Collaborative Arts and Open Arts Courses

Please refer to  NYU Albert to confirm if the course is offered during a particular term. Classes for graduate students are noted with the OART-GT designation


Abrupt Climate Change

OART-UT 1058 / 4 units

This lecture course is designed for students who are interested in developing a deeper understanding of the forces that contribute to a changing planet and in investigating the impact of a radically changing biosphere on their lives and on their communities. The course supports students' efforts to link scientific research with creative practice to find innovative responses to the issues presented in class.

Art & Social Change

OART-UT 1018 / 4 units

This course challenges us to foster a tactile understanding of the relationship between art and social change. How do artists address social issues? Can art transform lives? How can art serve as a force for encouraging ethical dialogue and action within the public sphere? How do we make our ideas and revelations actually matter within our collective place and space? To better facilitate our understanding of this relationship, and in an effort to get inside these key questions and others, this course will unfold in two parts.

Part I (Conversations on Art and Social Change) will be run as an interactive seminar in which we will explore how the desire to change the world has led some artists to align themselves with wider social movements. Through lectures, discussions and presentations, we will set about to engage ourselves with the work of contemporary artists who have addressed issues related to the environment, racial and cultural identity, human rights, healthcare, and social justice. We will assume that understanding the work of others is necessary if we are to appreciate the potentiality of our own impact on the world.

Part II of this course (A Collective Gesture Toward) will entail challenging ourselves to participate more fully in our immediate surroundings vis-à-vis the development and implementation of a work (or works) of art.

Art on the Edge

OART-UT 1019 / 4 units

Taking off from the practices of medium-based art categories, this course is structured across key topics in contemporary art - “art of today, produced by artists who are living in the twenty-first century”. During the semester, via the framework of readings, projects and assignments, we will consider the importance of the visual arts in the larger context of society. Each week we will look at a different topic, which will be organized around key concepts, artists and artwork examples. The main goal is to allow us to contemplate the process of interaction between visual art, history, cultural, socio-economical, and technological forces. The stress of our gatherings will be on the artist as a thinker and a maker.

Bodies in Cultural Landscapes

OART-UT 706 / 4 units

This course examines the Western fascination with the moving body in different cultural environments and throughout colonial and postcolonial historical periods until the present time.  It will begin by investigating early images and artistic representation of the body in motion captured by European ethnographers at the turn of the 19th century, and continue tracing it to current trends of contemporary culture.  The goal of this course is to develop a critical understanding of the culture built around the body as subject as well as a marker of otherness. This course will offer students an opportunity to study and articulate, intellectually and physically, the legibility of bodies in motion within different cultural landscapes. Body as Culture: Bodies in Cultural Landscapes will provide an open forum in which to investigate human movement within the specific aesthetic system and cultural practice of early ethnographic representation to contemporary culture’s engagement with the moving body. It will offer insight into personal and cultural identity, stimulating an expanded recognition and appreciation of difference. This course offers students the opportunity to explore simultaneously their intellect (in class viewing, readings and discussions), as well as in the presentation of their own version of ethnographic research and representation based on a topic of their choice discussed with instructor. Students will engage weekly with exercises and assignments based on course material.

Understanding Story

OART-UT 568 / 4 units

Understanding Story is a class composed of lectures, discussions, screenings, readings, critical and creative writing, group critiques and presentations. The course is designed to expose the student to the fundamental principles of storytelling across a spectrum of mediums, including the written story, playwriting, film, poetry, dance, games, photography, fine art and music. How do all these different art forms tell stories? How can the student apply what is learned to their own creative work? History and theory of story will be studied and used to inspire personal and creative work in order to better understand how story can most successfully be expressed in different mediums and reach its audience.

Green World

OART-UT 1057 / 4 units

According to the World Health Organization, 6.5 million people will die prematurely this year due to air pollution. That’s more deaths due to breathing bad air than from AIDS, auto accidents, cholera, malaria, and war combined. Climate change, fossil fuels, lack of drinking water, over-population, GMOs, pollution, and the wholesale corporate campaign to discredit science are among the most critical problems of our time.

Living in denial of these issues has become the West’s de facto cultural standard with only a fraction of the public taking action. How can artists, citizen-scientists, and storytellers intervene in existing narratives regarding some of humanity’s most life-threatening issues? How will you further important conversations and seize the potential to activate change? Green World explores contemporary environmental issues while guiding artists to create informed, responsible works of positive social change using technology as a force multiplier. This course is open to all NYU students interested in developing an activist’s artistic, social, and/or scientific leverage point to help save the world. This course features an optional research trip to Black Rock Forest Consortium.

Poetics of Witnessing

OART-UT 829 / 4 units

Today, many documentarians consider themselves working within a well-defined human rights framework where images and film are used to raise awareness about social injustice. On the far edge of this movement, however, there are writers, photographers and filmmakers whose work calls attention to the traditional documentary ethics of bearing witness but whose modes of representation blur the lines between fact and fiction. This body of work is more open-ended to interpretation and multiple readings, which also include more personal themes such as loss and melancholy, the ephemeral nature of time and memory, nostalgia and change. While not a production course per se, most students create short poetic films for their midterms and finals. The course is a great opportunity for students to open this door on short-form media production for the first time even if they wish to shoot on their smartphones.

We will study several different kinds of visual poetics such as combining documentary photos with literature, artists working with archives and found images, the essay film, the personal diary and journal film, the performance film, ethnographic poetics, and new trans-media platforms and webdocs.  Some of the writers and artists we will study include Roland Barthes, W.G. Sebald, Chris Marker, Christian Boltanski, Forough Farrokhzad, RaMell Ross, Roland Barthes, Miguel Rio Branco Charles Burnett, William Greaves, Agnes Varda, Margaret Tait, Robert Gardner, Jean Rouch, and Jonas Mekas.  

Politics of Portraiture

OART-UT 826 / 4 units

This course explores the pictorial articulation of individual human likeness and its fiction in the public forum. The art of portraiture has survived its own origins in myth making and archetype building. The human image, or icon, forever landmarks the voices, textures, physicality, spirituality, symbols, politics, aesthetic concerns and military contexts, religious rituals, government, calendar ceremonies, daily functions, heroic acts and social disorders of diverse cultures throughout recorded history. It is the history of creation, the story of romance, the mark of progress, the record of royalty and the profile of democracy. It is the revolution of fine art and a catalyst of discipline. Imaging the individual in the public eye is the story of humankind. This course bridges the worlds of the oral and written mythologies which inhabit and empower us and the creative manifestation (conscious and unconscious) of these ancient archetypes into contemporary art, media and design. Students will critically rethink the implied and material presence of portraiture in everyday life. Students will gain practical knowledge and insight into the origins and potential power of the archetypes which permeate our collective unconscious.

Research: Manifestos & Arts Practice

OART-UT 298 / 4 units

This course will ask how artists incorporate research in their practice by looking at their manifestoes and their subsequent works. Throughout the term, we'll ask: How did various artists employ manifestos as methods of inquiry to understand how they themselves are situated within their respective fields? By conceptualizing how art-making can be a research tool through these manifestos, we will see how there is an art to research and that art is a mode of inquiry that others use to make sense of their own world. In this way, manifestos are the evidence of the research that went into the art-work.

The way in which artists interrogate the issues, holes, or gaps in the set of assumptions employed within their respective fields will guide students in proposing creative solutions to issues within their own. During the term, we'll focus on archival, qualitative, and quantitative methods to reveal the creative praxis within each. Students will utilize the skills they acquire over the semester to, section by section, create a manifesto of their own, including an artist's statement, research/resource review, an outline of an issue, and the prototype of a project that fills the gap they've found in their field. This living document will then be critiqued by fellow students so that all those in the course experience multiple facets of the creative process.

Urban Arts Workshop: New York

OART-UT 1925 / OART-GT 2925 / 4 units

Urban Arts Workshop–New York is composed of lectures, presentations, screenings, readings, discussions, and visits from painters, photographers, filmmakers, writers, designers, architects, planners, restaurateurs, curators and critics designed to expose students to the key concepts and fundamental theories of urban studies, public art and the urban-inspired works of many great artists and writers based in New York City and around the world. Outside of class time, students will do readings, conduct research, watch movies, post reactions and do various assignments that engage the core course subject matter and themes. Each class will explore another form of urban art, including discussions about and encounters with graffiti, street photography, sculpture, installation art, architecture, music, dance, performance, theater, fashion, urban sound projects, large-scale projections, poetry, essays and short stories with an aim to understand how such art forms came into being and how they express a distinctly urban message to the inhabitants and visitors of New York City and cities across the planet. The instructor seeks to combine the critical and theoretical with the experiential and personal in order to lead students to a deeper and more fruitful relationship with cities, the arts and themselves. Further exploration will be conducted into the phenomenon of connectivity in the 21st century city providing a deeper perspective on globalism, the networked environment, and emerging technology’s role in the future of art, culture and urban living. Field trips may include: The Whitney, The High Line and Hudson Yards, Tiny Island, MoMA, Guggenheim, PS1, Museum of the City of New York, The New Museum, Transit Museum, Noguchi Museum, Governors Island and others based upon availability. Students will need a MetroCard for traveling around the city as well as approximately $50.00 to cover meals and museum tickets (this price varies depending on course itinerary).

Multidisciplinary Arts Practice with Community Groups

OART-UT 1017 / 4 units

Whether you are a filmmaker looking to better understand how to build a cohesive and productive film crew; a theatre maker excited about building a performance project or theatre company; a multi-media artist looking for ways to innovate your ideas for artistic work in collaboration with others; an artist looking for tools for building an artistic ensemble, or a multi-disciplinary artist looking to take your creative work out into communities as social practice, this class provides you with tools for better understanding how to enter into and engage others in collective creative work with purpose.

Multi-Disciplinary Arts Practice with Community Groups: Theories and Practice, is a place to explore what it means to make artistic work of meaning with others and the tools needed to create meaningful collaborative projects. In this class we interrogate our definitions of “community” and “group” and explore what has meaning to us when creating artistic work as a collective of artists, in order to strengthen our own artistic voices and help raise the creative voices of others. With a focus on social practice, this course provides a foundation for working with small group structures in a variety of community settings.

This course also provides students interested in exploring social practice or those interested in providing community service through the arts, with a foundation for working with small group structures in a variety of community settings. Students will gain a basic understanding of the theories of social work with groups, as they apply to arts-based groups. Social and cultural contexts for community-focused arts practice, stages of group development, conflict and difference among group members and between members and facilitator, and an overview of group member’s needs will be discussed in relation to entering into and engaging a group or ensemble in the creative process.


