Media Studies 93: Fall 2021
Experimental Media Studio

Time/Location: Wednesday, 3:00 - 5:45pm, West Hall Q116

Instructor: Ming-Yuen S. Ma
Phone: x74319

Office + Hours:

• Scott Hall 213
• Tuesday 4:30pm-5:30pm (Zoom)
• Wednesday 2:00pm-3:00pm (in-person)
• Thursday by appt. (Zoom or in-person)
• Use to make an appt.


Course Description
An intermediate production / studio course that engages with media practices outside of the traditional single-channel film or videotapes made for broadcast or screening.  New genres and hybrid media forms including installation, performance, and tactical media are explored through a series of readings, lectures, presentations, and creative assignments in both individual and group projects. This class encourages a critical, creative approach to the medium, non-traditional solutions, and contextualization within the histories and methodologies of performance art, site-specific works, live art, body art, experimental films and video, net art, culture jamming, and other interactive hybrid forms. This course is especially recommended for Media Studies majors who are considering creating a media installation, performance, or other hybrid forms as their Capstone (thesis) project, as well as student in other fields (e.g. Studio Art, Dance, Theatre, Music) who are interested in these and other hybrid media forms.

Students planning to enroll in this course should have taken one of the following courses as a prerequisite: Introduction to Video Art (MS82 or equivalent). Introduction to Digital Imaging or equivalent, and introductory-level studio art course in a relevant genre such as sculpture and photography.


Statement of Student Learning Outcome
By the end of this course, students ideally are expected:
  • To experiment with and become familiar with non-tradition forms of media production and exhibition;
  • To acquire a sense of the historical context of these non-traditional forms, including performance art, tactical media, body art, and others within their own media practices;
  • To understand the concepts of site-specificity, embodiment, duration, detournement, culture jamming, relational aesthetics, and other relevant theories, ideas, and practices; and to be able to test out some of these ideas in short production projects;
  • To be able to work and learn in both individual and group contexts;
  • To develop skills in presentation and critique of their creative projects, both as presenter and critic, and in individual as well as group situations.



Related Goals For The Class

  • To have student produce interesting and challenging work, both for themselves and for their audiences;
  • To promote solidarity rather than competition in the process of learning.


Course Organization

Our course work for the semester is focused on five topics: body, space, time, action, and community. We will normally spend three weeks on each topic. Within this period, I will introduce the topic in the first class with a combination of lecture, presentation of artist projects and documentation, discussion of reading assignments; the second class meeting will be divided into two parts—the first is a student-led session on the topic, where 2-3 students will design a 1-1.5 hrs. class; the second part of the class will be a lab when students can meet individually with the instructor, work in groups, or undergo technical and equipment training. The third class will be a presentation and group critique/discussion of student projects, led by instructor and/or students.

Our class activities will be centered around student projects, reading assignments, in-class screenings and presentations, group and individual critiques, and technical demonstrations. Both individual and collaborative projects will be assigned. Currently there are no in-person field trips and guest speakers planned for the semester due to Pitzer's COVID policy. We may have some Zoom or other virtual events for the class with guest speakers (e.g. media artists, scholars, etc.) depending on funding, scheduling and availability.

Please turn off all phones and mobile digital devices during class. Laptops can only be used for taking notes and for relevant web searches; no emailing, texting, and other activities unrelated to this class. These and other diversions are not acceptable during class time, and will lower your grade. 

Course Requirements
1. Attend all classes
2. Participation in class discussions and group critiques
3. Completion of all class projects



Attendance and participation of all classes is required. Do not miss class or arrive late! If you miss class 3 times without a proper excuse, (e.g. a doctor's note if you are sick) you fail the class. Absences must be cleared by me before or after (in case of emergencies only) the class you missed in order for it to not affect your final grade. Attendance is determined by when I take roll.

Class Participation
Your active, well-prepared participation in class discussions is essential to creating a dynamic (i.e. not boring!) learning environment. Although you will not receive a letter grade for class participation, it will figure into your final grade based on my observations.

