IMA Low Res Graduate Courses

person turns interactive dial from show piece that reads "education"

Similar to both ITP and IMA, the Low Res MA in Interactive Media Arts leverages a project-based curriculum as a vehicle to explore the intersection of emerging media and humanistic values. Aspects of computer science, engineering, and design are fused with arts and humanities in a workshop-style approach to learning. Instruction focuses on demystifying the inner workings of computational technologies, facilitating production and practice-based research, encouraging critical investigation, and fostering discussion through multi-disciplinary lenses.

With the support of faculty and staff, Low Res students learn how to design and develop interactive projects that involve the creative use of software, hardware and digital media. A technical background is not necessary – students are provided with guidance to develop the skills necessary to realize their ideas. While you learn how to make things, the more important inquiries are around whowhat and why.

The program diverges from its predecessors through both its global and distance learning components. Each location, both online and offline, offers a compelling space to pose questions and challenge ideas related to today’s interactive media ecosystems.  In-person sessions will allow for engagement with local communities, public spaces, civic policies, social and cultural norms, and historical precedent. Online sessions will be used to facilitate distributed collaboration and personalized learning across cities and time-zones. While at home, students will be encouraged to integrate their personal and professional experiences in both their research and their project work.

 

SUMMER 1 - New York

GENERAL
  • 9 credits
  • Four 2-Credit Courses
    • Concepts, Culture & Critique
    • Creative Coding
    • Design for Communication
    • Interface Lab
  • One 1-Credit Course
    • Conversations New York
  • Establish core fundamentals in programming, electronics, data, interaction design, user experience and media production
  • Emphasis placed on conceptual frameworks to facilitate critical engagement and practice-based research
COURSES
  • IMALR-GT 101 Concepts, Culture & Critique (2 credits): An introduction to the concepts, questions, and terminology that encompass interactive media arts as it relates to creative expression and critical engagement. This course serves to establish a theoretical and historical foundation to inform creative practice, cultivate a common vocabulary for analysis and critique, and foster a culture of makers capable of thoughtful reflection and awareness.
  • IMALR-GT 102 Creative Coding (2 credits): A hands-on introduction to programming and software engineering for creative applications. This course will introduce and explore fundamental coding concepts, such as logic sequencing, data structures, data flow and event-drive interactions in the context of screen-based projects. Iterative assignments will facilitate the development of a final creative code-driven experience.
  • IMALR-GT 103 Design for Communication (2 credits): This course will provide students with practical skills and theoretical frameworks for making and assessing both audio and visual communication. Design principles, tools and techniques will be covered in class, coupled with hands-on experience making and critiquing both 2D and 3D work. An emphasis will be placed on leveraging communication applications for narrative-driven storytelling.
  • IMALR-GT 104 Interface Lab (2 credits): This production course will survey alternative interfaces with an emphasis towards embodied interactions. Incorporating aspects of physical and tangible computing, students will be exposed to the internal machinations of systems, networks and sensors that underlie these interfaces. Areas covered include microcontrollers, connected devices, computer vision, virtual reality and augmented reality amongst others.
  • IMALR-GT 105 Conversations New York (1 credit): A class where the entire program will gather to engage in dialogue with local leaders drawn from across the fields of emerging media. Each week, special guests representing a variety of backgrounds and interests including artistic, commercial, non-profit, civic and academic, will address a theme or topic related to the socio-technical landscape of New York City. Students will be expected to engage in reading and writing assignments, class discussions, interactive exercises, site visits and collaborative presentations.
FEATURES
  • Based in Brooklyn within NYU’s brand new “Media, Technology & Arts” building, which is the new home of ITP and other related programs
  • Full access to ITP’s communal makerspace offers an ideal environment for learning and exploration
  • Local dialogue series, artist talks, industry visits, workshops and communal programming
  • Connect with the extensive NY-based ITP community

 

