Introduction Master: Research in Design, Art and Media Spring 2020

“What is making? To Dewey, it was far more than bringing something into existence and giving it concrete form. We carry an interest through a process of inquiry. Care is invested, with the hope that something new can be achieved and the outcome will have been worth the effort. Making is vitalizing, Dewey observed, because it feels vitally important and can only be understood by carrying it out. The aliveness experienced by makers in the process derives from what they truly care about. Thus, the creative act is quite literally a life force.” Mary Jane Jacob, Dewey for Artists, p.13.

Research in Design, Art and Media: Lecture 2

Although understood as the great 19th century thought-experiment about what a truly autonomous life might look like, Thoreau’s book Walden showed us perhaps more about our dependence upon rather than our independence from others.

Introduction BA Summer Semester 2020

This is the first lecture of the semester (mostly in German). The lectures will be done more or less in one take and with relatively rudimentary tools. This is a very brief introduction to our unique curriculum that looks to combine film, design, art and humanities tools and research. It is also a personal response to the current situation in the face of the corona virus crisis.

Film History: Lecture One

First lecture for the Film History Class. It begins in English for a short introduction and then continues in German.

Writing Course: Introduction

An introduction to the techniques of writing. Often, the most obvious things are the most important to consider. As Spike Lee adds some authority to these tips…

Film History: Lecture Two

An introduction to the work of Dziga Vertov. Students are encouraged to watch the movie The Man with a Movie Camera (Челове́к с киноаппара́том). I have included a link to an excellent copy in my dropbox (not available to the public).

Film History: Lecture Three

There are many reasons to watch Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal from 1957…some having to do with its significance in the history of film, some having simply to do with the fact that it is very good…but I chose this film today because of its relationship to now, to the current state of affairs of our world, living in a global crisis with the somber even grim reality around us…but among all of this, some moments of peace, joy and even some humor.

Film History: Lecture Four, the Nouvelle Vague, Cahiers du Cinéma and the Cinémathèque Française

“la seule critique véritable d‘un film ne peut être qu’un autre film” (Jacques Rivette)

I make a polemic claim based on the history of the Nouvelle Vague, considering especially how François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Erich Rohmer, Jacques Rivette were first film critics and to a certain extent even “film historians” before they were filmmakers. Thinking about these filmmakers with reference to two institutions Cahiers du Cinéma and La Cinémathèque Française I try to imagine a model for a curriculum of a film school. I then draw the conclusion that it would be better for you as aspiring filmmakers, before you write any more scripts, before you learn how to use a camera, before you learn how to use lighting, Final Cut, Premiere, After Effects, etc. …it would be more important for you to sit down and seriously study the history of film and the history of the moving image in general—and then write about this history and debate with your peers about it—I would even go so far as to argue that you should not touch a camera or editing program during your first years of study. Only after completing a rigorous historical and theoretical study, should one be allowed to even touch the tools of film making…

Film History: Lecture 5 Italian Neo-Realism

Cesare Zavattini’s humanism can best be understood in stark contrast to the years of Fascism that had dominated his country both politically and culturally from the early 1920s to the fall of Mussolini in 1943…this is something that will continually return to us in the history of cinema and in particular the history of the moving image in the 20th century…the moving image, cinema is always relatively close to the machinery of mass society…on the side of production it is always close to those in power and on the side of consumption, it is mostly a mass art form (and through this again mimics power). Cinema in many ways is constantly having to come to terms with the problem of mass society, of mass movement and mass suggestion…coming to terms with and even fighting against the various forms of fascism and other forms of totalitarian reality…also thinking here in particular about what Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari would in a different context refer to as different forms of “micro-fascism”…

Introduction to Cinéma-Vérité (teaching in the time of Covid-19)

Truth and images. Whether posed with respect to a medium or in more philosophical terms, the question of truth goes beyond the mere question of the factual—in other words, understanding whether or not an image is fake, a counterfeit, whether it shows what really happened, etc. or whether or not a person is lying about a specific instance when recounting a story…even the question of whether or not somebody is using film as propaganda to influence people to believe certain ideologies…all of these aspects are part of the question…but they are not the only issue at stake when speaking of the “truth” in cinema. Truth is always something more than just being not false.

Thinking about documentary movies implies opening up a number of extremely complicated philosophical, political, ethical…questions about these images…about their production, about the original context of their production and the contexts in which they are then shown—especially as these images relate to our sense of what it is that is meaningful in our lives…what it is that constitutes reality in all of its ecological, economic, political, existential intricacies and entanglements…

This lecture is at the same time a document of teaching through video–a document of our lives, a chronique of Summer 2020.

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