Dance & Dance Studies


OART-UT 806 / OART-GT 2806 / 2 units

This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of classical ballet technique. Its goal is to help students develop a clean and precise technical base for ballet dancing. Through the instruction of proper alignment and dynamic imagery, students will learn how to dance safely and effectively, and improve their comprehension of the ballet form in relation to music, space, time and energy. Eventually students will experience how the mind, body and breath come together to produce greater freedom in movement. The technical content will vary according to the skill level of the class and the individual dancer. All levels are welcome. No previous dance experience is required. For the dance-history part of the course, students will examine the evolution of ballet from the time of Louis XIV through the present, and explore different styles of training and performance presentation through the use of images, video, practice and discussions. Reading assignments will explain how social changes have affected the development of ballet technique and choreography.

Ballet II

This course is a continuation of classical ballet training designed for students who have had previous training or have taken Ballet I and are looking to further develop their technique, learn new steps and expand their vocabulary at the intermediate level. In Ballet I, we traced the basic ballet vocabulary back to the time of its birth at the court of Louis the XIV. Students developed their ballet technique, and experienced the growth of ballet up to the early-1900s avant-garde choreography of the Ballet Russes. The period that followed is considered the most pivotal in ballet history, and it is this era that will be the focus of Ballet II. Students in Ballet II will not only look into the different training styles of ballet technique, but will also learn about some of the 20th century's most famous ballet dancers, as well as notable ballet productions from both the East and the West.


OART-UT 805 / OART-GT 2805 / 2 units

The purpose of this course is to enable the student to gain a heightened awareness, appreciation, and knowledge of dance through movement and performance. We focus on the foundations of dance such as control, aesthetics, alignment, dynamics, athleticism, musicality, use of space, development of learning strategies within a group context, and personal, artistic expression. The students exploration of their creativity, expression and concepts, as well as their work on other dancer's bodies is part of the work of this course. Through individual and collective kinesthetic participation in unfamiliar patterns, the student is physically and conceptually challenged and informed. Students will be asked to problem solve as homework assignment and in-class composition exercises. Dance experience is recommended, but formal dance training is not required.

Dancing Body in Practice & Theory

OART-UT 707 / 3 Units

Part studio and part seminar, The Dancing Body focuses on the practice and history of movement and choreography in the context of Modern Dance and Performance Art in the second half of the 20th century. Though the exploration of ideas in cultural studies/dance studies essays, reviews, and writings by dance artists, students will engage with a range of physical activities and conceptual performances in practice and theory.  This course offers a unique opportunity for students to simultaneously pursue creative/physical practices while exploring the intellectual discourse that informs them. The goal of this class is to generate an artistic environment where students develop collaborative relationships throughout the creative process individually as well as collectively.

Iconic Dances

OART-UT 813 / 2 units

This course is a laboratory for students interested in exploring the works of master choreographers, exposing them to an in-depth study of choreography by focusing on the steps, rhythm, structure, style and historical/conceptual contexts of iconic choreographic works ranging from 19th-century romantic ballet to contemporary work. This exploration will be accomplished physically: students will learn dance excerpts with attention to the physical details of steps, style and phrasing, allowing them to acclimate their own bodies to the universe of specific choreographies.

Students will be able to execute these choreographic works while developing a deeper understanding for the choreographers’ creative process and artistic decisions, inviting them to physically experience major artistic shifts in19th- and 20th-century dance aesthetics as they immerse themselves in the process of choreographic reconstruction. From classical ballet’s ideals of beauty, to the uses of narrative and the social/political/religious function of classicism, and finally through to the deconstruction of dance tradition in postmodern performances, this course exposes students to dance’s living archive while encouraging them to develop a critical perspective on the art of dance, its historical impact and future directions. Each session will be devoted to the recreation of seminal works from a variety of styles—Cambodian dance, Ballet, modern dance, postmodern dance, etc.

Beginning with a twenty-minute warm-up based on a physical technique tailored to each specific style (whether a simple ballet warm-up, basic Horton technique, Pilate’s based exercises, etc.), physical technique will be complemented with readings, viewings and discussion that focus on each historical work. All readings and viewings will be uploaded to create easy access for students. For midterm, students will perform one of the works already covered. For the final project, students will choose a favorite work covered over the semester and develop—in dialogue with the instructor—a solo, duet or a small group piece based on this work. For two weeks preceding these projects, students will build a compositional method based on the creative process of their chosen work. Details and guidelines about the final project will be discussed individually with the instructor. In addition, students will write a three-page paper on their chosen work due on the penultimate week, with guidelines distributed at the beginning of the semester.

Modern Dance: Mind-Body Knowledge & Expression

OART-UT 804 / OART-GT 2814 / 2 units

This course is an introduction to the fundamental concepts of Modern Dance technique that focuses on the dynamic rapport between body-mind knowledge and expression.

In movement, students will become more aware and organized in their bodies. They will explore certain aesthetic characteristics that help to define dance material as “Modern” or contemporary. Through structured improvisation and teamwork approaches students will learn to dance from the inside out, exercise choice with imagination and work together as an ensemble. Ultimately, students will gain an appreciation for the expressive capacity of the body, recognizing shared, unifying attributes and those that are unique and intrinsic to each individual.

The thorough warm up places an emphasis on breath and proper placement for safe practices and well being. It includes floor work, stretching and strength exercises and patterns that incorporate elements of Bartenieff Fundamentals. Short dances / sequences will be learned to sharpen knowledge of the Modern Dance lexicon and increase facility for translation of weight, space, time and energy ideas. All levels are welcome. No previous dance experience is required.

Modern Dance II: Mind-Body Integration

OART-UT 812 / 2 units

This course is a level II Contemporary Practice that further improves on physical training as an exploration between mind-body knowledge and expression. The class focuses on the physical articulation of various movement vocabularies, collaborative exploration of partnering, and ongoing in-class discussion to deepen the connection of self-awareness through learning and executing movement. Each class will involve set choreographic material as well as improvisation practice as teaching tools to deeply inform movement training with intention, efficiency and artistry. Students will be encouraged to pay close attention to their own movement learning experience instead of focusing on replicating the movement they learn.

The course’s guiding movement principles are rooted in Bartenieff Fundamentals. Movement material will include floor work, traveling, balancing, jumping, turning and will be shaped by these principles. Previous modern, contemporary or equivalent experience is required.

Site Specific to Immersive Dance Theater: Choreographing for Unconventional Formats & Spaces

OART-UT 810 / OART-GT 2810 / 4 units

How does one design a dance of illusion? Create interactive storytelling and experiential worlds? What is the process of building virtual dances for new technologies and online audiences? Site-Specific to Immersive Dance Theater: Choreographing for Unconventional Formats and Spaces (Tisch Collaborative Arts & Open Arts) is a research-to-practice course reconsidering the function, philosophy, and reality of an evolving stage. Not only is New York City a conduit for local to international dance and theater, but it is also a safe space for artists to resist the norm and re-imagine models for making.

Students will delve into physical world-making for both fantasy and non-fiction narratives. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to study the history and strategies for site-specific dance as a model for social change – given hands-on opportunities to experience the roles and responsibilities of choreographer as activist and historian. Through course exercises, students will build their own body of work ranging from dances for intimate home spaces to renowned public and digital sites. Past experience in movement and/or performance training is not required.

Steps, Rhythm & Movement: African Dance

OART-UT 800 / OART-GT 2800 / 2 units

This is an introduction to the dances and rhythms from Africa and the African Diaspora. Through movement, students will explore certain aesthetic characteristics that help to classify the dances as “African.” Traditional and or cultural dances and rhythms from various regions in Africa and the Caribbean will be taught along with the basic rhythmic patterns that are the foundation for the dances. There will be an emphasis on specific West African movements that have been transported and transplanted to the Americas. Class will consist of an extensive warm-up, including floor work, stretching, and isolation exercises that utilize elements of the Katherine Dunham isolation technique.

Steps, Rhythm & Movement: Hip Hop Dance

OART-UT 808 / OART-GT 2808 / 2 units

This is an introduction to the dances and rhythms from different styles that comprise Hip-Hop dance today. The first stage of the course will explore the wide array of styles that comprise and influence Hip-Hop movement. This course will not only introduce steps, but investigate root moves and historical context that shaped contemporary Hip-Hop today. During the course, students will also discuss the current and emerging trends of the genre. As an ever-evolving dance, this class will focus on budding dance styles, such as Flexing, Lite feet and Finger Tuts, comparing and contrasting those to case studies of past styles that emerged, (or re-emerged) to become heavily popularized such as Gliding, Krumping and Waacking. Additionally students will explore the globalized nature of Hip-Hop. To see the full evolution, students will see how other cultures have embraced and left their mark street styles, and how international dance battles and competitions have emerged, ultimately changing the landscape of Hip-Hop dance. Over the course of study students will begin to realize the complexity, the history and the varying opinions focused around Hip-Hop.

Why Dance Matters: Politics, Race, Class

OART-UT 703 / 4 units

Traversing Europe, the Americas, and Asia, this course investigates the various social, political, and historical contexts that have contributed to the evolution of dance, and conversely, explores the ways that performers and choreographers have utilized the medium of dance to reflect their personal concerns back to society in powerful ways. Artistic movements, choreographers, and dancers examined will include Vaudevillian tropes; the impact of the Industrial Revolution on ballet; sexual manipulation in the roles of Nijinsky; the political work of early modern dancers; WW I and II and its aftermath in the German Ausdruckstanz of Mary Wigman, Kurt Jooss, and in Japanese Butoh; the propagandist ballets of the Chinese Cultural Revolution; exploration of the commonplace in the psychological dance-theater of Antony Tudor and Pina Bausch; the anthropological research of black choreographers Katherine Dunham and Pearl Primus; exploration of Postmodern rebellion of the Judson Dance Theater; and the response of choreographers and performance artists to the Culture Wars and the AIDS crisis. Students will pursue extended research, view performance videos and documentaries, and be expected to write and talk about dance. 

World Dance Cultures

OART-UT 701 / 4 units

This course explores why and how dance acts as a vital participant in cultural practices around the world. Looking back through the perspective of present research, we will examine how dance is inherently a reflection of the culture it represents.

A wide overview of dance and its myriad purposes will be covered, from a means of worship in India, Turkey, and Haiti; its inclusion in the rituals of Bali; noh and kabuki theatrical traditions of Japan; fertility and death ceremonies of the Wodaabe, Yoruba, and Dogon tribes of Africa; the healing zar dances of North Africa, and the rituals/activism of Native American tribes. The presentation of court dance as a symbol of power will be examined in Hawai’i, Java, and Cambodia, as well as in Catherine de Medici’s Renaissance pageants and in the French Baroque spectacles of Louis XIV's Versailles and the Paris Opera. The inevitable impact of politics on dance will be examined in viewing the bloody genocide of Cambodia’s Royal Dancers; the propagandist works of China’s Cultural Revolution; the French Revolution’s influence upon Romantic ballets such as La Sylphide and Giselle; and how the repression of a Gitano culture led to the emergence of flamenco in Spain. In addition to written texts and video documentation, we will review examples of related art forms (visual arts, music, and drama). NOTE: This class was previously titled “History of Dance.”

performance scores

OART-UT 701 / 4 units

Scores are ordinarily considered as a method of musical notation, but they have also been developed by visual and performance artists as an alternative means of creating material, injecting critical commentary and expanding the imagination for both witness and participant. Within these experimental/postmodern settings, scores have been used to heighten awareness of an artist’s social environment by exposing unconscious assumptions embedded in culture, and by creating spaces of challenge, critique, and/or play. This course is an interactive exploration of some of these major scores, approaching them as documents that reflect a multiplicity of expressive forms as well as reflective of the historical frames that produced them. Students will gain an understanding of how scores work in various disciplines including but not limited to music.