We may study sexually explicit, political, and otherwise challenging material in this course. These are not included for shock value, but are legitimate investigations of controversial subject matters in media. You are certainly encouraged to explore difficult and complex subject matters in your work, and you should be prepared to consider these issues intellectually and emotionally. Our class is a safe space in which students can express their beliefs and opinions. You always have a voice, but please be respectful of others as well. Abusive language and behavior are not be tolerated. Open-mindedness is encouraged!

Class Assignments and Projects

Students will complete a class project for each topic, except for the one they are teaching the student-led class in. Students are allowed one self-initiated collaboration. Other class project guidelines are as follows:

Class projects are created in response to the topic at hand. They should respond creatively to the reading assignments, screenings, presentations and class discussions around that topic. Each students must hand in a one page proposal for instructor approval by the second class of the three-week period. The proposal should contain the following information:

  • The format, anticipated duration, site, and technical needs of your project;
  • How are you responding to the topic in this project? Reference class readings, important concepts and theories, works by other artists you have seen or read about in class—the the more specific you are, the better. Make an argument about why your approach and methodology is an appropriate and compelling response to the topic;
  • The presentation format of your project - how will you present your project for the critique? Will you show documentation (for projects that are durational, site-specific, or otherwise not possible to present in class) or present the project in class (ideal for short performances) Please indicate how long will your presentation take so I can schedule the class accordingly.
  • Any drawings, diagrams, installation plans, photographs, and digital images that can help convey your idea(s) for the project.
2. Topic 5: Community will be explored through a class collaborative project addressing the concept of relational aesthetics, format to be determined. Presentation of this project can coincide with the Media Studies end-of-the-year presentations and screenings
3. Student-led class - guidelines and criteria

Unless an extension is approved by myself in advance of the due date, your grade are reduced by one letter grade (i.e. B to C) per class day your project is late. You are encouraged to meet with me individually during my office hours to discuss your assignments, your grades, and your overall performance in class. I am always open to suggestions and feedback!

Reading Assignments

Required readings are drawn from the textbooks below and the articles are on Sakai, organized by topic (body, time, space, etc.) You are encouraged to look up the additional reading on your own.

Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics, Dijon, France: Les Presses Du Reel, 1998
Amelia Jones, Body Art: Performing the Subject, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1998
---, ed., The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader, New York: Routledge, 2003
Ameila Jones and Andrew Stephenson, eds., Performing the Body / Performing the Text, New York: Routledge, 1999
Ken Knabb, ed., The Situationist International Anthology, Berkeley, CA: Bureau Of Public Secrets, 2007
Miwon Kwon, One Place after Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2004
Kalle Lasn, Culture Jam, New York: Quill/Harper Collins, 2000
Michael Rush, Video Art, New York:Thames and Hudson, 2003
Erika Suderburg, ed., Space, Site, Intervention: Situating Installation Art, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2000
Erika Suderburg and Ming-Yuen S. Ma, eds., Resolutions 3: Global Networks of Video, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2012

Your final grade will be based on the following
3 Class Projects - 15% each (45 % total)
Student-led class - 15%
Collaborative class project - 15 %
Class participation* 25%

* Your general performance in class including participation, attendance, and punctuality, except in the special cases listed above, such as if you have more than 3 unexcused absences.

Generally, outstanding ('A') students in this class have good attendance and completed all their assignments on time. They are consistently well prepared for class, and actively participate in and advance our discussions with pertinent information, questions, and observations. Their work demonstrate their ability to innovate and respond to the topic at hand, awareness of the issues addressed by and the historical context for the media works and genres they are referencing, as well as their ability to articulate their observations and analyses in a clear and concise manner. Only letter grades are given out in this class.

