updated 1.1.2019

Core Media Studio

FNDT 160 S001
Wednesday, 1 – 3:50 & 4:30 – 7:20 | Room D3265
Peter Bussigel [ ]
Office hours by appointment | Room B3137




This studio course provides a core experience in media. It introduces students to vocabularies, techniques, and methodologies of photography and media arts, including aspects of video, sound, performance, and multi-media installation. Through workshops and in-class studio sessions, discussions, and critiques, students will explore a range of approaches and processes that form the basis of media arts. This course will emphasize content, creative process, research, and critical issues in media arts practices, in conjunction with the acquisition of basic technical skills.


This is an introduction to media art with a focus on time-based media, including video, sound, electronics, web, and interactive media. A range of vocabularies, techniques, and methodologies are explored through technical workshops, weekly projects, and topic discussions. We will also examine how different types of media impact our lives, developing critical perspectives in conjunction with composing and arranging media.

Our time is structured to give you an opportunity to try a variety of compositional methods and mediums. A willingness to try new things and take risks is an important part of this process. As artists, we all have established tendencies and techniques that we rely on–bring those skills! But, also be prepared to expand them and challenge them. Media art is art in motion, it is animated, alive, always shifting. Working in/with media might require us to shift as well.



Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, you will have…

  • hands-on, practical experience working with time-based media (video, sound, animation, performance, & installation)
  • a familiarity with media production techniques. (recording, editing, projection, electronics, & computation)
  • a set of short exercises and a significant final project that explores class themes and techniques.
  • a critical yet generative lens for thinking about digital tools and the relationship between art and technology.




What do we mean when we talk about “media” & “the media”? What is/n’t media? Who makes media? What’s the historical interplay between media technologies and art processes? How might media be made in the future? will it be called “new” media? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯? What value systems are embedded in tools, formats, and protocols? Who does media amplify/mute? Which interfaces do we take for granted? What do jobs in media & new media look like? Can we avoid media?




We meet on Wednesdays for ~ 6 hours split in 2 blocks. Each half will include a short break.

In class time

Our sessions will be a mix of discussions, workshops, working time, and critiques.

Discussions will focus on the weekly materials and will be based on your online comments (see below). Your comments are really important — they help to focus discussion on the aspects that are interesting to you.

Workshops/lessons will relate to the week’s topic. They are an opportunity for you to actively try new things with guidance. If you have experience in a workshop area, push yourself and try some new angle. If you are having difficulty with something, don’t worry — no one approach is for everyone. Ask questions!

After we do a lesson or tutorial, I’ll try to make some time for you to work individually and ask questions. This work time is useful in getting to a point where you can work with the tools and techniques on your own.

Every few weeks we’ll dedicate half a class to project critiques. I have a set of critique guidelines I will give you before our first critique.

Out of class time

The course website [] will be home for all of our course materials. The dates listed on the left sidebar correspond to our class meetings. Each week there will be a set of materials to engage with before class. Materials might be short readings, links, tutorials, and/or examples (videos, sounds, documentation, etc) and everything will be available through the course website. By Monday at midnight, add questions and thoughts for discussion based on the materials, posted as comments at the bottom of the week’s page. The weekly materials, including comments, should take around 1-2 hours each week. If I add anything within a week of a session, it will be listed as recommended and will not be required as part of your participation grade.


Most weeks you will have an exercise to be completed by the following class. Exercises will be in the form of a few carefully chosen constraints and expectations. Interesting discoveries occur at points of friction, when there is something to play with or push against. Constraints also provide common reference points during discussion and critique. At the end of each topic area, there will be a culminating open-ended project that we will critique in class, there will be 3-4 of those projects over the course of the semester. All exercises and projects have a detailed write up on our course site that includes helpful references and assessment guidelines.




Attendance and participation are important in building a creative community. You are expected to be present for every session, and each unexcused absence will affect your letter grade. Be sure to read the general Emily Carr University policies, more than 3 unexcused absences will result in a failing grade.

40    Participation

You are expected to be on time and prepared for every session, having engaged with the weekly materials and developed thoughts and questions for discussion. Each week, you receive 4 points for being present, prepared, and engaged, for a total of 4×11=44 points. You can miss one day without penalty (it’s like starting with 4 points). More details about participation expectations can be found on the course website under ‘syllabus’.

45    Weekly Projects

Most weeks, you will have a creative project or exercise. Your projects will be assessed based on completeness, effort, craft, consideration of guidelines, and willingness to challenge yourself. Each project includes assessment guidelines. Upload your projects to moodle

15    Final Project

The Final Project should be a significant iteration or expansion of one of your previous projects. It should have a well thought out trajectory–iterations! Projects will be presented at the end of the semester. As part of the project, include a one page process write-up and media documentation.

It is possible to earn a total 104 points in this class!

A+ ≥ 100, A = 94-99, A- = 90-93
B+ = 87-89, B = 84-86, B- = 80-83
C+ = 75-79, C=70-74, D=60-69, F < 60




I would like to acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, Stó:lo and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. It is with gratitude that I am here as a visitor on these traditional territories, where we live and on which our work is based.

I have recently moved to BC from the US and am learning what it means to be a visitor here on unceded territory. I encourage us as a class and as a community to work together to think through what decolonization means and how we are implicated in colonial structures. Media Technologies and techniques have been used to control and oppress. They have also been used to amplify and support marginalized voices. Let’s use this time and space to attend to our implicit bias and the systems of power we live and work within.



Accessibility & Learning

I am committed to making course materials and assignments as accessible as possible. If you have particular concerns or needs regarding course materials or assignments, do not hesitate to reach out to me at any point during the semester.

Additionally, being marginalized based on gender, sexuality, race, class, nationality, or religion can negatively impact students’ learning. In order to facilitate the learning of all students, I will not tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, classism, ableism, or any other form of discrimination against groups or peers. I recognize that we are all learning and will make mistakes. If you make a mistake, please do not get defensive if you are corrected. If I make a mistake, please tell me so that I can address it immediately. We are all learning and discomfort at the gaps in our knowledge and our lack of insight into others’ experiences will at times be part of that. What should not be part of learning is producing, advancing, or tolerating harmful biases, stereotypes, or assumptions about each other.


“Cybernated art is very important, but art for cybernated life is more important, and the latter need not be cybernated.” ~ Nam June Paik

This course engages with electronic media and while our latest electronic and digital tools provide access to seemingly infinite potential, they can also overwhelm and distract from making meaningful work. Attend to the feedback loops between tools and ideas. Consider the ways in which the techniques you employ affect the work you produce. This course will explicitly address relationships between technology and culture, using technology in experimental and “unproductive” ways that take seriously Donna Haraway’s warning that “our machines are disturbingly lively, and we ourselves frighteningly inert.”



Schedule & Topic Overview

The official schedule is listed on the right of this page. I will not make changes to the upcoming week’s webpage without letting you know. Those changes will be for clarification or to reduce the materials for the week. If I add anything within the week of a session, it will be listed as recommended and will not be required as part of your participation grade.



University Policies (pdf)


FNDT 160 | Spring 2019