Garnet Hertz - Teaching

Last updated - December 2008 (Student work added September 2012)


Alex Braidwood, Noisolation Heaphones

Chris Lauritzen, Mandala

Hoon Oh, The Story Gets Better

Julianne Weiss, Myriad Accounts

Ricardo Bojorquez, Ripple

Chiao Ho, Slow Letter


In my experience teaching, I believe in four general approaches that are critical to working with digital media, art and information technology:

  1. Education has little significance unless it produces a prolonged and substantial influence on the way people think about the world, act in it, and emotionally relate to it. In my experience, personal transformation is a journey that is best facilitated by fostering a network of learners. Transformative collaborative practice involves peer review, group projects, and clear connections to society outside of the classroom. I produce learning environments where students are less focused on pleasing their instructor and more interested on impacting their world; in the process, course objectives become personal objectives.

  2. Digital media thought strictly in terms of "new media" is an impoverished view of the field that can overlook rich connections to cultural history, communication technologies, and studio art. Art, in any format, needs to draw its content and concerns from lived experience and the dynamics of culture. Although digital technologies have significantly shifted several modes of communication, creative media production needs to be intertwined with history, theory, and especially the visual arts. I work closely with my students to build connection points to these areas that provoke, contextualize and actualize their work in relation to a larger field of discourse.

  3. In a society with rapidly changing technologies, learning a single software package or skill set is not enough. It is essential that students are taught independent research skills to tackle the technical, theoretical, and historical contexts of their work. With software systems obsolete within months of their release, I place a strong emphasis on teaching students how to think independently, solve problems, and find a community for their interests. In my opinion, these research skills are essential in thriving through changes in technology, in culture and in their own practice.

  4. Working with emerging forms of media - in either its theory or practice - is greatly enriched by a hands-on knowledge of digital technologies and the history of older communication technologies. As a new field of academic practice, digital media needs to take extra effort to be simultaneously grounded in technical reality, the history of ideas, and the ecology of media. Digital culture is an emerging process, with theory and practice strongest when they are closely intertwined. As a result of this attitude, my studio courses involve some aspect of history and theory, and my history and theory courses usually involve some aspect of hands-on work.


I have taught at academic institutions since 2000, first as an instructor for "Desktop Publishing Using Adobe Photoshop" at the SIAST Kelsey Campus in Canada and in 2002 was hired as an Adjunct Lecturer in the Department of Media Production & Studies at the University of Regina. At the U of R, I taught a production course for senior film and media studies students, providing instruction in Photoshop, HTML, and digital video. The production course used Manovich's "Language of New Media" as a conceptual framework for studio assignments, and a syllabus is available online at

As of 2008, I have been employed for three years as a Teaching Assistant at the University of California Irvine for the interdisciplinary course "Computer Games as Art, Culture & Technology." I worked with the course team to develop the flow of the curriculum, build assignments, design evaluation rubrics and learning outcomes, while lecturing, organizing discussion sections and leading computer programming labs. From an administrative standpoint, I served as a cohesive force between University Administration and Faculty in Informatics and Film & Media Studies, all of whom had significantly different concepts of what the interdisciplinary course should deliver. In particular, the Department of Undergraduate Education had the goal of the class counting as a core undergraduate English writing and research course, and as a result had very specific demands about assignment structure and deliverables. I put significant effort into porting these requirements into a computer programming and digital studio course. This process has been an strong success, resulting in a course offering that is consistently filled to capacity, highly rated by students, and serves as a flagship for the Department's interdisciplinary First-Year Integrated Program. Sample lecture notes for "Computer Games as Art, Culture & Technology" can be seen online at,, and

During 2008, I was nominated for a departmental teaching award, and was selected as a Pedagogical Fellow to train incoming Teaching Assistants. Formal student evaluations of my work as a teacher has been consistently strong - when asked to provide confidential comments about my effectiveness as a teacher, students replied:

  • "Very good teacher that gives good examples and puts things in terms all students understand."
  • "He is great. No complaints."
  • "His personality is awesome, and makes you want to pay attention, and not fall asleep. I also like the way he has everything organized on a website. That way if I don't remember slight details, I can go back to my dorm and review the website later. Keep it up the good work Garnet!!"
  • "He comes to class with the layout of what we're going to do already finished and on the web. He posts stuff so that we can always access it from the internet, which is helpful for deadlines and such."
  • "He's really good at getting information across. I like how he helps us understand things when we don't get it."
  • "entertaining, keeps the mood light so the work doesn't seem as stressful or difficult."


