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Semester 1

Surfaces & Screens (DESI10123)







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Visiting student eligibility will be assessed (including any required Design background) on a case-by-case basis. **Please note that Design courses have extremely limited spaces available, and are very popular, so students cannot be guaranteed a space in any Design course.** These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the Design department directly to request additional spaces.

Course Summary

This course is a theoretically and critically led exploration of the histories, roles and futures of 'Surfaces & Screens' in everyday life. Considering the many ways by which surfaces and screens are present in everyday life - as materials, fabrics, textiles, clothing, interiors, printed substrates and illuminated and projected displays - we shall examine what these forms mean for the development of material and media culture as well as explore new formations of surface and screen through observations and critical practice-based experimentations. To explore this future takes us into a realm where surfaces and screens and materials and media mix and mutate in revealing new forms adornment, experience and communication; which could mean exploring electronic textiles, smart materials and augmented reality or anything you can set your critical imagination to.

Course Description

1) Academic description: This course aims to educate you in new understandings of material and media culture through the notion of 'Surfaces & Screens' and consequently explore how materials and media have historically shaped one another and how the interplay between materials and media opens-up new forms of culture and critique and possibilities of making. The course is set within a context of bringing crafts, design and the media arts together in an interdisciplinary and innovative way and to consider that histories of creative culture can be understood through different types of surfaces and screens which; decorate the body, craft intimacy, create spaces, express ideas, communicate information and display, project and share knowledge and imagination. Thus, from illustration, to form-making and to filming - and then on to digital objects, smart textiles, electronic displays and future media forms - we can start to consider how theories and practices of materials and media can inform one another. However, we will also step beyond reading and discussion and into a realm of critical practice where you will express your ideas and insights through conceptualising and making new forms of surface and screen experience. The course will draw on theories and ideas expressed by writings, makings, media and film across anthropology, science and technology studies, media philosophy and critical design. 2) Content outline: The course will explore the following content themes and do so through considering writings, makings, media and film which theorise, substantiate and speculate on the matters of each theme: Surfacing across time - exploring histories, contemporary issues and future manifestations of surfaces and screens; Illumination and communication - considering how notions of screen and surface inform our knowledge of the world and shape practices of knowing, recording and sharing; Stitching matters and media - exploring how surfaces and screens have informed the development of one another and are opening-up new ideas and forms of material and media culture; Forms of power - addressing how different formations of surface and screen have differing agencies, social effects and activity within structures of power and social change; Mediating and disrupting - exploring how surfaces and screen mediate our knowledge of the world and inform conditions of truth and distortion as well as how critical insights can be expressed not only through writing but also different practices of making. 3) Student learning experience: The course brings together both classic and innovative formats of learning experience. You will experience learning through a set of principal lectures, but which will feature extensive use of visual media as well as explanation through and with materials, made things and video and documentary footage. Seminars will draw students from different disciplines to engage with readings and express their thoughts and critical reflections through sharing and exploring materials, media and practices of making. Your work for the course will involve: the writing of a summary abstract to reflect your interim learning, reflective insights and intentions in critical practice (formatively assessed); the development of a creative project, led by critique and involving student-directed exploration of texts and materials, media, makings and/or performance. This project will be communicated for summative assessment through the creation of a 'critical project book', led by text and presenting creative work through visual and/or other forms of media. You will also be invited to present your critical project book and work in an end of semester 'sharing session' where you will see and learn from the experience and ideas of your peers. This sharing session will also be explored in its potential to be developed into a 'mini-symposium' which would bring you into engagement with the wider university community, local practitioners and public. Core to the learning experience is developing student abilities to engage with the topic critically and do so through a learning style that reflects and stretches their expressive sensibilities.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

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