Creative Engagements with Digital Technology

Summer 2015, Tuesdays 12-2:50

Assigned Materials

There are four assigned pieces of media you are required to obtain for this course.

Other materials for the course are either linked here, available through the library website, or will be provided in class. Each week there is a set of assigned materials as well as an optional set of supplementary materials if you want to more deeply engage with the week's topic.

Section 1: Old Media, New Media

May 12: Facing Creativity


Maria Popova, “What is Creativity? Cultural Icons on What Ideation Is and How It Works."
"Lack of Seriousness - The Last Interview with Kurt Vonnegut."
Google, "The Curious Case of Creativity."
Jane Bennett (2001), "Commodity Fetishism and Commodity Enchantment." Theory and Event 5 (1).

In class: Syllabus review. Discussion and benchmarking activity.

May 19: Digital World


Marc Prensky, "Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants."
Sarah Kember and Joanna Zylinska, "New Media, Old Hat." Introduction to Life After New Media.
15 minutes: Browse structure of Wikipedia section on "Digital technology" and record a page of notes with things of interest to you.


Oxford University Press, Not Digital 'Natives' & 'Immigrants' but 'Visitors' & 'Residents.'
Scott Bennett, et al. The 'digital natives' debate: a critical review of the evidence.

In class: Discussion. Activity.

May 26: (Un)transformations and Hybridity


Susan Sontag, On Photography, "In Plato's Cave."
George E. Lewis, Living Algorithms and the Future of Music.
Watch at least two of Raven Kwok’s pieces on Vimeo here (also read the short interview blurbs between them).
Listen to all of Holly Herndon’s LP, Movement. Pay particular attention to the song “Breathe."

In Class: Discussion. In-class activity using Processing.

First reflection paper due via e-mail by 11:59 PM.

June 2: Digitization and Remediation


Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.
Adam Kirsch, "Technology is Taking Over English Departments."
"Mondrian vs Rothko: footprints and evolution in style space." Read & watch the video.
Before you come to class, choose a book on Project Gutenberg that interests you and download it (as a .txt if you can please).



Dirt Directory, formerly "Bamboo Dirt," is an aggregator of tools for working with digital materials.
Many Eyes offers "democratized" visualization tools, where other people can see the way you're visualizing your data.
CartoDB offers easy plug-and-play geospatial visualizations using a simple spreadsheet that converts into a table.


danah boyd & Kate Crawford. "Critical Questions for Big Data: Provocations for a cultural, technological, and scholarly phenomenon." Information, Communication & Society 15(5), 2012.
Jessop Martyn. "Digital visualization as a scholarly activity." Literary & Linguistic Computing 23(3), 2008.
Michael Friendly. "Gallery of Data Visualization: The Best and Worst of Statistical Graphics."
NCSU Libraries DLI Projects and Initiatives, a selection of exemplary digital library initiatives.

In Class: Text mining activity using Voyant.

Section 2: Forms of Digital Creativity

June 9: Games I: Design and Control


Gilles Deleuze, Postscript on the Societies of Control.
Excerpts, Alex Galloway, The Interface Effect (2012).
1.5 hours: Play through “The Stanley Parable.” Experiment with different possible endings (handy chart here if you want to cheat).
Begin playing through Gone Home for the following week - it's ~4 hours for a complete playthrough so you might want to divide your time up.


Kirk Hamilton, The Stanley Parable Turns Video Game Storytelling On Its Head.
Twine tutorial
Twine 2 guide
Handbook of Harlowe syntax (Twine 2 default format)
CSS in Twine 2

In Class: Discussion. Twine activity, part 1: Introduction to Twine.

Second reflection paper due via e-mail by 11:59 PM.

June 16: Games II: Storytelling and Genre

Encounter: The readings have plot spoilers, so you might want to finish the game before you read them.

Finish Gone Home.
"Finally, Gone Home Becomes a Real Video Game." Read the comments.
Ian Bogost, "Perpetual Adolescence."

In Class: Discussion. Twine activity, part 2: Demos & Discussion.

Midterm assignment due via e-mail by 11:59 PM.

June 23: Creative Code


30 minutes: Browse why's (poignant) guide to ruby (exercises optional).
"The Art of Creative Coding."
15 minutes: Play BECOME A GREAT ARTIST IN JUST 10 SECONDS. Andi McClure, Michael Brough.
Loss Pequeño Glazier, "Code as Language."

In class: Discussion. Scratch activity. Final project discussion.


An Educator's Guide to Scratch
Moleman 2 - The Art of the Algorithms.
Miles Klee, The Long, Twisted History of Glitch Art
Iman Moradi, Glitch Aesthetics
Creative Applications

June 30: Social Media, Creative Media


Jean Burgess (2006), Hearing Ordinary Voices: Cultural Studies, Vernacular Creativity and Digital Storytelling. Journal of Media & Cultural Studies 20 (2).
Ben Detrick, "Little Mermaid Goes Punk: Seapunk, a Web Joke with Music, Has Its Moment."
~15-30 minutes: Over the course of the week, create at least 10 short videos using Vine and spend some time browsing your classmate's videos.

In class: Discussion. Vine activity.

Third reflection paper due via e-mail by 11:59 PM.

Section 3: Doing Creative/Digital Work

July 7: Digital circulation: Remix, Reassemble, Redistribute


Andrew MacTavish, "Licensed to Play: Digital Games, Player Modifications, and Authorized Production."
Clayton Counts, "The Beachles."
Excerpts, Lawrence Lessig, Remix (2008).

In class: Discussion. Circulation activity.

Final project proposal due via e-mail by 11:59 PM.

July 14: Creativity, Industry, Marketing


Pierre R. Berthon et al. (2012). "Marketing meets Web 2.0, social media, and creative consumers: Implications for international marketing strategy." Business Horizons 55 (3), 261-271.
Michael Schrage, "Searching for Good Reasons Behind Google Labs' Demise."
15 minutes: Browse Google's "Creative Sandbox" and Facebook's "Creative Labs." For class, record a few observations about what you found similar and dissimilar about these initiatives, in both content and design.

In class: Discussion. Scheduled project meetings.

July 21: Presentations & Cleanup

Final project presentations and peer feedback.

Final reflection paper due via e-mail by 11:59 PM.

July 28: Life After New Media


Sarah Kember and Joanna Zylinska, "Remediating Creativity" from Life After New Media.

In class: Wrap-up discussion, course reflections, final questions about projects.

Final project and group reflections due by e-mail by 11:59 PM on August 1.