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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Postgraduate Course: Interdisciplinary Creative Practices 1 (ARCH11086)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course aims to provide a programme of study for its students to develop skills and knowledge in creative practice across disciplines. Recognising the key role of convergent information and communications technology (ICT) in the facilitation of interdisciplinary modes of research and practice such technologies are treated as core to the course, including computer-aided design, interactive media, network and social technologies and other digital media. Students will become conversant with appropriate technologies and research methods and with the creative practices and social contexts within which such technologies are developed and applied. The course will impart practical skills within a framework of a critical engagement with interdisciplinary practices. The course will consist of a group project undertaken within the context of a structured programme composed of readings, seminars and group discussions. The group project will be organised to ensure each working group represents a range of disciplinary interests and competences, with group learning an important aspect of the student's experience. Projects will be designed to maximise students exposure to and engagement with various disciplinary frameworks and methods in order to prepare for their interdisciplinary individual projects in the second semester.
Course description 1. Introduction
An introduction to the course, presenting its rationale, an overview of the individual units and an outline of expected outcomes and assessment. Students will be asked in advance to read C.P. Snow's Two Cultures and Lisa Jardine's revisiting of this seminal text in order to prepare for a discussion about the character and potential value of interdisciplinary practice and research.
Snow, C.P. 1959. Two Cultures, Cambridge University Press.
Jardine, Lisa, 2009. C. P. Snow's Two Cultures Revisited

2. Creativity and AI
Harold Cohen once said of his painting program AARON "... it generates objects that hold their own more than adequately, in human terms ... If what AARON is making is not art, what is it exactly, and in what ways, other than its origin, does it differ from the 'real thing?' If it is not thinking, what exactly is it doing?" These last questions infect discourse about computers and creativity, or indeed computers and intelligence. To answer them we need a clearer idea of what "intelligence" and "creativity" are. What we can be reasonably clear about is what computation is, what computers are actually doing. We can characterise computational processes and consider their potential, and whether they have limits. But this seems to leave much still open. Cohen also said "I don't regard AARON as being creative... That isn't currently possible... On the other hand I don't think I've said anything to indicate definitively that it isn't possible. Many of the things we see computer programs doing today would have been regarded as impossible a couple of decades ago; AARON is surely one of them." Can we ever get beyond this pragmatic agnosticism?
Cohen, H. Colouring Without Seeing: A Problem in Machine Creativity.

3. Digital Arts
The computer is pervasive throughout our culture, mediating our experiences and capacity to interact with the world. Artists have engaged the computer and the cultural tropes that have facilitated its development and been affected by computers since they first appeared. This module will look at historical and contemporary examples of artist's work that critically engages the mediality, conceptual principles and social affects of computing.
Bush, V. 2003 (1945).As we may think, in New Media Reader, eds. Wardrip-Fruin and Montfort, MIT Press

4. Music and sound
As our culture has globalised, our understanding of music has been both normalised around Western conventions of high, experimental and popular music, and expanded, through exposure to the musical traditions of diverse cultures. However, since the 1970s there have been other developments in the areas of listening, soundscape and the way we hear the world around us. This seminar will engage in a discussion of modes of listening, listening behaviours, listening technologies and the interdisciplinary nature of sound as a tool for thinking and doing.
Ingold, T. 2007. "Against Soundscape", in Autumn Leaves: Sound and the Environment in Artistic Practice. Carlyle, A. ed. Paris: Double Entendre. Available online at:
5. Code and meaning
What is the relationship between code and meaning. Can code be poetry? Does meaning require authorial intent or can it be the outcome of automatic systems? To what degree does meaning depend on shared conceptions of language? What happens when the relationship between signifier and signified is disturbed or broken?
Schafer, J. 2010. Reassembling the Literary, in Schafer, J & Gendolla, P. Beyond the Screen: Transformations of Literary Structures, Interfaces and Genre: Transformations of Literary Structures, Interfaces and Genres, Transcript Verlag

6. Creativity is Creation
The body and the biological world around us is being progressively expanded, augmented and modified. This results in shifts in how we identify ourselves and value life. Key territories of social conflict are to be found here, whether over the power to own the means of food and fuel production or potentially permanent alterations to the human genome. Artists are engaging these issues directly, through working with tissue cultures, genetically modified organisms or bio-synthetic hybrids.
Carlson, R.H. 2010. Biology is Technology, Harvard University Press
Reardon, S. 2011. Visions of Synthetic Biology, Science 333, 1242-3.

