Courses

Fall 2018 | LMC 6650: Project Studio (Atlanta Map Room)

This course seeks to engage graduate students (and advanced undergraduates) from across Georgia Tech in exploring what Atlanta looks like through civic data. Today, data on the city are increasingly available. Micro and macro changes in the makeup of local neighborhoods can be tracked through demolition/construction permits, tax records, and community surveys, among other sources; all of which might be easily downloaded by anyone with an internet connection. But data can be available, without necessarily being accessible or actionable. In this course, students will examine how data can be made interpretable by creating their own community-based, data-driven, mapping projects designed to open dialogue about ongoing changes in the life of the city.

In order to create these maps, students will make use of the evolving infrastructure of the Atlanta Map Room, visible from the window of TSRB 209. (An explanatory video is available here: https://youtu.be/9EkI9Oav49c). The Atlanta Map Room is a space for creating interpretive maps of the city, from a combination of contemporary data, historical documents, and personal experiences. These maps are large-scale physical artifacts (up to 16 feet long!), collaboratively-made, and meant for exhibition. The Atlanta Map Room builds upon the recent success of the St. Louis Map Room (http://www.cocastl.org/stlmaproom), a project lead by course collaborator and digital artist Jer Thorp in conjunction with the Center of Creative Arts. Students in the course will contribute to the development of a unique map room for Atlanta, meant to explore invisible tensions in the city, between its rapid development as a commercial hub and its long history as a center for civil rights and culture in the Southeast.

LMC 6650 will combine aspects of a seminar and a studio. Early in the term, students will read about and discuss theories and practices from data studies and data visualization. Thereafter, they will develop their own extensions to the existing Atlanta Map Room (i.e. new data layers, automated drawing instruments, or augmented realities) in order to create a forum for collective reflection on the city of Atlanta. The course is meant to equip students with the skills and resources necessary to think critically about cities through their data.

No prerequisites. Contact the professor for a permit to register.

Fall 2018 | LMC 2700: Introduction to Computational Media

It is not often that human cultures invent new media of representation. The computer is a powerful example that has quickly assimilated older representational forms including spoken language, printed text, drawings, photographs, music and moving images. But the computer is not just an aggregator of old formats; it brings its own representational powers as well as new genres, such as data art, video games, social robots, and interactive storytelling. This course will approach the computer as a medium of expression, connected to the history of media while evolving its own characteristic forms. LMC 2700 is the introductory course for the Computational Media degree and an elective course for LMC students with a Media Studies specialization. Students will read, discuss and write about key developments in the history of computation media. Moreover, they make their own computational artifacts using a variety of programming languages including Java and JavaScript. Basic experience with programming is expected of all participants in the course.

Spring 2018 | LMC 6311: Visual Culture and Design

Visual representations are among our oldest “things to think with.” Structured by their own evolving rules and conventions, images (like languages) offer us important ways of describing and defining the world around us. Whether they are handmade, mechanical, or digital in origin (or some combination thereof), images have the power to shape and reshape our conceptions of objects, spaces, events, streetscapes, landscapes, and even cities. In our contemporary society, visual representations are only proliferating in their forms and their reach. Today we are surrounded by technologized surfaces that present representations for politics, science, entertainment, or advertising; each works within complex systems of meaning that transcend simple characterizations as formal, material, social, or ideological. In this course, students will learn to both create and critique visual representations in digital (and some non-digital) media: drawings, models, infographics, animations, videos and visualizations. Moreover, they will learn to harness these techniques to express ideas at multiple scales, culminating in representations at the level of urban infrastructure. Through a series of hands-on assignments, paired with readings and discussions, students will develop aesthetic sensibilities, technical skills, and critical perspectives on visual representations and the various roles they play within society. At the end of the term, students will synthesize all their accumulated skills in a participatory mapping exercise, focused on the Atlanta Beltline: one of the largest, ongoing infrastructure projects in the city.

Spring 2018 | LMC 3308: Environmentalism & Ecocriticism

How do contemporary media, such as literature, film, computation and architecture, shape popular conceptions of the environment, challenge these conceptions, or propose radical alternatives? In this class, students will collect and analyze examples of expressive work about nature, wildlife, wilderness, ecology and the Earth. Although a broad range of creative practices will be discussed, the class will focus on the relationship between media and environment in the current American context. We will make use of readings from media theory and the environmental humanities to motivate a series of collecting projects, discussions and short essays. The course will culminate in a final exhibition project, in which students will be asked to curate and creatively present a selection of the environmental media projects collected throughout the term. 

Fall 2017 | LMC 6312: Technology, Representation and Design

This course seeks to engage graduate students from across Georgia Tech in exploring what Atlanta looks like through public data. Today, data on the city of Atlanta are increasingly available. Micro and macro changes in the makeup of local neighborhoods can be tracked through demolition and construction permits, tax records, and community surveys, among other sources; all of which might be easily downloaded by anyone with an internet connection. But data can be available, without necessarily being accessible. In this course, students will examine how data can be made accessible and interpretable through publically-oriented data installations designed to open dialogue about ongoing changes in the life of the city. The focus and the site for our installations will be the Atlanta Beltline: one of the most visible ongoing works of infrastructure in Atlanta. The project is currently under construction along a loop of disused railroad tracks that circumvent the city, stitching together some of Atlanta’s most historic neighborhoods and bringing with it new facilities for recreation, transportation, and housing greatly needed by a growing Intown population. But we don’t yet know how the Beltline is transforming communities along its path. The course will investigate how, through a series of hybrid physical and virtual “walks” through data, we might foster public discussion about this question. LMC 6312 will combine aspects of a seminar and a studio. Early in the term, students will read about and discuss theories and practices from data studies and data visualization. Thereafter, students will develop their own data installation projects (i.e. sidewalk drawings, projections, audio, or augmented reality) in order to create a movable forum for public reflection on the Beltline. The course is meant to equip students with the skills and resources necessary to think critically about cities through their data.