Lecture 1: Devices of Wonder – Interactive Media Arts

MEDA202 Tangible Media uses the embedded framework of media arts history to explore human use of technologies, particularly how artists investigate, understand, and to engage with the world around us through evolving media technologies.

This first lecture introduces the general themes explored in the subject. We look at the how we may approach the aesthetics of interaction by examining technologies as “devices of wonder” that function as a creative tool and medium in the context of art. We explore the fascination humans have with machines and  investigate wonderment and curiosity as a key to audience engagement and experience. We ask: what do these technological objects do? Why are they full of wonder? How do they continue to capture our attention and imagination? 

We begin by surveying some of these technologies and their social and cultural contexts. We then look at more recent artworks that re-interpret these objects in a contemporary context.

Workshop 1: Vision machines and mechanics

In response to the works and themes explored in the first lecture, we will be building vision machines in the first workshop. You will explore the simple mechanics of two optical devices: zoetrope and phenakitscope. You will research the history of these devices, the optical mechanisms by which they operate as well as contemporary works that extend these forms. You will also creating a short animation using motorised devices. These exercises will lead discussion on how we may interact with technological devices, and importantly, what produces meaningful interactions?
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Final assessment planning

Please complete this document: Major-project-form 

Here is a list of equipment at our disposal: MEDA301 Equipment.  Please try to identify exactly which items you would like to use and why.

Please email the completed document to burtona@uow.edu.au as soon as possible.

Note that if your work consists of a single screen video with stereo sound we will watch it on the large projector. There is no need for you to install it elsewhere. Please provide Glenn or myself with the final video file by Monday 18 June 4pm. I recommend using a high quality video compression format and submit it on either a fast USB stick or Blu-ray disc. 

If your work is a single screen video with stereo sound and a single large projection is not how you would ideally like it installed then please come to the assessment day prepared to explain the ideal exhibition form and why. Consider adding a post to your blog about final display constraints and what an ideal installation would look like – i.e. dimensions of space, type of screen/projection, looped or scheduled, seated or carpeted, and so on.

Black Boxes








Workshop 13: Major Project Review


In the final workshop, we will review your major project. Please ensure you bring your work-in-progress to consult with your tutor. You can use the time for production and testing (equipment, set-up, and installation).

Spaces and equipment are in the final stages of being allocated. It is very important for all students who are doing installation works to check their allocated space and equipment. This is your last chance to confirm these details. If you were absent from last week, it is unlikely you would have been allocated space or equipment. Please ensure you contact your tutor immediately.

Final space and equipment allocations will be posted here shortly.

Major project submission details: Continue reading

Lecture 12: Future Cinemas

Through this lecture series, we frequently visited the question of medium specificity, namely, what is the materiality of the mediums and media we work with. What are the characteristics of each of these media? What are the textures of these technologies? Throughout this journey, we tease out points and events in history that come together to present a picture of experimental moving image practice. We argue that experimentation is the key to answering these questions and opening up new possibilities.

In this last lecture, we summarise the terrain covered in this subject, and asks, once again: what is the significance of experimental practice today? Specifically, with the power that remains with the moving image? What should screen media be used for? And how should it be used?

Download Lecture Slides: MEDA201_2018_Lecture12

Workshop 12: Project Progress

[Joana Moll, AZ: The Archive, 2011-4, installed view at ISEA 2016 Cultural R>evolution exhibition]
In this week’s workshop, we will aim to finalise all spatial requirements and allocate everyone a location for showing your works for assessment on Tuesday 14th June.

We will continue with the planning and testing we began in previous weeks: (production work flow, space allocation, equipment need, installation and final presentation). It’s also a chance to discuss with your tutor the progress of your work.

During this week’s workshop, do one or more of the following:

  • conduct testing relevant to your project (especially, projection works)
  • create content (e.g. editing, photography, animation)
  • go on a ‘reckkie’ (reconnaissance) to collect test shots etc.
  • research on relevant artworks that will help contextualise and inform your project

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Workshop 11: Project Development, Planning and Testing

In week 11’s workshop, you will be given time to develop your major project. Use this time to discuss your work-in-progress with your tutor by showing them tests, edits, sketches and roughs. Remember: you need to be discussing actual work-in-progress and not just talk about ideas or plans.

Take the opportunity in class to make the work creating rough edits, making a proof-of-concepts/ prototypes or testing the gear using the available space and equipment. Continual material research (working with technical gear and materials) is a key part of project development. This is an iterative process through which the work will develop.

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W12: Reading, Writing, Planning

This week’s reading:
Round Table: The Projected Image in Contemporary Art
Malcolm Turvey, Hal Foster, Chrissie Iles, George Baker, Matthew Buckingham and Anthony McCall
October, Vol. 104 (Spring, 2003), pp. 71-96
The MIT Press – http://www.jstor.org/stable/3397582

Please read it prior to class and answer the following questions:
1) Which discussion theme/topic raised in the article is most relevant to the project you are working on?
2) The discussion occurred in 2002, what issues or questions would you add to a contemporary context?





Basic Questions

Technology-based, reproducible, and variable, media art poses unique challenges for the exhibitor. Exhibition strategies and standards for media art are constantly in flux as artistic practices evolve, technology develops, and viewing contexts change. However, one can identify basic professional protocols, guidelines, and definitions that will assist in ensuring that video artworks are exhibited with respect for the artists and the integrity of the works, whether they are part of a major museum exhibition or a cinematic screening. Sometimes the most fundamental questions are the most important ones to ask. What kinds of playback and display equipment are recommended? What is the preferred format for exhibiting video in a gallery and why? What format is best for a theatrical screening? And what do you really mean when you say “single-channel video“? The answers to these and the other basic but crucial questions below might be seen as a starting point for demystifying the process.