MAC 250 Topics in Media Theory and Practice

This hybrid media theory and practice course directly engages the interrelationship between discursive and creative production. Classes will include screenings, lectures, discussion, and hands-on experiences in producing and collaborating on digital media projects. Topics courses may be repeated once with a different topic for credit.

Game Design Workshop

This course will introduce students to the foundational concepts, methods, and tools used in designing games. Students will produce four playable games during the semester. In creating these games, students will learn how to ideate, prototype, playtest, refine, and complete analog games, and will also experiment with tools for digital game design. While the course will introduce students to industry-standard tools and practices, it will also encourage students to question, push, and even break the boundaries of conventional games and game design. Readings, lectures, and in-class exercises will explore the expressive and political possibilities of games as an art form. No previous programming or game design experience is required.

Digital Tools for Radical Change

This theory and practice course takes a critical look at the use of media communications and social media in resisting oppression and organizing for social change. Readings, class discussions, and creative assignments will engage a variety of case studies in which digital and social media were used to shape debates, advance causes, build networks, and encourage civic participation, including #BlackLivesMatter, @realdonaldtrump, and the ACLU's Mobile Justice app. Throughout, emphasis will be placed on the art of communication as the single most important aspect of effective community organizing, activism, and advocacy. Students will put theory into practice by conceptualizing, executing, and evaluating a digital advocacy campaign via social media. Their work will be supported by skills-based workshops and class visits with Los Angeles media activists and social media influencers, which will help equip them with practical tools and insight into digital and creative practices for achieving specific goals. This course is being linked to a Cinematheque series and will include a few mandatory screenings on Thursday nights. 

Remix Media and Culture Jamming

What is Remix media? Remixing, reusing, and reworking separate media elements from different sources to produce an entirely new work with a different meaning. What is Culture Jamming? Coined by Oxy alum '82 Marc Dery, "culture jamming" is an anti-consumerist tactic used to disrupt or subvert dominant media culture, including (but not limited to) corporate advertising. This theory/practice course takes a critical look at the history of remix culture—from Dada to Machinima—along with the gamut of aesthetic, political, and social concerns addressed by remix artists and musicians and the reception (and even appropriation) of their work by the corporate entertainment industry. Students will put theory into practice by producing their own remix projects including a subvertisement and remix video. We will also explore issues around copyright and fair use in the sampling of both commercial and independently-produced works.

Public Media and Alternative Exhibition Strategies 

For over 25 years Anne Bray and her Los Angeles organization FREEWAVES have created public media art events that bring diverse audiences and independent media artists together in dialogue on current issues in nontraditional, community-focused exhibition contexts. This hands-on course will engage students in theoretically and practically exploring past precedents and future possibilities for innovative and people centered media curation and exhibition. Students will work with Bray to conceptualize and realize alternative public media programming interventions on campus, in Los Angeles, and online, examining critical questions of space/venue, audience/community, and outcome/social engagement.

Mockumentary

This hybrid course blends theory, history, and practice to introduce students to the hands-on technical skills in mockumentary film production. Simultaneous to crafting your own video works, students will investigate the longstanding transnational and political history of mockumentary ranging from Buñuel to Borat. This analysis of mockumentary also proves invaluable in revealing, denaturalizing, and inspiring many of the conventions of documentary realism. Far from being polemical against documentary, this course not only examines how mockumentary can expose the lies and fakery already at work in claims to objectivity but also highlights the authenticity of film artifice.

Media & Social Movements in Los Angeles

This theory/practice course focuses on the relationship between media and social justice struggles in the greater Los Angeles region. Readings, class discussions, and creative assignments will address the use of media tools as a form of local and global resistance against various forms of economic, racial, sexual and gender oppression. Students will learn about the theoretical and material tensions between the global political economy and local grassroots media movements, ranging from Asian American video collectives of the 1970s to the Los Angeles School of Black Filmmakers (a.k.a. L.A. Rebellion film movement) of the 1980s. In the latter half of the semester, we will examine contemporary sites of media activism online, including but not limited to #blacklivesmatter, QWOCMAP, and the Asian American Oral History project. Weekly labs will provide opportunities to explore various media forms and strategies in order to critically analyze why certain platforms have emerged within different movements and what political possibilities still resonate. While labs will focus on audiovisual production and social media, there will be room to experiment with other forms of media resistance including ‘zine-making, comic books, and musical performance (e.g. critical karaoke, flash mobs, etc.). We will be joined throughout the semester by media activists and local community organizers, who will share their perspectives on contemporary struggles and, at times, lead skills-based workshops. The course will culminate in a final project in which students conceptualize and begin to execute a media campaign with a Los Angeles-based community organization. Additional Core Requirement: US Diversity

Credits

4 units

Core Requirements Met

  • Fine Arts