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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Postgraduate Course: Art and Digital Culture (HIAR11106)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines the widespread impact of digitality on the art world. It will highlight how digital media has changed art production and explore the key theories that have conceptualised this change. Through analysis of case studies drawn from digital culture (e.g. vaporwave, normcore, anonymity) as well as examples of contemporary art, such as, for example, Amalia Ulman, Jordan Wolfson, and Arthur Jafa, we will reflect on a range of wider issues, such as art and luxury, cyberspace, technocapitalism, the post-medium condition, cultural fantasies of technology, and race, gender and the digital.
Course description This course examines the impact of digitality on the art world. It takes its lead from Gilles Deleuze's periodizing essay 'Postscript on the Societies of Control' (1990), which suggests that we have entered a new social and cultural situation with the rise of the digital, where networked technologies control us as much as we control them.

We will consider some key aesthetic and cultural forms that have emerged in this period of Control, such as for example, Vaporwave, Anonymity, Post-Internet Art, Internet Memes, Social Photography, Normcore. These will be explored in a way that ties them to the digital world and its salient economic and political aspects.

Through in-depth analyses of individual works of art, we will consider how these aesthetic forms have been negotiated and repurposed by contemporary artists. Possible artists we will study include, for example, Amalia Ulman, Jordan Wolfson, Eva and Franco Mattes, Jon Rafman, Arthur Jafa, and Camille Henrot. In the process of examining these artists and artworks we will consider the impact of digitality on a number of art historical categories, including the avant-garde, materiality, authenticity, and criticality. We will also reflect on a range of wider issues, such as art and luxury, cyberspace, technocapitalism, the post-medium condition, cultural fantasies of technology, and race, gender and the digital.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  21
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1. A formative oral presentation in groups of c. 20 minutes on an artwork case study accompanied by a handout and slides, and submission of a short essay plan (c. 300 words) with a working bibliography.«br /»
2. A summative written research essay of 4,000 words. 100%
Feedback Advice on preparing for the presentations and feedback on essay plans will be provided in advance.

Students will be able to arrange a one-on-one meeting with me individually to discuss feedback on seminar presentations and formative versions of their essay plans and working bibliographies.

The summative essays will be returned to the student within the standard time frame with comments explaining the mark and with suggestions for future improvement. Students will have the opportunity to meet with me individually to receive and discuss essay feedback.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Develop a critical understanding of art after the internet, post-internet art, and digital culture.
  2. Critically evaluate the scholarship on art after the internet, post-internet art, and digital culture and existing theoretical frameworks for their analysis.
  3. Develop new approaches to the topic through contextual analysis and visual analysis of artworks and generic cultural forms.
  4. Collaborate in a group on the research, analysis, and evaluation of contemporary artworks, and present this research using text and visual aids.
  5. Develop and produce in written form a reasoned critical evaluation on art and digital culture that integrates close analysis of texts, themes, and relevant discourse.
Reading List
Daniel Birnbaum and Michelle Kuo (eds.), More Than Real: Art In The Digital Age (Cologne: Buchhandlung Walther König. 2018).
Lauren Cornell and Ed Halter (eds.), Mass Effect: Art and the Internet in the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge, MA; London: MIT Press, 2015).
Jonathan Crary, 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep (London; New York: Verso, 2013).
Melissa Gronlund, Contemporary Art and Digital Culture (London; New York: Routledge, 2017).
Eva Respini (ed.), Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2018).
Trebor Scholz (ed.), Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory (London; New York: Routledge, 2012).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Generic cognitive skills:

Students will develop critical analysis, evaluation, and synthesis; identify, conceptualise, and define new and
abstract problems and issues; develop original and creative responses to problems and issues; critically review,
consolidate, and extend knowledge.

Research and enquiry:

Through seminars, in-class activities, and independent research, students will develop highly- honed skills in
research and enquiry to identify and creatively tackle problems, and to seek out opportunities for learning.

Working with others:

Students will exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in group activities; take responsibility for own work; work in a peer relationship with fellow students.

Personal and intellectual autonomy:

Students will use their personal and intellectual autonomy to critically evaluate ideas, evidence and
experiences from an open-minded and reasoned perspective, stimulated by analytical skills developed in close
textual readings and independent research for the summative assignment.
Course organiserDr Ian Rothwell
Course secretaryMrs Anna Johns
Tel: (0131 6)51 5740
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