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IAT 203 – Cultural Icons and Popular Art

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									IAT 203 – Cultural Icons and Popular Art (FALL 2006)
(*in development, subject to changes, as of September 7st, 2006)

IAT 203, Cultural Icons and Popular Art is a second-year elective at SFU‘s School of
Interactive Arts & Technology (SIAT) that is currently transitioning into a 3rd year course
to be offered in future semesters. The objective of Cultural Icons and Popular Art is to
situate the design of new media ―objects‖ (Manovich 2001) within the context of cultural
commodification, consumerism, and branding strategies of ―the culture of marketing
[and] the marketing of culture‖ (Seabrook 2000).

This year‘s course is an intriguing revision of previous versions through its attempt to act
as a pilot course for an SFU strategy that will consider iPod Video players as a key part
of the delivery and management of digital course materials. Though the course has been
redesigned for the use of iPod Video players in this way, it does not require these
devices at this time. Rather, the instruction will incorporate the use of Apple‘s iLife
software and the .mac web community and publishing environment as both an authoring
approach and as a point of discussion, critique, and reflection with a potential
incorporation of iPod-delivered content in future versions.

What are we studying?
Through Cultural Icons and Popular Art, students will engage a variety of course
materials that frame out a discourse on ―consumerist interactivity‖ (Kinder, 1991). Similar
in scope to the MIT OpenCourseWare‘s Modern Art and Mass Culture (Spring 2004), the
discourse of Cultural Icons and Popular Art will be presented primarily from the historical
perspective of consumerism‘s development over the course of the 20th century. Further,
it will be presented through the perspective of ―cultural studies‖ as framed by John
Storey in Inventing Popular Culture (2003), which is the primary text for the course.

How are we studying it?
While similar in content to other cultural studies courses on consumerist discourse,
Cultural Icons and Popular Art will take a unique approach to its learning environment
that will provide highly relevant and engaging material for digital designers in a pop
culture context. It will do so by attempting to continually balance the overlapping ―lenses‖
of technology, culture, and marketing through the simultaneous investigation of three key
phenomena of contemporary culture: (1) personal brands and/or vanity labels as an
example a cultural icon based on the marketing of real individuals (2) the animated
television program The Simpsons as an example of cultural icons that are primarily
fictional characters of popular culture, and (3) the iPod personal music (and now video)
player as a technology that has become a significant cultural icon in the last five years.

Why are we studying it?
This course is an elective, and therefore those who are taking the course likely have
some interest in the popular culture that is part of their day-to-day life. However, from the
design perspective of the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT), the course
is being offered primarily as a way for design students to consider their activities as
situated in, as Raymond Williams would argue, the ―ordinary processes of human
societies and human minds, [a culture and] is always both traditional and creative; that it
is both the most ordinary common meanings and the finest individual meanings‖


                                             1
(Williams, 1958). Whether it is artists creating works for their audiences or designers
design brands for their clients, the concept and context can be seen through similar
lenses. Cultural Icons and Popular Arts attempts to ground design activities through
such design perspectives, whether it is the artist‘s inspiration, the technology‘s
functionality, or the marketer‘s strategy.

Who are the instructors?
Your lead-instructor this year is Joel Flynn, a recent Master of Applied Science graduate
(Interactive Arts) of Simon Fraser University. The Teaching Assistant (TA) for this year‘s
course will be Masters candidate Hector Larios:

      Joel has been involved in the development and various revisions of IAT 203,
       initially as a Teaching Assistant in 2003 and 2004, and then as the lead-instructor
       in 2005. His background as in film and music, combined with a bachelor‘s degree
       in International Business (B.Comm, UBC, 1996) allows him to bring a varied set
       of perspectives into the field of cultural studies and popular culture. Furthermore,
       his research work deals specifically with the role of technology and digital
       artifacts in the mixing and remixing of popular culture and uses iPods and iPod-
       like device as potential creative tools for authoring new kinds of digital works (see
       thesis: Travels in Intertextuality: the Autopoetic Identity of Remix Culture, 2006).

      Hector is a Master of Science candidate at the School of Interactive Arts and
       Technology with a background in psychology and interaction design. He has
       worked on several eye-tracking projects to determine how users interact with
       online environments. He is currently investigating how people process spatial
       information in 3D environments.

We will be providing office hours and contact info, as well as an online discussion space
(TBD, depending on whether we get the .mac accounts sorted. If not, we‘ll set it up via
WebX boards).

Where and when are the lectures?
The 15-week course consists of weekly two-hour lecture sessions in a 200-seat theatre
(Room 2600 at SFU Surrey) on Thursdays from 3:30-5:20 p.m. The lecture is designed
to address the theoretical and discursive aspects of the course, while also framing out
the assignments and assessment guidelines. NOTE: The Week 5 lecture on October 5th
will be a unique panel of experts and practitioners of digital culture who will appear in-
person on campus or via teleconference. Details forthcoming.

And what about the workshops/labs?
The lectures are supplemented by a one-hour workshop in one of SFU Surrey‘s
Macintosh labs (location TBD) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. earlier in the day on Thursdays.
Here students will gain practical experience working with Apple‘s iLife suite, which will
include workshops on iPhoto, iWeb, Garageband, iMovie, iDVD, as well as Quicktime
Pro (which is not part of the iLife suite, but a fundamental component of Apple‘s digital
authoring products).

The goal of these workshops is not simply to develop a digital skill set with the software,
but also to allow students to take a critical position on impact of such integrated digital
authoring environments, again from the perspectives of technological, cultural, and

                                             2
marketing issues. Students will be required to sign up for one of the five workshops on
Thursday on a first-come, first-serve basis. There will be a participation mark given for
attendance at these workshops worth 10% of the final mark.

How are we going to be graded for our project work?
Students will on a set of interrelated projects where they will be evaluated on (1) their
comprehension, based on the engagement and application of the course materials, (2)
their communication skills through their technical ability to ―write‖ with digital tools in
order to implement a design practice from concept to realization, and (3) their ability to
synthesize the theory with the practice in a coherent whole. A more specific grading
criteria, based on the above three areas, will be made available for each assignment,
based on the following guidelines:



                                Comprehension Skills:

      Engagement:             Shows development, integration and
                              familiarity with the course materials and
                              other relevant readings; shows evidence of
                              conducting original research.

      Application:            Demonstrates core concepts and working
                              knowledge of terminology, recounts
                              narratives (historical and theoretical)--AND
                              integrates visual and textual components




                                Communication Skills:

         Clarity:             Ability to follow assignment instructions,
                              explain ideas, develop a thesis and clear
                              arguments, and engage the reader.

                              Proper use of formatting, structure,
          Form:               grammar, punctuation and style to support
                              content and communication. Proper use of
                              APA documentation practices.




                                              3
                                    Interpretive Skills:

                              Ability to interpret the material in ways that
 Creativity/Originality:
                              are inventive and insightful and to merge
                              the visual and written components in
                              innovative and thoughtful ways.


 Reflection/Synthesis:        Breadth and depth of thought; ability to
                              synthesize content.




What work are we going to be graded on?
The assignment breakdown is as follows (totaling 100%):

      Team Project, 20% due in Week 5

      Individual Project, 30% due in Week 11

      Collaborative Project, 10% due in Week 13

      Workshop Participation, 10%, weekly

      Final Exam, 30% schedule TBD during exam weeks

Students will initially work in teams to produce an iLife-authored website that addresses
the course materials of Weeks 1-4. This will require the teams to compare and contrast
several icons of popular culture through the public representation of these icons, i.e. the
―brand image‖ of the real or virtual person or thing.

