 hits a day) digital collection, informing the design of the FABOK collections. PART I – Computing Plan Section C. Planned 2009-10 Initiatives C4. Faculty and Staff Support Thirty faculty members are eligible for a new Computer Renewal Program (CRP) machine in 2009-10. Operating funds may be used to upgrade systems for faculty members (e.g. the TEL professor) with specialized needs. In addition to hardware, faculty members often require access to the software used by students in labs so that they meet the challenge of staying up to date. The Faculty intends to continue replacing old administrative workstations with Network Computers (NCs) and providing NCs for shared use by part-time faculty. Work will continue transitioning to the Windows server infrastructure, slowly phasing out the reliance on the Novell server Yorktown. This offers advantages for off-campus and Macintosh users, as well as streamlining administration on the part of technical staff.
PART II – Computing Plan Section A. Summary of Planned Expenditures Cost breakdowns are provided in Appendix C. A1. Faculty Initiatives Planned Cost: $34,100 A2. Unit Initiatives Planned Cost: $493,955 A3. Research Initiatives Planned Cost: $17,300 A4. Faculty and Staff Support Planned Cost: $70,000
PART II – Computing Plan Section B. AEF Request Priorities A review of previous AEF Plans reveals that the Faculty‟s priorities have been very consistent over the years. The AEF Plans this year are a continuation of the same overarching goals: to support curricula that address both emerging and traditional techniques in the fine arts and to support an expanding student body. The challenge facing the Faculty is to maintain and expand its computer facilities in keeping with the pervasive role of computing, while at the same time performing the required hardware and software upgrades to maintain high standards and currency of equipment. It is evident that all computing and non-computing needs cannot be met with the amounts available for distribution under the combined funding from AEF and the Faculty. Consequently, this plan represents only the greatest needs in both areas.
PART III – Non-Computing Plan Section A. Equipment additions and renewal As digital technology becomes increasingly pervasive and integrated into artistic practice, it can be difficult to categorize some purchases, like digital cameras, as definitively computing or noncomputing. The dividing line used in this document is that computing equipment falls within the expertise of and can easily be sourced by Fine Arts Computing, whereas non-computing equipment falls within the expertise of staff within the individual academic units. Much of the non-computing equipment the Faculty intends to buy will be digital capture and reproduction devices (e.g. microphones, cameras, audio systems, projectors, stage media servers) which either produce or rely on digital content. This equipment will both harness and contribute to the Faculty‟s collection of digital media, dovetailing with the institutional repository strategy described in the Computing Plan above. While embracing digital technologies, the Faculty still has a firm grounding in more traditional media and methods of artistic production. The breadth of Fine Arts curriculum creates great demand for non-computing equipment. The Faculty‟s requests include items as diverse as tutus and spindle sanders. Shaping the decisions around what non-computing purchases take priority are concerns about safety and legislation. Many artistic forms involve industrial processes, with
heavy machinery, high temperatures, noxious chemicals, high voltage and working at great height. Please see Appendix D for a summary of the non-computing purchases planned for the coming year. Performance Facilities The Faculty is committed to providing its staff and students with levels of safety that meet or exceed all applicable regulations for ethical, legal and litigious reasons. According to the Occupation Health and Safety Act (Ontario Regulation 213/91) no free-standing step ladder over six meters can be used in the workplace. Ladders of this height are insufficient for the installation of lighting/audio equipment and set components in the ceilings of the Faculty‟s performance facilities: ACE 207, ACE 209, Dance studios A and F The Martin Family Lounge, the Recital Hall, the FFT the CIBC Lobby, the FACS lab in ACW, the Joe Green Theatre, and the Art Gallery in ACW. Fine Arts currently has one scissor lift to meet the needs in all these facilities, which can require adjustments on a daily basis, depending on show and class schedules. The lift the Faculty will purchase is slightly smaller than the one already in inventory and much easier to navigate through doors from facility to facility. This purchase is instrumental to courses in Dance, Music and Theatre. Dance The department intends to create a multi-media lab where faculty, graduate and undergraduate students can explore technology in support of dance. This facility will be created in Accolade East Studio „A‟ which was constructed with a permanent lighting grid and appropriate electrical service. The use of technology, in particular, the use of digital video recording/projection devices has brought a new and exciting element to the art of dance. Samples of dance videos and the use of video in live performance abound, and the department is committed to offering students the training, equipment and opportunity to explore this rapidly expanding