Acting for the Camera

OART-UT 1908 / OART-GT 2908 / 3 units

This course is for actors who want to explore and cultivate their filmic talents, directors and writers who want to create performances that exploit the potential of the camera. Unique to acting for film is the intimate relationship between actor and camera. Experienced actors and those new to acting begin working before the camera the first class. Breaking down and filming scenes from television and film scripts, actors learn to make nuanced, authentic choices based on commitment to action, responsibility to text, investing in subtext and understanding what their physicality and behavior reveal.

Being directed and watching others directed will give clarity to the role the actor plays in this visual storytelling process. The audition will be demystified through improvisation and practice of rehearsed and cold audition material. There will be an overview of the business aspects of professional acting, including casting and actor representation. The goal is to be a better screen actor, trust yourself, feel confident and be comfortable auditioning and working on professional sets in the future. Footage and scenes are available to each student.

Acting I: Introduction to the Actor’s Craft

OART-UT 1906 / OART-GT 2906 / 2 units

This course provides a foundation for understanding and practicing the craft of the actor. Beginning with theater games and improvisations, class participants will be challenged to explore and stretch their physical and emotional ways of expression and the scope of their imaginations. Students will begin to work with scripted material in the second half of the course and will learn basic script analysis to support their work with text as they integrate earlier exercises into presentation of scripted material.

Not open to Tisch Drama majors.

Acting II: Advanced Scene Study

OART-UT 1907 / OART-GT 2907 / 4 units

Building on Acting I: Introduction to the Actor's Craft, this class provides students with techniques and skills designed to help them make the transition from theater games, improvisation and basic text work to detailed scene study. After beginning with ensemble building exercises to create a safe and supportive environment conducive to bold, creative exploration, the class will focus on methods of script analysis; playing actions; particularizing emotional meanings; ways to make creative choices while respecting the playwright's intent, and how to balance spontaneity with precision and aspects of character development. The goal of the class is to enable students to make the journey from text analysis to a full, immediate and inventive embodiment of the given circumstances, character adjustments and dramatic action. Scenes will be drawn from a wide range of dramatic material. 

Not open to Tisch Drama majors.

Dramatic Literature students should register for DRLIT-UA 639.

Auto Performance Lab

OART-UT 1913 / 4 units

This is a creative workshop designed for playwrights who yearn to act and actors who have an itch to write. Using one’s self as material, participants create a short solo performance for an end-of-semester presentation. The lab combines physical work (both group and solo) with in-class/out-of-class writing exercises aimed at enhancing students’ capacities to transform the stuff of their real lives into mimetic fiction. The final composition may stand alone as a finished, self-contained piece or may be an extended monologue planned as part of a full-length play, given the creator’s primary interest (solo-performance vs. playwriting). In-class exercises, group critiques (though the instructor prefers the word “responses”) as well as analysis of other artists’ solo performances are used to shape students’ final compositions.

Theatrical Genres: Comedy & Performance

OART-UT 1903 / 4 units

What is comedy? WHY do we laugh at all? WHAT makes us laugh? How is comedy today different from yesterday; how is it the same? Combining theory with practice, this class endeavors to explore comedy both critically and in performance, embodying the comic even as we theorize about it. We will look at comedy historically, and as it manifests in various genres, as well as break it down structurally – all the while keeping an eye to the cultural influences that inform all comedy. The primary mode of exploration for this class will be stand-up. Arguably the most prevalent form of comedy of our age, stand-up offers us a window into how all comedy works, including: the importance of surprise; comedic timing; comedic structure; and comic situations and characters. In terms of content, we will address status as a location for humor; the importance of the body in comedy; and cultural taboos. In addition to working on our stand up routines, each class will have a critical component, and class discussions will serve to deepen our evolving routines. Of particular interest is the examination of (and distinction between) comedy that affirms cultural norms versus comedy that subverts these norms.

Downtown Theatre

OART-UT 1921 / 4 units

This course explores the ecology of artistic creation in the "downtown" New York scene. New venues, performance forms and modes of expression and distribution are attracting audiences to unconventional experiences in "the cracks of the city." Three themes are explored. First, geography and location; where the non-traditional performance activity is taking place; then hierarchy, or how the venues and institutions of “downtown” relate to each other and finally; networking, or how and why audiences connect with artists and performances within in contemporary performance.

Dramatic Literature students should register for DRLIT-UA 175.

Embodied Performance: Collaborative Creations

OART-UT 145 / OART-GT 2145 / 2 units

Embodied Performance: Collaborative Creations is a 2-credit studio course that explores the instructor’s original performance methodology, a fusion of physical theater modalities culled from Western practices (Psycho-physical actions, Viewpoints), Eastern practices (Butoh, Kundalini yoga) and related performance disciplines (Mask, Puppetry). This course provides foundational training for students who are interested in investigating the field of performative and collaborative arts and will serve as an entry point for NYU students interested in movement and physically based acting.

History of American Musical Theatre

OART-UT 1922 / 4 units

What makes a musical a musical? How did the most major form of Drama in America come to be? This survey of American musical theatre, with an emphasis on its significant and unique contribution to US popular culture, will trace the musical’s relation to 19th century popular entertainments such as minstrelsy, vaudeville, and burlesque, examine its critical affair with popular song and dance forms from throughout the 20th century, and celebrate its continual reimagining of itself up through present day. Through the reading of librettos and the listening to scores we will also analyze the “bones” of the art form: the structural elements that define the fully Integrated musical: plot, character, song, dance, orchestration, setting, and design – all blended together into a seamless whole, and all completely hinging on the collaborative process for creative inspiration and ultimate success.

Dramatic Literature students should register for DRLIT-UA 296.

Movement as Play

OART-UT 1901 / OART-GT 2901 / 2 units

The primary objective of this semester is to free up the artist’s channel through physical training. This work happens under the notion that the body is a channel through which we process our experiences into motion and sound - whether that be through acting, filmmaking, writing, etc. When the channel is open, you learn to connect with and respond more spontaneously to an environment without tension or pushing. A large portion of the freeing-up process is psychological, which requires an understanding of and connection to your emotional and physical self. The mindfulness component of the movement work encourages you to be permissive with your habits, experiences and emotions as they develop in the body. However, this is never accomplished in a vacuum. The unique insight of this training is the necessity for you to be in contact in order for the work to take-hold. This happens through regularly practiced ensemble exercises drawing from Pilobolus and Viewpoints techniques. The concept of “play,” begins to take hold, as you understand improvisational movement without tension or anxiety - working less cerebrally and more kinesthetically.

Pulling from exercises of Michael Chekov, Lloyd Williamson, Joe Hart, Steve Paxton, Allen Wayne, and Julia Crockett- you are given an arsenal of physical vocabulary and challenged to become fearless, expansive, unapologetic, and creative. A large portion of the work focuses on the studies of Rudolf Laban’s “Eight Efforts.” These Laban Efforts are the springboard for a final composition choreography project, where you will be asked to create your very own movement piece.

Not open to Tisch Drama Majors.

The Bard Out Loud: Introduction to Shakespeare

OART-UT 1909 / OART-GT 2909 / 2 units

This course provides a hands-on, performance-based introduction to reading, understanding, and performing Shakespeare’s works. Students will begin with text analysis, gaining a broad foundation in Shakespeare’s text, including but not limited to: use of language, meter, scansion, alliteration and antithesis in order to approach sonnets, monologues, and scenes from Shakespeare’s canon. Students will work as a class group to analyze sonnets as an introduction to working on Shakespeare’s plays. Throughout the course of the semester, students will work on a monologue and a scene for action-based acting and character work. Students will be expected to prepare and rehearse material outside of class and will be paired for a final assignment of preparing a Shakespeare scene for rehearsal and presentation in class. Monologue and scene suggestions will be provided from a list handed out by the instructor. This is not a lecture-based seminar on Shakespeare’s writing, but rather an introductory approach to analyzing text for clues and insights into performing Shakespeare’s works. Open to all students of all levels of experience. Not open to Tisch Drama Majors.


The Art of Adaptation: Transofrming Source Material into Film & TV

OART-UT 1044 / 4 units

From Shakespeare’s era to the present day, writers and other artists have created new works by using other art-forms as source material. This practice is especially true for film and television, where the source material can come from a novel or play, a video game or comic book, an historical event or even a blog or trashy headline. We will explore a variety of practices in the art of adaptation--as it relates to movies and TV--and apply them to an adaptation that students will develop over the course of the semester, resulting in a treatment for a film or television show. Through case studies, exercises and in-class discussion, we will refine and develop students’ work to its greatest potential. We will compare early drafts of award-winning screenplays with their original source material and the final shooting scripts, hopefully gaining insight into the iterative process of adaptation and the challenges and creative insights that the filmmakers discovered along the way. We'll also explore practical issues like options, rights, collaborations, intellectual property laws and licenses, etc.

Collaborative Screenwriting

OART-UT 1044 / 4 units

Filmmaking is a collaborative art form, and screenwriting is the first foundational element of this ideal. It is common to see episodes of television series credited to multiple people, or at least different people within each season. What does this mean? Do groups of writers working on a show write as a group, or is there some other form of collaboration? If a group of writers end up collaborating on a television show, how does that series end up as one unified whole? Most importantly, what are the benefits of collaboration and how is it put into practice? Collaborative Screenwriting will focus on the use of multiple writers in the writer’s room – the most common method of screenplay development in modern day television - as a way to better understand the collaborative process of screenwriting. By looking at the different strategies employed by multiple writers creating a series bible and scripts, we will delve deeply into several intermediate aspects of screenwriting – dramatic structure, plot evolution, character development, scene shaping and dialogue. At the same time, we will confront the true nature of collaboration in screenwriting – what it actually means to ‘combine talents’ in a work – as well as produce finished work reflecting that goal. Intended as a practicum in screenplay collaboration focused on the development of a half-hour ‘prestige TV’ series, the class will be set up as a model Writer’s Room. Each group of three to four writers will develop a series idea together, in the form of a bible, and then write the pilot script for the series, which they will workshop together. Emphasis will be placed on developing the bible/pitch deck, breaking story, and examining the various roles that make the writers room a creative and dynamic environment. Students will have a working understanding of developing episodic content, and come out of the class with a basic understanding of how a writer’s room operates. Note: this is a rigorous, collaborative class that requires significant out-of-class meetups with your group colleagues, so please be aware of the time commitment.