       This team assignment is worth 20%, and is due in Week 6 prior to the start of class. It
       will be graded and returned by Week 7 or Week 8’s lecture.

Upon completion of the team project, the students will then begin to work individually on
creating their own branded identity – a ―Y®U‖ brand – by producing, using the iLife suite
as an authoring environment. Through these tools, the will produce a ―marketing mix‖ of
physical and digital artifacts that are designed to support their branded identity. (Due in
Week 11 returned in Week 13)

       This individual assignment is worth 30%, and is due in Week 11. It will be graded and
       returned by Week 13’s lecture.

As part of this branding strategy, and in tying together several of the course‘s ―threads‖
of inquiry, each student will also need to provide (at minimum) a sketch for a Simpson‘s
character based on their branded identity. Finally, they will be required to release this
character upon completion to an external developer (a randomly selected individual in
the class) who will attempt further develop the character for an upcoming Simpsons



                                               4
episode. At the same time, the student will have to take on the development of a
classmate‘s brand image for a Simpsons episode.

       This collaborative assignment is worth 10%, and is due in Week 13.

The developed Simpsons characters will be submitted prior to a final exam, which is
open book The exam will primarily cover the material addressed the John Storey text,
but will require the students to apply these concepts in terms of cultural icons such as
The Simpsons, the iPod, or their own Y®U brand. More info on the format of this exam
as well as on key areas of focus and student activities for IAT 203 are outlined in the
following course syllabus:

       The final exam is worth 30% and will take place in December, tentatively at the end of
       Week 14 or at the start of Week 15.

Academic Honesty:
The following policy on academic honesty has been adapted from the MIT
OpenCourseWare website for Modern Art and Mass Culture (Spring 2004), As a
summary of SFU‘s Code of Academic Honesty (T 10.02), it can serve as a guideline for
our course this year:

       Discussion, debate, and credited collaboration with other students (in the form of
       peer reviews or joint presentations) are encouraged, and will enhance your
       understanding of the subject. However, any projects or written essays that
       include material paraphrased without footnotes to the original source, phrases
       quoted without quotation marks, information or interpretations taken from any
       source (including web sites and other multimedia) without a reasonable attempt
       at proper citation, or work otherwise completed by others and presented as your
       own, will be considered a violation of academic honesty and will be referred to
       the appropriate committees for disciplinary action.

If you have any questions about plagiarism or SFU‘s policy regarding academic honesty,
you can consult your instructor and/or TA in confidence. SFU‘s formal policies can be
found at the following pages:

          Academic Honesty

          Academic Honesty and Misconduct

          Code of Student Conduct

          Grading Policies

Do we have textbooks or a course website?
Previous versions of the course have used an extensive website that was developed to
provide a significant overview of consumer culture and postmodernism. While we may
refer to this previous version, this year‘s course is designed to work from the following
three books:




                                               5
      Storey, J. (2003) Inventing Popular Culture: From Folklore to Globalization,
       Oxford: Blackwell [Website:
       http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/contents.asp?ref=0631234608&site=1]

      Turner, C. (2004). Planet Simpson. London: Ebury Press [Website:
       http://www.planetsimpson.com]

      Kahaney, L. (2005). The Cult of iPod, San Francisco: No Starch Press, [Website:
       http://www.nostarch.com/ipod.htm]

If the textbooks are not available in the bookstore in time for the start of classes, the
instructor and TA will make photocopies of the needed material through a coursepack or
through online versions of the material where available. There will be a course website
available through the following address: http://www.sfu.ca/~culticon. The site presently
contains the previous year‘s version of the course, which as mentioned may be referred
to at points in this year‘s version.

Weekly Course Outline:
See the following pages for the week-to-week breakdown…

Week 1:    Homer, Moog, and iPod as Cult iCons in a battle royale ........................................................... 7
Week 2:    A Brief Intro/Review Regarding the Study of Culture ................................................................ 9
Week 3:    Postmodern Identities ..............................................................................................................12
Week 4:    Culture and Value ....................................................................................................................15
Week 5:    Special Guest Stars (Pop Culture Discussion Panel) .........................................................17
Week 6:    Considering the ―Other‖: ...........................................................................................................20
Week 7:    Alienation, Revolution, and Mediation as ―Objects‖: .................................................................23
Week 8:    Modern Art vs. Modern War vs. Modern Life ............................................................................25
Week 9:    Audio/Video Demonstration via iLife ........................................................................................27
Week 10:   Popular Culture goes Mainstream ............................................................................................29
Week 11:   Selling Deviance - Revolution as Marketing Strategy ...............................................................31
Week 12:   70s Counter-counterculture and Bart as Punk Icon ..................................................................33
Week 13:   Context Abolished! Personal Branding Mythologies .................................................................35
Week 14:   Exam Week ..............................................................................................................................37
Week 15:   Marking Week...........................................................................................................................37




                                                                     6
Week 1: Homer, Moog, and iPod as Cult iCons in a battle royale
September 7th, 3:30-5:20pm, Theatre 2600

This first lecture is designed to initially address the course syllabus and assignment,
which will be further discussed in the following week‘s lecture. We will also discuss the
textbooks and review the preface and introductions from the John Storey text (Inventing
Popular Culture, p. ix-xii), the Leander Khaney text (The Cult of iPod), and Chris
Turner‘s Planet Simpson. We‘ll begin by examining some video works that address the
idea of personal branding of an influential technology (i.e. the Moog synthesizer),
hypercommodified personal branding (MuchMoreMusic‘s ―Sellouts‖), as well as the
influence of The Simpsons as a key postmodern cultural icon.

Audiovisual Materials:

      Moog: a film by Hans Fjelland (70 minutes, with break at approx. 28 minutes)

      MuchMoreMusic‘s Un-covered: ―Sellouts‖, first air date: October 19, 2003

      Interview with Chris Turner, wmv http://www.planetsimpson.com/video/richard-
       and-judy-broadband.wmv

      TBD

Readings:

       Review:

       Storey, J. (2003). ―Preface‖, in Inventing Popular Culture, pp. ix-xii

       Turner, C. (2004). ―Introduction: Birth of the Simpsonian Institute‖, in Planet
       Simpson. London: Ebury Press, pp.1-12

       Kahaney, L. (2005). ―Introduction‖ in The Cult of iPod, (2005). pp. 1-6

       Assigned:

       Storey, J. (2003). ―Chapter 5: Popular Culture as Postmodern Culture‖, in
       Inventing Popular Culture, pp. 63-77

       Turner, C. (2004). Excerpt from ―Chapter 2: Homer‘s Odyssey‖, in Planet
       Simpson. London: Ebury Press, pp. 99-109

       Turner, C. (2004). Excerpt from ―Chapter 4: Citizen Burns‖, in Planet Simpson.
       London: Ebury Press, pp. 187-191

       Khaney, L. (2005). ―Chapter 5: iPOD, uPOD, EVERYBODY POD‖, in The Cult of
       iPod, (2005). pp. 66-90

Workshop: N/A (no workshop in first week)

                                             7
8
Week 2: A Brief Intro/Review Regarding the Study of Culture
September 14th, 3:30-5:20pm, Theatre 2600

Students are expected to do the previous week‘s assigned readings and attend the
lecture where they will be introduced to introductory skills and topics related to cultural
studies and critical theory in the contemporary digital environment. This cultural
―discourse‖ will be argued as highly relevant to design practice in SIAT‘s community and
beyond.

For this week, students will be shown approaches and considerations for:

              Interpreting cultural discourse as an ongoing "conversation" (Mikhail
               Bakhtin‘s notion of ―dialogue‖);

              Recognizing the importance of the "culture war" in the contemporary
               moment (video of Thomas Frank interview), as well as variations of this
               theme (i.e. Snow‘s ―Two Cultures‖).