FALL Online

GENERAL
  • 7 credits
  • Two faculty-led courses involving self-directed learning and collaborative project work
  • One 4-Credit Course
    • Connections Lab
  • One 3-Credit Course
    • Critical Experiences
  • Emphasis on creating connected applications, critical making and user experience
  • Continued development of technical skills and practice-based research
COURSES
  • IMALR-GT 201 Connections Lab (4 credits): From intelligent chat-bots and gif-sharing apps to social media platforms and virtual reality hubs, our world is infused with mediated networked systems for communication. In this course, students will collaborate (at a distance) to design and develop their own creative connected web applications. By working in teams to produce online experiences that bring people together in playful yet meaningful ways, students will gain valuable insight into the inner-workings and implications of our connected world.
  • IMALR-GT 202 Critical Experiences (3 credits): This course will combine “critical making” and “user experience” to direct personalized practice-based research. Students will engage in a variety of applied research exercises, readings, and ethnographic activities that will encourage thinking and prototyping across a range of media and materials. Specific subject matter will depend on individual student interests, allowing for more personalized areas of focus.
FEATURES
  • Build upon the foundation set during the New York session
  • Leverage a suite of online tools and platforms that combine synchronous and asynchronous learning experiences
  • Sustain connectivity amongst the students through distributed collaboration and real-time conversations
  • Facilitate individualized growth and maintain flexibility to continue life at home

 

JANUARY Berlin

GENERAL
  • 3 credits
  • One 2-Credit Elective Course (students choose one)
    • Civic Ecologies
    • Radical Networks
    • Virtual Worlds
  • One 1-Credit Course
    • Conversations Berlin
COURSES
  • IMALR-GT 301 Civic Ecologies (2 credits): Modern urban life is attached to a vast array of interconnected, material relations. Under the demands of global urbanisation trends, cities increasingly dominate how critical components of global ecological systems flow and operate. Understanding these civic ecologies therefore graduates from an infrastructural curiosity, to a planetary priority. Using visits to energy, water, food, transport and communication system sites within the city of Berlin, this class will undertake a comparative study of global cities. We will research, represent, and create projects in response to the possibilities and limits of thriving environments for humans and others in globalised urban centres.
  • IMALR-GT 302 Radical Networks (2 credits): This course will critically engage with the communication and networking technologies we readily use for ourselves and our communities. Questions around the control of data, software, hardware and infrastructure will be tied to larger themes of access, power, resilience and sustainability. An ethos of artistry and digital activism will be infused throughout the course as students experiment with peer-to-peer networks, DIY methodologies and technologies of resistance.
  • IMALR-GT 303 Virtual Worlds (2 credits):The world can be thought of as a work of carefully assembled, organized and presented pieces of fiction that intimately intersect with our own beliefs and experiences. This course will embrace this notion and push forward this suspension of disbelief by architecting and constructing unique virtual histories in the Unity game engine. How can we pick, lay out and program texts, images, films, objects, spaces and procedures to persuade a virtual visitor of the coherence of our world? How can we combine mythical and physical components in a 3D digital medium to turn imaginative spaces into believable places? Drawing on fictional texts, museography, environmental storytelling and procedural rhetoric, this class will explore how we can build untold accounts, alternate realities and possible future worlds.
  • IMALR-GT 304 Conversations Berlin (1 credit): A class where the entire program will gather to engage in dialogue with local leaders drawn from across the fields of emerging media. Each week, special guests representing a variety of backgrounds and interests including artistic, commercial, non-profit, civic and academic, will address a theme or topic related to the socio-technical landscape of Berlin. Students will be expected to engage in reading and writing assignments, class discussions, interactive exercises, site visits and collaborative presentations.

FEATURES

  • Connect with the local community of emerging media artists, designers and thinkers
  • An enriching space to draw connections amongst the aesthetic, social, political, and ethical implications of interactive media
  • Set initial foundation for individual thesis projects
  • Develop topical and thematic directions for collaborative Spring course work

 

SPRING Online

GENERAL
  • 7 credits
  • Three faculty-led courses involving self-directed learning and collaborative project work
  • One 3-Credit Course
    • Thesis Development Studio
  • Two 2-Credit Courses
    • Designing Change (Weeks 1 – 7)
    • Local Data – Collection, Creation & Contextualization (Weeks 1 – 7)
    • 50 Days of Making (Weeks 8 – 14)
  • Emphasis on larger global issues paired with an individualized focus on personal thesis project development, technical skill building and creative practice.

