During my tenure as an instructor in the Kinetic Imaging department at Virginia Commonwealth University, I taught Sound Communications I + II, Videogames + Procedural Media, Introduction to Computer Techniques, Web Design for Media Artists, and Game Design Studio. The following is a selection of student work from 2013–2015. Each section describes a separate assignment (with excerpts from each assignment prompt).
And of course none of this would be possible without my talented students.
Cassettes are small, portable objects, so they can be swapped from person to person. They can also be ‘overdubbed,’ or erased and overwritten with new sounds. We’ll exploit both features to make a series of works.
Students are asked to purchase cheap handheld cassette recorders and a number of secondhand cassettes. During class, they exchange tapes then spend thirty minutes recording whatever found sounds they can. They continue this process until each tape circulates throughout the class.
The students use their re-recorded tapes as the source material to construct a 3- to 4-minute sound piece. They also turn in their 'tape objects,' which they decorate in vintage mix tape style.
The track below assembles each student's work into a single digital mix. The composers are: J. Barber, C. Beran, S. Bowman, S. Chung, M. Fletcher, L. Hanes, Z. Huang, O. Leclair, M. Lowman, and D. Young.
Choose a brief clip from a film that has a sound design you find interesting. Create a visual score for the film's sound design. The idea is to create an artistic representation of the selected sound design without using language (i.e., images only).
Students study film Foley and visual scores and combine them in a visual project.
In class, we looked at some rad ways to make weird, unexpected, and glitchy things happen by ‘bending’ or ‘corruptng’ file data. I’ve shown you the tools, now it’s time to make something interesting on your own.
Inspired by Rosa Menkman's A Vernacular of File Formats, students create one of three glitches: fifteen 'image bends,' a 1- to 2-minute video of custom ROM corruptions, or a hacked Super Mario Bros. ROM. They use a combination of tools—Photoshop, Audacity, videogame emulators, Vinesauce ROM Corruptor, and Hex Fiend—to generate their finished works.
Provide the player a series of interesting choices. Are there alternate routes through your game? Can different players get different results? If you answer ‘yes,’ you are likely on the right track.
Make a piece using only appropriated/sampled sound.
Students construct a work of sonic appropriation using no loops, no effects, and no samples longer than three seconds.
This is it, my friends, the final assignment. This is culmination of all that you’ve worked toward, the website that your children will one day ask you about, the stuff of legend, your one small shot at IMMORTALITY.
Students learn HTML, CSS, and JS from the ground up and build their own custom artist portfolio sites.