              Assessing the tendency for "bafflement" in cultural criticism;

              Framing postmodern culture through the lens of a jigsaw puzzle of
               multiple perspectives;

              Using an historical perspective in framing culture (Manovich);

              Applying art criticism, and its emergence from philosophical discourse
               relating to ―perspective‖, as an approach for cultural study (Berger);

              Structuring human experience in the philosophical discourse of subject-
               object model of self vs. other

Audiovisual Materials:

      John Berger‘s Ways of Seeing #1 (1972) The first of four programs, where each
       presents the classical arts in different contemporary terms. The four episodes
       consist of (1) a discussion of the ways paintings are distorted by the mass
       media that transmits them, (2) an examination of the ways in which women are
       portrayed in art, (3) a discussion on paintings as material possessions, and (4)
       and an attempt to relate the historical role of paintings as art and, in a sense, as
       advertising with the more current role of photography and ―the publicity image‖.

      Aesthetics: Philosophy of the Arts (2004) [PART I] ―What do modern art, a
       symphony, and a documentary film have in common? They all require aesthetic
       considerations. This program presents the ideas of key figures in the shaping
       and understanding of aesthetics—from Plato, Francis Hutcheson, and Kant to
       Leon Battista Alberti, Stendhal, and Tolstoy—and addresses pivotal writings,
       including Aristotle‘s Poetics and Morris Weitz‘s ―The Role of Theory in
       Aesthetics.‖ Columbia University‘s Arthur Danto and Princeton University‘s


                                             9
       Alexander Nehamas offer keen insights into the interactions between artist,
       artwork, and audience as they have evolved over the centuries.‖

      Thomas Frank, interview on NOW with Bill Moyer (July 9, 2004): ―Bill Moyers
       interviews Frank, who argues that a culture war has led to a political deck
       stacked against America‘s working poor, the topic of his new book What’s the
       matter with Kansas: How conservatives won the hearts of America (2004). ‗We're
       fighting over shadow issues, and ignoring the bread and butter things, the things
       that determine the way that we lead our lives, that determine the quality of life at
       the most basic, fundamental level‘ Frank tells Moyers, ‗Instead we're fighting
       over, you know, are there liberals in the Yale English Department?‘"

iLife Workshop 1 (iPhoto + .mac pt. 1): (September 14th 10am-3pm, students will sign
up for one of the five one-hour sessions) The first workshop session for the course will
be used to instruct the students in practical areas for applying the course theory to their
assignments. As part of this approach, the workshops will be used to introduce students
to Apple‘s iLife digital authoring suite that students can use as digital ―writing‖ tools for
conceptualizing and developing projects throughout the course. Students will also be
introduced to their .mac accounts and show how to form work groups in this
environment.

By the end of the first Workshop session, students will have collected images photos of
cultural icons of their moment using the ―iPhoto‖ application, manipulated using the
applications effects, and organized them as a starting point in a pool of content for the
course. The workshop asks the students to consider the application not from their own
technical skill development, but from the position of a company such as Apple, i.e. as a
strategy for the ―masses‖ of digital culture.

Readings:

       Review:

       Khaney, L. (2005). ―Chapter 5: iPOD, uPOD, EVERYBODY POD‖, in The Cult of
       iPod, (2005). pp. 66-90

       Storey, J. (2003), ―Chapter 5: Popular Culture as Postmodern Culture‖, Inventing
       Popular Culture, p. 63-77

       Turner, C. (2004). Excerpt from ―Chapter 2: Homer‘s Odyssey‖, in Planet
       Simpson. London: Ebury Press, pp. 99-109

       Turner, C. (2004). Excerpt from ―Chapter 4: Citizen Burns‖, in Planet Simpson.
       London: Ebury Press, pp. 187-191

       Assigned:

       Khaney, L. (2005). ―Chapter 1: iPods for All‖, in The Cult of iPod, (2005). pp. 7-18

       Storey, J. (2003), ―Chapter 1: Popular Culture as Folk Art‖, Inventing Popular
       Culture, p. 1-15



                                             10
Storey, J. (2003), ―Chapter 2: Popular Culture as Mass Culture‖, Inventing
Popular Culture, p. 16-31

Turner, C. (2004). Excerpt from ―Chapter 5: Lisa Lionheart‖, in Planet Simpson.
London: Ebury Press, pp. 205-220




                                   11
Week 3: Postmodern Identities
September 21th, 3:30-5:20pm, Theatre 2600

Audiovisual Materials:

      John Berger‘s Ways of Seeing #2 (1972) The second of four programs, where
       each presents the classical arts in different contemporary terms. The four
       episodes consist of (1) a discussion of the ways paintings are distorted by the
       mass media that transmits them, (2) an examination of the ways in which
       women are portrayed in art, (3) a discussion on paintings as material
       possessions, and (4) and an attempt to relate the historical role of paintings as
       art and, in a sense, as advertising with the more current role of photography and
       ―the publicity image‖.

      Aesthetics: Philosophy of the Arts (2004) [PART II] ―What do modern art, a
       symphony, and a documentary film have in common? They all require aesthetic
       considerations. This program presents the ideas of key figures in the shaping
       and understanding of aesthetics—from Plato, Francis Hutcheson, and Kant to
       Leon Battista Alberti, Stendhal, and Tolstoy—and addresses pivotal writings,
       including Aristotle‘s Poetics and Morris Weitz‘s ―The Role of Theory in
       Aesthetics.‖ Columbia University‘s Arthur Danto and Princeton University‘s
       Alexander Nehamas offer keen insights into the interactions between artist,
       artwork, and audience as they have evolved over the centuries.‖

      An appropriate episode from The Simpsons if available




                                           12
Digital Writing Assignment DUE IN WEEK 5 (20%)
This class and workshop will be used for the initial phases of Digital Writing Assignment
which include:

               Partnering with another person in the class, or forming a 3-person team
                where needed.

               Selecting, then comparing and contrasting, (1) a human cultural icon, (2)
                an inanimate cultural icon, as well as (3) a cultural icon that has emerged
                from or is intertextually related to ―The Simpsons‖ television show. Note:
                their selection can be seen as an icon in today‘s contemporary cultural
                world or could be presented as an icon in the television show‘s fictional
                world.

               Creating an outline for a multimedia presentation relating to this
                compare/contrast exercise through the use of iPhoto and iWeb.

Students will then continue with this assignment as a team by setting up a working group
in through their .mac accounts in order to collect relevant materials and discuss the
assignment requirements. Through the workshops in Week 4 and Week 5, they will then
apply Garageband to their work in developing a multimedia presentation in the form of a
―podcast‖.

This presentation (worth 20%) will combine an audio component enhanced with images
in delivering a narrative that compares and contrasts their three cultural icons. It will then
be published to the web via their .mac accounts. It will also include a ―Behind the
Scenes‖ component that briefly explains to the audience how the work was created
using iLife tools.