Academic Accommodations
If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your faculty and the academic support service of your home campus by email at the beginning of the semester if you have not already registered for accommodations. A student’s home campus is responsible for establishing and providing accommodations. You must contact your home institution to establish accommodations. Below is a list of coordinators: 

CMC - Julia Easley,
Harvey Mudd – Deborah Kahn,
Pitzer - Gabriella Tempestoso,
Pomona - Jan Collins-Eaglin,
Scripps - Academic Resources and Services (ARS) at

Academic Honesty
Academic dishonesty in any form -- including the representation of someone else's work as your own, the destruction or malicious alteration of the work of others, the re-use of work prepared for another course, and so on -- will be subject to the most severe penalties permitted under your school's student code.

Extra Credit
Students are encouraged to remotely attend screenings, conferences, lectures, exhibitions and web events related to this course. Write a two-page (typed and double-spaced) report of the event or activity. Incorporate the event's relevance to the class as well as your personal responses to it. Proof of attendance is required (keep your ticket stubs, programs, etc.) Students are allowed two extra credit papers. Announcements for events of interest to this class are done in the first 5 mins. of each class.

Questions About Grading
I try my best to make my grading criteria as clear as possible, and you are welcome to come and discuss your grades and your class performance with me. However, I only consider legitimate concerns, and be aware that your grade is as likely to go down as it is to go up after I reassess your assignment. I do not tolerate haggling, bribing, threats, and any other pointless arguments. I consider all aspects of your performance before I assign a grade, please respect my assessment as I respect your efforts.


Equipment and editing rooms can now be reserved on-line at the Media Studies web site
List of equipment available for check out

Equipment Checkout Days:
Mondays and Thursdays

A note on general respect and care: we are all depending on each other to keep our equipment in good working order. If the equipment breaks down, no one can complete his or her work! You are responsible for reading and following rules for equipment usage. The IMS Production Center staff or myself may revoke access privileges at any time if the rules are not followed. Use common sense and please be considerate of each other: return the equipment on time.

Memory cards, external hard drives, and other media for class projects can be purchased at the bookstore, on-line, or at any good A/V supply store (Ametron, Studio Film & Tape, etc.)

Mosbacher/Gartrell Center Spaces for Class Projects:
The Kallick Family Gallery, Q114, and Q116 can be booked for class projects. Space usages policy:

  1. Usage of Kallick Family Gallery and Q114 in the Mosbacher/Gartrell Center must be supervised by IMS faculty, IMS staff, or Pitzer Art Galleries staff at all times. Q116 can be used during class time for class assignments or events;
  2. Spaces must be booked at least one week ahead of time through me or Eddie Gonzalez. You should indicate in your project proposals, due a week ahead of each in-class crit., what space you propose to use for that project;
  3. Each student can only book one space per project.  Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis (explain in your project proposal why you will need to use more than one space) Given the number of students in our class, expect to share the space with others.  Use common sense, be considerate of and respect each other's work when sharing a space;
  4. If any student is found using the spaces irresponsibly or for unapproved purposes, IMS staff and faculty reserve the right to suspend any, all or some privileges, as it is deemed necessary. Students are required to report any misuse of the gallery, other exhibition spaces, and workspace to the IMS staff and faculty immediately;
  5. Spaces must be returned to its original condition, and is subjected to inspection by IMS faculty and staff.  Students who damage the space or leave a mess will loose their privilege of using that space for the semester, depending on the assessment of each case by IMS staff and faculty.




Course Schedule:

Topic 1: BODY
Key Concepts, Genres, and Movements:
Body art, performance art,
presence, subjectivity, feminism, feminist art movement, Fluxus, Viennese Actionism

Artists and Collectives:

Carolee Schneemann, Yayoi Kusama, Ana Mendieta, Vito Acconci, Hannah Wilke, Orlan, Bob Flanagan/Sheree Rose, Yoko Ono, Ulay/Abramovic, Matthew Barney, Pipilotti Rist, Bruce Nauman, Mona Hatoum, Chris Burden, Regina Jose Galindo, Ron Athey, Skip Arnold, Kalup Linzy, Ryan Trecartin, Artur Zmijewski, Maria Diaz, Alex Villar, Valie Export, MaLiuming, He Chengyao,Yang Zhichao, Zhang Huan