Fundamentals of Developing the Screenplay

OART-UT 35 / 4 units

The course combines lectures on the basics of feature length screenwriting with the development of the student’s own writing work. Students are required to complete 25-50 pages of a full length screenplay. The students study story structure, conflict, and character, in conjunction with the screening and study of several films and screenplays. The emphasis will be on visual storytelling and developing a strong and distinctive screenwriting voice. All students must come to the first class with two ideas for full-length screenplays.

Intermediate Screenwriting

OART-UT 36 / 3 units

A continuation of the training presented in Fundamentals of Developing the Screenplay. Required work in the class includes extensive scene work. Guided by their screenwriting instructor, students will complete the screenplay begun in Fundamentals of Developing the Screenplay and then do a rewrite or they may begin, complete, and rewrite a new full-length screenplay. The focus in this class will be on story structure and development and the completion of a full-length screenplay. If you plan to do a new work, you must come to the first class with three ideas for full-length screenplays. Each idea can be described in one or two paragraphs.

Musical Theatre Writing Workshop

OART-UT 1050 / OART-GT 2050 / 4 units

A team-taught workshop that encourages composers, lyricists, and book writers to find their own voices and learn to merge their unique artistic visions with those of other collaborative artists to create exciting new songs in a theatrical context. Rotating teams write and present a series of projects culminating in a short musical theatre work to be presented at the end of the semester by Broadway actors. Theatre songwriting craft, issues of communication between artists of different disciplines, and storytelling through music and text are emphasized. Great musical theatre works of the 20th century are read and discussed to support the students' examination of their own creative process. Poets, playwrights, and writers from other genres, and composers from a wide variety of stylistic background ranging from pop to classical-country, hip-hop, rap, and jazz to fusion, are welcome to participate.

Playwriting Practicum

OART-UT 1040 / 4 units

An introductory course on the basic techniques employed in writing a play. Class includes discussion of samples of the students’ work in addition to discussion of theory and various theatrical exercises. Students read selected plays to enhance discussions of structuring a dramatic piece of writing. The course addresses actors writing material for themselves and focuses on character and dialogue as well as examining scene work, outlining, and the completion of a first draft of a one-act play. This course counts towards Theatre Studies requirements for Drama students and as elective credits for other TSOA students.

Playwriting Practicum II

OART-UT 1041 / 4 Units

One hundred years ago, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch famously advised writers: “Murder your darlings.” (The Art of Writing, 1916.) Harsh words, perhaps--but it is in the process of revision that the real writing begins. This course is a continuation of the principles learned in Playwriting Practicum I, with a special focus on the work-shopping and developmental process of a new work for the stage. A concern this semester will be with the process of DECONSTRUCTION—using a text’s assumptions of completion against itself. 

Class discussions and exercises will examine methods for improving dialogue, crafting satisfying reversals, generating material, enriching characters while maintaining consistency, as well as advanced structural considerations of the 3-act form. The semester begins with a radical re-treatment of a master work. We will attend, as a class, the Elevator Repair Service’s  revision of THE SEAGULL at Skirball.  A sustained analysis of methods of critiquing—both self and others—is an ongoing concern of the course. Students will emerge with a revised one-act or full-length play. PREREQUISITE: PLAYWRITING PRACTICUM I or equivalent, OR special permission of instructor.

Writing the TV Sitcom

OART-UT 1045 / 4 units

Adapted from the Dramatic Writing Program’s popular “Introduction to the Sitcom” course, this intensive scriptwriting class answers the question, “What do I need to break into TV writing?” – the student will be guided through the step-by-step development of an episode for an ongoing TV sitcom, from premise line to one-page outline, to pages and revisions. The course will require the completion of a polished draft while introducing students to the rigors of professional standards through weekly story goals.

Writing Your Life

OART-UT 1047 / 4 units

If autobiography is a retelling of the events of your life from beginning to end, then memoir—from the French for “to remember”—is an examination of some events of your life through a particular frame. We tell stories drawn from our lives all the time, but we sometimes fail to consider the themes and ideas that connect those stories with themselves and with each other; that failure robs us in turn of the opportunity to understand better both the world and ourselves. Each week of this course you’ll both read and write thoughtful memoir; by the end of the semester, you’ll be able to write reflectively about your own past, examining not just the stories you tell about your life but also those stories’ deeper meanings, their part in shaping your identity, and their echoes in your present and your future.

Film & IMAGE

Nonfiction Animation

OART-UT 23 / 4 units

From its earliest beginnings, animation has had an ambivalent approach to reality. Without photographic reality to rely on, animation emphasizes individual point of view and philosophical indeterminacy, even in its approach to documentary. In this hands-on animation class, we will combine studio projects with short readings, screenings, and discussions to ruminate on notions of truth in art - what can objects tell us about their owner? When can a process reveal something our mind hadn’t recognized? How can we create meaningful abstraction, and what can’t be told with story? We will employ a range of animation techniques including hand-drawn and digital, stopmotion, and direct film. Students should be prepared to commit to a certain amount of self-directed learning, depending on their choice of media and level of skill (ie: we will not be spending every class on technical demonstrations). This class will emphasize personal communication and intentionality in the creation of interesting short animation. Students don’t need to have previous animation experience (though this class will also serve advanced animation students), but willingness to experiment and jump into making short films will be necessary.

Queer documentary

OART-UT 23 / 4 units

What does it look like when members of the LGBTQAI+ communities document themselves and each other? How can we take inspiration from queer documentaries of the past and apply them to the stories we’d like to tell on screen today? This collaborative practical course combines film screenings, creative exercises, lectures, and class discussions with a workshop environment in which students will explore their own cinematic artistic practice. During the course of the semester, students will research, develop, produce, direct, shoot, and edit their own short documentary (approx 3-5 mins in length). As inspiration, LGBTQAI+ documentary films from a wide variety of filmmakers and genres will be screened and studied throughout the course. Students will be required to complete readings about film history and technique, watch films outside of class, write weekly response papers, complete production assignments, and keep a journal about the making of their own film. Student work will be given individualized attention during class so participants are expected to engage with the variety of projects being undertaken by their peers and to participate actively in class workshops and discussions. Classes will sometimes include guest lectures by filmmakers.

The Art of the Interview

OART-UT 1930 / 4 units

The interview is at the heart of the documentary film and many forms of media, journalism, podcasts and theater. It is a basic tool in academic research. This course will analyze the skills required to produce a successful interview: selecting subjects; preparing and posing questions; focused listening and eliciting powerful responses. Students will be exposed to some of the finest examples of interviews across disciplines demonstrating the range of styles and contexts for the interview. Whether with a random stranger, a family member or a well-known personality, students will develop the ability to conduct meaningful interviews during the course of the semester.

Bridging Fact & Fiction

OART-UT 1708 / 4 units

Many films - both narrative and documentary - aim to present some form of “truth” and reality to the audience. This course examines how film is always an authored construct, where the filmmaker’s selection and presentation of visual materials reveals an artful manipulation of reality in order to evoke meaning and emotion. Students will analyze and interrogate cinematic representations of reality, and put theory into practice through video exercises based on this theme. This course is designed to give film students the foundational understanding of narrative film structure and cinematic grammar through the use of fiction and non-fiction filmmaking. The class will use films as texts to explore how cinematic storytelling attempts to create and subvert representations of reality. We will examine films that blur the line between documentary and fiction, calling into question the notion of portraying "truth" in cinema. Through a close analysis of films that challenge our notion of what is “real,” students will interrogate the very notion of truth in cinema, and ultimately demonstrate a new way of thinking about film narrative.

Students will also test the waters of film production, through cellphone video exercises and assignments. Students will work in groups to create two 1-3 minute films - one scripted and one built from a real world story. This course inspires students to see the art of cinematic stories not as a narrow construct, but rather one that allows the filmmaker to blend veracity and creation to produce original narratives.

Cell Phone Cinema

OART-UT 566 / OART-GT 2566 / 4 units

Hollywood in your palm. That is what this combination of lectures, screenings, demonstrations and practical production workshops will offer to the students in this course. 
There will be several professional guests making presentations and Q&A sessions from the mobile phone filmmaking industry. 
In addition to the historical and critical overview of the emergence and exponential growth of global cell phone cinema, students will shoot all footage on cell phones and download them for computerized editing. The final project will be under three minute shorts. 

Projects will include all genres of film and television: news, mini-documentaries, animation, music videos and narrative shorts. Completed student projects will be suitable to be posted on the Internet and entered into domestic and international mobile phone film festivals. For example, two minutes long improvisations of Bollywood Style Music Videos shot on Cell Phones by the students have been projected at the Tribeca Cinemas as part of the New York Indian Film Festival. It is suggested but not compulsory that students bring to the class a cell phone capable of recording video. 

Production Guidelines

Fundamentals of Documentary Filmmaking I: Making a Short Observational Documentary Film

OART-UT 580 / OART-GT 2580 / 4 units

Fundamentals of Documentary Filmmaking I is an intensive 14 week course combining lectures and creative workshops to introduce students to documentary film production, basic film production tools, and basic film grammar. Students work together in crews to research, discover, design, pre-produce, shoot and direct short documentary film exercises and a final short Observational documentary Film. No pre-arranged interviews, or prepared recreations are used. Only a directional camera microphone is employed to acquire diegetic sound while observing and filming real life activity.

This course serves to expand the Open Arts program’s film production course offerings by making an introductory documentary filmmaking class available. It is similar in structure and technical scope to the existing Fundamentals of Filmmaking I course - which is a narrative based course.

Fundamentals of Documentary Filmmaking I will also serve as an introductory film production course for other NYU students who may have an interest in non-fiction, documentary film production courses. This course will count towards the Documentary minor. Please email Tisch Special Programs at to ask to substitute this course for the minor.

Production Guidelines

Fundamentals of Documentary Filmmaking II: Documenting Discovery - Directing & Producing a Short Documentary Film

OART-UT 581 / OART-GT 2581 / 4 units

“Documenting Discovery” is an intensive 14 week course combining lectures and creative workshops to fully explore documentary film production. Students will learn advanced non-fiction filmmaking techniques, including interviewing subjects, capturing visuals from real life and documentary storytelling. Over the course of the semester, students will hone their filmmaking skills through a series of exercises, leading up to a final project that focuses on a single subject. Focusing on both content and form, student filmmakers will choose a subject to research, interview and develop a documentary film with a clear narrative arc. Students can choose to focus on a friend or family member, or else they can choose from a pool of suggested subjects to document their process of artistic discovery.