Readings:

       Review:

       Kahaney, L. (2005). ―Chapter 1: iPods for All‖, in The Cult of iPod, (2005). pp. 7-
       18

       Storey, J. (2003), ―Chapter 1: Popular Culture as Folk Art‖, Inventing Popular
       Culture, p. 63-77

       Storey, J. (2003), ―Chapter 2: Popular Culture as Mass Culture‖, Inventing
       Popular Culture, p. 63-77

       Turner, C. (2004). Excerpt from ―Chapter 5: Lisa Lionheart‖, in Planet Simpson.
       London: Ebury Press, pp. 205-220

       Assigned:



                                             13
       Kahaney, L. (2005). ―Chapter 2: New Listening Habits‖, in The Cult of iPod,
       (2005). pp. 19-30

       Storey, J. (2003), ―Chapter 6: Popular Culture as the ‗Roots‘ and ‗Routes‘ of
       Cultural Identities‖, Inventing Popular Culture, p. 63-77

       Turner, C. (2004). Excerpt from ―Chapter 5: Lisa Lionheart‖, in Planet Simpson.
       London: Ebury Press, pp. 221-234

iLifeWorkshop 2 (iPhoto): (September 21st between 10am-3pm, sign up for 1-hour
session). After learning how to organize and edit photos in the previous workshop, the
follow with iPhoto will be to show how to create an iPhoto presentations (―make prints,
build Web pages, create slide shows, and more.‖ The concept of the assignment will be
reinforced by stressing to the students that they will need to produce photos for
promoting themselves and their ―Y®U‖ brand as a cultural icon (see the individual
assignment in Week 6, due Week 11)




                                           14
Week 4: Culture and Value
September 28th, 3:30-5:20pm, Theatre 2600

Students are expected to do selected readings and attend the lecture where they will be
shown approaches and considerations for:

               Establishing a discourse of consumerist interactivity (Marsha Kinder) in
                the sense of interacting with cultural "texts",

               Exploring intertextuality (in the business context of ―cross-marketing‖) as
                a valuable feature of consumerist interactivity;

               Assessing the cult value, exhibition value, aura, and authenticity of works
                of art vs. consumer products;

               Situating mechanical reproduction and photography in the historical
                development of technology, art, and the consumer society, as well as in
                terms of their effects on the value of art works.

               Considering representation in terms of art vs. representation as
                documentation vs. representation as promotion and the role of cross-
                referencing in such representations.

Audiovisual Materials:

      John Berger‘s Ways of Seeing #3 (1972) The third of four programs, where each
       presents the classical arts in different contemporary terms. The four episodes
       consist of (1) a discussion of the ways paintings are distorted by the mass media
       that transmits them, (2) an examination of the ways in which women are
       portrayed in art, (3) a discussion on paintings as material possessions, and
       (4) and an attempt to relate the historical role of paintings as art and, in a sense,
       as advertising with the more current role of photography and ―the publicity
       image‖.

iLife Workshop 3 (iWeb + .mac): (September 28th ,10am-3pm, sign up for 1-hour
session) by the end of this session, students will have published a rudimentary ―blog‖
website that creates a digital identity for the student using iLife‘s ―iWeb‖
application.students and will then publish their collected photos to their blog website as a
means to support this digital identity.

Readings:

       Review:

       Kahaney, L. (2005). ―Chapter 2: New Listening Habits‖, in The Cult of iPod,
       (2005). pp.19-30

       Storey, J. (2003), ―Chapter 6: Popular Culture as the ‗Roots‘ and ‗Routes‘ of
       Cultural Identities‖, Inventing Popular Culture, p. 63-77

                                             15
Turner, C. (2004). Excerpt from ―Chapter 5: Lisa Lionheart‖, in Planet Simpson.
London: Ebury Press, pp. 221-234



Assigned:

Turner, C. (2004). Excerpt from ―Chapter 3: Bart Simpson, Punk Icon‖, in Planet
Simpson. London: Ebury Press, pp. 119-151

Howe, J. (2006). ―No Suit Required‖, in Wired, Issue 14.09. September 2006.
retrieved from: http://wired.com/wired/archive/14.09/nettwerk.html

Reiss, S. (2006). ―His Space‖, in Wired, 7. July 2006. retrieved from:
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.07/murdoch.html




                                    16
Week 5: Special Guest Stars (Pop Culture Discussion Panel)
October 5th, 3:30-5:20pm, Theatre 2600

The fifth week of class will offer a unique opportunity for students to engage with the
discourse presented in Cultural Icons and Popular Arts. Specifically, this week will
feature a panel session of guests – both in person in the theatre and via teleconference
– to discuss issues and experiences that are relevant to their own activities as well as
informative to the class.

The panel tentatively consists of:

      The members of the critically acclaimed indie rock band The National (who will
       hopefully appear in person, as they will be stopping through town on this date),
       [tentative]


       About The National: The dream started in 1999 when all five Cincinnati natives
       ended up in New York with cushy jobs and decided to start playing music
       together. They had known each other as friends for some time and decided to
       form the group as a way of burning off their creative energy.

       "It was just something for fun on the weekends, but then it started to turn into
       something more - from a hobby to a thing where we quit our jobs to spend 10
       months out of the year on the road," [singer Matt] Berninger said.

       And it's not like they left jobs at Target. Berninger was the creative director at a
       design company, Scott [Devendorff] was a graphic designer, Aaron [Dessner]
       was working in business development in Manhattan, Brian [Devendorff] worked
       in publishing, and Bryce [Dessner] had a job in the music industry teaching
       classical guitar and doing studio work for other groups. While the quintet felt
       confident in the band and even developed their own label to release their music,
       eventually the money ran out.

       "Frankly, that was another reason we signed with Beggars Banquet," Berninger
       admitted. (from ―Good jobs sacrificed for benefit of The National‖ by Brian
       Krasman, The Daily News, October 31, 2005)




      Chris Turner, the author of Planet Simpson (via teleconference), [confirmed]


       About Chris Turner: Chris Turner's pop-culture and technology reporting for
       Shift has earned him a number of National Magazine Awards, including the
       President's Medal for General Excellency in 2001, the highest honour in
       Canadian magazine writing. His acclaimed Shift essay "The Simpsons
       Generation" was reprinted in newspapers across North America. His work has


                                            17
    also appeared in Time, The Globe and Mail, National Post Business, Adbusters,
    UTNE Reader, This Magazine, and XBN ("the thinking person's Xbox
    magazine"). He lives in Calgary, Canada. (from PlanetSimpson.com)




   David Bastedo, webmaster for the Canadian rock n‘ roll icon The Tragically
    Hip‘s website, thehip.com, (via teleconference). [confirmed]


    About David Bastedo: David is president of Ten Plus One Communications, an
    interactive production company in Toronto, where he works with clients to bridge
    the gap between the creative and the technological sides of interactive
    production.

    David completed a post-graduate residency in the new media program at the
    Canadian Film Centre, a certificate in interactive multimedia design and
    production at Digital Media Studios, as well as a BA in history from Trent
    University

    As a producer, David has worked on projects of all sizes, brands of all
    impressions, and with a wide variety of clients. He has a fondness for building
    children‘s content, online games and useful applications. As a developer, David
    worked in interactive production for many years. He is currently acting as the web
    developer for the Canadian rock band The Tragically website. (from ―People at
    the Banff Centre‖)




   Mathieu Saura, videographer and documentary filmmaker for The National (via
    teleconference) [confirmed]


    About Mathieu Saura: Also going by the alias "John Vincent Moon", Mathieu
    Saura is a 27-year old French photographer and video artist living in Paris who
    looks for ways to "re-sublime" everyday life. His current project involves the band
    The National's upcoming album, where, in his words: 'the main ideas are not to
    do something like a 'making of' the album, but much more to investigate some
    questions about: what is rock music today? What is the mythology stuck to it?
    How to film rock and why using new technologies is changing the idea of
    cinema?‖ He's also the director/organizer of the 'Take Away Shows', wild videos
    shot in the streets with musicians, for the website La Blogotheque
    (blogotheque.net), and especially designed to be watched on iPod. His work is
    updated each week on his website (vincentmoon.com) or on his myspace page:
    myspace.com/videomoon




                                        18
      A number of other possibilities TBD

There are a number of possible topics to discuss, including the cover story for the
September 2006 issue of Wired Magazine. These can be narrowed down by the class
into such issues as:

      DIY                                             Self-awareness and reflective
                                                        practitioner
      ―Buzz‖, Nobrow, and Myspace
                                                       Systematic creative process and
      Rupert Murdoch and Mr. Burns                     technical/legal controls
       as corporate icons
                                                       Distributed collaboration
      Lisa vs. Bart as icons
                                                       Rebellion & Cool as marketing
      Professional practice vs.                        strategies.
       recreation vs. re-creation
                                                       Market populism and pop culture
      The notion of ―surprisingness‖ to                in the digital age
       both author and audience

Audiovisual Materials: TBD, depends on the panelists and what material they might
want to be presented.