7. Performance and performativity
The words performance and performative are often used interchangeably, however they signify different things. Performance is an activity undertaken within the framework of creative practice. The performative is concerned with how certain actions can function to transform the meaning and value of things. How might these two forms of human activity interact to permit the development of new forms of creative practice? Does all creative practice carry within it the potential for the performative?
Parker, A. & Sedgwick, E.K. 1995. Performativity and Performance, Routledge

8. Ludic spaces and surveillance
Gaming can be serious. Social relations are forged within the popular spaces of Second Life and World of Warcraft. Novel forms of entertainment and inscription are developed within the gaming industry that are challenging the popularity of cinema and cultural hegemony of Hollywood. At the same time surveillance and social technologies, from traffic cameras to Google Maps, are mediating our public spaces, establishing systems of control that can operate in more than one direction, rendering civic space as potential game-space.
Mann, S. Nolan, J and Wellman, B. 2003. Sousveillance: Inventing and Using Wearable Computing Devices for Data Collection in Surveillance Environments, Surveillance & Society 1(3),

9. Critical media cultures
This seminar will look at a range of critical perspectives articulating contemporary culture, the objective being to situate different media and disciplinary approaches to creative practice within a diverse set of critical frameworks that facilitate an interdisciplinary appreciation of their potential use.
Benjamin, W. 2008. The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction, Penguin

10. Virtual and the Real
Convergence and simulation technologies have altered the manner in which we make representations and perceive the world. Artists have often sought to produce more convincing verisimilitudes, from Wagner to the latest computer games. What happens when the distinction between the real and the virtual is eroded?
Pickering, A. 1995. The Mangle of Practice: Time, agency and science, Chicago University Press.

11. Network identities
Our lives are now mediated by technological networks that have extended both our social relations and the spaces within which social interactions can occur, with consequent affects upon what we consider agency. How are our identities affected by these changes, how do we constitute ourselves through performative social media? What are the creative potentials of these systems?
Turkle, S. 1997. Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet, Simon and Schuster.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Media and Culture (ARCH11002)
Other requirements None
Additional Costs Project consumables
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2014/15, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Students will be required to contribute to group seminar discussions and to co-lead one seminar presentation, where they will present their group project in progress. The student presentation will represent 20% of their mark. An initial proposal for the group project will carry 20%, with 60% for the final project outcome.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completing the course students should be able to
a determine and develop appropriate strategies for working creatively across disciplines, allowing them to advise on the applicability of working methods and ICT systems in a variety of professional contexts
b critically evaluate various disciplinary working methods and technological systems and their applicability to particular tasks
c analyse project requirements and determine solutions for working across disciplinary boundaries employing a range of relevant ICT systems
d demonstrate understanding of the cultural and creative value of interdisciplinary working methods
e develop and present multimedia artifacts and installations that engage interdisciplinary working practices and knowledge domains
f assess the value and applicability of working methods and technological systems in specific contexts
g critically assess general and specialist literature relevant to interdisciplinary creative practice and research
Reading List
Attali, J. 1985. Noise: The Political Economy of Music Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Augoyard, J.F. and Torgue, H. 2005. Sonic Experience: A Guide to Everyday Sounds, Montréal: McGill-Queen's University Press.

Bergson, H. 1998. Creative Evolution, Dover.

Biagioli, M and Galison, P. 2003. Scientific Authorship, Routledge.

Bichlbaum A. and Bonanno, M. 2008. Yes Men Fix the World. DVD. Dogwoof Pictures.

Biggs, S. 2008. Transculturation, Transliteracy and Generative Poetics.

Biggs, S. and Leach, J. 2004. Autopoiesis: novelty, meaning and value. Artwords London.

Block, F. and Wenz, K. P0es1s, Aesthetics of Digital Poetry, Hatje Cantz.

Borges, JL. 2003 (1941). The Garden of Forking Paths, in New Media Reader, eds. Wardrip-Fruin and Montfort, MIT Press.

Bush, V. 2003 (1945).As we may think, in New Media Reader, eds. Wardrip-Fruin and Montfort, MIT Press

Clark, A. 1997. Being There: Putting Brain, Body and World Together Again. MIT Press.

Chion, M. 1994. Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen, New York: Columbia University Press.

Cox, C. and Warner, D. eds. 2004. Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music, New York: Continuum.

Critical Art Ensemble. 2001. Digital Resistance: Explorations in Digital Media. Autonomedia.

Cytowic, R. E. 1995. Synesthesia: Phenomenology And Neuropsychology - A Review of Current Knowledge, PSYCHE, 2(10), July 1995.