Reading Assignment:
Amelia Jones, Body Art, Introduction and Chapter 1, pp.1-52

Additional Reading (Optional):
Karen Lang, "Reason and Remainders: Kantian Performativity in the History of Art," in Performing the Body, pp. 11-28
Michael Hatt, "Race, Ritual, and Responsibility: Performativity and the Southern Lynching," in Performing the Body, pp. 76-88
Michael Rush, Video Art, Ch. 2 Video and the Conceptual Body, pp. 63-123
Philip Ursprung, "Catholic Tastes: Hurting and Healing the Body in Viennese Actionism," in Performing the Body, pp. 138-152

Wednesday 9.1

Introduction, go over syllabus, etc.

Equipment and editing room usage policy etc.

Lecture/presentation on topic one: Body
Documentation of Cut Piece (1965) by Yoko On, Dir. David and Albert Maysles
Quien Puede Borrar Las Huellas/Who Can Remove the Traces (2003) by Regina Jose Galindo
Guitar Drag (2000) by Christian Marclay, documentation of video installation
ReCut Project (2006) by Ming-Yuen S. Ma, optional

Wednesday 9.8
Read Jones by today
Collective format for student-led class:
37 Short Fluxus Films (1962-1970) at UbuWeb
Gutai Group artist Yasuo Sumi at the 2007 Venice Biennale
Viennese Actionist Günter Brus, film by Kurt Kren
Action by Hermann Nitcsh, Maria - Conception - Action (1969)
Lab - working groups and individual meetings, proposals for first project due

Wednesday 9.15
Project 1 Due
Group critique


Topic 2: TIME
Key Concepts, Genres, and Movements:
Time-based media, duration, "sculpting in time," history, memory, ephemerality and permanence, linear and non-linear time, recollection objects, sense memory, chronophobia, durational aesthetics

Key Artists, Collectives, and Groups:

John Cage, Andrey Tarkovsky, Douglas Gordon, Tehching Hsieh, Linda Montano, Shauna Beharry, Mona Hatoum, Ulay and Abramovic, Lin Hixson, Goat Island, Forced Entertainment, Franko B, La Ribot, Ulay and Abramovic, Andy Warhol, Jim Campbell, On Kawara, Hanna Darboven, Vito Acconci, Joseph Beuys, Roman Opalka, Rea Tajiri, Walid Ra’ad, Julie Dash

Reading Assignment:
Andrey Tarkovsky, "Imprinted Time" and "Time, Rhythm and Editing," in Sculpting in Time; Reflections on the Cinema, New York: Knopf, 1987, pp. 57-80, 113-124
Michael Rush, Video Art, pp. 172-176
Marita Sturken, "The Space of Electronic Time: The Memory Machines of Jim Campbell," in Space, Site, Intervention, pp. 287-296
Adrian Heathfield, 'Thought of Duration," in Out of Now: Lifeworks of Tehching Hsieh, Adrian Heathfield and Tehching Hsieh, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2009, pp.17-23

Additional Reading (Optional):
Wikipedia pages on John Cage and his composition 4'33"
John Cage, Silence, Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1973
Adrian Heathfield and Tehching Hsieh, Out of Now: Lifeworks of Tehching Hsieh, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2009
Pamela M. Lee, Chronophobia: On Time in the Art of the 1960s, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004
Live: Art and Performance, edited by Adrian Heathfield, New York: Routledge, 2004, pp. 6-13
Joanna Lowry, "Performing Vision in the Theatre of the Gaze," in Performing the Body, pp. 273-282
Laura U. Marks, The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and The Senses, Durham; Duke University Press, 2000, pp. 97-126

Additional Listening (Optional):
Audio clips of Marina Abramovic discussing her work in the MOMA exhibition The Artist is Present

Wednesday 9.22

Lecture/presentation on topic two: Time
Read by today - Tarkovsky, Rush, Sturken, Heathfield
  The Clock, 2010, by Christian Marclay
Works by Jim Campbell
Relation in Time, 1977, by Ulay and Abramovic, 17 hrs.
Film of One Year Performance, by Tehching Hsieh, 1980-1981
Mona Hatoum, Measures of Distance, 1988, 15 mins.