Workshop: No workshop this week.

Readings:

       Assigned:

       Kahaney, L. (2005). ―Chapter 3: A Star is Born, The Making of the iPod‖, in The
       Cult of iPod, (2005). pp. 31-42

       Storey, ―Chapter 3: Popular Culture as the ―Other‘ of High Culture‖, Inventing
       Popular Culture, pp. 32-47

       Storey, ―Chapter 7: Popular Culture as Popular or Mass Art‖, Inventing Popular
       Culture, p. 92-106




                                             19
Week 6: Considering the “Other”:
October 12, 3:30-5:20pm, Theatre 2600

NOTE: Teams must submit their assignments at the start of class (Worth 20%).

By the sixth week, with the students having already seen the first three episodes of
Berger‘s Ways of Seeing, they should have enough background in cultural discourse to
put Berger‘s main argument into the context of digital pop culture, i.e. that the ―publicity
image‖ has replaced the oil painting as the means of producing desire in the viewer.
Students are expected to do selected readings and attend the lecture where they will be
shown approaches and considerations for:

              Comparing Marxist ideologies with American mass culture's, i.e. as the
               consumer society‘s "other";

              Applying Marx‘s "fetishization of commodities" to the contemporary
               consumer society and the commodification of cultural objects;

              Situating ―high culture‖ (or ―elite‖ and ―civilized‖ culture) as popular
               culture‘s other, i.e. with respect to the discourse of Arnold and the Leavis;

              Assessing the historical importance of American mass culture and its role
               as a "hegemony" in popular culture;

              Considering Bakhtin's "carnivalesque" as a cultural space of blurred
               boundaries and as precursor to contemporary digital culture.

              John Seabrook‘s Nobrow and looking at The Simpsons as an important
               Nobrow cultural icon (see specific part of Turner‘s Planet Simpson for
               this)

Audiovisual Materials:

      John Berger‘s Ways of Seeing #4 (1972) The final episode of the four programs,
       where each presents the classical arts in different contemporary terms. The four
       episodes consist of (1) a discussion of the ways paintings are distorted by the
       mass media that transmits them, (2) an examination of the ways in which women
       are portrayed in art, (3) a discussion on paintings as material possessions, and
       (4) and an attempt to relate the historical role of paintings as art and, in a
       sense, as advertising with the more current role of photography and “the
       publicity image”.

iLife Workshop 4 (Garageband pt.1): (October 12th ,10am-3pm, sign up for 1-hour
session) students will have collected images and photos using the ―iPhoto‖ application
and will then publish these to their blog website with iWeb as part of previous
workshops. Students will be asked to create a podcast of this same material through the
use of the ―Garageband‖. As the first of two parts, students will begin to with the
Garageband tutorial demonstration of how to record and produce music and audio
elements for a multimedia work or to be played back in a player such as iTunes.

                                             20
Readings:

       Review:

       Kahaney, L. (2005). ―Chapter 3: A Star is Born, The Making of the iPod‖, in The
       Cult of iPod, (2005). pp. 31-42

       Storey, ―Chapter 3: Popular Culture as the ―Other‘ of High Culture‖, Inventing
       Popular Culture, pp. 32-47

       Storey, ―Chapter 7: Popular Culture as Popular or Mass Art‖, Inventing Popular
       Culture, p. 92-106

       Assigned:

       Khaney, L. (2005). ―Chapter 4: Spread the word of iPod‖, in The Cult of iPod,
       (2005). pp. 43-64

       Storey, J. (2003) ―Chapter 4: Popular Culture as an Arena of Hegemony‖,
       Inventing Popular Culture, p. 48-62




Assignment Due in Week 11 – Y®U Brand
Y®U is a lifestyle, a brand, a subculture, a philosophy. Y®U is a commodity.

For this project, you are asked to consider your life as a product destined for cultural and
market integration. Your personality, preferences, and habits will move from the isolated
grid of intimacy, to the grid of two hundred million, as defined by George Trow (Trow,
Within the Context of No Context, 1981).

'You' becomes ―Y®U‖ through calculated analysis of habits, focus groups, and rigorous
market testing. Your lifestyle becomes iconicized, stereotyped, and generalized into an
abstracted simulation of everyday life. Your lifestyle is a 'HIT' which fills a market niche,
and a demand for newer and better products to replace the void contexts lost through
cultural distance.

In light of the research and discussion from this course, your project should address
some of the following concepts:

       (1) the current state of culture with regard to highbrow and lowbrow,

       (2) the relationship between marketing and art,

       (3) subculture and commodification,

       (4) the position and role of the artist in relation to mass culture

       (5) specific strategies such as DIY, sampling, situationism, and/or kitsch.


                                              21
Consider your fashion sense, dietary preferences, musical tastes, home decor, gestures,
speech patterns, and mannerisms are distilled into marketable products for the
consumer. Y®U Brand successfully recreates your lifestyle, and makes it accessible and
affordable to the masses. All aspects of daily life may be branded with items from the
Y®U product line - Y®U facial tissues, Y®U salt substitute, Y®U replacement staples,
Y®U all-purpose home cleanser. Society wants to live like Y®U and are willing to pay
premium rates to obtain products which are approved and specially calibrated to your
personal tastes and preferences.

Imagine all aspects and behaviors in your daily life as data which could be extracted,
repackaged, and sold. Why do you choose one brand of DVD-R disks over another?
Toothpaste? Cereal? What if you were to create your own versions of these products?
What qualities and characteristics would you imbue into these items?

Simplify and iconicize your tastes, style preferences, and social habits. If you were to
produce a dj mix, what tracks would be included? What kind of nightclub would you
manage? Clothing boutique? What items are necessary for others to seamlessly
appropriate your lifestyle? YOU® is a highly mediated and stereotyped personality,
based loosely on core preferences which have been deemed 'desirable' by market
analysts.

Ensure that you eliminate or disregard any unpleasant or 'unmarketable' characteristics
which will not appeal to your core demographics. Focus solely on those traits which
generate insecurity in others, and cause them to seek out quick, consumable product
solutions. The emotional appeal must be strong and bold.

All products from the YOU® Brand product line must establish and reinforce the larger
brand message. Any deviation from this message may lead to customer disloyalty and
lost sales. Be conscious that all associations to the YOU® Brand are approved by the
strategic marketing team. (i.e. product placements in films must conform to the lifestyle
ideals outlined in the corporate directives).

Consider Martha Stewart®, Ralph Lauren®, Calvin Klein®. Each of these corporations
are founded on an idealized lifestyle image: the modern housewife, the rugged country
gent, or the sophisticated sex-kitten. The everyday life of these branded figures is
irrelevant, in relation to the perceived lifestyle image promoted through products and
advertisements. Develop a 'mission statement' or consolidated statement which defines
the focus of YOU® in a simple, snappy catchphrase.

