Syllabus – Autumn 2019 (DRAFT)

SYLLABUS 2019 (DRAFT)
Media and the Environment / AUTUMN 2019 DOM-E5006
Wednesdays 15.15 - 17.00

Dr. Samir Bhowmik
samir.bhowmik@aalto.fi Media Lab / Department of Media
Aalto University School of Arts Design and Architecture

Course Summary
This Masters of Arts-level course is a response to the contemporary discourse of political economy of media and related environmental implications. It tackles the Anthropocene through the lens of media theory, culture and philosophy to understand the geological underpinnings of contemporary media. What are the planetary impacts of technological media? What are the various focuses, entanglements and materialities? The course investigates the topics of extraction, thermal practices, fabrication, labor, and waste as related to cultures of media. Finally, the course examines artistic approaches and methodologies that engage with these materialities, geographies and geologies. This course is a follow-up from the Archaeology of Media Infrastructures from Spring 2019, and consists of close readings of provided literature, class discussions and critical writings.

Study Material: Recommended reading list. Readings as PDFs will be posted in the study materials folder in myCourses.aalto.fi

Assessment Methods and Criteria: Classes are spread over Autumn 2019. 80% attendance and completed assignments are required to pass the course. Co-authored short paper based on selected themes as final assignment, and/or prototypes that demonstrate aspects of the subject.

Grading Weightage:
In-class Discussion: 30% / Documentation (blog): 40% / Final Project / Article: 30%
*Students who stay above 50% will Pass.

Documentation

– Course blog: https://blogs.aalto.fi/mediainfrastructures/  Login will be provided.
– Every student will contribute to the blog. You are expected to post every week before start of class a 1 page text (300 words).
– Read the assigned literature for each class. These can be found from the Syllabus, and as well from myCourses.aalto.fi.
– Annotate and write a 1 page text. This document may have images / video / links etc.
– The text can be your reflections, examples, projects, ideas etc. as related to the topic and literature of the week. This may also contain the building blocks of your own final project / article whether it may be a piece of writing, visualization or project.
– Final writings must also be posted on the course blog.
– Besides the required documentation, you are free to post anything else related to the subject, that could be useful to you or others.
– Documentation to the blog will hold a 40% weightage for a pass/fail grade. At least 5 posts out of max total of 8.
—Student writings will be published in Infragraphy Vol. 2. Autumn 2019.

Schedule of Classes

PERIOD I

Week 1 – September 11.9.2019: Course Overview
Classroom: Q202 Väre Building

We will discuss the various aspects of the course including themes, topics, analyses and documentation. Also, we will talk about choosing individual or group writing projects for the course.

Week 2 - September 18.9.2019
Classroom: Q202 Väre Building

LECTURE
CLASS DISCUSSION

Jussi Parikka, The Anthrobscene, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015.

Week 3 - September 25.9.2019
Classroom: F101 Väre Building

LECTURE
CLASS DISCUSSION

Nicole Starosielski, Thermocultures of Geological Media, Cultural Politics, Vol. 12 (3), Duke University Press, 2016: 293-309.

Week 4 - October 2.10.2019
Classroom: L101 Väre Building

LECTURE
CLASS DISCUSSION 

Sean Cubitt, “Ecologies of Fabrication,” in Sustainable Media: Critical Approaches to Media and Environment, eds. Nicole Starosielski and Janet Walker, New York and London, Routledge, 2016: 163-179.

Week 5 - October 9.10.2019
Classroom: Q202 Väre Building

LECTURE
CLASS DISCUSSION

Sy Taffel, “Technofossils of the Anthropocene: Media, Geology and Plastics,” Cultural Politics, Vol. 12 (3), Duke University Press, 2016.

Week 6 - October 16.10.2019
Classroom: F101 Väre Building

LECTURE
CLASS DISCUSSION

Jennifer Gabrys, “Re-thingifying the Internet of Things,” Sustainable Media: Critical Approaches to Media and Environment, eds. Nicole Starosielski and Janet Walker, New York and London, Routledge, 2016: 180 - 195.

 PERIOD II

Week 7 - November 6.11.2019
Classroom: R107 Väre Building

LECTURE
CLASS DISCUSSION

Garnet Hertz and Jussi Parikka, “Zombie Media: Circuit Bending Media Archaeology into an Art Method,” Leonardo, Vol. 45, No. 5, pp. 424–430, 2012.

Week 8 - November 13.11.2019
Classroom: Q202 Väre Building

LECTURE
CLASS DISCUSSION

Samir Bhowmik and Jussi Parikka, “Infrascapes for Media Archaeographers,” Archaeographies: Aspects of Radical Media Archaeology, eds. Moritz Hiller and Stefan Höltgen, Berlin: Schwabe Verlage, 2019: 183-194.

Week 9 - November 20.11.2019
Classroom: Q202 Väre Building

LECTURE
CLASS DISCUSSION

2 Photo essays / artistic approaches

Week 10 -  November 27.11.2019: Final Student Presentations
Classroom: R107 Väre Building

BIBLIOGRAPHY
  1. Jussi Parikka, The Anthrobscene, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015.
  2. Nicole Starosielski, Thermocultures of Geological Media, Cultural Politics, Vol. 12 (3), Duke University Press, 2016: 293-309.
  3. Sean Cubitt, “Ecologies of Fabrication,” in Sustainable Media: Critical Approaches to Media and Environment, eds. Nicole Starosielski and Janet Walker, New York and London, Routledge, 2016: 163-179.
  4. Sy Taffel, “Technofossils of the Anthropocene: Media, Geology and Plastics,” Cultural Politics, Vol. 12 (3), Duke University Press, 2016.
  5. Jennifer Gabrys, “Re-thingifying the Internet of Things,” Sustainable Media: Critical Approaches to Media and Environment, eds. Nicole Starosielski and Janet Walker, New York and London, Routledge, 2016: 180 - 195.
  6. Garnet Hertz and Jussi Parikka, “Zombie Media: Circuit Bending Media Archaeology into an Art Method,” Leonardo, Vol. 45, No. 5, pp. 424–430, 2012. 
    
    Samir Bhowmik and Jussi Parikka, “Infrascapes for Media Archaeographers,” Archaeographies: Aspects of Radical Media Archaeology, eds. Moritz Hiller and Stefan Höltgen, Berlin: Schwabe Verlage, 2019: 183-194.
  7. Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen, "Take a Good Lamp," Cultural Politics, Vol. 12 (3), Duke University Press, 2016: 332-338.
    
    Unknown Fields, "Rare Earthenware," Cultural Politics, Vol. 12 (3), Duke University Press, 2016: 376-379.