SAMPLE – The Assignment

FINAL ASSIGNMENT: BE REALISTIC, DEMAND THE IMPOSSIBLE

The cyborg is resolutely committed to partiality, irony, intimacy, and perversity. It is oppositional, utopian, and completely without innocence. No longer structured by the polarity of public and private, the cyborg defines a technological polis based partly on a revolution of social relations.
— Donna Haraway

Consider that you are members of a generation that has rapidly become accustomed to a notion of being that increasingly manifests itself primarily online via texting, snapchatting, facebooking, instragramming, twittering, data mining, hacking, blogging, etc. How does your online profile concord with your real life persona? To what degree are you critical of this split presence and if you are, how do you manifest your resistance to the insatiable pull of these extensile apparatuses? How do you negotiate the publicness of the online realm with respect to your privacy? (By the way, Haraway wrote “A Manifesto for Cyborgs” in pre-internet 1984).

What is a utopia? The etymology of the word points to no-place, but literature and political theory point to the place we desire, a situation where perfection has been reached. Does the impossibility of such goal invalidate the striving to reach it? Does the formidable connective capacity of being online constitute a form of utopia?

A blank page is akin to a blank screen. The possibilities are endless (as such, it is in a sense perfect, i.e. utopic). But an online page is also unlike a piece of paper; it can incorporate video clips and sound works and navigational strategies (the latter, within the limits of WordPress). More importantly, it can be updated quasi-instantly and viewed quasi-immediately by anyone anywhere anytime (provided there’s online access of course).

The title of the assignment is a slogan with a lineage in political movements advocating change. You may want to engage with this, but you don’t have to. The phrase is of interest also because it is paradoxical: how could reality become the impossible? Not to mention, what is the impossible? As you might surmise by now, I have a predilection for open-ended prompts. This may be the most enigmatic one thus far. This is in large part a heuristic tactic (enabling a person to discover or learn something for themselves). But there is concreteness despite all this speculative meandering, in fact one could say that in essence this final project is a blank slate that invites you to reflect on your progress over the last year in this class. But it is not only that. It asks you to propel yourself in the future, or to conjure scenarios not yet imagined and give these investigations some form on a web page with the skills you’ve acquired.

Be adventurous, construct your personal utopia.

Be inquisitive, research what is possible.

Be bold, search through uncharted territory.

Requirements:

1) Produce a page on the website for the class (berealisticdemandtheimpossible.com) that responds to the above (all or in part). First you must sign up to WordPress here: signup.wordpress.com/signup/?ref=wplogin (it’s free). You will then get an invite from me to join the class website.

2) Consider that this is a public forum and that it will be permanently archived on the site—it will be joining the list of other class sites linked here: www.uwo.ca/visarts/ourresearch/undergraduate_research.html.

3) You may use any of the material you generated in this course as raw material for your online piece.

4) Duration: not applicable, although if you include video footage or audio work or text content that goes well past the norm, be sure to talk to me about it first.

5) This assignment can be only produced individually.

6) Artist statement must be uploaded on OWL as a doc file with a file name starting with your full name (Last Name[space]First name) followed by an underscore ( _ ) and then the title of your piece (for example: <Allison Jay_Neighborhood Freaks.doc>).

REFERENCES: check Resources on OWL and YouTube class playlist regularly.

 

SCHEDULE

March 17, Intro part 1 (WordPress demo by Jennifer)

March 19, Intro part 2 (+ teacher evaluations)

March 24, virtual class, online consult available

March 26, presentation of concept, production plan

March 31, presentation of work in progress

April 2, work session

April 7, final crit, pizza lunch, course wrap-up

DUE April 7 in class (25% of final grade for Winter term). As usual, submit work into the Assignments section on OWL.

Breakdown of the 25%:

– 25% for technical innovation and sophistication (i.e. production values, incl. DIY)

– 25% for presentation (incl. crit and one page artist statement)

– 50% for artistic merit (incl. concept, coherence, result).

SAMPLE – The Assignment

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