Animate Arts II:
Perception and Programming in Time
CAT-380/480 Spring 2005
TTh 4:00-6, W 4:00-5:30pm / Kresge
||Annette Barbier (RTVF),
Fisk 113B, office hours Th 11-1
Ian Horswill (CS),
1890 Maple Avenue, room 317, office hours by appointment
Marlena Novak (Art), Crowe
3-128, office hours Th 12-1
Gary Kendall (Music),
MAB 128, office hours by appointment
||Bernard Geoghegan (RTVF),
Robin Hunicke (CS)
||IIlya Blokh (CS),
Ying-Zhu Chin (CS)
||Alanna Krause, Vani Oza
||The primary texts for this quarter will be:
- Cantine et al., Shot by Shot: A Practical Guide to
Filmmaking, Pittsburg Filmmakers Press, 1993. ISBN:
- Jonathan Culler, Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction,
Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN: 019285383X .
- Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics, Perennial Currents
Press, 1994. ISBN: 006097625X.
- Optional: Michael Rabiger, Developing Story Ideas,
Focal Press, 2000. ISBN 0240803981.
We will also continue some readings from last quarter in:
- Nicholas Mirzoeff, An Introduction to Visual Culture, Routledge,
1999. ISBN: 0415158761.
You should also purchase a subscription to
Modern Tales ($3/month) and
And you will be expected to be familiar with the information from
last quarter's design text:
- Alan Pipes, Introduction to Design, Prentice Hall, 2004.
Other readings will be made available through
you panic, please note that of the three main texts, the longest one is
McCloud, which is itself a comic book.
Media for file storage (CDR, DVDR, or keychain drive)
SuperCollider (Mac only)
||Adobe Ilustrator and Photoshop, or equivalent
All software will be available in the studio (Kresge 1-370), however
students are free to work on their home machines if they prefer.
Students must have access to:
- A Macintosh computer
- A Windows-XP-based computer
- A digital camera
The studio (Kresge 1-370) contains both Macs and PCs and is available
for use by CS-110 and CAT-380 students 24 hours a day. Keys can be
obtained for a $50 deposit from the Louis Hall equipment cage.
Cameras may be checked out from MMLC during weeks 5 and 6 for a $50
This is the second quarter of a 4-quarter curriculum in interactive,
computer-based art and entertainment systems. This quarter focuses on time-based
media, such as film and music, and on software in which time is an integral part
of the systems behavior, such as interactive simulator programs (video games,
etc.). Projects will involve the construction and manipulation of of
time-based software and media. Pieces will be critiqued both as works of art and
as engineering. The interaction between art practice and art theory will be
addressed through discussions, critiques and readings, examining issues in the
interpretation, understanding and production of art and visual culture.
Tentative curriculum by week
This will be updated throughout the quarter
- Introduction Time and Time-based Media
Introduction and administrivia; Philosophy and models of time;
Use of time in time-based media.
Readings: Thomas McEvilley, "13
Ways of Looking At a Blackbird",
in Art & Discontent: Theory at the Millennium.
Assignments: 13 Ways assignment (described in class, Wednesday).
Slides: Intro and
administrivia, Time and temporality.
- Music and Melodic Line
Introduction to supercollider; composing melodic lines; Programming:
Assignments: Audio assignment 1;
(Christopher Nolan, 2000).
- Art Theory and Criticism
Presentations of 13 Ways assignment; Barthes on the function of advertisment;
Programming: Objects and members; Collection classes.
Programming assignment 1
subtypes, and inheritance,
- Narrative I
Narrative and Narrative structure; Audio project critique.
Assignments: Narrative assignment 1.
Slides: Stream classes
- Narrative II
Pierre Huyghe; Narrative assignment crit; Programming:
more on classes and
methods; object-oriented simulation
Lola Rennt (Run
Lola Run) (Tom Tykwer, 1998).
Film form; Space and time; Programming: Text adventure
Assignments: Narrative 2; Text adventure game.
(Orson Welles, 1941)
More on the
images garnered from the past; Appropriation; Narrative 2 crit; Programming:
Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michael Gondry, 2004).
Theory of polyphony; Programming: ALGOL-style syntax; Static typing.
- Sound and image
Sound and image; Programming quiz (in class, Wednesday).
Assignments: Final project
- Wrap up
Audio 2 crit., TBD.
- Final Crit
Monday, June 6, 7pm-10pm. Attendance mandatory.
Grading will be based on the following components:
- Exercises 50%
There will be roughly 2 assignments per week, some will involve art or music, some
programming, others a combination. Art and music assignments will be
critiqued in class. For this reason, it is critical that they be
turned in on time (see late penalties, below).