Production Guidelines

Fundamentals of Filmmaking I: The Art of Visual Storytelling

OART-UT 560 / OART-GT 2560 / 4 units

This practical workshop is designed to introduce students to the techniques and theory of developing and producing short film ideas that are shot on digital video and edited digitally on computer using Adobe Premiere Pro software. The course centers on learning elements of visual storytelling through a spectrum of aesthetic approaches. Working in crews of four, students learn directing, shooting, and editing skills as they each direct three short videos (three to five minutes in length). This course is specifically designed to fulfill the major requirements in production of students not majoring in film and therefore, students who need to fulfill this requirement are given registration priority. 

Students are required to have a video recording device to participate in this class and will have to follow Tisch remote filming guidelines for health and safety. If you are using a smartphone, Filmic Pro is a required purchase (approx $14.99), which is compatible with iOS 11 or higher. A personal DSLR or mirrorless camera that records video may also be used. Small, cellphone stands (approx $15) are recommended and strongly suggested (we will provide link). It is also required that you purchase an external hard drive (you may find specs at Adobe Premiere will be used for editing and students should make sure they have computers that meet the following tech requirements ( Other editing software may be used by permission from the instructor. Additional College Student Insurance (approx $155) is a recommended purchase to protect your personal equipment, but is not required. Please contact your professor if you have any questions about your intended camera or computer use.

Production Guidelines

Fundamentals of Filmmaking II: Directing & Producing the Short

OART-UT 561 / OART-GT 2561 / 4 units

In this course, students will build upon the visual storytelling skills learned in the prerequisite course, Fundamentals of Filmmaking. Students will be introduced to color cinematography, aesthetics, sound recording, casting and directing actors, production logistics, and editing. This course is aimed at the film enthusiast who would like to further explore digital filmmaking. Students will shoot on HD digital video cameras, and edit with Adobe Premiere Pro software on Apple computers. Students will have access to a compact lighting and mini mic kit for use on their productions. Students are required to purchase their own portable hard drive to use during the editing process.

NOTE: Freshmen may not enroll.

Production Guidelines

Professional Lighting & Camera Techniques

OART-UT 571 / OART-GT 2571 / 2 units

Students will learn how to shoot professional looking shots on prosumer cameras with minimal lighting — by applying the lessons of professional cinematography to prosumer video cameras, DSLR’s, and cellphone videoography. A wide variety of Camera Exercises are assigned to train the students to shoot movies with natural light and limited prosumer camera gear. 3-4 person crews are selected to work together on all the Camera Exercises, and the Final Project as well. Students can shoot with their own prosumer cameras or choose from a selection of prosumer videocameras and DSLR’s provided by the course (SONY EX-1’s, SONY RX4K DSLR’s, and iPhones — pending availability). All camera exercises are then screened and reviewed in class.  Students analyze and discuss their own work and are assigned reshoots and pick-up shooting assignments to reinforce their in-class learning.

Special Effects Makeup I

OART-UT 14 / OART-GT 2014 / 4 units

This is an introductory level hands-on workshop designed for students wishing to explore their artistry, experienced makeup artists seeking advanced techniques, non-makeup artists just starting out, and anyone who has ever wondered “how’d they do that?” This course explores the art of special effects make-up. Topics include “out-of-kit” makeup effects including contusions, bruises, burns and frostbite; skin safe molding procedures; casting and painting silicone replica props, frozen death makeup; and designing and creating a 1:4 scale character maquette.  Anatomical reference and safety using materials is also addressed. Students receive their own specially designed makeup kit with all materials necessary to complete all in-class assignments. No artistic background required

Special Effects MakeUp II

OART-UT 16 / OART-GT 2016 / 4 units

PRE-REQUISITE: OART-UT 14 Special Effects Makeup 1 or special permission from instructor. This course expands upon Special Effects Makeup I in an even more rigorous and challenging hands-on workshop environment. It is designed for students who have already successfully completed Special Effects Makeup I and wish to further develop and build upon the skills and techniques learned in the class for their own film productions, photo shoots, or fine art projects. Special Effects Makeup II projects are character driven and include designing, sculpting, molding, casting and painting. The University Bursar will assess a lab fee for this course.  Students will receive all materials and tools necessary to complete each in-class assignment. (NOTE: This class uses latex.  Please contact the instructor if you have a latex allergy.) 

Photography I

OART-UT 11 / OART-GT 2011 / 4 units

A basic black-and-white photography course designed for those with little or no experience in photography. Emphasis is placed on the application of technique in terms of personal expression through the selection and composition of subject matter. Class size is limited, providing for a greater degree of individual critique and class participation. The course comprises technical lectures, dark demonstrations, slide lectures on historical and contemporary work as well as class critiques. Each student must have a camera with manually adjustable aperture and shutter speeds. The program reserves the right to drop any student from a course who does not attend the first class. 

Digital Photography

OART-UT 13 / OART-GT 2013 / 4 units

This is a standard digital photography course designed for those with little or no experience in photography. This course will emphasize personal expression through the application of technique to the presentation of subject matter. Open Arts will have enough A7RII cameras for students to share for the duration of the semester. While it is not required that you own your own digital camera to enroll in this course, it is recommended that you borrow or acquire your own camera for the duration of this course, if you would like to avoid having to share one of the department's cameras with another student. If you would like to purchase your own camera, a digital single lens reflex (SLR) or mirrorless digital camera is highly recommended for this course. The camera needs to have manual aperture and shutter speed controls.

The purpose of this course is to develop an understanding of the technical and aesthetic aspects of making photographic images. We will apply fundamental photographic techniques such as composition, framing, lighting and manual camera controls to the images we create. We will discuss the way we see, compared to how cameras and lenses see, evaluate the similarities and differences and how that impacts the creation of images and how we analyze them. Students will make photographs that are effective as individual images and photographs that work together in a series. Students will learn how to create a narrative with a series of photographs and express a feeling or mood with a series of photographs. Class discussions will introduce students to a variety of concepts related to visual literacy. Students will also be introduced to the work of historically significant photographers from a broad range of backgrounds. Students will learn how to use Adobe Creative Cloud software to adjust images for print and digital publishing.

By the end of the course, students will understand how to use a digital SLR or mirrorless camera to create compelling photographs using manual controls, process their images using Adobe Creative Cloud software and best practices for publishing their images digitally as well as best practices for printing their images. Finally, students will enhance their critical thinking skills while developing a deeper understanding of visual/photographic language. Students are expected to shoot a minimum of 108 exposures (photographs) each week.


Portrait of an Artist: Walter Murch

OART-UT 901 / 4 units

This course examines the artistic career and creative work of Walter Murch, Oscar-winning film editor and sound designer, and the first and only artist to win Academy Awards for both film editing and sound mixing on a single film (The English Patient, 1997). The class will provide an unprecedented inside look into Mr. Murch’s processes of sound designing, editing, mixing, writing, and directing on such acclaimed and memorable films as THX 1138, American Graffiti, The Conversation, Apocalypse Now, The Godfather, Return to Oz, The English Patient, Touch of Evil, and Cold Mountain. Through interviews, articles, and materials from his private archives never before publicly available, students learn about the creative world of an artist who has brought the importance of sound and editing to a new level. In addition to his work in film and his inventions used in the filmmaking process, two additional areas of interest of Mr. Murch will be examined: translations of Curzio Malaparte’s writings and his passion for astronomy. Mr. Murch will participate on several occasions in the course as a guest lecturer by visiting the class and/or via video conferencing.

Master Class in Documentary

OART-UT 1702 / OART-GT 2702 / 4 units

Note: Fall semester only

This course, while not a production class, is designed to give students the opportunity to learn each stage of the documentary filmmaking process from the best working professionals in their field. Each week we will watch a documentary and meet someone who had a pivotal role in the making of that documentary. Our guests will include producers, directors, cinematographers, sound engineers, editors, writers, film composers and sound mixers. These professionals will share their experience and expertise with the class and answer questions about their work thereby providing a foundation of insight into the decisions, tools and skills that go into the making of good documentaries. Class discussions will explore the creative and technical decisions involved in the making the film.

History of Documentary Film

OART-UT 1701 / 4 units

The course traces the documentary film from its origins to the present day. Pioneer documentarians like Dziga Vertov and Robert Flaherty saw in documentary film the ability to portray life with a kind of truthfulness never before possible. Early Polish filmmaker Boleslaw Matuszewski wrote that while “the cinematograph does not give the whole truth at least what it gives is unquestionable and of an absolute truth.” Since those heady days, it has become all too clear that documentaries have no special access to the truth.

Nevertheless, as this still-young art evolved, documentarians of different schools constantly sought new means to tell the human story. Documentary filmmaking has always been a blend of artistry and technical means and we will also explore this critical relationship. The course explores the development of the documentary and the shifting intentions of documentary filmmakers through the evolution of narrative approach and structure paying special attention to the documentary tradition’s relationship to journalism. Students examine how different filmmakers have gone about trying to convey “reality” on screen both through the use and avoidance of narration, through interviews, editing and dramatizations. Throughout the semester, students investigate how image-driven medium attempts to report stories and the ways an emotion-driven art can be problematic for journalistic objectivity. Finally, the ethical and journalistic responsibilities the documentary filmmaker are discussed. Special attention is given to dramatic re-creations, the filmmaker’s relationship to his/her subjects and the construction of narrative through editing.

Film: A Transformative Process, a Vision Beyond Technology

OART-UT 140 / 4 units

This course emphasizes the content, the aesthetics, and the purpose of cinema as a truly distinctive and dynamic art form uncovering the inner vision of the filmmaker, and the organic and transformative process where filmmakers projects their original truth, not compromising or borrowing ideas and themes from other films. Students explore the use of technology as a valuable tool that enhances the vision of the filmmaker without diminishing the organic texture of the work by its overwhelming presence. The course brings to light the stagnant and repetitious formulae of commercial cinema, resulting in diluted mainstream films. The works of iconic filmmakers who embrace and use film as an original, vibrant and reflective art form are reviewed throughout the course. Extracts and readings from relevant filmmakers are given throughout the course.


See the Game Center for more information about Games at Tisch

Games 101

OART-UT 1600 / 4 units

Games 101 is the foundational course for the NYU Game Center. The focus of Games 101 is game literacy – a shared understanding of games as complex cultural and aesthetic objects. The class will incorporate lectures, discussion, readings, and writing assignments, but the primary activity of the class is critical play – playing games in order to better understand and appreciate them. The class will cover games on and off the computer, including classic and contemporary board and card games, sports, and games on the PC, internet, and consoles.

History of Interactive Narrative Across Media

OART-UT 1624 / 4 units

Traditional stories, following Aristotelean principles, have a beginning, middle and an end; develop with rising action building to a cathartic ending; and play out in equal time and space with a communal (if passive) reader or audience.  What happens when these traditions are subverted and the story is not traditionally structured?  How does changing form change content and how do unconventional formal elements influence medium?  How are developments in interactive storytelling reflective of culture, history and advances in technology?

