New Media and the Aesthetics of the New
ENGL 236 - Spring 2004, Alan Liu
"Novation: legal term: Substitution of a new obligation for an old one."
This course explores "new media" in relation to the ideologies of "newness"—modernity, postmodernity, creativity, innovation—that have recently culminated in the so-called "creative destruction" of postindustrialism. The course emphasizes contemporary, information-age new media, but substantial attention is paid to historical new media/new aesthetics from Romanticism to Modernism. The first unit of the course focuses on the theory of "novation" (Romanticism and originality, modernism and "make it new," avant-garde and destructive art, postindustrialism and innovation). The second unit of the course studies New Media under the headings of several fundamental paradigms: information (old and new), database, interface, algorithm (and the random), network, and hypertext. The course is designed for students of literature, arts, or media arts; and it places equal emphasis on primary and theoretical works. Requirements include one presentation and a final project. The project may be an essay, a digital work, or a hybrid of the two. In order to do some of the readings in the course, students need to have ready access to the Internet.
Office and Office Hours
W, 12:00 PM2:30 PM
Espen Aarseth, Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature (Johns Hopkins UP, 1997)
Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media (MIT Press, 2002)
Nick Montfort and Noah Wardrip-Fruin, eds., New Media Reader (MIT Press, 2003)
Christiane Paul, Digital Art (Thames and Hudson, 2003)
Course Reader (Alternative Copy Shop)
20% Scouting Report
(Essay and/or online project)
10% Prospectus for Project
10% Critique of Another Student's Project Prospectus