Wednesday 9.29
Student-led class: Helena, Sabina, Simone
Lab - working groups and individual meetings

Wednesday 10.6
Project 2 Due
Group critique

Topic 3: SPACE
Key Concepts, Genres, and Movements:
installation, sculpture, architecture, environment, performance, collection, media projections, gesamtkunstwerk, wunderkammern / cabinets de curiosité, expanded cinema, intermedia environments, site-specificity, site/nonsite, institutional critique, functional site

Artists and Collectives:

Richard Serra, Bruce Nauman, Peter Campus, Frank Gillette and Ira Schneider, Gary Hill, Bill Viola, Mary Lucier, Steve McQueen, Isaac Julien, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Pipilotti Rist, Doug Aitken, Eija-Liisa Ahtilla, Shirin Neshat, Kutlug Ataman, Julian Rosenfeld, Diana Thater, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Stan Douglas, Dan Graham, Joan Jonas, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Reading Assignment:

Miwon Kwon, One Place After Another, Introduction & Chapter 1, pp. 1-31
Erika Suderburg, Space, Site, Intervention, Introduction pp.1-22 (Skim)
Holly Willis, "City as Screen," in Resolutions 3, pp. 105-111
Michael Rush, "Installation and the New Cinematics," in Resolutions 3, pp. 112-120
The last 2 articles are in one PDF

Additional Reading (Optional):
Chrissie Iles, "Video and Film Space," in Space, Site, Intervention, pp. 252-262
Miwon Kwon, One Place After Another, Chapter 2, pp. 33-55
Bruce Jenkins, "The Machine in the Museum; or, The Seventh Art in Search of Authorization," in Space, Site, Intervention, pp. 263-274
Colin Gardner, "'No Guarantees, They're Wolves': Structure, Movement, and the Dystopic in Diana Thater's China," in Space, Site, Intervention, pp. 275-286
Tiffany Ana Lopez, "Imaging Community: Video in the Installation Work of Pepón Osorio," in Space, Site, Intervention, pp. 317-331
Amelia Jones, "The 1970s 'Situation' and Recent Installation: Joseph Santarromana's Intersubjective Engagements,"in Space, Site, Intervention, pp. 332-346
Laurence A. Rickels, "The Evil Eye of Adolescence," in Resolutions 3, pp. 121-133
Michael Rush, Video Art, pp.17-20, 126-137, 148-152, 178-196

Wednesday 10.13

Workshop on gallery preparation and installation
Lecture/presentation on topic three: Space
Read by today - Suderburg, Kwon, and Resolutions 3 articles
Peter Campus: Double Vision, 1971, 10 mins.

Bruce Nauman: Stamping in the Studio, 1968, 5 min. excerpt; Manipulating the T-Bar, 1966, 10 mins.

Richard Serra: Railroad Turnbridge, 1976, 16 mins., Boomerang, 1974, 10 mins.

Doug Aitken, sleepwalkers, 2007, installation/projection at MOMA, NYC
Krzysztof Wodiczko, Guests, 2009
Krzysztof Wodiczko, Veterans’ Flame, 2009
Julian Rosefeldt, Asylum, 2002 (short film version)
Julian Rosefeldt, Manifesto, 2015, trailer, installation view
Shirin Neshat, Turbulent, 1998 (single-channel, split-screen version)

Wednesday 10.20
Student-led class: Amanda, Diana, Marina
Lab - working groups and individual meetings, - proposals for project 3 due

Wednesday 10.27
Project 3 Due
Group critique, student facilitator:




Topic 4: ACTION
Key Concepts, Genres, and Movements:
Action and intervention, praxis,Situationism, tactical media, propaganda, agit prop, culture jamming, detournement, dérive, media performance,

Key Artists, Collectives, and Groups:

