Immersive Media explores new and innovative approaches to create media content in today’s networked communication environment. It examines new aesthetics that is made possible by cellphone technology and interactive communication platforms. Cellphone cinema is the main production format in which student work is produced in this course. The course trains students to develop new concepts of mobile phone-based creative writing. It explores new media art theory as well as techniques in mobile phone-based production. Selected past student works have participated as online exhibition during 2014 Hong Kong Art Basel and as new media installation during the 2015 Hong Kong Umbrella Festival.
CITY IMAGINARIES & CINEMA POETICS
This course is a critical reading of the city image and urban experiences, with self-directed film essays used as thinking tools. It is an intersection of urban and cinematic experience, examining and investigating the branding images of cities and their implications to our future life, while encouraging students to record and decipher their own experiences and imagine their living cities with self-produced short film essays to counteract the emerging global phenomenon. Course activities involve researching, observing with photography, mapping critical and independent thinking with essay/digital journal, and producing meaningful reflections and commentary through film. Through active production of images, students learn through the logistics of production to move away from being a passive consumer of images to a creative producer of visions, taking hold of making meanings in lifestyle directions within the urban environment.
VISUAL RESEARCH METHODS
This course introduces visual and sensory research methods to enable innovative research projects, drawing on frameworks in art history, visual anthropology, new media and cultural research. Students learn techniques of aesthetic and contextual analysis of documentary, new media installations and performance art. Artistically driven research methods are introduced along with the current theoretical debates on research methodologies in different disciplines. Students learn how to conduct research from conceptualizing a topic, generating interviews, collecting data, analyzing the visual, audio and textual materials collected, to finally presenting their research findings in different forms.
THE WANDERING SCHOLAR
The Wandering Scholar stems from an interdisciplinary symposium with the same name focusing on acts of “walking” and “wandering” as strategies of thought and expression. It participated in the Mobile Democracy Classroom by organizing an activity called “Take a Walk, Hong Kong”. This course is an extended version of this activity and believes that the city is ambient and full of ideas. Hong Kong is a cultural text where we can walk out cultural theory. In this course, we walk out beyond the traditional sense of classroom and practice the following concepts and theories by walking: “flâneur” (Walter Benjamin), “flâneuse” (Janet Wolff), “rhythmanalysis” (Henri Lefebvre), “the practice of everyday life” (Michel de Certeau), dérive (Guy Debord), and more. In each “lecture,” one idea or concept related to walking is introduced by taking a walk in one selected area in Hong Kong. By the end of the course, it is hoped that we can experience how the everyday Hong Kong is buried behind the society of the spectacle.
Photomedia encourages students to explore their creative visual expression and to understand the technical appliations of the photographic medium. It analyses the fundamentals of photography from historical, cultural, aesthetic and technological perspectives. It is said that "a picture is worth a thousand words;" as such the role of photography could be defined as a dynamic representational system that uses media and art to produce and communicate meaning, just as we do when we use the spoken words of language. In particular, this course covers digital photography, special effects, and digital imagery applications. To ensure that students meet their educational goals, they are asked to create a digital portfolio on the internet, as well as make selected photographic assignments of professional quality.
This course emphasizes the history, theory and practice of documentary films, and combines visual culture with art creativity through lectures, screenings, readings, discussions, workshops, and hands-on practice. General concepts, aesthetics, ethics, and modes of documentary are introduced. It helps students to discover and represent cultural phenomena in daily life by using documentary while improving their critical thinking during the course. At the end of this semester, students are required to finish a short documentary film.
CONTEMPORARY ART & CULTURAL INTERACTIVITY
This course studies contemporary art systems and institutions as cultural forms within the broader ‘cultural ecology’ of the modern city. It considers the development of post-formalist art forms, cultural precincts and the ‘architecture’ of contemporary art as a network. The aim of the course is to introduce students to the general framework of global cultural circuits, exchange and interactivity within a study of the dynamic processes of cultural change and exchange. Comparisons between institutional structures of cultural administration (and administrative culture) on the one hand and more dynamic networks of cultural flows on the other, are explored via close attention to the rhetoric of policy formation and the emergence of cultural centres, precincts and institutions globally. The final project is a curatorial proposal based on the ideas raised in class.
DIGITAL IMAGING, BOOK PRODUCTION & CONTEMPORARY ART
This course teaches the fundamentals of InDesign and Photoshop, digital scanners, and digital cameras based on exercises related to various practices within Contemporary Art. These include desktop publishing and its uses in producing artist books, editions and “zines” (inexpensive DIY magazines), the uses of digital photography as a documentary and conceptual medium, and digital imaging’s ability to reproduce and manipulate pre-existing images. Students are expected to equally apply digital imaging applications in a technically adept and creative manner with an eye towards the given historical precedents and examples. These are some of the outstanding final individual projects (an “artist book”) produced for the class.
The Visual Culture Studies MA programme offers a variety of courses to students who are enthusiastic about pursuing creative and academic careers in the visual arts arena. Students learn to grasp the fundamentals of understanding visual materials through producing visual content. Below is a selection of featured courses and their course projects.