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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 32 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.‖ 33 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‖. 36 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 37
"IAT 203 – Cultural Icons and Popular Art"