COURSES

  • IMALR-GT 401 Thesis Development Studio (3 credits): This course is designed to help students conceptualize, define and implement their final thesis project. A series of practical assignments, readings and structured activities complemented by presentations and synchronous feedback sessions will facilitate the development of individual projects. The course will also provide space for technical skill building necessary to realize the project.
  • IMALR-GT 402 Designing Change, Weeks 1 – 7 (2 credits): This 7-week course, both seminar and production studio, will focus on design as a vehicle for change. As designers we have the opportunity to create products and experiences that can change perceptions, break patterns and introduce new methods and behaviors in ways that can have meaningful impact at both an individual and societal scale. This course combines the practical skills of UX design with the conceptual skills of behavioural psychology to provide a framework for designing products focused on initiating change. 
  • IMALR-GT 403 Local Data – Collection, Creation & Contextualization, Weeks 1 – 7 (2 credits): This 7-week course will approach data collection as a local, situated and contextually-bound process, and ask what it means to examine large-scale social issues from a close, specific perspective. Starting from the observation that data is never collected omnisciently or neutrally, students will explore questions of power, context, and knowledge production through reading, discussion, and practical exercises in data collection and representation using both computational (primarily web-based and JavaScript) and analog methods. Students will be asked to work in teams to produce creative work that addresses an issue of common interest. This will require them to engage in collaborative problem solving and collective inquiry, and to take care to emphasize reflexivity and an awareness of their own participation in their creative processes. Potential areas of focus, such as the environment, education or social justice, will be relevant at a global scope but accessible at a local scale. As such, students will be required to identify and leverage salient points of contact at their respective locations as well as integrate local insights and fieldwork into their projects.
  • IMALR-GT 404 50 Days of Making, Weeks 8 – 14 (2 credits): Iteration and its impact on the creative process is the theme of this class. Inspired by ITP’s “100 Days of Making”, this course will involve 50 days of required,  iterative, daily practice. Students will identify a theme, idea or topic they would like to explore for the entire 7 weeks of the class and commit to making or producing a variation on that idea as well as posting social evidence of their work every day for 50 consecutive days. Project direction can focus on building, writing, drawing, programming, photographing, designing, composing or any form of creative expression. Class time will be spent discussing students’ progress and reflecting on the creative journey.

FEATURES

  • Explore opportunities for asynchronous distributed collaboration to address topics of local and global significance
  • Balance personalized thesis project guidance with structured group exercises, presentations, feedback and support
  • Prepare for the in-person Summer session in Shanghai

 

SUMMER  Shanghai

GENERAL
  • 6 credits
  • One 4-Credit Course
    • Thesis
  • One 1-Credit Elective Course (students choose one)
    • Design for the Future
    • Entrepreneurship & the Future of Work
    • Future of Media
  • 1 One-Credit Course
    • Conversations Shanghai
  • Primary focus on completing and sharing individual thesis projects
  • Secondary elective to complement thesis work

COURSES

  • IMALR-GT 501 Thesis (4 credits): Students will use this class as a vehicle to complete, share and reflect upon their final thesis project. Production support, critique sessions, and formal presentations will be incorporated. Students will also be expected to complete a fully articulated thesis project description and related documentation.
  • IMALR-GT 502 Design for the Future (1 credit): This course will combine the fields of “design-fiction” and “speculative design”. Students will be tasked to create imaginative works, conjure alternative worlds and write fictional stories that will inspire design discussions and have the capacity to influence our collective futures
  • IMALR-GT 503 Entrepreneurship & the Future of Work (1 credit): This course will explore and analyze current approaches to entrepreneurial and commercial pursuits in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Readings, assignments and discussions will focus on emerging media products and services with an emphasis on issues involving labor, materials, automation, AI and digital economies.
  • IMALR-GT 504 Future of Media (1 credit): This course will examine the current state of the media industry with attention directed towards journalism, media ethics, and public policy. Taking into account topics such as algorithmic feeds, surveillance capitalism and deep fakes, student will attempt to investigate and speculate upon the future of transparency, censorship, privacy and accountability.
  • IMALR-GT 505 Conversations Shanghai (1 credit): A class where the entire program will gather to engage in dialogue with local leaders drawn from across the fields of emerging media. Each week, special guests representing a variety of backgrounds and interests including artistic, commercial, non-profit, civic and academic, will address a theme or topic related to the socio-technical landscape of Shanghai. Students will be expected to engage in reading and writing assignments, class discussions, interactive exercises, site visits and collaborative presentations.

FEATURES

  • Full access to IMA’s communal makerspace for production, prototyping and user-testing
  • Advising and support from expert local and international faculty, staff and professionals
  • Opportunities for immersion in both the commercial and cultural activities of Shanghai and surrounding areas
  • Local dialogue series, artist talks, industry visits, workshops and communal programming
  • Visit to Shenzhen – an epicenter of design, manufacturing and innovation (trip optional)
  • Push forward “next steps” plans for the future