My fields of expertise include network art, digital imaging, computer based installation, electronics, robotics, visual studies, and the history and theory of new media. My teaching experience includes studio production courses, computer programming, digital imaging, 3D environments, writing & English composition, and history & theory of electronic art. Recently, I helped pioneer a highly rated three-quarter interdisciplinary course at the University of California Irvine - "Computer Games as Art, Culture, and Technology" - which features Java development, digital imaging production, and writing on the history and theory of computer games. Transitioning from instruction of code, essay writing, history of computing, critical media theory, and studio critique is a dynamic and enjoyable part of my teaching process.

My teaching can generally be divided into four themes: computer games, studio art, physical computing, and media theory & history. Most of these categories are significantly blended and twisted together, however. The specific courses outlined on this page are as follows:

In addition to the course outlines proposed on this page, classes in these related fields can also be offered:

My formal background in studio arts, engineering, computer science, and visual studies offers considerable flexibility in course offerings and design. I also have over a decade of commercial digital media production experience in design-related fields. If you have a specific teaching need, contact me for a course proposal: I'm happy to build one that fits your specific set of circumstances. I offer a wide range of courses in digital media, and am especially interested in working with academic institutions that are open to exploring interdisciplinary initiatives in this field.


Velvet Strike

  • Catalog Description: Computer Games as Art, Culture & Technology is a series of first year undergraduate courses that investigates computer games as artistic, cultural, and technological phenomena. This course exposes students to the vocabularies, perspectives, tools, and skills from multiple disciplines necessary to create and critique computer games. Exposure to contemporary art practices utilizing game metaphors, design principles, and technologies is emphasized. The first part of the course focuses on history, basic tools and design fundamentals, the second part of the course focuses on non-commercial and artistic uses of video games, and the third section focuses on games within a social context. Students will design and create games by programming and utilizing content creation software.
  • Level: First year undergraduate.
  • Format: Weekly lectures, computer lab sessions and group discussions. Full year course series.
  • Discipline: Interdisciplinary introductory course to computer science, media studies, and digital arts practice.
  • Prerequisites: None.
  • Deliverables: Game projects programmed in Scratch and Java, critical essays, design document and research projects. Fulfills undergraduate writing (English composition) requirement.
  • Readings:
    • Steven Poole, The Origin of Species
    • Salen and Zimmerman, Rules of Play
    • Lasseter, Principles of Traditional Animation Applied to 3D Computer Animation
    • Reynolds, Flocks, Herds, and Schools: A Distributed Behavioral Model
    • Crawford, The Art of Computer Game Design, Chapters 1-4
    • Ernest W. Adams, Will Computer Games Ever Be A Legitimate Art Form? (Game Developer's Conference 2001)
    • Henry Jenkins, An Art Form for the Digital Age, Technology Review (Sept.-Oct. 2000)
    • Alexander Seropian, Postmortem: Wideload Games' Stubbs the Zombie
    • Wagner James Au, And He Rezzed A Crooked House
    • Rosalind Picard, Affective Computing
    • Morningstar and Farmer, The Lessons of Lucasfilm's Habitat
    • Dibbell, A Marketable Wonder: Spelunking the American Imagination
    • Parker, Free Play: The Politics of the Videogame
    • Doctorow, Why Online Games are Dictatorships
    • Prensky, True Believers: Digital Game-Based Learning in the Military
    • McKenzie Wark, Digital Allegories
    • McKenzie Wark, GAM3R 7H30RY
    • Castronova, Arden Slows Down, Takes Breather
    • Ian Bogost, Procedural Rhetoric
    • Malaby, Parlaying Value
    • Dibbell, The Life of the Chinese Gold Farmer
  • Course Outline: See for a three-course outline.