Deliverable:

A ―Brand Strategy Document‖ (and supporting artifacts) for your own personal Y®U
Brand, created using iLife‘s authoring tools and which can be modeled from the
following:

http://www.algorithmdesign.com/PDF/BritishFoodRebranding.pdf




                                            22
Week 7: Alienation, Revolution, and Mediation as “Objects”:
October 19, 3:30-5:20pm, Theatre 2600

(NOTE: Team Projects Returned at end of class in Week 7 or Week 8)

For Week 7, students will take a slight step back into the philosophical and metaphysical
aspects of media, technology, and consumerist interactivity. Students are expected to do
selected readings and attend the lecture where they will be shown approaches and
considerations for:

               The cultural and psychological aspects of alienation as a characteristic of
                the Industrial Age (Umberto Eco);

               Investigating the idea of what could be considered ―revolutionary practice‖
                both in the art world and in the workplace;

               Extending Vygotsky‘s mediational model as a revolutionary philosophical
                development of the Cartesian subject-object model;

               Applying the mediational model in terms of Stuart Hall‘s
                encoding/decoding;

               Comparing and contrasting the historical development of the terms
                ―alienation‖ and ―objectification‖ as originally presented by Hegel.

               Addressing ―writing‖ as a general term for discussing cultural production
                and personal expression, both in analog and digital environments.

Audiovisual Materials:

      A short review of some ideas from Aesthetics: Philosophy of the Arts (2004),
       specifically, its discussion of television as another kind of ―writing‖.

iLife Workshop 5 (Garageband pt.2): (October 19th ,10am-3pm, sign up for 1-hour
session) The workshop will continue with additional parts of the Garageband tutorial. As
students will have collected images and photos using the ―iPhoto‖ application and will
then publish these to their blog website with iWeb as part of previous workshops, they
will now use Garageband to extend these works with audio components. Students will
then create a podcast of this same material by adding a voiceover narration as a way to
layer on another form of digital expression. This will require the students to reflect on
―writing‖ for a visual layout vs. writing for an audio-based delivery.

Readings:

       Review:

       Storey, J. (2003) ―Chapter 4: Popular Culture as an Arena of Hegemony‖,
       Inventing Popular Culture, p. 48-62


                                             23
Assigned:

Storey, J. (2003) ―Chapter 8: Popular Culture as Global Culture‖, Inventing
Popular Culture, p. 48-62




                                    24
Week 8: Modern Art vs. Modern War vs. Modern Life
(NOTE: Team Projects Returned at end of class in Week 7 or Week 8)

October 26th, 3:30-5:20pm, Theatre 2600

In later weeks students will to focus on the historical development of consumerism by
looking at the post-WWII period and the reframing of propaganda techniques in terms of
mass marketing strategies. However, for Week 7, they will first need to examine the role
of avant-garde artists in relation to the masses and with respect to the two world wars.
Students are expected to do selected readings and attend the lecture where they will be
shown approaches and considerations for:

              The future of modernism and rise and fall of the European avant-garde;

              Global conflict as the precursor to the notion of globlalism and McLuhan‘s
               ―global village‖

              Defining various avant-garde movements in pre- and post-War Europe as
               an uncoordinated ―other‖ to mass culture (i.e. the opposite view of what
               was covered in the Week 6).

              Situating the various "flavours" the avant-garde movements, both in terms
               of geographical location and in terms of historical development.

              Assessing the effects of modern warfare on the development of avant-
               garde ideology and practice;

              Evaluating how the approaches of the avant-garde and the effects of
               modern warfare/totalitarian culture were influential in creating the basis
               for cultural criticism that was developed at the Frankfurt School;

              Contextualizing the term ―kitsch‖ as both a derogatory high-culture term
               for ―cheap‖ objects and as a tool of the post-War avant-garde;

              Interpreting war-time propaganda as the iconic precursor to today‘s
               globally competitive advertising strategies, and the contrast between
               mass and niche strategies (e.g. Fox vs. myspace).

Audiovisual Materials:

      Excerpts from Ray Muller‘s The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahal
       (1994): ―Leni Riefenstahl didn't give many interviews, preferring to let her work
       speak for itself. But she was lured in front of the camera by Ray Müller. The
       contest between interviewer and subject makes for a remarkable and revealing
       film - it's an object-lesson in how to remain fascinated by your subject while
       profoundly disliking her. Riefenstahl never apologised for her Nazi work. Is it
       really as good as aesthetes appear to think? Watch this film and decide for
       yourself.‖ (-Nick Fraser BBC, Storyville Series Editor)


                                            25
      MuchMoreMusic‘s Surviving the Game (part 1, if available): “We're hitting you
       with an exclusive insider's take on the making of music's mega stars! Find out
       what factors play into an artist's lasting international success or ultimate demise.
       Dig deeper into the stories of surefire global chart-toppers like Britney Spears
       and Dr. Dre. as well as 15-minute famers Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer. Anyone
       can play the game... but who will survive it?‖



iLife Workshop #7 (.mac pt.2): (October 26th ,10am-3pm, sign up for 1-hour session)
students will do a review of the .mac community and will consider it in a marketing
context of an influential cultural icon (Apple/Mac) and the high tech company‘s multi-
faceted user base (e.g. .mac, iPod,). This digital environment will be
compared/contrasted with other digital social networks such as MySpace, Friendster, or
other communities which offer their own brand of digital ―kitsch‖.

Readings:

       Review:

       Storey, ―Chapter 8: Popular Culture as Global Culture‖, Inventing Popular
       Culture, p. 107-120

       Assigned:

       TBD




                                            26
Week 9: Audio/Video Demonstration via iLife
November 2nd, 3:30-5:20pm, Theatre 2600

As a precursor to Week 9‘s content, students will explore several avant-garde films from
the 1920s through the use of iMovie and iDVD authoring platforms. The lecture will
involve showing students how works can be engaged and interacted with using these
applications, while the workshops will provide students with hands on exercises for
working with video-based materials.

COLLABORATIVE ASSIGNMENT DUE FOR WEEK 13 (10%):
In conjunction with their individual assignment for creating a ―Brand Strategy Document‖
for their personal Y®U brand, students will engage in further self-reflection (literally) in
creating their own ―guest star‖ character for an episode of ―the cultural signpost‖ that is
The Simpsons television program. Since they have already turned themselves into a
cultural icon that has been branded as a commercial product through their Y®U brand,
this assignment will take the view that an appearance on the television program will
provide increased awareness and value for their branded identity. It therefore presents a
desirable marketing strategy in this view.

Students will look at a range of characters that have taken on ―life‖ in this virtual
environment, including U2, Radiohead, Bill Clinton, George Bush Sr., Leonard Nimoy,
and even FOX mogul Rupert Murdoch‘s guest appearance on the show. Students will be
required to conceive and design a virtual version of themselves for this fictional world,
based on the development of their Y®U brands. This can be a sketch, or a more fully
realized version (such as quickly-made cartoon), added as an appendix to their brand
strategy document.

The collaborative aspect of this assignment will require students to exchange a copy
brand strategy document (including the Simspons character sketch) with a classmate
once the project has been submitted for grading. Students will then be required to further
develop the character by – at minimum – producing a refined sketch of the character and
a list of requirements for the character‘s involvement in the show (i.e. a ―rider‖).



Audiovisual Materials:

As a counterpoint to the light (though often cutting) satirical humor of The Simpsons as a
marketed icon of consumer culture, students will also watch excerpts from the film The
Wonderful Horrible Life of Leni Reifenstahl (1996) and the more recent Enemy Image
(2005) by Mark Daniels as a points of comparison for the use propaganda in the ―selling‖
or ―marketing‖ of a regime based on the cult of personality of its leaders.

In order to tie back into The Simpsons theme, the class will finish with excerpts from the
documentary Outfoxed as another point of comparison and discussion, i.e. the use of
branding and graphic design, as well as the use of personalities, to sell the ―fair and
balanced‖ stories at Rupert Murdoch‘s FOX News.