The course objective is to examine the history of interactive storytelling across media:  literature; adventure and puzzle books; hypertext; ARGs; ergodic and electronic literature; theater; film and television. Students will engage with this history through analysis and discussion, as well as through critical making.  

Intro to Game Design

OART-UT 1605 / 4 units

This is an intensive, hands-on workshop addressing the complex challenges of game design. The premise of the class is that all games, digital and non-digital, share common fundamental principles, and that understanding these principles is an essential part of designing successful games. Learning how to create successful non-digital games provides a solid foundation for the development of digital games. Students will analyze existing digital and non-digital games, taking them apart to understand how they work as interactive systems. A number of non-digital games will be created in order to master the basic design principles that apply to all games regardless of format.

Intro to Programming for Games

OART-UT 1617 / 4 units

Introduction to Programming for Games is a course that introduces students to the concepts, problems, and methods of computer programming, and how these apply to the creation of video games. Throughout the semester, students will have weekly programming assignments, first using Processing with the Java programming language, then the Unity3D Game Engine with C#. There will be a midterm game in Processing and a final game in Unity. The course assumes no prior programming knowledge, and is designed to touch on the basic principles of digital design in form of computer code. There will be an emphasis on programming fundamentals; they will be motivated through the lens of designing and producing video games.

Intro to Game Studies

OART-UT 1606 / 4 units

This class is an overview of the field of video games that approaches them from several theoretical and critical perspectives. No special theoretical background or prior training is needed to take the course, but to have had a broad practical experience with and basic knowledge of games is a distinct advantage. Also, an interest in theoretical and analytical issues will help. You are expected to actively participate in the lectures, which are dialogic in form, with ample room for discussion. The course will prepare the student to:

  • Understand and discuss games from a theoretical perspective - what are the components of a game?

  • Apply new theories and evaluate them critically.

  • Assess and discuss game concepts and the use of games in various contexts.

  • Analyze games, and understand and apply a range of analytical methods.

Intro to Game Development

OART-UT 1601 / 4 units

Introduction to Game Development is a practical course that introduces students to the methods, tools and principles used in developing digital games. Over the course of the semester, students will work alone to create a two digital prototypes or ‘sketches’, before building on them to produce a final polished game, using the lessons learned in the earlier prototypes. This is a hands­-on, primarily lab­-based course, and so the focus is on learning ­by ­doing rather than on reading and discussion.

Tackling Representation in Games

OART-UT 1618 / 4 units

Identity and representation are two of the most pressing and complex issues for contemporary video games, that without recognizing them an artist or critic would be missing a large part of how games are important in culture. With growing art and activist communities, video games are diversifying and grappling with a wide range of topics rarely seen before in the genre, and with it a greater need for informed perspectives on the topic of how marginalized people are depicted in media. This course discusses foundational theories of identity and encourages students to contribute their own ideas towards the design and interpretation of representation in games.

Intro to Visual Communication

OART-UT 1620 / 4 units

Intro to Visual Communication builds a foundation for visual literacy and visual design thinking. The class focuses on the fundamentals of visual communication – line, color, composition, typography – as well as their application in a variety of contexts. You may or may not end up being a visual designer or artist, but all kinds of game design and development involves visual thinking.

The philosophy of the class is learning by doing. Each week, in class and out of class, you will be creating visual projects on and off the computer. Sometimes you will be drawing in a sketchbook or making paper collages. Other times you will be using visual design software, such as Illustrator and Photoshop. The goal of the course is to connect the visual exercises to skills and issues related directly to games. Sometimes we will be working on fundamental skills. Other times, we will be applying those skills to game-related problems. 


Introduction to Game Engines

OART-UT 1621 / 2 units

Introduction to Game Engines is a course intended for students who already have an understanding of programming fundamentals that introduces concepts, problems, and methods of developing games and interactive media using popular game engines. Game engines are no longer just used for the development of games, they have increasingly gained popularity as tools for developing animations, interactives, VR experience, and new media art. Throughout the semester, students will have weekly programming assignments, using a popular game engine. There will be a final game assignment, as well as weekly quizzes and a final exam. The course assumes prior programming knowledge, if students do not have the appropriate prerequisites a placement exam may be taken. There will be an emphasis on using code in a game engine environment as a means of creative expression.


Music & SOUND

Handmade Music

OART-UT 17 / 4 units

Design, build, practice, perform, record, recycle, repeat. In this fabrication-heavy course, students will create new musical instruments and toys that can be performed and manipulated by humans, machines, animals and the supernatural. We will experiment with shapes, materials, and analog/digital technologies to create new instruments that defy common sense, yet are visually beautiful and sonically adventurous. Our main sources of inspiration will be the industrial revolution, punk subculture, soap operas, cartoons, Fluxus, the universe, and New York City. Our goal will be to devise musical instruments that can be mastered but also played without skill or music education. We will learn how to utilize various building tools and techniques such as 3D modelling and printing, Shop power tools and laser cutting. In each weekly iteration, students will compose, record and perform original music with their instruments, sometimes as an ensemble. The semester will end with an exhibition featuring our instruments and sheet music, with a final performance for a live audience.


Improvising Sound & Music

OART-UT 1021 / 4 units

There Are Other Worlds (They Have Not Told You Of) — Sun Ra 

You can be in unison without being in unison.  —Ornette Coleman

I do not think there are final and definite answers to any of the really important questions in human life; there are only useful and useless answers—answers, that is, that lead in the direction of enrichment of experience or of its impoverishment.  — Christopher Small

This course is about successfully illuminating some of the formal, contextual, cultural, and social dimensions of Experimental performance vis-à-vis the critical study/practice of improvising. Because the professor believes that improvisation presents itself as a non-hierarchical (ideally), process-oriented practice, that claims no victories and is rooted in a listening self, the class will construct this course together as an ensemble; an open, unpretentious and wholly democratic approach will carry us into our 15-week experimentation.

Music for Film & TV

OART-UT 564 / 3 units

A professional composer leads a theoretical and practical course dealing with artistic and technical aspects in composing music for film and television. Through analysis, demonstration, and controlled practice, students learn and deal with the specifics of the composer’s job, duties, and responsibilities, and develop listening and production skills necessary for the creative use of music. The course provides an inside look into a relationship between composer and music editor, and explores music as a creative tool. In addition to musical considerations, the business and personal relationship between composers and directors/producers is discussed. 


Audio Storytelling: Creative Nonfiction

OART-UT 572 / 4 units

Through groundbreaking and creative nonfiction programs like S-Town, Have You Heard George’s Podcast?, and Radiolab, podcasting has taken hold in American culture over the last decade, having evolved into its own unique art form. This innovative medium is not bound by the limitations of traditional radio — podcasts can be heard anywhere in the world, produced in any language, and be of any length. In this course, students will learn how to embrace their unique voices as they produce compelling nonfiction stories solely in sound. Students will learn how to record, edit, and workshop audio stories, write for the ear and record narration, effectively employ music and sound design, and distribute a self-produced podcast.

Artist Management Lab

OART-UT 1261 / 2 units

Artist managers are the central focus of the music business, the dealmakers behind the latest industry developments, and the brokers of power, influence, and revenue streams for not only recording artists, but creative entrepreneurs and technology startups as well. The role of the artist manager is to help creative talent find commercial success.

We will study the basics and fundamentals of artist management, and its many different functions. We will learn about the different roles that artist managers play as well as understand how artist managers build and develop their teams, and the different kinds of leadership positions that they assume. We will look at different styles of artist management, and discuss best practices by reviewing case studies, and speaking with special guests. Through a class lab, we will analyze various potential problems and scenarios, and develop techniques and skills for forming solutions, simulating the artist management experience. We will hypothetically take over the management duties for an existing artist and help them re-organize his/her career in a comprehensive final project.

Artist managers now serve as the gatekeepers of commercial and brand value in the talent food chain, and they not only help grow careers, they create many new ones along the way. From Troy Carter and Scooter Braun, to Amy Thomson and Kelly Clancy, artist managers are the thought leaders of this business and catalysts for industry change.

Creativity in Context, a Deeper Look

OART-UT 1200 / 2 units

As with Creativity in Context 1 in which the purpose of the course is to contextualize the core curriculum of the The Clive Davis Institute to incoming first year students, this course delves deeper into the exploration of creativity throughout various disciplines and career structures.

In opening this course to the NYU community, we will be linking academic disciplines, philosophy, and culture to creativity and discovery in practice. The course will offer seven workshop style lecture/conversations with senior faculty, and working artists or professionals who have traveled an varied journey throughout their careers. This exposure to, and opportunity for a deeper conversation, will lead students to better understand the relationship between academic study & self-development, artistic & commercial achievement, as well as coupling art and industry with politics and current events.

Music Licensing Lab

OART-UT 1241 / 2 units

Music supervision and music licensing are two of the hottest topics in the music business. This class will introduce you to the creative, financial, legal, and technical sides of music supervision as well as teach you the nuts and bolts of music clearance and licensing. We will look at the many different facets of a music supervisor’s job, and the services they provide for all types of media projects, including film, television, advertising, video games, online/apps, and more. If you aspire to have a career as a music supervisor, licensor, publisher, artist, songwriter, composer, producer, and/or creative entrepreneur, this course is for you. Some of the topics include: breaking into the field, opportunities for music placement, how to pitch and get your music placed, different parties involved in all sides of the licensing transaction. You will be exposed to complex business challenges that music supervisors face and learn the mindset and strategies needed to successfully overcome. Through readings, discussions, lab assignments, and case studies like Straight Outta Compton and Broad City, as well interactions with special guests, you will gain a real-world understanding of the music supervision field as well as the many opportunities that music creators, and rights owners can leverage to take their career to the next level by understanding music licensing.

For more about Recorded Music courses at Tisch, please refer to the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music website.

Music Publishing Lab

OART-UT 1237 / 2 units

This class is targeted to DIY Music creators, songwriters, recording artists, and music rights owners who want to acquire, develop and manage their songs and act as their own publisher.

In this class, students will learn about music publishing ‘s main royalty sources, Mechanical, Performance, Synchronization and Digital, how they are generated, maximized and protected. Topics include: the music publisher’s role and responsibilities which including getting exposure for songs and collecting monies earned from their exploitation. Students learn the different steps involved in starting up and running their own music publishing companies. They are also exposed to effective marketing and business strategies that will best position them for music publishing success.

Music, Politics, & Culture in the 1960s

OART-UT 1199 / 4 Units

Fifty years after 1960s, the tumultuous events of that decade haunt our consciousness. Music is the most obvious example of how the “spirit of the 60s” still fascinates us. But no one can grasp the power of ‘60s music without understanding its political and aesthetic context. The style and substance of rock are intimately related to broader social currents of the time. This course will help you to understand those connections, and the logic that informed the music.