  • Catalog Description: Machinima is filmmaking within a realtime, 3D virtual environment, often using videogame technologies. This course combines real world filmmaking techniques with animation and game development to produce short films. Students will focus on gaining a historical and theoretical perspective of machinima as emergent gameplay through screenings and readings the first part of the course. In the second part of the course, teams of students will work to write, produce, edit, and screen their own short machinima production.
  • Level: Upper level undergraduate or graduate.
  • Format: Weekly lectures/screenings and computer lab sessions.
  • Discipline: Interdisciplinary course in digital arts practice, film production or computer science / game development. Also of interest to film & media studies students.
  • Prerequisites: Students should have some experience with at least one of the following: digital video editing, computer game modification or scripting, film or television scriptwriting, digital animation, or digital audio recording and editing.
  • Deliverables: One short critical essay on an existing machinima production, a script/storyboard assignment, a rough cut and a final version of a team built machinima production.
  • Readings:
    • Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture, Chapter 3: Social Realism, by Alex Galloway
    • Persuasive Games, Chapter 3: Ideological Frames, Chapter 4: Digital Democracy, by Ian Bogost
    • "Interaction and Narrative" by Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern
    • "Documentary Games: Putting the Player in the Path of History" by Tracy Fullerton
    • Half-Real, Chapter 4: Fiction, by Jesper Juul
  • Selected Screenings:



  • Catalog Description: This course introduces students to the basics of video editing by using found footage to create their own "mash-up" videos. Although found footage in cinema has a considerable history, recently developed "Web 2.0" tools for viewing, creating and distributing digital video - like YouTube and free online video editing tools - have brought this art form into the mainstream. This course will explore several themes like re-editing, the cut-up, culture jamming, viral video, remix culture, and open source cinema. This work will be contextualized within a context of readymades and appropriation within the history of art, copyright, fair use, scratch video, the creative commons, participatory culture, the public domain, subversion, and détournement. Free non-linear video editing tools like Jumpcut and Jahshaka will be taught, as well as video conversion and acquisition tools like SUPER, VConvert,, Keepvid, Orbit, FlashGet, and TubeTV. Through found footage, editing, and juxtaposition, this course provokes an interest in civic engagement and meaningful social change.
  • Level: Flexible: undergraduate or graduate.
  • Format: Studio with screenings, critiques, and discussions.
  • Discipline: This course is intended for film production and digital media students, but is also of interest to studio art, electronic music and visual studies students.
  • Prerequisites: None.
  • Deliverables: One video editing project utilizing subtitles, one video editing project juxtaposing audio and video from separate sources, and one final video project of the student's choosing.
  • Readings:
    • Cory Doctorow, Littler Brother. Chapter: Happy Meal Toys versus Copyright (2008).
    • Lawrence Lessig and Kembrew McLeod, Freedom of Expression: Resistance and Repression in the Age of Intellectual Property (2007).
    • Lawrence Lessig et al. Cut/Film As Found Object In Contemporary Video (2004).
  • Selected Screenings:


Migrant Mother, Retouched

  • Catalog Description: This studio photography course is an introduction to digital imaging, with an emphasis on students becoming proficient users of Adobe Photoshop. Through a series of exercises, students will learn how to digitize and convert images, composite and combine images, add and work with text, use selections and layers, and manipulate or correct color. Other skills include masking methods, dodging and burning, scanning techniques, quality factors in a digital image, automated workflows, and preparing images for the internet and for print output. This course will work to transformation student experiences through a gradual and constructive learning experience. Discussions, readings and critiques will help students gain a critical context for the politics, power, and history of image manipulation in culture.
  • Level: Undergraduate.
  • Format: Studio with critiques and discussions.
  • Discipline: Studio art and digital media.
  • Prerequisites: None.
  • Deliverables: Weekly assignments with group critique, one final project of the student's choosing.
  • Readings:
    • Martin Evening, Adobe Photoshop CS4 for Photographers: A Professional Image Editor's Guide to the Creative use of Photoshop for the Macintosh and PC (2008).
    • W. J. T. Mitchell, What Do Pictures Want?: The Lives and Loves of Images (2006).
    • Nicholas Mirzoeff, The Visual Culture Reader (2002).



