Summer 2007, Temple University, Rome
Instructor: Hana Iverson
Overview Each of us has a story to tell, experiences to share, a way of looking at the world that is unique. If we consider our experiences in the world as a set of narratives, we can also consider that our narratives develop, merge, and collide with the narratives of the people, places and things around us.
With the urban landscape as both canvas and palette Neighborhood Narratives is an evolving out-of-the-classroom international locative media theory and production course that introduces students to the concept of situated storytelling - stories that are tied closely to the environment at hand, which can bring neighborhoods to life. In this course all types of media (analogue, digital, text, sound, image etc) are applied to real places and thus trigger real social interaction. The class researches the relationship between the self and place, the reciprocal action between what we carry with us and how we find our way through the city. We consider loco-motion as the location motion of bodies, technology, place and time.
Students design their own projects, using alternative methods to explore formerly ordered and known forms of narrative and story, and how that can be reinvented in a non-traditional fashion, using all different types of media. The final assignments are presented on location in the city. No prior technological expertise is required.
The course is divided into three themes:
Theme one: Place. The course begins with a close examination of the concept of place. We explore questions such as: What is place? How is place related to space? How are places mapped? What is the relationship of place to location?
Theme two: Neighborhood. What is the definition of a neighborhood? What is boundary? In what ways does a neighborhood reveal itself? How is a neighborhood a community or not? We will examine three neighbourhoods in Rome: Trastevere, Garbatella and Esquilino and choose one to investigate in-depth.
Theme three: Locative Media and Site-Specificity. We will look at current practices in locative media. We will discuss the relationship between the idea of ubiquitous, locative media and the site-specific project. We will examine the idea of globalization and ubiquitous technologies in relationship to Rome, and the site-specific histories embedded in the landscape; the wired and wireless worlds and how they intersect. Is there a relationship and what is it? How does Rome in particular “write” its history and how will it continue to do so within the context of the technology revolution?
Format The class is 3 hours long twice a week.
The class will introduce methods of collecting data from sources including publication, internet and field observation, mapping and scoring, "show and tell" and the examination of project presentations with rigorous discussion. Mobile city wide exploration (public transportation, on foot) will include the performance of the final project on location in the city. The class will also suggest the need for peer dialogue and trans-media team work, in many instances, to extend the breadth of a project through collaboration. Students will keep semester long blogs (beginning w/reaction to first class) including observations, snap shots, video and audio recordings (where equipment and resources allow) - a personal diary of the Neighborhood Narrative experience.
Neighborhood Narratives links the Rome campus of Temple University with its international campus in Tokyo. During this semester, we will parallel our investigations with the Tokyo class and complete an assignment that unites the students in both campuses.
Tokyo - Instructor: Ron Carr and Irene Herrera
e-mails: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Internet Access All students are expected to have frequent, dependable access to the internet. It is essential that you have an active email account that you ACCESS FREQUENTLY, for email with faculty and with each other. IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT YOU CREATE AND ACTIVELY MAINTAIN A BLOG. If you have any difficulties with either Internet access, your email account or your blog, please see the instructor after the first class.
You are required to have access to the internet and a working email account. You will also need some form of memory stick to save and transport your work. Access to a mobile phone and digital camera is recommended, but not required. However, if you have technology such as cameras, mobile phones, ipods, laptops or GPS devices it would be advantageous to bring these items to each class.
As expected with production courses, you may need to purchase supplies to produce your final project. Also, while it is not required, we would like to encourage you to use the communications features of your mobile phone: costs for voice calls and text messaging will depend on your phone plan.
The best way to reach me is by email. In Rome, I will be easily available to the students, as I expect that our class investigations will spill beyond the allotted schedule.
Attendance and Lateness Policy
Attendance Policy: Attending the sessions outlined in the schedule is a requirement of this course. More than two unexcused absences without the instructors’ permission (medical certificate might be requested) will decrease the overall grade by one unit for each additional missed class. Five absences will result in a failing grade for the course. If you are going to be absent, please inform me by email at least 24 hours in advance. If you are absent, it is YOUR responsibility to contact another student who took notes on that day, and to make up any work in a timely fashion.
Lateness Policy: Three times arriving late will be considered as one unexcused absence. Being more than 10 minutes late will be counted as an absence. If you are late, it is your responsibility to let the teachers know when you come into class that you are here, and to make sure you have been marked as present.
Schedule of Classes and Assignments
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS SCHEDULE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGES AND ADDITIONS!
May 21 Introduction: What I carry with me. The bag exercise. The archeology of everyday life. Create your blog. Daniel Spoerri – An Anecdoted Topography of Chance. George Legrady – An Anecdoted Archive of the Cold War. Introduction to the International Assignment.
Assigned Reading: Views from Above: Locative Narrative and the Landscape
Suggested Reading: Of Other Spaces, Foucault.
May 23 Theme one: Place. Walking
Rome in a day: http://massengale.typepad.com/venustas/2004/02/rome_in_a_day.html
Annotating place: cell phone, compass, map.
The Nolli Map: http://nolli.uoregon.edu/
Assigned Reading: The Transition from Neighborhood to Metropolis, Antoine Prost
Suggested Reading: Mapping the Homonculus
May 28 Theme two: Neighborhood.
Begins with the “self” and moves outward in concentric circles through family, classroom, neighborhood and beyond. Examine how humans historically build and sustain communities. Italian/European custom in relation to Philadelphia/USA and Tokyo/Japan.
Discussion of the International Assignment: Layering one “neighborhood” onto another.
Assigned Reading: The Persistence of Surveillance, Andrea Zeffiro
May 30 Theme three: Locative Media, Site Specificity
Real Time Rome: http://www.we-make-money-not-art.com/archives/008792.php
Assigned Reading: The Italian Family: Paradoxes of Privacy, Chiara Saraceno, “Technological Development and Domestic Life”.
June 4 Neighborhood Project 1 – people: Overview of psycho-geography, “the stranger”, photography, oral history. Assignment: taking one element to focus on in the selected neighborhood, using one media (i.e. paper, found objects + GPS).
June 6 Response
June 11 Neighborhood Project 2 – place: Overview of urban design, public and private, boundary, architecture, movement/way-finding. Reading: City Planning of Rome. Assignment: taking one element to focus on in the selected neighborhood, using another media (i.e. photography + GPS).
June 13 Response Afteroon: Leave for Venice Biennale (optional)
June 18 Return from Venice.
Neighborhood Project 3 – Overview of telecommunications, networks, augmented reality, GPS/way-finding, sound mapping. Assigned Reading: Connecting Creatures, from Me++. Assignment: taking one element to focus on in the selected neighborhood, using the cell phone + GPS.
June 20 Response
June 25 Final project due. On-site presentations.
June 27 Final project review, class wrap up
Evaluation and Assessment
Research, attendance and participation 35%
In class assignments 30%
Final project 35%
Late assignments and exercises WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. Failure to hand in an assignment by the due date and time will result in a ZERO grade for that assignment.
Research, attendance and participation
The International Assignment, group work, communicating and sharing knowledge through discussions, posting to the class blog, in-class presentations, and overall student participation are an essential part of the process of understanding course material.
Readings, blog postings and the international assignment are mandatory.
Prior to each class you will be required to complete a short reading and make notes of relevant points to bring up in class discussion.
Each week you will be required to a) make one post to your Rome NEIGHBORHOOD NARRATIVES blog and b) to comment on at least one other student’s blog. Your post can be on: 1) a locative media project and your reaction to it or 2) a new media technology and how it could be used for locative media (e.g. bubbleply.com) or 3) if applicable, one of the required assignments.
You will be assigned to an international team of students and asked to complete an exercise. Success of the assignment depends on your ability to negotiate and communicate with fellow team members who are based in different time zones and have varying electronic communication styles. Please keep in mind that working internationally can be incredibly rewarding, but has its frustrations: Solving frustrations is integral to the creative process!
Assignments and Final project
The remit for the final project is to create an on-site locative media art project that changes how people view the world, and document final project on your blog.
Assignments in first half of classes will provide you with the skills and knowledge required to realize your final project.