We will explore major movements associated with the ‘60s, including the counterculture, the sexual revolution, the New Left, Black Power, Second-Wave Feminism, and Pop Art. We will consider the roots of 60s sensibility, from the Beats, hipsters, and existentialists of the postwar era to the folk revival of the early part of that decade. We will examine the philosophical currents of the ‘60s through some of its leading literary figures, including James Baldwin, Allen Ginsberg, Marshall McLuhan, Herbert Marcuse, Susan Sontag, Ellen Willis, and Tom Wolfe. In addition, we will discuss the aesthetic strategies of Andy Warhol, who influenced everything from rock music to cinema and art. We will discover how the rebellion against distinctions between “highbrow” and “lowbrow” culture produced a new aesthetic sensibility central to the rise of rock. These artifacts will be examined alongside music with a similar spirit, so that they can be experienced contrapuntally. Iconic songs will be presented against material from other media so that their congruencies are evident. I will use my own experiences as a prominent rock critic in the ‘60s, and my personal interactions with important rock creators—such as the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison—to bring the era alive, leaving you with a new perspective on how the music and the values of that generation were related to your life. And hopefully it will be groovy.

For more about Recorded Music courses at Tisch, please refer to the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music website.

Producing Live Music Events

OART-UT 1288 / 2 units

This course is geared to all students interested in live music event production and the technical and business aspects involved in planning, developing, and producing a live music event. Topics included: talent and venue contracts and negotiations, primary and secondary revenue streams budgeting, marketing, best practices for promotion and more. Course work includes lectures, interactive class discussion, peer and self-assessments, short answer analytical responses and hands-on collaboration on the production of one live music event. By the end, students have the skills and a framework to book and oversee all aspects of a live music event - whether for themselves or for any artists with whom they work.

Race in 20th Century American Popular Music

OART-UT 1153 / 4 Units

Contrary to the suggested notion of a “post-racial” U.S., unrest and protests against racial profiling and policing in places such as Florida, Ferguson, and New York highlight the persistent impact race has upon contemporary society. This impact is furthered by how racial identity is portrayed, performed, and understood by the masses through popular media, both historically and at present. In an effort to highlight the more covert ways that race continues to shape identity and society, we will explore its construction in the development of global popular music and the culture of sound in and before the 20th century in the United States. We will focus on music of the global African diaspora, produced primarily in the U.S., from the late nineteenth century until the civil rights era. Beginning with the sounds and performance of blackface minstrelsy, you will learn how racial identity has been constructed through the development of popular American music, ranging from Tin Pan Alley to blues and jazz, as well as to country and rock and roll. Irving Berlin, Big Momma Thornton, Elvis Presley, The Supremes, Johnny Cash, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, and Jimi Hendrix are but a few of the many artists who will be considered in relation to the history of American popular music and (racialized) sound.

For more about Recorded Music courses at Tisch, please refer to the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music website.

The Basics of Social Entrepreneurship in the Music Industry

OART-UT 1269 / 2 units

This introductory course is targeted to all students who have a strong sense of their individual purpose and are motivated to change the world through music.  In this course, students learn about social entrepreneurs, how they think, the problems they address, the business tools they leverage and the strategies they employ to create social change.  Through readings, participatory class discussions, class activities, self- reflection and occasional guest speakers, students examine current issues, opportunities and challenges that social entrepreneurs and their ventures face.  In addition, they acquire skills, actionable tools, and practical approaches to help advance their social change agenda now and in the future.  Ultimately, the aim is to inspire and empower students to put their ideas for social change into action and to start manifesting the change they wish to see in the world.

For more about Recorded Music courses at Tisch, please refer to the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music website.

The Business of Music Publishing

OART-UT 1235 / 4 Units

This course focuses on the business of music publishing, which has served as a powerful engine fueling the growth of the music business since the first decade of the 20th century. Song copyrights are among the most important and valuable assets that musicians and songwriters have. Knowing how to protect, manage, and monetize these rights is more critical than ever. This course is targeted to students who aspire to careers as recording artists, songwriters, record producers, artist managers, and music executives, among others. Course topics include: roles and responsibilities of music publishers identifying new markets for songs, structure of the music publishing companies, different music publishing deals and their terms, music publishing revenue flow, practical aspects of music publishing administration and licensing, and music publishing as an investment. You will leave with a practical understanding of music publishing as a business and with tools and strategies for turning songs into sustainable sources of income.

For more about Recorded Music courses at Tisch, please refer to the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music website.

The Future of the Music Streaming Economy

OART-UT 1231 / 2 units

Streaming Economy represents a great paradigm shift in the music industry and its monetization. In 2013, digital streaming of music replaced the CD as the main source of music sales and has provided economic hope to a – commercially speaking - weakening industry. However, with artists such as Thom Yorke, The Black Keys, David Byrne and many others speaking out against the royalty of streaming services like Spotify, streaming, in its current structure, as a permanent replacement for CD and digital download sales remains a controversial subject. Through this course the student will be guided through the history of streaming, the controversies surrounding its business model, and the technology that made it possible. Students will be introduced to the new storefront of online music and be shown how the digital marketplace is changing music marketing and artist development.

Streaming offers exciting new opportunities along with serious and complex challenges. This course will examine the pros and cons of the current streaming status quo. The student will practice techniques of releasing music online through a hands-on workshop, which will lead them through the beginning steps of registering, and releasing their own project via Phonofile and WiMP on all major platforms and services.

The Sound of Fashion: Music’s Influence on Iconic Fashion Brands from Song, to Runway, to the Street

OART-UT 1189 / 2 Units

Raf Simons. Supreme. Undercover. Rick Owens. Takahiro Miyashita The Soloist. Helmut Lang. Number (N)ine and many more have built collectible fashion empires and massive secondary resale markets with soaring price points for rare items inspired by the attitudes and in collaboration with the greatest music and artists of all time: Bowie, Cobain, Jagger, Yeezy, Public Enemy and many more. This course will look closely at the timeless iconic brands, artists, and spirit which transfers from song, to runway, to street. We will look at rare and collectible pieces, the resellers marketplace, limited collaborations, licensed images, an the new generation of designers who carry the torch of music in the pieces they create. 


The Visual Music Experience

OART-UT 1228 / 2 units

From Concept Album films of the 1960s to the MTV revolution of the 1980s and 1990s to the innovations of YouTube and Virtual Reality, this class will examine how the convergence of visual and auditory mediums has created some of the most impactful art. We’ll extract the great lessons from the pieces we study and utilize our production skills to create videos, on-stage visuals, and songs of our own. We’ll also investigate how the creation of videos alongside songs has disrupted the marketing and sales fates for the music industry multiple times. If you’re interested in the convergence of visual art, music, technology, and business, you’ll have fun in this class.

Topics in Recorded Music: Amy Winehouse/Erykah Badu

OART-UT 1286 / 2 units

British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse had a relatively short musical career in the 2000s and 2010s before her passing — only two studio albums in total — but the impact she left on global popular culture remains revelatory. Merging vintage jazz and old school R&B with contemporary trends in pop, and hip-hop songwriting and production, vocalist Winehouse broke provocative new ground as a fledgling songwriter on her first album Frank (perhaps most notably on the genius single “ Fuck Me Pumps” co-written by producer Salaam Remi); then rose to prominence on the heels of her Mark Ronson produced 2007 Back to Black, a Grammy-winning album featuring trenchant autobiography, Motown and Phil Spector era girl-group sounds, insouciant dance tunes, and stark heart-torn balladry, delivered with Brit-punk irreverence.

Though her life was cut tragically short by addiction issues, Winehouse is emblematic of several trends coming together at once: the Brit-pop resurgence of the late 2000s (Lily Allen, Corinne Bailey Rae, Adele, Duffy, etc.), the decade’s retromania for nostalgic sounds, the return of a neo Ronnie Spector ‘bad girl’ culture in pop music, a post-feminist appropriation of punk rock arrogance, and the insurgence of a stylized all-genres approach to pop consistent with the “anything goes” rise of YouTube and streaming service culture. However, Winehouse did not rise to popularity in a vacuum. Though jazz songstresses like Billie Holiday are often cited as Winehouse’s influences, she herself has cited Mahalia Jackson, Dinah Washington, and Texas-born Young Disciple expat Carleen Anderson, as singers she admired; moreover, the so-called “neo-soul” and black bohemian artists of the late 1980s and 1990s created the immediate template that made space for the ascent of Winehouse in the 2000s. In particular, Dallas-reared singer-songwriter Erykah Badu deserves significant recognition for fusing together jazz, R&B, and hip-hop in the late 1990s around old-school solutions. Late 1990s and early 2000s classic albums like Baduizm and Mama’s Gun created the stylistic arena in which those aforementioned singers of the late 2000s would experiment, and Badu’s underappreciated late 2000s New Amerykah sets — to say nothing of her iconic fashion and boho-spiritual Soulquarian style — would provide the template for Black Lives Matter informed, art-as-activism, albums which would arrive in the next decade by artists like Solange, Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar.

From different sides of the pond, and born of different eras, Badu and Winehouse can be seen as symbolic sister rebels cut from the same punky, irreverent, revolutionary spirit. This class primarily juxtaposes the two icons, illuminating the historical tensions between whiteness and blackness; between vaudeville and the black chitlin’ circuit, between Tin Pan Alley and the Brill Building, between an individualistic, anarchic British Jewish woman and a collective-minded, post-Hip Hop Dallas-born African-American “race woman.” Each session in this two-credit, seven-class course will include readings, listening, multimedia presentations and performances, plus a variety of special guests, to help explore the music and life of both of these icons, and where they intersect, from a variety of perspectives.


Performing voice & talking machines

OART-UT 567 / OART-GT 2567 / 4 units

This course will introduce students to technologies for speech synthesis and speech recognition from the point of view of performance art. Through weekly assignments and in class lectures, we will explore voice interfaces and their role in technology, design, art, and culture. We will begin with understanding human speech, and then delve into computer speech. We will learn how to program existing technologies such as p5.js to create our own talking machines. The class will research the current limitations and biases of these technologies and models, and respond by leveraging these constraints as ground for performative expression. Students will be required to develop a performative piece as their final project, this could be a live performance, an interactive installation piece, or a performative object or tool. Students are encouraged to bring their interests into the classroom and apply the course into their practice. Prior knowledge of computer programming will be helpful, however, it is not required. NYU is a global community. You are welcome to bring your own language, your accent, and your spoken identity into the class.


Live Video Performance Art

OART-UT 567 / OART-GT 2567 / 4 units

This course will combine a history of video art and experimental film with practical training in the use of live video performance art technology. Students will explore new ways to create and edit films and videos using VJ software, projections, and multi-channel video surfaces. Workshops will demonstrate concepts and software that can be integrated into the creative process of video performance art and video art installations.