  • Catalog Description: This course teaches students the basics of building electronic and interactive objects through a "Do It Yourself" approach: we will use found and discarded electronic devices to build projects and learn about electronics in the process. This course emphasizes that end-users (consumers) should be encouraged to re-design, build, and hack their own technologies in ways not initially designed. You will learn the basics of electronics and reverse engineering: this is the first step in democratizing the engineering process, and it provides a new range of objects and devices to incorporate into your life and creative practice.
  • Level: Flexible: can be offered as undergraduate or graduate.
  • Format: Weekly studio/lab sessions. Field trip to locate discarded technologies.
  • Discipline: This course is intended for studio and media arts students, but is also of interest to those that want to explore the intersection of computation, physical materials, manufacturing processes, traditional crafts, and design.
  • Prerequisites: No prerequisites are required. Some interest in one of the following topics is encouraged: electrical engineering, traditional crafts, industrial design, educational technology, mechanical engineering, open-source/do-it-yourself development, circuit bending, or electronic music.
  • Deliverables: One written exam on the basics of electronics, one project where an existing technology is modified or "circuit bent" to produce audio, and a final project that takes a piece of consumer electronics and repurposes it for some specific application of personal relevance to the student.
  • Readings:
    • Reed Ghazala, Circuit-Bending (2005).
    • Tom Igoe, Making Things Talk: Practical Methods for Connecting Physical Objects (2007).
    • Forrest M. Mims, Getting Started in Electronics (1983).


  • Catalog Description: This course teaches students how to use microcontrollers to build creative projects that sense and interact with the physical world. This course explores development with microcontrollers, which are small computers specifically designed to interact with the physical world, with various sensors to construct interactive environments and responsive artwork/performance systems. The focus of this course will be on building projects that incorporate the Arduino microcontroller, a relatively easy to use microcontroller system. The course also provides a theoretical context for interactivity within the context of art, and introduces students to recent developments in human-computer interaction in new musical instruments, the visual and spatial arts, engineering, science, and other areas of interest.
  • Level: Upper level undergraduate or graduate.
  • Format: Weekly studio/lab sessions with critiques.
  • Discipline: This course is of interest to interactive and media arts students, but is also of interest to those that want to explore the intersection of computation, physical materials, interactive systems, ubiquitous computing, human computer interaction and product design.
  • Prerequisites: Students are strongly encouraged to have some previous experience with electronics. Interest in one of the following topics is encouraged: electrical engineering, traditional crafts, industrial design, mechanical engineering, informatics, open-source/do-it-yourself development or robotics.
  • Deliverables: One written exam on the basics of microcontrollers, one microcontroller sensor/actuator assignment, and a final microcontroller project designed by the student.
  • Readings:
    • Massimo Banzi, Getting Started with Arduino (2008).
    • Tom Igoe and Dan O'Sullivan, Physical Computing: Sensing and Controlling the Physical World with Computers (2004).
    • Forrest M. Mims, Getting Started in Electronics (1983).



  • Catalog Description: This course encourages a hands-on approach to exploring the history of media technology by working directly with obsolete or forgotten media forms. This course methodology is devoted to media archaeology, a materialistic approach to historical research that emphasizes the importance of lesser-known and obsolete communication technologies. From the telegraph to vinyl records, and from the typewriter to the 8-track tape, this course strives to rethink the newness of contemporary media by exploring how new cultural phenomena continually rely on encounters with the old. This course will include an introduction to scholarly research in media archaeology, examine how technologies become media, explore how to utilize and contextualize archival materials, and investigate the process of analyzing technologies within a complex network of personal, cultural and social contexts. The goal of this course is to introduce students to the resources and skills for producing rigorous academic research in historical forms of media.
  • Level: Upper level undergraduate or graduate.
  • Format: Hands-on studio and seminar.
  • Discipline: This course is intended for media studies and media arts students, but is also of interest to individuals in visual studies, film theory and communication studies.
  • Prerequisites: Introductory course in Art History, Film Theory, Communication Studies, Informatics or Comparative Literature.
  • Deliverables: Students complete two assignments during the course where they prepare historical and critical reports on specific pieces of obsolete media. These reports are put online in a public Wiki. As a capstone assignment, students will physically locate a artifact of "dead" media and prepare a detailed research paper on the historiographical, social and cultural contexts of the technology. Students are encouraged to also give a working demonstration of the technology to the class as part of their research.
  • Readings:
    • Charles Acland (ed.), Residual Media. (U Minnesota Press, 2007).
    • Friedrich Kittler, Gramophone, Film, Typewriter (Stanford, 1999).
    • Bruce Sterling, The Dead Media Project: A Modest Proposal and a Public Appeal. Available online at
    • Dead Media Project - Working Notes. Available online at
    • Siegfried Zielinski, Deep Time of the Media: Toward an Archaeology of Hearing and Seeing by Technical Means (MIT, 2006).


  • Catalog Description: This seminar explores key texts in contemporary media theory, and provides the student a background in critical theory of media. Readings start in German Critical Theory, move into McLuhan, Virilio, Baudrillard, and transitions into digital media theory. Topics include media as an object of knowledge, the Frankfurt School, media as culture, information machines and humans, and race and media.
  • Level: Upper level undergraduate or graduate.
  • Format: Seminar.
  • Discipline: This course is intended for media studies students, but is also of interest to individuals in media arts, visual studies, film theory, critical theory, intellectual history, and communication studies.
  • Prerequisites: Introductory course in Art History, Film Theory, Communication Studies, Informatics or Comparative Literature.
  • Deliverables: Students will each give a presentation on one reading. One term paper of 15 pages.
  • Readings:
    • Theodor Adorno & Max Horkheimer, "The Culture Industry" and "The Culture Industry Revisited"
    • Walter Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction"
    • Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology (Harper)
    • Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media (MIT Press)
    • Mark Poster, ed., Jean Baudrillard: Selected Writings (Stanford UP)
    • James Der Derian, The Virilio Reader (Blackwell)
    • John Johnston, ed., Friedrich Kittler: Essays (G and B Arts International)
    • Jay Bolter and Richard Grusin, Remediation (MIT Press)
    • Wendy Chun and Thomas Keenan, eds., New Media, Old Media (Routledge)
    • T. Adorno and M. Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment (Continuum)
    • Sherry Turkle, Life on the Screen (Simon and Schuster)
    • Rey Chow, Primitive Passions (Columbia UP)
    • Lynne Joyrich, Re-Viewing Reception: Television, Gender, and Postmodern Culture (Indiana Press, 1996)
    • Raymond Williams, Television (Routledge UK)


  • Catalog Description: This course provides a historical overview of Twentieth Century art that confronts, uses and expands communication and media technologies. This course is based on the premise that art that incorporates technology is not a marginal activity, but central to the histories of art and visual culture. Works investigated include works or writings by Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, Jack Burnham, Billy Klüver, Nam June Paik, Gary Hill, Bill Viola, and early work in computing and networked technologies. This course will delve into the historiography of why this work, especially computational projects, have not been included in most canons of art history. The history of interdisciplinary collaborations between artists, engineers and computer scientists will also be explored. For media arts students, this course can be thought of as a history of their discipline and for art history students it can be thought of as an introduction and analysis of contemporary communication technologies in the history of art.
  • Level: Upper level undergraduate or graduate.
  • Format: Seminar.
  • Discipline: This course is intended for art history, media arts, or media studies students, but is also of interest to individuals with an interest to visual studies, film theory, critical theory, intellectual history, and communication studies.
  • Prerequisites: Introductory course in Art History, Media Arts, Film Theory, Communication Studies, Informatics or Comparative Literature.
  • Deliverables: Students will each give a presentation on one reading or project. One term paper of 15 pages.
  • Readings:
    • Burnham, Jack. Beyond Modern Sculpture: The Effects of Science and Technology On The Sculpture of This Century, (New York, G. Braziller, 1968).
    • Hall, D., Fifer, S. J. (eds). Illuminating Video: An Essential Guide to Video Art. (Aperture, 2005).
    • Hultén, K.G. Pontus. The Machine as Seen at the End of the Machine Age, (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1968).
    • Kac, Eduardo. "Foundation and Development of Robotic Art," Art Journal, 56:3 (Fall 1997): 60.
    • Klüver, B., J. Martin, et al. Some More Beginnings: An Exhibition of Submitted Works Involving Technical Materials and Processes. (New York, Museum of Modern Art and Technology. 1968).
    • Wilson, Stephen. Information Arts: Intersections of Art, Science, and Technology, (MIT Press, 2002).


  • Catalog Description: This course provides a historical and theoretical overview of techniques and concepts that led to the emergence of cinema in the 19th Century. Topics include shadow performances, the camera obscura, magic lanterns, the Phenakistoscope and Zootrope, phantasmagoria performances, peep devices like the Kinetoscope and Mutoscope, and photographic locomotion studies by Muybridge and Marey. The emergence of cinema will be placed in reference to other interconnected social and technical contexts of the time including the diorama, the parlor, and vaudeville. This course investigates the role of the observer and technologies of representation in terms of historically specific, interlocking fields of practice, power, and knowledge and not as simply a precursor to film.
  • Level: Upper level undergraduate or graduate.
  • Format: Seminar.
  • Discipline: This course is intended for film studies or media studies students, but is also of interest to animation, visual studies, film theory, communication studies and history students.
  • Prerequisites: Introductory course in Art History, Media Arts, Film Theory, Communication Studies or Comparative Literature.
  • Deliverables: One hands-on assignment where students construct a Zootrope strip animation and a Thaumatrope disc. Students will each give a presentation on one reading or project. One term paper of 15 pages.
  • Readings:
    • Abel (ed), "Encyclopedia of Early Cinema"
    • Braun, "Picturing Time: The Work of Etienne-Jules Marey (1830-1904)"
    • Burch, "Life to Those Shadows"
    • Ceram, "Archaeology of the Cinema"
    • Crary, "Modernity and the Problem of the Observer"
    • Crary, "Techniques of the Observer. On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century"
    • Elsaesser, "Early Cinema: Space, Frame, Narrative"
    • "Film Before Film" (VHS Video, 1986), Kino Video
    • Gunning, "An Aesthetic of Astonishment: Early Film and the [In]Credulous Spectator" in Viewing Positions, ed. Linda Williams (New Brunswick: Rutgers, 1995)
    • Gunning, "The Cinema of Attractions: Early Film, Its Spectator and the Avant-Garde"; in Early Film ed. Thomas Elsaesser and Adam Barker (British Film Institute, 1989)
    • Gunning, "Vienna Avant-Garde and Early Cinema",
    • Gunning, "Phantasmagoria: The Technology of the Moving Picture as a Model for Human Perception",
    • Gunning, "Illusions Past and Future: The Phantasmagoria and its Specters",
    • Gunning, "From Kaleidoscope to the X-Ray: Urban Spectatorship, Poe, Benjamin and Traffic is Souls (1913)" in Wide Angle, Vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 25-63.
    • Hankins & Silverman, "Instruments and the Imagination". Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1995
    • Musser, "The Emergence of Cinema: The American Screen to 1907 (History of the American Cinema, Vol 1)"
    • Stafford, "Devices of Wonder: From the World in a Box to Images on a Screen" (Getty Trust Publications: Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities)


  • Catalog Description: This course addresses key issues in the philosophy of digital media, and builds upon existing scholarly research in film, literature, and media studies to analyze in what ways digital media is "new" and what ways it is not. This course is critical of envisioning digital technologies as being completely new: it instead looks at digital modes of representation in parallel to other forms, and how digital technologies transform, remediate and revert earlier media practices. Topics include the materiality of media and information, media specificity and convergence, identity theft and virtual identities, recent discourse regarding posthumanism, and the blending of biotechnology and information technology. This seminar examines digital media technologies from a transdisciplinary perspective, and proposes the development of a critical analytical framework for relating digital media to other areas of academic discourse. This course investigates the close interrelationships among technology, culture and communication in order to form a solid foundation for scholarly digital and media production.
  • Level: Upper level undergraduate or graduate.
  • Format: Seminar with weekly online wiki postings.
  • Discipline: This course is intended for media studies and digital media students, but is also of interest to informatics, digital humanities, visual studies, film, and communication studies students.
  • Prerequisites: Introductory course in Computer Science, Informatics, Art History, Media Arts, Film Theory, Communication Studies or Comparative Literature.
  • Deliverables: Weekly wiki postings on assigned readings. Students will each give a presentation on one reading or project. One term paper of 15 pages.
  • Readings:
    • Donna Haraway, Cyborg Manifesto.
    • Andrew Feenberg, Transforming Technology: A Critical Theory Revisited.
    • Félix Guattari, Machinic Heterogenesis.
    • Mark Poster, What's the Matter with the Internet? (Minnesota).
    • Jean Baudrillard, Selected Writings (Stanford).
    • Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture (2006).
    • Geert Lovink, Zero Comments Blogging and Critical Internet Culture (2007).
    • Friedrich Kittler, Literature, Media, Information Systems (G & B Arts International)
    • Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media (Cambridge, MIT Press, 2002).
    • Eugene Thacker, Biomedia (University of Minnesota Press, 2004).
    • Thorburn & Jenkins (eds.) Rethinking Media Change. The Aesthetics of Transition.
    • Wardrip-Fruin, N. and N. Montfort, (eds.) The New Media Reader. (Cambridge, MIT Press. 2003).


  • Catalog Description: Artificial Life: The Quest for Living Technologies is an upper level undergraduate or graduate seminar that investigates the intersection between the biological and non-biological by exploring the history of human-created living systems. We will examine real and imagined technologies, including: Prometheus, golems, clock metaphors for the universe, the 'spark of life' and animal electricity, thinking machines and Turing tests, self-regulating systems and cybernetics, cellular automata, self-organizing systems and emergence, swarm intelligence, computer viruses, art using biological organisms, telepresence, stem cell therapies and cloning, patenting organisms, video game AI, the cyborg soldier, biorobotics, and biomimetic technologies.
  • Level: Upper level undergraduate or graduate.
  • Format: Weekly seminar, with online discussion / postings.
  • Discipline: Interdisciplinary course in literature and history of technology. Also of interest to informatics, media studies, gender studies, or electronic/digital arts students.
  • Prerequisites: Must be an upper level undergraduate or graduate student.
  • Deliverables: Short reading responses, one critical essay, and a final project relating to some aspect of artificial life, historical or contemporary.
  • Readings:
    • Aldini, Giovanni. Galvanic Experiments performed by John Aldini On the Body of a Malefactor, 1803. (London, 1803).
    • Bloch, Hayim, The Golem; Legends of the Ghetto of Prague. Translated from the German by Harry Schneiderman. (Blauvelt, NY: Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1972).
    • Capek, Karel. R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots): A Fantastic Melodrama. Trans. Paul Selver. (New York: Doubleday, 1923).
    • Deleuze, Giles and Felix Guattari. "November 28, 1947: How Do You Make Yourself a Body Without Organs?" A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. Brian Massumi. (Minneapolis: U of MI P, 1987).
    • Gray, Chris Hables ed., The Cyborg Handbook, (New York: Routledge, 1995).
    • Haraway, Donna. The Haraway Reader, (New York: Routledge, 2004).
    • Hayles, N. Katherine. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies In Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1999).
    • Holland, Owen. "Grey Walter: The Pioneer of Real Artificial Life," in Christopher G. Langton and Katsunori Shimohara, eds., Artificial Life V (Cambridge, Mass., 1997).
    • Huxley, T.H. "On the Hypothesis That Animals Are Automata, and Its History" (1874), in Collected Essays (New York, 1894-98).
    • Morus, Iwan Rhys. Frankenstein's Children: Electricity, Exhibition and Experiment in Early-Nineteenth-Century London. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998).
    • Morus, Iwan Rhys. "Galvanic Cultures: Electricity and Life in the Early Nineteenth Century." Endeavour 22.1 (1998): 7-11.
    • Offray de La Mettrie, Julien. Man a Machine and Man a Plant, trans. Richard A. Watson and Maya Rybalka (Indianapolis, 1994), 71-72 (first published as L'Homme-machine in 1747).
    • Penny, Simon. "The Pursuit of the Living Machine," Scientific American, (September 1995): 216.
    • Riskin, Jessica. "The Defecating Duck, Or, The Ambiguous Origins of Artificial Life," in Critical Inquiry Summer 2003, Vol. 20, no. 4, 599-633.
    • Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. 1818. (New York: Norton, 1996).
    • Standage, Tom. The Turk: The Life and Times of the Famous Eighteenth-Century Chess-Playing Machine (New York, 2002).
    • Vaucanson, Jaques. Le mécanisme du fluteur automate (Paris, 1738).
    • Wood, Gaby. Living Dolls: A Magical History of the Quest for Mechanical Life (London, 2002).

Garnet Hertz, 2008