                                            27
      iLife demo involving music and video of early 20th avant-garde filmmakers (TBD)

      Additional excerpts from Ray Muller‘s The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni
       Riefenstahal (1994): ―Leni Riefenstahl didn't give many interviews, preferring to
       let her work speak for itself. But she was lured in front of the camera by Ray
       Müller. The contest between interviewer and subject makes for a remarkable and
       revealing film - it's an object-lesson in how to remain fascinated by your subject
       while profoundly disliking her. Riefenstahl never apologised for her Nazi work. Is
       it really as good as aesthetes appear to think? Watch this film and decide for
       yourself.‖ (-Nick Fraser BBC, Storyville Series Editor)

      Excerpts from Outfoxed (2004): ―Outfoxed examines how media empires, led by
       Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, have been running a "race to the bottom" in
       television news. This film provides an in-depth look at Fox News and the dangers
       of ever-enlarging corporations taking control of the public's right to know. The film
       explores Murdoch's burgeoning kingdom and the impact on society when a broad
       swath of media is controlled by one person. This documentary also reveals the
       secrets of former Fox News producers, reporters, bookers and writers who
       expose what it's like to work for Fox News. These former Fox employees talk
       about how they were forced to push a "right-wing" point of view or risk their jobs.
       Some have even chosen to remain anonymous in order to protect their current
       livelihoods.‖

      Enemy Image (2005) by Mark Daniels: ―Enemy Image traces the ways us
       television has covered war, starting with Vietnam in the 1960s and shows how
       the military has devised ever-improving means of ensuring the American public
       never again has the real face of combat beamed directly into their living rooms.
       Comparing footage of Vietnam, including rarely-seen material shot in North
       Vietnam, to coverage of Iraq and using extensive interviews with veteran war
       correspondents and news anchors, Mark Daniels demonstrates how television
       that once revealed the truth is now increasingly used to hide it.‖



iLife Workshop (iMovie & Quicktime): (November 2nd ,10am-3pm, sign up for 1-hour
session)

Readings:

Review:

       TBD

Assigned:

       TBD




                                            28
Week 10: Popular Culture goes Mainstream
November 9, 3:30-5:20pm, Theatre 2600

For Week 9, students will again employ an historical perspective in looking at the post-
WWII moment around the 1950s where mass media and a standardized techno-
industrial world would become a defining part of a popular culture that embraced some
and alienated others. Students are expected to do selected readings and attend the
lecture where they will be shown approaches and considerations for:

              Defining the term ―Structuralism‖, the heated discourse that surrounds it,
               as well as assessing its potential role in totalizing environments.

              Addressing mass media and techno-determinism as factors that for some
               led to Existentialism and a disillusionment with technological ―progress‖.

              Reframing culture as the "ordinary" processes of minds and societies
               (Raymond Williams) in contrast to the notion of culture as being exclusive
               and elite.

              Applying concepts and cultural theory to the 1950s cultural phenomenon
               of the Beat Generation as a key example of the shift from high culture to
               ―ordinary‖ culture;

              Reviewing how the economic notion of ―monopoly‖ is applied to
               knowledge in the Information Age (Harrold Innis) and exploring the role of
               ideology and mass media in how culture is framed and engaged.

              Considering the role of propaganda in capitalist democracy as a
               ―necessary illusion‖ (Noam Chomsky).

Audiovisual Materials:

      Excerpts from Chomsky‘s Manufacturing Consent (1994): ―Explores the political
       life and ideas of Noam Chomsky, world-renowned linguist, intellectual and
       political activist. In a dynamic collage of new and original footage, biography,
       archival gems, imaginative graphics and outrageous illustrations, the film
       highlights Chomsky‘s probing analysis of mass media.‖

      Excerpts from Chuck Workman‘s The Source (1999) ―When Jack Kerouac, Allen
       Ginsberg and William Burroughs met at Columbia University in the 1940‘s, they
       spawned a movement, then called the Beats, that set precedents for the political,
       hippie and spiritual movements of the 1960s and ‗70s. this comprehensive
       portrait of the Beat generation includes interviews with virtually every surviving
       figure from this period. Johnny Depp, Dennis Hopper and John Turturro perform
       dramatized readings of works by Kerouac, Burroughs and Ginsberg. The Source
       is the definitive film portrait of the Beat Generation and the counterculture
       movements that followed, by Academy Award winning director Chuck Workman.‖



                                            29
Workshop: This week will feature a writing workshop to explore the method of
―spontaneous prose‖ and ―cut-ups‖ that were used by the iconic Beat poets such Jack
Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs. These approaches will be contrasted
with the structured and more methodical approaches that were also prevalent in the
1950s and which led to the discourse of ―poststurcturalism‖ and ―postmodernism‖.
Students will discuss connections for both in terms of approaches used in digital design
contexts (i.e. functional vs. object-oriented programming as an example).

Readings:

       Review;

       TBD

       Assigned:

       TBD




                                           30
Week 11: Selling Deviance - Revolution as Marketing Strategy
November 16, 3:30-5:20pm, Theatre 2600

[NOTE: Y®U brand projects due at the start of the class, 30%, see Week 6]

From the standardized technocratic ―grey flannel suit‖ homogeneity of the 1950s, a
major shift would take place in the 1960s that would provide the basis for the current
cultural tensions: the Counterculture vs. The Great Backlash. This week‘s material
explores the revolutionary spirit of the 1960s from both within and outside of the culture
of marketing. It looks at how this revolutionary spirit again turned on itself in the late
1970s (further discussed in week 12) and became a key marketing strategy for future
―cool hunters‖ of the later digital and branded exuberance of the tech boom. Students
are expected to do selected readings and attend the lecture where they will be shown
approaches and considerations for:

              The impact of 60's counterculture on pop culture as a whole and its
               similarities/differences to Bakhtin‘s ―carnivalesque‖

              The role of the Situationists of 1960s France as avant-garde provocateurs
               in France that inspired/reflected similar feelings in other disillusioned
               cultures

              The historical development of the period of social unrest in the late 1960s
               that nearly lead to revolution in May of 1968 in some parts of the world.

              The importance of ‗poststructuralism‖ (i.e. cultural constructivism,
               deconstruction, geneology of culture) in an emerging postmodern
               worldview.

              Understanding the relevance of the field of Semiotics, as the study of
               signs and symbols, in the critical evaluation of branding and marketing
               culture, as well as the shift from production to reproduction in both
               industry and culture;

              Situating the Punk movement of the late 70's as a replay (or not) of the
               revolutionary spirit fo 60s counterculture, but to be exploited by marketers
               such as the Sex Pistols‘ Malcolm Maclaren.

              Debating the hidden influence of marketing in youth "revolutions" and the
               brand appeal of this spirit, as seen in magazines such as Adbusters.

Audiovisual Materials:

      Excerpts from Festival Express (2004): a great "lost" concert film, a riveting
       documentary about a traveling rock festival that took place 25 years before
       anyone thought of the word "Lollapalooza" [Festival Express] is a Canadian
       Woodstock on wheels [i.e.] a private train and some pretty good passengers …
       on a five-day jaunt from Toronto to Winnipeg to Calgary. The plan was to whistle-
       stop and play concerts in those cities, but also to create a jam session/party

                                            31
       atmosphere as the train kept a-rolling through vast Canuck expanses.
       Unfortunately, the Festival Express was, like Woodstock, a financial disaster for
       its promoters. In the golden age of rock festivals, these concerts were
       surprisingly under-attended, particularly after the Toronto opening was marred by
       a mini-riot by a small but active contingent of "music should be free" agitators
       protesting the "outrageous" ticket price -- $14!Zoetrope films,

      Excerpts from A Legacy of Filmmakers: The Early Years of American Zoetrope
       (2004) as the pretext for the personal brand of ex-Zoetrope filmmaker George
       Lucas and his Lucasfilm™ (PART I): ―a fascinating chronicle of the birth and rise
       of the radically different independent studio founded by director Francis Ford
       Coppola. Coppola said, "We were intent on nothing less than changing the way
       movies were being made. The friends who made the move to San Francisco
       together with me in the late 1960s were remarkable filmmakers. Looking back, it
       was an extraordinary and defining experience for all of us."