At the completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Draw inspiration from the recent history of incredible video and multi-media artists.
  2. Develop an understanding of audio and visual hardware used by VJ’s.
  3. Use live VJ software to manipulate digital media in real time to create Video Performance Art.
  4. Use Projection Mapping techniques to project video art onto 3D surfaces.
  5. Create original video performance art, video installations, and other performance pieces.
  6. Utilize skills to make video art in the professional market.

Art & Technology: Concepts, History, Principles

OART-UT 1059 / 4 units

Thesis: All art uses technology. Technology is not art. Whether a work of art is created to bridge the supernatural, convey experience, thought, or a world view, or something more, art is a three letter verb representing the result of an individual’s desire to create difference.

This course is an exploration of the relationship between art and technology over time with an emphasis on work of the late 20th century and the dawn of the 21st century. During class we will examine recurring artistic concepts and consider how technology interprets the expression of these ideas.

Puppets & Performing Objects

OART-UT 15 / 4 units

While grocery shopping, have you ever wanted to talk to a cucumber? Encounter a red radish or pet a pizza? You can. Following the idea that puppets are "any performing object" and that objects can be useful as stand-ins for human beings, this class explores anthropomorphism, character development, narrative and performance. Through weekly assignments and a final project, we will bring life to objects that we create, transform or find. Drawing inspiration from different styles of mainstream and experimental art, music, entertainment and puppetry we will develop original concepts of our own. Exercises explore a range of technologies and materials, from simple sock puppets to marionettes and shadow puppets, to mechanised, abstract and kinetic objects. We’ll spend time looking at how to successfully integrate interactive elements from other realms such as music, special effects, physical interfaces, lighting, video and more into our performances.

POWER GROUND WATER: electronics for artists

OART-UT 22 / 4 units

This is an entry-level, hands on electronics course for students who are interested in working with electronic hardware as part of their creative practice. Throughout the semester we will gain a familiarity with electronic components, learn to create electronic circuits, solder and use Eagle CAD for PCB (printed circuit board) design + layout.

Topics will include powering circuits, LEDs, switches, transistors, digital logic, memory, timing circuits, programmable microcontrollers (Arduino), analog input (sensors) and motor control. We will also survey past and contemporary work of artists in this field. In this course we approach electronic hardware with the intention of dissolving technological opacity and inspiring our creative practice. Our goal is to shift the way we may usually think about electronics, as inaccessible, complex, difficult and intimidating. And think about it just as physical stuff that we can dig up and use as material and subject for creative expression.

This course is aimed at students with little or no experience working in this field. Lectures will be supported by physical lecture notes, a custom electronics learning kit designed by the instructor. Assignments will include assembling and soldering physical lecture notes, weekly creative assignments (with or without electronics) and a final project. Students should only enroll in this course if they are certain they want to take it as they will be given a printed circuit board kit which is covered by the $55 lab fee, and which must be returned if dropping the course. In addition, students will be required to purchase approximately $260 of additional materials and tools for the course independent of the lab fee. These materials must be bought by the start of class and it is the responsibility of the student to get refunds for any costs incurred if dropping the course. Feel free to contact the instructor in advance with questions.

Occupy Outer Space

OART-UT 19 / 4 units

Technology is a weasel. Squeezing its way into art, culture and the everyday. It infiltrates our psyche, inspiring playful interactions, fantastical ideas, vengeance and drama. It brings us together while tearing us apart. In this project-based studio, we will focus on a collective approach to creating art, tools, performances, and experiences. Outer Space in the context of this course will be used as a metaphor for the future, the unknown, and the seemingly impossible. We will investigate disparate cultural moments and unravel narratives that are both historical and technological. Technology will serve as a structure with open-ended assignments in music, video, sculpture, electronics, kineticism, surveillance, interactive graphics, and performance.  Combined collaborative exercises and individual projects will augment classroom discussions and inform the art that we make. A willingness to use your imagination and personal experience to derail preconceived notions of linear timelines will serve you well in this hands-on multidisciplinary course.

Introduction to Digital Tools

OART-UT 823 / OART-GT 2823 / 4 units

This course will explore the basic tools of digital imaging. We will cover the three main Adobe products for creative imaging - Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. Through a series of short assignments we will look at various graphic design and layout ideas using Illustrator and InDesign and will touch on the wealth of image enhancement techniques afforded by Photoshop.

The short assignments introduce the basics of design, typography and compositing images. Students have the opportunity to complete a small project of their own for the end of the term. Class time will be divided between lectures, critiques, and work in class sessions. This course is not intended to completely cover the software listed, but will give students a fundamental understanding of the possibilities of digital imaging.

While the majority of the class focuses on print media (images, books and magazines), we discuss the growing importance of screen output. We do not have time to cover specific web or media projects, but will address transferable skills and understanding. We will incorporate some Adobe apps to augment the desktop applications.

Additional reading materials will be distributed during the semester. Students should have access to the Adobe Creative Suite through the NYU license.


Casting & Auditioning

OART-UT 1926 / 4 units

Casting is the most recently recognized profession in film and theater. In this course, students learn how to cast a film and learn the skills casting directors employ to become indispensable members of any production, including script and character analysis, scheduling, and negotiation. Students develop protocols for evaluating resumes and auditions, and learn strategies for communicating with directors and producers to ensure the talent pool has been effectively identified. Techniques for delivering convincing and fruitful casting sessions before learning to close deals between producers, actors and agents also are presented. This class will also make students ‘audition ready’ -- equipping them with tools and techniques to better understand and get through the audition process. The course will cover the various disciplines of theater, films, commercials and voiceovers. Through lectures, character exercises and workshops students will learn strategies for preparing for an audition, developing characters, and working with professionals in the industry.

Creative Fundraising

OART-UT 1093 / 4 units

This course will cover both traditional and non-traditional financing and fundraising in the worlds of entertainment and the arts. Although our focus will be on the film world (with an emphasis on feature films), we will take occasional forays into the worlds of television, theatre, and music. We will also look at product financing. The goal of the course is to provide students with a framework for understanding the dynamics (as well as the specific routes) to raising funds for artistic endeavors.

Many entertainment projects require significant capital before they can be realized. The negotiation and structuring of these deals may be a humbling experience, fraught with compromises that affect creative control over the final product. Producers need knowledge of financing tools and structures, an understanding of current economics driving the business, and skills in understanding new technologies and trends in funding. At its core, the course will help students develop a general understanding of fundraising and financing in the world of entertainment and refine the skills necessary to develop proposals that allow them to one day realize a creative vision.

Devising & Documentary: 1-Credit Workshop

OART-UT 144 / OART-GT 2144 / 1 unit (weekend only)


(takes place over two weekends in February)

In Devising & Documentary, students engage in an in-depth exploration of methods and materials for generating new, original works of theater and artistic performance from interviews and other documentary sources. Participants will experience practical approaches for conducting interviews and facilitating story circles; engage with questions of ethics and representation in interview-based art-making; and will activate strategies for creating performances. This is a collaborative workshop; participants are invited to craft shared definitions of “devising” and “documentary,” and to contribute their own experiences and approaches to this work.

Participants will explore and critique the existing and past work of a range of theater artists whose practices operate at the intersections of devising and documentary, including: Cornerstone Theater, Sojourn Theater, Ping Chong + Company, Theater Mitu, Tectonic Theatre Project, Life Jacket Theater Company, Anna Deveare Smith, Sarah Jones, Jerry Stropnicky, and Nilaja Sun. As they engage in these studies and explorations, participants will devise their own short documentary theater performance pieces, to examine and embody their discoveries about these unique forms in practice within a peer community of support and experimentation. Devising & Documentary offers exposure to fundamental skills and knowledge at the intersections of theater practice, journalism, anthropology, and community-based work. There are no prerequisites and students of all schools and backgrounds are welcome.

Film Development: The Tools of Creative Movie Producing

OART-UT 1010 / 2 units

This course de-mystifies the film development process and teaches students the key tools necessary for a successful career as a film executive or producer.  This course will chart the key stages of finding and preparing a good script for production. These steps include how to find, evaluate and shape material from the producer's perspective. Students will learn the practical art of writing script coverage and notes, as well as how to establish a tracking group and develop tracking reports for new material. Other topics include the role of key players in the process, such as agents and studio executives, and how to avoid "development hell." 

Impact Producing: Making Social, Political, & Cultural Change Through Documentary

OART-UT 1004 / 4 units

Impact Producing is an emerging field in the film industry that uses issue-driven films as catalysts to create social, political, or cultural change through advocacy and engagement. Just as films have producers to manage the creative and financial process from script to screen, they also increasingly need Impact Producers to take the film campaign from production to impact. This hands-on class will guide participants through the essentials for becoming an Impact Producer by identifying key skills and goals. Participants will learn the scope of work necessary for building allies and partnerships, creating and measuring successful campaigns, and transforming passion for social change into a viable career path. Each semester the class will work in groups to create an actual impact strategy for a film in current release as a final project.


Media Moguls in the 20th Century

OART-UT 562 / 4 units

This course attempts to track the American entertainment industry from its plebian origins through its rise to becoming the predominant mass entertainment culture in the world. Students discover the origins of the production practices that are employed in the entertainment industry today by following the legendary characters, movie moguls, and media titans of the early 20th century and the companies they built. The emphasis is on the way the visionaries of the time impacted seemingly risk-averse systems to invigorate and sometimes completely revolutionize them. These innovative men and women include, but are not limited, to Louis B. Mayer, George Lucas, Maya Deren, Shirley Clark, Nam Jun Paik, Lucille Ball, Russell Simmons, Clive Davis, Julie Taymor, and Steve Jobs.

Producing Essentials

OART-UT 1006 / 4 units

The role of the creative producer in the entertainment industry is integral to bringing a project to fruition. This introductory course covers both the creative and physical production time-line and provides students with an understanding of the producer's role through a semester-long team-based pitch project, which culminates in written and verbal pitch presentations. Students are encouraged to work on a project that best suits their area of interest: feature film, episodic/streaming, theatre, performance, podcasts, VR/AR or individualized multi-media. The course focuses on the dynamics of producing, including producer skill sets, tasks and responsibilities necessary to effectively and efficiently develop a project.


Producing Off-Broadway

OART-UT 1923 / 4 units

A comprehensive introduction to producing for New York's professional Off-Broadway theaters. The goal of this course is to equip students with the skills to enable them to manage the responsibilities inherent in a professional production. Following a review of the Off-Broadway theater movement, traditions and current trends, the class will take a practical approach to preparing a play for the stage. Students will complete a semester long project which will have them guide a play from "option to opening." Course study will include: play and venue selection; comprehending agreements; fundraising; budgeting; assembling a creative team; marketing and audience development; pre-production, performances and the closing.