area of dance performance. Studio „A‟ will allow students and faculty to become familiar with the capabilities of the Catalyst media server‟s, develop content and projection strategies. Studio 'A' offers the Faculty an exciting, intermedial laboratory where technology and performance come together to expand the envelope of performance possibilities. The large number of costumes owned by the department is currently stored in the basement of the Burton Theatre, inaccessible to dance students and improperly secured from unauthorized use. Accolade East 142 is currently being used to store costume inventory for York Dance Ensemble. This room is better situated, but cannot handle additional wardrobe without better organization. The department intends to assemble a costume inventory system which will allow better use of space available (using additional vertical space). Design Design intends to replace the existing tungsten lighting in its photo documentation room with electronic strobe lighting. This will provide students with valuable experience with flash lighting used in professional photography, which can be brighter and run cooler, but poses challenges for exposure settings and lighting design. The department will also purchase a portable lighting kit to allow its students more flexibility. The department will also install a professional guillotine for paper trimming. The majority of student projects are print based and this will augment Design‟s existing facilities for colour printing, book binding, letterpress printing and the production of multiples. Film Film intends to continue its transition to high-definition video cameras and projection for upper year and graduate students, allowing for better equipment to be cascaded to first and second year students.
Additional Bolex cameras, tripods, microphones, and light kits will be purchased to support increasing numbers of first year students making films on Super 8mm and 16mm film. Converting Bolex cameras to Super 16mm will allow them to shoot in 16x9 aspect ratio for easy transfer to HD video. In order to support all student filmmakers, the department will be rounding out its inventory of peripheral equipment, including light meters, grip equipment, light stands, clamps, flags and flex-fills. Alternative and low-budget filmmakers have started using digital still cameras to shoot HD video. In addition, animators are also using digital still cameras for acquiring HD footage frame by frame with a digital still camera. The department intends to purchase inexpensive cameras capable of shooting stills and bursts of video in the 1080P format. Fine Arts Cultural Studies As older video cameras fail, the department will replace them with current HD models. These cameras support both student projects and faculty research/creation. To facilitate demonstration and discussion of TEL issues, the TEL Professor will be provided with a small LCD projector that can connected to both laptops and iPods. Music The department intends to buy additional musical instruments: English horn, baritone and soprano saxophones, electric violins and cellos. Musical equipment purchases include guitar/bass amplifiers, bass strings, replacement drum heads and a keyboard synthesizer. Theatre Theatre intends to purchase new audio playback equipment for its acting studios and theatres. This equipment will include lightweight but lifelike speakers, making maneuvering the equipment into position easier and safer. A current sound library will replace the department‟s twenty year old analog collection. Additional video and still cameras will be used to capture class work. New in-class video playback equipment will allow review of clips from films and student work. Lighting equipment will be added to the lighting lab and studio spaces. A new piano will be an essential tool for voice teachers and singing coaches. Physical conditioning equipment will help students reduce strain or injury during repetitive and strenuous rehearsal. Visual Arts The department is replacing its aging standard definition video cameras with high definition cameras, along with additional lightweight tripods, a monopod stabilizer, lenses, light meters, strobe lights and studio boom stands. The new digital print facility and a large, refurbished lighting studio are now complete. Heavily used chemical darkroom equipment that is subject to gradual wear will be replaced to meet curricular needs. New plan files will replace worn out units to accommodate increased student enrolment. New lithography rollers are essential to the area and will replace existing equipment. A second downdraft table is required to ensure separation of various dusts from sculpture stone and plaster areas. Curriculum for next year‟s advanced carving class requires additional air hammers and various chisels. The scissor lift table will provide a safer and faster alternative to the aging Genie palette stackers, allowing for faster class set up. An electric mortar mixer will allow parging and pouring of constructed and cast pieces on a larger and more efficient scale. PART III – Non-Computing Plan Section B. AEF Request Priorities Many of the items identified in this plan for non-computing equipment directly address the safe pursuit of artistic study and research. Before any funds can be spent on improving and
broadening the facilities available to students and researchers, the Faculty will first address standards of safety imposed by common sense or regulation.