- Quiz 15%
The quiz will be in week 9 and will focus on programming concepts.
However, we reserve the right to add other topics. If we do so, we will
announce it in advance.
- Final Project 15%
- Critique 10%
You are required to present completed work at every critique as well as
to participate verbally. This is one of your primary ways of
demonstrating mastery of the concepts in the class.
- Class discussions 10%
Discussion will focus on material covered in lectures and the
assigned reading. You are expected to have read the material before the
lecture/discussion sections as well as having prepared questions or comments
for discussion. Failure to actively participate or to
adequately prepare will result in a lowered grade.
This is a studio art course in addition to a programming course. It
involves a process of active apprenticeship that takes place during class.
Moreover, not all of the lecture materials will be covered by readings or will
be available on the web. Therefore, as with other studio art courses,
attendance is required. Unexcused absences, tardiness,
or leaving early may lower your grade by a full letter grade.
- Homework extensions for programming
projects will be granted for
nearly any reason, provided you request one more than 24 hours in advance.
Otherwise, you need to have a really good reason.
- Unless you receive an extension, you
should turn in your assignment when it is due. Assignments turned in late will be given a late penalty:
- 10% for assignments less than one day late
- 20% assignment for 1-2 days
- 30% for 2-4 days
- 40%for 4-8 days, etc.
- Assignments which are turned in late enough to miss the critique period
will also affect your critique grade.
Cheating policy for programming assignments
[Sorry this is so long; it's essentially a catalog of every misunderstanding
we've ever had in class, along with what our policy is on it. So please read
this - you will be held responsible for understanding it. ]
You are encouraged to consult with other students, and even to ask them for
help. Working with other students is often more enjoyable and allows you to
learn ideas faster with less frustration.
For some assignments, you may be allowed, or even required to work with other
students on your program. On these assignments, you will all work together on
one program that you submit as a group. These assignments will be rare and will
be clearly marked as group assignments.
For all other assignments, however, you must write your own code. You
are allowed and encouraged to discuss the problem set with other students, but
it is not acceptable to:
- Blindly copy someone else's code
- Base your program on someone else's code (unless specifically instructed
to do so as part of the problem set)
- Collaborate with other students to write the same program
- Collaborate with other students to write the same program, then have
each student modify the basic shared program.
Every term, a couple of groups of students get caught cheating and claim they
didn't realize they were cheating. For this reason, we will adopt the "edit
- If someone (ever) edits a piece of code, then no other
student can (ever) submit it or any code based on it for an assignment.
- Therefore, if two students edit the same piece of code, it is
"contaminated" and neither of them can submit it or any code based on
it as part of an assignment.
In other words:
- You can ask each other questions but no one else can (ever) touch your
keyboard or mouse.
For those of you who want to grow up to be lawyers:
- You may not copy from any code that another student has edited
- No, you can't dictate code to someone either
That said, we do still want to encourage you to work together. In particular
the following are acceptable and encouraged:
- Groups of friends having "hacking parties" where they sit down at
separate machines and program in parallel. They can discuss the problem set
as much as they want, as long as they don't actually edit one another's
code, or copy one another's' code.
- Asking questions about the assignment, or about your program, of friends
in the class
- Asking questions on the blackboard system
- Asking questions over IM (instant messenger)
- Asking questions of friends who aren't in the class
- Asking questions of the instructors and TAs
- Getting help with debugging from friends, TAs, etc.
So basically, you can get lots of help from friends, but you have to (at a
minimum) do all the typing.
For further information, see Northwestern's
policy statement on academic integrity, below.
University policy statements
Students with Disabilities
In compliance with Northwestern University policy and equal access laws, the
instructors are available to discuss appropriate academic accommodations that
you may require as a student with a disability. Request for academic
accommodations need to be made during the first week of the quarter,
except for unusual circumstances, so arrangements can be made. Students are
encouraged to register with Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) for
disability verification and for determination of reasonable academic
accommodations. For more information, visit:
Academic Integrity at Northwestern
[See also the policy on cheating on programs,
Students are expected to comply with University regulations regarding
academic integrity. If you are in doubt about what constitutes academic
dishonesty, speak to one of the instructors before the assignment is due and/or
examine the University web site. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not
limited to cheating on an exam (e.g., copying others' answers, providing
information to others, using a crib sheet) or plagiarism of a paper (e.g.,
taking material from readings without citation, copying another student's
paper). Failure to maintain academic integrity on an assignment will result in a
loss of credit for that assignment - at a minimum. Other penalties may also
apply. The guidelines for determining academic dishonesty and procedures
followed in a suspected incident of academic dishonesty are detailed on the
website. For more information, visit: