Conceptual Strategies I

ART 410

Conceptual & Information Arts, Department of Art, San Francisco State University - Fall 2012

T/Th: 9:10-11:55am, ROOM: FA538

Instructor: Carlos Castellanos Office: FA539 Office hrs: M/W 4-5pm and by appointment

Course Description

This course is a general introduction to new practices in digital media and an exploration of strategies for generating ideas and producing new work. Our focus is both on process and product, developing and understanding various approaches by which to generate ideas, and carrying these ideas through to their concluding visual result.

Art 410 is a combination of studio work informed by presentations, research, experimentation and critical discussions. We will investigate the complex webs of influences of art of technology, culture and everyday life, in order to understand more fully how each is formed and informed by the other. Students will learn new digital tools, work in new digital environments and build new ways to approach ideas and make are dfferently.

Art 410 is one of two foundation classes for Conceptual Information Arts. This semester is an exception. Under normal circumstances,Art 410 is taken concurrently with Art 412. Severe budget cuts within SF State has made this option impossible for this semester. For those of you who are considering an concentration in Conceptual Information Arts ,or who are interested in taking Art 412 and other classes we offer in CIA, make an appointment to talk with me.

Resources, references and works in Art 410 come from:

  • Video, film, sculpture, printmaking, photography, painting, interactive works, web works
  • Avant-garde movements including Dada, Surrealism, Futurism, Fluxus, Situationists, Conceptual Art;
  • Culture jamming, Interventionist and radical spatial practices, new cartographies, social networking practices;
  • Cultural theory, semiotics, literature, urban studies.

Goals & objectives:

  • Attain a functional level of mastery in the software presented, or further develop the level of skills already in place.
  • Develop a strong criticality through engaged class discussions of work and articles, critical writing and reading, viewing and discussions of work by those in the class and by artists in the world.
  • Develop research skills and incorporate research into art studio practices.
  • Expand existing knowledge of art and artists, learning about new arenas that often bridges art, technologies and other disciplines.
  • Extend studio strategies, approaches and sources of ideas.

Art 410 involves studio/lab projects, readings, presentations and writing. Class meets twice a week, for 3 hours a session, and there is an additional 3 hours of outside class work expected per week. Projects involve: developing basic digital skills (or building on those already present), researching selected topics for individual projects or class presentations, assigned readings and blogging responses comments to articles, creating studio work, fully participating in class discussions. Readings will be handed out in class, or available on-line. All course materials, such as syllabus and assignments, will be located on-line on the class web site.


  • Complete all work on time.
  • Participate fully in all studio critiques, discussion and exercises.
  • Arrive to class on time.
  • Bring any problems, questions or circumstances that hamper full participation in class to the attention of the instructor as soon as circumstances arise.

Course Requirements (for an A):
1. Regular attendance. Attendance is kept for the class throughout the semester. Three unexcused absences will be an automatic "F". Two late arrivals = one unexcused absence.
2. Active participation in class discussions & critiques.
3. Complete all assignments on time. Full credit will be reduced by ½ grade for each class an assignment is late.
4. Keep an ongoing blog of ideas, notes from class discussions and readings, screening and viewing work in class. The notations should reflect your wrestling with class material to make ideas your own.
5. Attend a minimum of three community art events such as openings, art exhibitions, lectures related to class along with short (blogged) written responses to each.
Examples: Art, Technology & Culture Collquium (ATC), Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) and GAFFTA

Overall, grading is in accordance with University standards outlined in the SFSU Bulletin - Grading Policy which can be found at:

Specific criteria for grading in this class for excellence (A):
1. Maintaining a constant and growing blog reflecting a consistent and focused engagement with ideas, works, discussions and other related subject matters and class exchanges.
2. Completing all assignments on time.
3. Actively participating in and contributing to all class discussions, critiques, lectures and presentations.
4. Maintaining a consistent and timely presence.
5. Taking risks in projects and ideas, pushing past what you already know and discovering new territories, terms, skills, connections. Ideas that fail often teach more than ideas that succeed.
6. Attending a minimum of 3 outside art events and posting a written response to each on your blogs.

Projects: 50% Attendance/Participation: 50%

e-books SFSU library links:
Photoshop CS5 Bible, Dayley, Lisa DaNae.
Illustrator CS5 Bible, Alspach, Ted.

Lab Fees
The lab fee for this course is $30 and must be paid by the last day courses can be changed. If you remain enrolled in this course past the add/drop deadline, a charge for the above amount will appear in your University Account. Notification will be sent by the Art Department Office when your University Account has been charged. Lab fee payments can be made at One-Stop Student Services (SSB 103) or the Bursar’s Office (ADM 155). Unpaid balances in the student university account can affect registration, graduation or other campus services.

If you have any problems, such as physical disabilities, that require special attention or accommodations, please contact me directly.


Note: subject to change

Important Dates:
M 9/3: Labor Day - University Closed
M 9/10: Last day to DROP a course, request AUDIT
M 9/24: Last Day to ADD a course
W 9/26: Lab fee charges posted to student accounts
T 10/23: Last Day to Request CR/NC Grading Option
M 11/12: Veterans' Day - University Closed
W 11/14: Art Department Withdrawal deadline
M 11/19 - Su 11/25: Fall Recess - University Closed
M 12/17: Last day of classes
T 12/18 - Su 12/22: Final Exams

Date Theme/Topic Tuesday Thursday
Week 1

T - 08/28

Th - 08/30

Introduction to course Introduction to course: content, schedule, projects, etc. 

Homework: Research Art-Tech - Steve Wilson Research Links
Search through the links and find an area of interest. Blog 3 entries of artists/work of interest. Chose 1 for present to class.

Talk/Presentation: What is conceptual art? What's the CIA?

Homework:Search through the links and find an area of interest. Blog 3 entries of artists/work of interest. Chose 1 for present to class.

As We May Think by Vannevar Bush (Seminal article from 1941 by the man who directed the Manhatten Project, designing the atomic bomb. Predictions on the state of technological change from the pov of 60+ years ago). Due 09/06

Week 2

T - 09/04

Th - 09/06

Working with chance Introduction to chance operations

Online Research:
Artists working with chance/generative art/John Cage/Fluxus

Blog short entry on an artist, work or ideas you find on generating art by and through systems.

Artists working with chance

Video Screening:
"I've got nothing to say and I'm saying it": Portrait of John Cage

Assignment 1: Art by chance - Due 09/13
Partners assigned by chance- Meet & discuss projects

Discuss Vannevar Bush reading

Week 3

T - 09/11

Th - 09/13

Culture Jamming Intro. to Illustrator
- Working with vectors
- Anchor points/paths
- Tools

Exercise: Logo Heist

• Art by chance:
First chance instructions posted to blog
Short consultation time with chance partners

• Logo Heist - illustrator workshop 1
- Search online for the history of a logo (see:AT&T, Aunt Jemima, The Brett Girl, Camels Cigarettes, Kellogg, Radio Shack, others?). How does the face of the brand change through time and why?
- Bring in a digital file of any logo you want to change/heist.
- Make some preliminary sketches of changes to the logo and post to blog.

- Semiotics - The Language of Signs
- Artists jamming culture

• Art by chance:
Your chance project due. Post results, with your recipe to your blog. Switch with partners and carry out their chance operations recipe.

Week 4

T - 09/18

Th - 09/20

  • Continue with logo heist.

Chance projects:
Presentations and discussions

Everyone should have their projects documented on their blogs. Documentation should include: the instructions/recipe and the work itself.

Week 5

T - 09/25

Th - 09/27

Augmented Body • Intro to Photoshop
- Bit depth/ bit map/ color modes
- Resolution
- File formats
- Color Modes
- Review of working environment and tools

• Discussion of assignment topic

Assignment 2: Augmented Body Self Portrait - Due 10/16

• Online Research: Augmented Body - art and artists
- Suggested key words: augmented body, extended body, hybrid body, prosthetics

Suguru Goto (
Stelarc (http://
Orlan (

Art/Artists/Augmenting bodies

- 3 artists working with body augmentation
- Short response: List questions you think we should be asking about these changes taking place around, within and to us.

Post to your blog

Be prepared to present them in class on Tues. (10/9)

How is technology changing our bodies?
What should we be thinking about?
What is "human"?

Week 6

T - 10/02

Th - 10/04

Augmented Body • Photoshop Part 2:
Working with images
- Layers
- Image adjustment
- Masks (see Tutorials: Quick Masks &
Three other masks (Layer mask, Pixel Mask, Clipping Mask))

Sensory Substitution:
Seeing With Your Tongue

Art/Artists/Augmenting bodies (cont'd)

Wearables/affective computing:
Whisper[s] project:
MIT Affective Computing Group:

Week 7

T - 10/09

Th - 10/11

Augmented Body • Photoshop Part 3:
Working with images
- Batch processing (tutorial)
- Review of Photoshop questions/issues

Student Presentations & Discussion: Art/Artists/Augmenting bodies (selections from blogs)

Readings (due 10/25):
Sol Lewitt:
Sentences on Conceptual Art
Paragraphs on Conceptual Art

Jack Burnham:
Systems Aesthetics

Homework: These articles were written in the 1960's. What relevance do they have today? Blog a short response. Chose 1 point Lewitt mentions and 1 point that Burnham mentions that resonate with your ideas of art and artists and culture to present and discuss in class in 2 weeks (10/25).

Online Research:
Learn more about conceptual art and systems art -- what they are/are not, some artists and their relevance to contemporary art practices and ideas.

Contemporary and historical examples of systems and cybernetic arts.

Video: Rachel Armstrong on self-generating/self-repairing architecture

Lisa Jevbratt

Simon Penny: Petit Mal

Andy Gracie

James Seawright

Slides on Systems Art (pdf)

Continue working on Augmented Body assignment

Week 8

T - 10/16

Th - 10/18

Augmented Body Augmented Body Self Portrait: Student Presentations and discussions

Guest lecturer: Susan Aldworth

Augmented Body Self Portrait: Student Presentations and discussions (continued)

Overview of Conceptual Art & Systems Art

In-Class exercise: Mapping a System

Online Research: Learn more about systems theory & cybernetics

Using the following working definition of what a systems is: A set of components that are related in some manner. A set of variables selected by an observer (Ashby, 1960)

Look for good examples of what a System is.
Bring in 3 examples images/diagrams of systems and brainstorm how they may be utilized in an arts context

  • One must be considered living, organic or "natural"
  • One must be abstract/conceptual (i.e. not physical)

Post to your blog by Tue Oct 23 and present in class


  • look around your bedroom, neighborhood, city. Look for what might be a system by looking at elements and trying to discern relationships between them
  • don't worry too much about figuring out how the system works in any great detail. Don''t worry about what the individual parts are doing, look at the system as a whole and think of ways you can use the output and/or ways inputs can affect it. Think of it as a black box

Systems Theory
What are Cybernetics & Systems Science?
Cybernetic & Systems Concepts
Slides from lecture

Assignment 3: Mining New Territories - Due 11/6

Week 9

T - 10/23

Th - 10/25

Conceptual Art & Systems Art Talk/Presentation:
Overview of Conceptual Art & Systems Art (continued)

Mapping a System: student presentations

Student presentations on conceptual art & systems art / discuss readings (selections from blogs)
Week 10

T - 10/30

Th - 11/1

Conceptual Art & Systems Art Cybernetics & Systems Theory Discuss progress of Assignment 3 - Bring your lists and/or diagrams
Week 11

T - 11/6

Th - 11/8

Mining New Territories Mining New Territories: Student Presentations and discussions Mining New Territories: Student Presentations and discussions (continued)

Final Project: Improbable Monument - Part I: Due 11/27, Part II: Due 12/11

Introduction to Google Earth, GPS & Augmented Reality

Reading (Due 11/15):
"Seeing the Past in Present Tense", Paula Levine (pdf)

Blog a short response to the article:

  • What is the focus of the article?
  • what are 2-3 key points?

Bring your notes, the article and your ideas to the discussion.

Theory of the Dérive
Paula Levine: The Wall The World
Mark Skwarek: Border Memorial
C5: The Landscape Initiative
The Names Project: AIDS Quilt
Maya Lin: Vietnam War Memorial


Example Student Projects:
Michael Nardo
Jerry Adams
Greg Watt
Amal Khan
Philip Yango

Week 12

T - 11/13

Th - 11/15

Monuments, public space and public memory Exercise: Monument Analysis & Intervention - Due 11/27

Google Earth, GPS & Augmented Reality exercises

Discuss reading

Discuss Monument Analysis

Google Earth, GPS & Augmented Reality exercises

Week 13

T - 11/20

Th - 11/22

Week 14

T - 11/27

Th - 11/29

Monuments, public space and public memory Monument analysis & intervention: student presentations Monument analysis & intervention: student presentations (continued)

Intro to SketchUp

Tutorial Videos
Google Building Maker (take buildings from Google Earth and bring them into SketchUp)

Week 15

T - 12/4

Th - 12/6

Monuments, public space and public memory Discuss progress on final projects

Discuss cultural events

Open Lab

Discuss progress on final projects

Discuss cultural events

Open Lab

Week 16

T - 12/11

Th - 12/13

Final Project Presentations Erica Carcelen
Alyssa Fong
Philipp Gann
Barbara Lindberg
Arturo Najera
Jeffrey Yip
Louis Banks
Jasmin Española
Sarah Day Hanson
Hava Lynn Miller
Patricia Stillman
Amy Zhu


Assignment 1: Chance & Indeterminacy

Indeterminate, Not fixed in extent, character, etc…not limited to fixed values
"As far as consistency of thought goes, I prefer inconsistency." --John Cage

DUE 09/13

Art schools encourage people to develop their own personal aesthetics, skills, working processes and visual vocabularies. Often these goals are achieved by making step by step choices, such as one color over another, or one shape over another, in order to slowly build a set of skills and language that become familiar and "natural." This assignment explores another kind of approach to working -- that of indeterminacy.

One strong advocate of this system was John Cage who used the I Ching [1] to make decisions in his working process. Cage’s goal was to separate his working process from his own personal set of aesthetics using this system that was independent from his own personal aesthetic decisions.

Numbers inspired Cage. Numbers were the essence of chance composition, to which he devoted himself for four decades, from the early 1950's through the final number pieces. With endless inventiveness, Cage discovered repeatedly new ways to assign compositional parameters to numbers and then use the I Ching to generate the numbers, first by tireless coin tosses to determine hexagrams, later through a computer program that simulates the coin toss.

From Cage and Counting: The Number Pieces by Mark Swed

Although this system seems opposite to conventions of art making, it proves to be a useful exercise to increase awareness of our own personal aesthethics and the extent to which our decisions rely on them.Fall

Make a piece of art that comes about as the result of a chance operational system you design. This could be as simple as tossing a coin, picking numbers out of a hat and assigning it a color. You can work in any medium you wish - drawing, painting, watercolor, photography,audio, performance, digital or analog.
The challenge is to design a system that leads to the creation of a piece of art without any input from your own personal aesthetics making decisions for you.

Here's your goal: All decisions at every juncture should be determined by chance.

You can make the system as simple or complex as you wish, however once you set up your system, don’t deviate from it. Write down your system/recipe and follow it to the letter.

Then trade recipes with your chance partner and carry out their system.

Post both recipes and both artworks on your blog.

Post a short summary of your experience.

Here's a few examples:
A. Paint by chance
->You decide you will make a painting on a 8x10 inch paper. Each side of the paper is named -- north, east, south or west. You will paint for 10 minutes.
- You chose four colors (red, blue, yellow, green), each written on a slip of paper, and put into a hat.
- You determine you’ll work with two shapes (circle and a square), and write on paper and put into another hat.
- You sit back, pour a cup of tea. The hard work is done.
- You call your friends and without really telling them what you are doing, ask then which they prefer--a circle or a square/ north, east, south or west/red,blue,yellow,green.
----------->>>>>>>>>>> Art by chance
- sign it - post it on Craig's List with a price - wait for the sale.

Another example:
B. Photography by chance
-> You decide you are going to photograph using an alarm system. You set an alarm (on your cell phone/pager or some other device) that goes off periodically through the day. Each time it goes off, you reset it without looking at when it will go off again. Each time the alarm goes off you take a picture of whatever is in front of you.
-------------------->>>>>>>Art by chance

For the assignment:
a. the medium you will work in. (If you are really psyched, use a chance system to decide that for you!) .
b. the method by which you will generate your chance operations.
c. the system you will use to make decisions.
d. Write out your system like a recipe so that your partner can follow it and repeat your actions.
e. Make a piece of art using your system.
f. Exchange your recipe with your partner and make a piece of art using his/her system.
g. Document your art from both projects (picture/scan) in digital form and post it along with your instructions to your blog. Also post your summary of the experience. Where were your edges?

For class presentations -
- Show both chance projects from your blogs
- Bring in your work in physical form (if you can carry it).

For class discussion: (blog your thoughts)
- How this working process compares to the way you usually work? What was your experience letting decisions be made by chance? What was it like to make art using someone else's recipe?
- What do you think about the work you've made? Does it have "aesthetic appeal"? Did it suggest other ideas or ways to work?
- What was it like to work collaboratively?

Screening in class:
"I have nothing to say and I'm saying it" - Life and work of John Cage

Out of class links:

On John Cage:
4 min.33 sec:
John Cage quotations:
Bio and work online
On John Cage

Artists using chance:
Lee Walton - A contemporary artist using chance:
City Systems

Fluxus links:
Background & history
Fluxus debris - manifestos, writings, ideas, rants
37 short Fluxus films

Generative Art:
art by code
Generative art works

Art by code (Generative art)
Shirley Shor and interview
Jennifer Steinkamp
Ken Rinaldo
Camillie Utterbach

[1] An ancient Chinese system of prediction determined by the toss of coins or other implements to determine particular hexagram patterns which conotated particular interpretations.


Assignment 2: Augmented Body

DUE 10/16

Technology is rapidly extending and augmenting the body's capacities and capabilities rapidly diminishing the boundaries between technology and the body. In effect, these changes are rewriting what it means to be" human." These changes raise many complex and provoking questions relating to ethics, society, culture and day to day relationships. Some argue that technology is moving faster then the society systems in which we live.

This project aims to open questions and instigate ideas for discussion and work relating to the many ways in which our concept of the human body is changing by asking you to reimagine yourself differently.

How would you redesign your bodies if you had the opportunity to do so? What choices would you make? What ways would you extend, alter, augment eliminate characteristics, functions, capabilities you were born with?

Using Photoshop, redesign your body to reflect the changes you envision and P.P.T.O (Push Past The Obvious)

• Collect images from any source -- your drawings, print or online.
• Make sketches or collages of ideas and make notes on how these changes alter your current capabilities.
• Take a photo of yourself that you will use as the before and after prints.

• Make two color prints - Before and After (minimum size: 8.5x11" but could be larger)

• Accompany your piece with an artist statement that describes your redesign idea and details of the changes you imagine as part of your new extended body. Address- How it works, what you now capable of, what are some advantages and potential difficulties? Think about these changes in terms of social, political, spiritual contexts. How would this change how you see yourself and your relationship to others?

• Find two links of artists working with technology and the body or find two links of some new innovations in the field and post them to your blogs with a short descriptions and urls.

Related sites:

Steve Mann:


Ken Goldberg: & (Teleactor)

Suguru Goto:

Pamela Z: &

cat ears brain waves:

colour sensor:

transgenic dog with sea anemones genes to glow in the dark:

MIT's Hugh Herr:

Sensory Substitution:
Seeing With Your Tongue


Assignment 3: Mining New Territories

DUE 11/6

Contemporary art practices draw from a wide range of subjects and materials to influence, instigate and inform what artists do. Traditions and conventions no longer hold the same kind of sanctions on restricting the territories and boundaries of art — what art is and what it art is not, or what art's subject matters should be. In the spirit of having a wide range of choices to make, the purpose of this assignment is to instigate new territories from which you will draw ideas and use in making work.

The goal is to think broadly. Consider everything in your daily life as potential sources - how your spend your day, your routines, your thoughts or dreams, the decisions you make and how you make them, the routes you take in walking home, what you carry in your pockets, how your order the top of your desk, the weather, bus tickets, ATM receipts, any social/ economic/ political/ institutional/ religious/cultural forces you are subject to. Consider areas of scientific research such as neuroscience, biology, psychology, complexity theory, systems theory, etc. Nothing is out of bounds.


1. Brainstorm: think broadly/ list madly
Ideas emerge at all times. Decide on a system by which to keep these ideas together (eg. Slips of paper kept in your pocket, and collected into one paper bag at night or kept in a box; the back of a notebook; your hand and arm and then which are then xeroxed at the end of the day…Whatever!)

2. Organize your lists by some system of categories
Categories organize your growing archive of territories and give a kind of shape to relationships that may exist among them. Begin with the following categories, but feel free to alter them as your lists grow and evolve. You will find that the categories may not be mutually exclusive, and you may be able to create relationships between and among them.



• SITUATIONS/CIRCUMSTANCES (eg., waiting for a bus, a call or a letter; walking home late at night alone; paying bills; getting a busy signal on the phone or becoming entangled in automated phone systems, etc.)

• NATURAL SYSTEMS OR FORCES (eg. hurricanes, wind, reflections of light, fire, gravity, etc.)

• SOCIAL SYSTEMS (eg. Institutional systems such as education, law, health; social networks; etc.)

Pick 2 entries from your collection and make a piece of art. Analyze it; try to determine relationships (either real, theoretical or impossible). Don’t worry too much about figuring out how the system, phenomenon or situation works in any great detail. Don’t worry so much about what individual parts are doing, look at the system as a whole and think of ways you can harness it to make art. Consider making a system diagram, showing these relationships.

Your piece can be in any material (photographs, drawings, diagram, installation, ceramic…) or it can be in proposal form. We will talk more about proposals in class.



System Diagramming:



Final Project: Improbable Monument

Part I: Due 11/27, Part II: Due 12/11


Part I: Monument Analysis & Virtual Intervention

Monuments are markers of time in place. Monuments function as windows to cultural values by pointing to the moments in history, people and places a culture chooses to remember and publicly mark. The location of the monument and relationship to surrounding spaces, the materials used, its history and reasons for its construction are all important elements that contribute to the power (or impotence) of the monument.

Monuments are not fixed in memory or meaning. Sometimes history is lost and forgotten and monuments lose their 'currency', or the settings of monuments may change, thereby shifting and changing their context and meaning.

The purpose of this assignment is to investigate a monument using your skills of analysis, semiotics and visual acuity. Chose a monument of your choice to focus on and figure out how this monument, like all other objects, conveys meaning. Your 'readings' of the monuments will indicate how well these sites work and how successful they are as cultural reminders of the past, moments in history, people or events commemorated.

There are three steps to this exercise: analysis, intervention and documentation of your intervention.

Step 1 - Analysis
Chose a monument that is located in a place that is convenient for you to visit and spend time there. The monument does not have to be an artwork per se, but must contain some symbolic or representational content or be of some historical importance (e.g. The Eifel Tower, CBGB). Using lists, analyze the monument you've chosen. Look at the characteristics of the monument and the site. Observe, record and write up a summary of your observations.

Think both denotatively and connotatively. For example, what does granite represent? Marble? Bronze? If the monument is not kept clean, what does that signify to you? If the monument is difficult to access, what does that suggest?

Consider the following points in your analysis:

  • Why you chose this monument.
  • What it looks like in physical terms: How large is it? What is it made of?
  • Where is it located?
  • What is the history of the monument? Why was it originally constructed?
  • What does it commemorate? Is it accessible? Has the site changed since the monument was built?
  • How do the surroundings contribute to your experience of the place? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you see around you? What objects, buildings, signs or people are near it? Are you relaxed? Distracted? Are these feelings, sites and smells consistent with the ideas expressed by the monument?

Do some research. Look at maps, books on famous sites in SF, the Bay area, search online, talk to people, check the library here at SFSU and the SF Public library which has an excellent collection of old city photographs, maps. Get to know that place you have chosen.

Step 2 - Intervention
Now, using what you have learned about this place, design and carry out an intervention.

Background: Interventions are public actions that take place within public spaces and are designed to draw attention to particular issues or circumstances. They can be performances that address political issues, such as war, abortion, inequality or AIDS, or they can be actions, such as handing out flyers, putting up billboards, posting pamplets or posters. They can also be "virtual". That is they use technologies such as GPS and augmented reality to virtually alter the space or one's experience of it. For this assignment you will be doing a virtual or "mixed reality" intervention.

Interventions intervene. They reclaim, redefine or insert issues or ideas within public spaces. Some actions are illegal, while others are not. You are to keep your interventions legal.

Task: The investigation you just completed should reveal some new understanding about your chosen site as a sign of cultural currency. Now, given what you have learned, come up with an intervention that that "speaks" to some aspect of what you have found. For example, your intervention can add information to the site so that some aspect of history is added or questions are raised about the purpose or intention of the monument.

Using one or more of the technologies we have discussed in class (Google Earth, GPS, AR) perform a virtual intervention. Alter some public monument or ones experience of it. You can for example, virtually alter it by writing on it or adding virtual people to it. You can make a Google Earth "tour" of the surrounding areas with photos or video and an audio narrative that gives an "alternate history" of the space.

Your interventions should not destroy or permanently disfigure the monument or site (since it will be virtual, this should not be an issue). If you get arrested, you don't get credit. Your interventions need to take place within the public site you have chosen.

Step 3 - Documentation
You have carried out a public art action and have joined the community of artists who use public spaces and everyday life as material! One of the more challenging aspects to this way of working is developing a way to document your action. As part of this exercise, you are asked to design a page that documents your intervention piece.

Document your intervention with a digital still or video camera. Take screenshots and/or export video from whatever tools you used (Google Earth, Layar, etc). You will put all of this on your blog and also design a page in Photoshop & Illustrator that documents your ideas, what you did and why, and the evidence of your intervention. The page should include images of the site showing the original monument and the results of your action(s).

Design the page and the blog post(s) so that they stand in as evidence of your action(s). Remember, this documentation is the only thing that remains of that work so the images and text have to clearly convey your intentions and results.

The documentation should be one page.

Please bring in your digital file to class for the critique. We'll view the work projected large.


Part II: Proposal for an Improbable Monument

Today more than ever before, the meaning of our monuments depends on our active role in turning them into sites of memory and critical evaluation of history as well as places of public discourse and action. This agenda is not only social or political or activist, it is also an aesthetic mission.
- Krzystof Wodiczko -

Proposal Guidelines (pdf)

Within the rhythms of a city, monuments become like a strobe light: they have the capacity to freeze moments of time, capturing the vectors of our experience for our examination and contemplation. Monuments have the capability to pass on, from generation to generation, memories and events that have transpired, and thereby contribute to the creation of a collective cultural consciousness.

The goal of this project is to rethink and reformulate the monument as public markers of memory by coming up with new ideas about their form and place in our contemporary society.

Create a *proposal* for an improbable monument. It can be "improbable" because of what it commemorates, how it works, the materials it's made out of, where it's located. There could be many reasons why or how the monument can be improable or unlikely to happen or happen in the form you are proposing. This is a call to imagine what could or should be part of a public cultural consciousness. What could or should be remembered or commemorated? How could or should monuments appear or function in everyday life?

How to proceed:

  • Brainstorm: List at least 6 possible ideas & post them to your blog. No censoring.
  • Research ideas: What is a "monument?" Public space? Examples of conventional monuments? Examples of unusual monuments? Artists working with cultural memory?
  • Do some preliminary sketches and post to your blog.
  • Chose one idea to develop.
  • Using any or all of the applications from the semester (Photoshop, Illustrator, Google Earth) or other applications.
  • Relate your monument to a site. Use Photoshop or Google Earth to show what it looks like within the site you have chosen.
  • Write up your proposal with images of your improbable monument, and post to your blog.
  • Develop your presentation in Powerpoint. (We will go over PowerPoint in class)

Thoughts & Suggestions:
• You are not limited by resources.
In reality, we may be thwarted by limited resources. However, in this situation, money doesn't stop you from imagining the impossible and improbable, and coming up with innovative ways of making these ideas visible to others.

• Develop your ideas to the fullest
Do some investigations into costs, technologies, other comparable projects, interview people who may know about aspects of the project, etc. Use any and all resources available to you, be that the telephone book, the SFSU library or the net.
Your grade will be based on:
1. Research and development of your ideas . (1/3)
2. Technical quality of your work, (1/3)
3. The clarity and quality of your presentation. (1/3)



General tutorials <--- START HERE

Making Panoramas

Miscellaneous tutorials:

This single tutorial includes everything you will need to get started including;

· Add placemarks

· Add paths

· Add polygons

· Organize your places with folders

· Embed images in your balloons

· Embed YouTube videos in your balloons

· Save your project and share with others

KML Tutorial and Documentation (learn about the file format used in Google Earth & Google Maps)


Hoppala (AR development platform)
Layar(AR browser/mobile app)
Junaio(AR browser/mobile app)
Market St, 1899(neat example of AR)


GPSRecorder for iPhone

Record My GPS Position (iPhone)

GPS Logger for Android

Tutorial Videos
Google Building Maker (take buildings from Google Earth and bring them into SketchUp)


{ Due 9/6 }
As We May Think by Vannevar Bush (Seminal article from 1941 by the man who directed the Manhatten Project, designing the atomic bomb. Predictions on the state of technological change from the pov of 60+ years ago)

{ Due 10/25 }
Sol Lewitt:
Sentences on Conceptual Art
Paragraphs on Conceptual Art

Jack Burnham:
Systems Aesthetics

Homework: These articles were written in the 1960's. What relevance do they have today? Blog a short response. Chose 1 point Lewitt mentions and 1 point that Burnham mentions that resonate with your ideas of art and artists and culture to present and discuss in class on 10/25.

{Due 11/15}:
"Seeing the Past in Present Tense", Paula Levine (pdf)

Homework: Blog a short response to the article:

  • What is the focus of the article?
  • what are 2-3 key points?

Bring your notes, the article and your ideas to the discussion.

Student Blogs

Louis Banks
Erica Carcelen
Jasmin Española
Alyssa Fong
Philip Gann
Sarah Day Hanson
Barbara Lindberg
Rebecca Hava Lynn Miller
Arturo Najera
Patricia Stillman
Jeffrey Yip
Amy Zhu



You Suck at Photoshop: a great Photoshop tutorial series!

Tutorials on Masks in Photoshop: Quick Masks &
Three other masks (Layer mask, Pixel Mask, Clipping Mask)

Batch Processing Tutorial


General tutorials <--- START HERE

Making Panoramas

Miscellaneous tutorials:

This single tutorial includes everything you will need to get started including;

· Add placemarks

· Add paths

· Add polygons

· Organize your places with folders

· Embed images in your balloons

· Embed YouTube videos in your balloons

· Save your project and share with others

· Image & photo overlays (place images/photos in Google Earth)

· KML Tutorial and Documentation (learn about the file format used in Google Earth & Google Maps)M/span>


Hoppala (AR development platform)
Layar(AR browser/mobile app)
Junaio(AR browser/mobile app)
Market St, 1899(neat example of AR)


GPSRecorder for iPhone

Record My GPS Position (iPhone)

GPS Logger for Android

{{ Safety Guidelines}}
All students are supposed to sign a Safety Guidelines Form.

Please read the content in the two links below and then sign the form that will be passed out in class

SFSU Ergonomic Safety Program
How to Sit at a Computer