Debord, G. 1992. Society of the Spectacle. Rebel Press.

Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F. 2004. A Thousand Plateaus, Continuum

Dodge, M and Kitchin, R. 2001. Atlas of Cyberspace, Addison Wesley.

Dourish, P. 2001. Where the Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction. MIT Press.

Douzinas, C. and Nead, L. 1999. Law and the Image. University of Chicago Press. Electronic Book Review,

Eco, U. 1989. The Open Work, Harvard University Press.

Eco, U. 1986, Travels in Hyper-reality, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Feigenson, N. and Spiesel, C. 2009, Law on Display. New York University Press.

Foucault, M. 1991. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Penguin.

Greene, R. 2004. Internet Art. Thames and Hudson.

Halbert, D. J. 2005. Resisting Intellectual Property, (2005) Routledge.

Haraway, D. J. 1995. Cyborgs and symbionts: living together in the new world order, in C. H. Gray (ed.) The Cyborg Handbook, xi-xx, New York: Routledge.

Hayles, N.K. 1999. How We Became Posthuman, University of Chicago Press

Heidegger, M. 1977. The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays. trans. W. Lovitt. Harper and Row.

Heim, M. 1987. Electric Language: A Philosophical Study of Word Processing, Yale University Press, New Haven.

Huizinga, J. 1955. Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture, Beacon Press.

Ihde, D. 2009. Postphenomenology and Technoscience, SUNY Press

Kearns, P. 1998. The legal concept of art, Hart, Oxford.

Kittler, F. 1999. Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, Stanford University Press.

Krueger, M. 2003 (1977). Responsive Environments, in New Media Reader, eds. Wardrip-Fruin and Montfort, MIT Press.

Landow, G. P. 1994. Hypertext as collage-writing, in P. Delany, and G. P. Landow (eds.), Hypermedia and Literary Studies: 150-170. MIT Press.

Latour, B. 2001. Reassembling the Social, Oxford University Press.

Leach, J. 2003. Creative Land: Place and procreation of the Rai Coast of Papua New Guinea, Berghahn Books.

Lindley, C. 2005. The Semiotics of Time Structure in Ludic Space As a Foundation for Analysis and Design, in Game Studies, Volume 5, number 1, accessible at

Lyotard, J-F. 1986. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Manchester University Press.

Maturana, H. and Varela F. 1991.Autopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the Living, Springer.

McClean, D. 2007 Trials of Art, Ridinghouse.

McLuhan, M. 1962. The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man, University of Toronto Press.

McLuhan, M. 1964. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Milburn, C. 2002. Nanovision: Engineering the Future, Duke University Press.

Minsky, M. 1985. The Society of Mind, Simon and Schuster.

Mitchell, W. J. 1995. City of Bits: Space, Place and the Infobahn. MIT Press.

Moravec, H. 1988. Mind Children: The Future of Robot and Human Intelligence, Harvard University Press.

Popper, F. 2007. From Technological to Virtual Art. MIT Press

Poster, M. 1992. The Mode of Information. Polity Press.

Rabinow, P. 1999. French DNA, University of Chicago Press.

Rabinow, P. 2004. A machine to make the future: bio-tech Chronicles, Princeton.

Ruskin, J. 2003. True and the Beautiful in Nature, Art, Morals and Religion. Kessinger Publishing.

Schubert, K. & McClean, D. 2002 Dear Images: Art, Copyright and
Culture, (2002) Ridinghouse.

Scott, R. 1982. Bladerunner, Warner Home Video

Stone, A. R. 1995. The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age, MIT Press.

Sutherland, I. 2003 (1963). Sketchpad: A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System, in New Media Reader, eds. Wardrip-Fruin and Montfort, MIT Press.

Tenzer, M. 2006. Analytical Studies in World Music: Analytical Studies in World Music, Oxford University Press.

Turing, A. 2003 (1950). Computing Machinery and Intelligence, in New Media Reader, eds. Wardrip-Fruin and Montfort, MIT Press.

Varela,J.V., Thompson, E & Rosch, E. 1993. The Embodied Mind. MIT Press

Webber, S. 1996. Mass Mediauras: Essays on Form, Technics and Media, Stanford University Press.

Wiener, N. 1950. The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society. Houghton Mifflin.

Winograd, T. and Flores, F. 1998. Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design. Addison Wesley.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Keywordsinterdisciplinarity creativity art practice critical convergence media transliteracy
Course organiserDr Sophia Lycouris
Tel: 0131 221 6291
Course secretaryMs Jacqueline Plumer
Tel: (0131 6)51 5739
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