The Situationist International, Suzanne Lacy, Leslie Labowitz, Gran Fury, Adbuster Media Foundation, RTMark, The Yes Men, Wafaa Bilal

Reading Assignment:
Guy Debord, Asger Jorn, Gil J. Wolman, Rene Vienet and others, Articles on Situationism, in The Situationist International Anthology, pp. 8-14, 41-56, 213-216 all in one PDF
Suzanne Lacy & Leslie Labowitz, "Feminist Media Strategies for Political Performance," in The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader, pp. 302-313

Additional Reading (Optional):
Ad Busters Media Foundation web site (see below for link)
Wafaa Bilal and Kari Lydersen, Shoot An Iraqi: Art, Life, and Resistance Under the Gun, San Francisco: City Lights, 2008
C. Ondine Chavoya, "Internal Exiles: The Interventionist Public and Performance Art of ASCO", in Space, Site, Intervention, pp. 189-208
Miwon Kwon, One Place After Another, Chapter 3, pp. 56-99
Kalle Lasn, Culture Jam, pp. 29-35, 123-136
Richard Meyer, Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art, Boston: Beacon Press, 2002. See Chapter 5, pp. 225-275, for a discussion of Gran Fury's Kissing Doesn't Kill campaign.
Alessandra Moctezuma and Leda Ramos, "Hidden Economies in Los Angeles: An Emerging Latino Metropolis", in Space, Site, Intervention, pp. 143-157

Wednesday 11.3

Lecture/presentation on topic four: Action
Read by today - Situationist texts, Lacy and Labowitz
Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle, 1973, TRT 87 mins.; In Girum Imus Nocte et Consumimur Igni, 1978, TRT 100 mins. Subtitles are in Italian, English translation linked.
Suzanne Lacy and Leslie Labowitz, In Mourning and in Rage,1977
Gran Fury, Kissing Doesn't Kill, 1989 (photo documentation, Benetton ads, video PSA)
Adbusters Media Foundation, web site, video
RTMark and The Yes Men, web sites and documentary
Elana Mann, Listening as (a) Movement, 2013
Wafaa Bilal, Domestic Tension, 2007 and Virtual Jihadi, 2008

Wednesday 11.10
Student-led class: Miranda & Shannen
Lecture/presentation on topic five: Community
Lab - working groups and individual meetings - proposals for project 4 due

Wednesday 11.17
Project 4 Due
Group critique, student facilitator:


Key Concepts, Genres, and Movements:
Relational aesthetics, collaboration, social interstices, micro-utopias, context, audience, antagonism, relational antagonism

Key Artists, Collectives, and Groups:

Rirkrit Tiravanija, Santiago Sierra, Jorge Pardo, Michael Lin, Liam Gillick, Apolonia Sustersic, Phillippe Parreno, Pierre Huyghe, Carsten Höller, Christine Hill, Vanessa Beecroft, Maurizio Cattelan, Thomas Hirschhorn, Dominique Gonzales-Foerster, Noritoshi Hirakawa,Fareed Armaly, Philippe Parreno, Henry Bond, Julia Sher

Reading Assignment:
Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics, pp. 7-40

Additional Reading (Optional):
Claire Bishop, "Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics," in October 110, Fall 2004, pp. 51-79
Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics, pp. 65-78
Interview with Doryun Chong, curator of OPEN ENDED (the art of engagement) exhibition at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis
Miwon Kwon, One Place After Another, Chapters 4&5, pp. 100-155
The Land web site, and a shorter description of the project at the UC Berkeley site.
Santiago Sierra in conversation with Teresa Margolles, BOMB magazine web site

Wednesday 11.24 - Thanksgiving Holiday - No Class Meeting

Wednesday 12.1

Student-led class: Brian, Rachael, Ryan
Lab - group discussion and presentation on proposals for collaborative projects - proposals for project 5 due

Potential date for in-class final project presentation
Or finalize format for project, planning final preparation for collaborative project presentation,or group crit if appropriate
wrap-up discussion
class evaluation

<Back to Course Listing

Back to top