Workshop: This workshop will be the first of several to deal specifically with writing for
the style and content of a traditional business plan. This workshop won‘t deal directly
with cultural concerns or design, but is rather intended to provide the students a sense of
what an overall business plan looks like (regardless of the product) and where the
marketing plan fits into its model.

Readings:

       Review:

       TBD

       Assigned:

       Seabrook, J. (1997) ―Why The Force is Still With Us‖, The New Yorker, January
       6, retrieved from:
       http://www.booknoise.net/johnseabrook/stories/culture/force/index.html




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Week 12: 70s Counter-counterculture and Bart as Punk Icon
November 23, 3:30-5:20pm, Theatre 2600

The intent of this week‘s class is to reframe the students‘ virtual representation of a
Simpson‘s character based on their own identity in terms of a marketing pitch which
treats this objectification as a commodity to be bought and sold through various pieces
of merchandise. This plan will include strategies for capitalizing on the hypothetical guest
appearance on the Simpsons TV show, which is therefore reframed from a cultural event
into a marketing opportunity.

Students have been required to conceptualize, design, and implement a personal
branding strategy that produces a number of artifacts that support their branded identity.
This will include a written component of a ―brand strategy document‖ or ―marketing
strategy‖ paper that communicates and supports their concept as part of a formal
business plan (NOTE: this is the ―W‖ component of the course).

A point of comparison between the physical and the virtual, there will be a ―marketing
mix‖ of physical items (e.g. posters, products, t-shirts, etc.) and new media forms (e.g.
website, logo design, digital video or audio, etc.). The intent of the assignment is to have
the students consider the pros and cons of having an objectified brand identity of their
own as a way to inform their design practice if involved in creating brand identities for
other groups, companies, or individuals.

This week‘s material will move away from the theoretical issues of brands and
consumerist interactivity, and will instead look at the practical aspects of creating a
proposal for a cultural product and what is involved in a brand design or redesign. The
traditional written business plan will be contrast with what might be considered a ―post-
traditional‖ business plan of an ―elevator pitch‖ or a business model mapped out on the
mythical napkin of dot.com lore.

Audiovisual Materials:

      Julian Temple‘s Filth and the Fury (2000) vs. The Great Rock n’ Roll Swindle
       (1979), a documentary on punk icons The Sex Pistols and as an example of a
       director having to present to sides of story and the pop culture icons at the center
       of it: ―The band‘s rancorous breakup in early 1978 has led to a war over control
       of their story. The first battle was won decisively by [their manager Malcolm]
       McLaren, who used funds he embezzled from the band to make The Great Rock
       and Roll Swindle (1979), a feature length film depicting his version. McLaren
       presents himself as a Machiavellian genius who founded the band, fed them
       material and strategized their climb to the top. That the film is a ridiculous
       collection of lies is belied by its brilliance… First-time director Julien Temple just
       manages to keep the wildly disparate elements in place, and the result is a
       hugely entertaining, sprawling disaster of a film. Temple's new documentary, The
       Filth and The Fury, feels like an act of atonement. Having helped McLaren bilk
       the band of all its earnings in the service of his self-aggrandizing movie, Temple
       now lets the band have their say. The result is a less dazzling, but far richer,
       account of their career.‖


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      Excerpts from A Legacy of Filmmakers: The Early Years of American Zoetrope
       (2004) as the pretext for the personal brand of ex-Zoetrope filmmaker George
       Lucas and his Lucasfilm™ (PART I): ―a fascinating chronicle of the birth and rise
       of the radically different independent studio founded by director Francis Ford
       Coppola. Coppola said, "We were intent on nothing less than changing the way
       movies were being made. The friends who made the move to San Francisco
       together with me in the late 1960s were remarkable filmmakers. Looking back, it
       was an extraordinary and defining experience for all of us."



Readings:

       Review;

       Seabrook, J. (1997) ―Why The Force is Still With Us‖, The New Yorker, January
       6, retrieved from:
       http://www.booknoise.net/johnseabrook/stories/culture/force/index.html

       Assigned:

       TBD




                                           34
Week 13: Context Abolished! Personal Branding Mythologies
November 30, 3:30-5:20pm, Theatre 2600

[NOTE: Collaborative projects due at the start of the class, 10%, see Week 9]

The final week of content will be spent, to some degree, reviewing concepts that have
been addressed throughout the course. These would include:

              Cultural production and the cycle of production-commodification-
               consumption.

              The commodification of culture and marketing as a form of design for
               creating needs and desires in target markets that are in effect
               ―subcultures‖;

              The historical development of personal branding and brand fetishism, i.e.
               the brand as a commodity

              Nobrow's loss of context between high and low cultures as well as with
               global and niche marketing;

              Baudrillard‘s simulacra/simulation and hyperreality of his Consumer
               Society (1970), and Bordieu‘s notion of ―cultural capital‖.

              The importance of interpreting the terms myth and mythology in both the
               storytelling sense and in the misrepresentational sense, i.e. Roland
               Barthes‘ Mythologies)

              A critique of Apple‘s iLife and iPod as icons of pop culture that
               homogenize design and create a paradoxically standardized form of
               personalization.

Audiovisual Materials:

      MuchMoreMusic‘s Surviving the Game (part 2, if available): “We're hitting you
       with an exclusive insider's take on the making of music's mega stars! Find out
       what factors play into an artist's lasting international success or ultimate demise.
       Dig deeper into the stories of surefire global chart-toppers like Britney Spears
       and Dr. Dre. as well as 15-minute famers Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer. Anyone
       can play the game... but who will survive it?‖

      Excerpt from David Cronenberg‘s eXistenZ (1999): ―The story is based on the
       confusion between reality and virtual reality as the characters move in and out of
       a quasi-organic role-playing computer game called eXistenZ, the aim of which is
       unknown… The virtual world of the game features many aspects of traditional
       video games, particularly graphical adventure games of the 1980s and early
       1990s. Some of these are explicit, such as the repetitive "loops" of actions that
       minor characters perform, or the need to provide certain trigger phrases to make
       progress possible. The plot involves existentialist themes, similar to The Matrix

                                            35
       [and] calls into question the nature of reality and how to discern between reality
       and illusion… The film portrays the emotional reasons for the popularity of video
       games, and explores the theoretical issues of self-reflexivity and absorption of a
       game player for the sake of entertainment.‖



Workshop: Students will be able to use the workshop session in order to prepare for the
final exam and project application.

Students will again address the .mac community and will consider past notions of
―propaganda‖ as they apply to a marketing context of an influential cultural icon
(Apple/Mac) and the high tech company‘s multi-faceted user base (e.g. .mac, iPod, ).
This digital environment will be compared/contrasted with other digital social networks
such as MySpace, Friendster, or other communities which offer their own brand of digital
―kitsch‖.




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Week 14: Exam Week

Open-book Exam (40%)
December 7, location TBD

The format and specifics (e.g. time, location, subject areas, etc.) of this open-book exam
will be provided in the later weeks of the class




Week 15: Marking Week
No classes




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