Alan N. Shapiro, Autonomy in the Digital Society

Blog and project archive about media theory, science fiction theory, and creative coding

Seminar on the Future of Reading and Learning at the Offenbach Arts and Design University

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Update: December 30 

I wish everyone Happy New Year! Einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr!
 

At our meeting on January 24 we will cover the folowing topics: 

1. Talk a little more about McLuhan, “The Medium is the Massage”
2. Talk a little bit about the media theory of Vilem Flusser
3. Student presentations of their ideas for their design projects
4. Website design – relation of editorial content and format:
We will look at one example of a badly designed website (in my opinion): the National Geographic Traveler Magazine (travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/).
And we will look at one example of a great website: the CNN-Sports Illustrated sports website (sportsillustrated.cnn.com).
Why is the first one a poor design and why is the second one a great design?
5. Structuring and visualisation of information
Edward R. Tufte, “The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint”
At our meeting on January 31 we will cover the following topics: 

1. More student presentations of their ideas for their design projects
2. Elements of communication graphics
We will look at the debate between print and digital media from the “green ecology” point of view.
“The Big Debate: Print or Digital Media – Which is More Sustainable?”

3. Creative processes for better communication

We will do a practice of “Social Dreaming” (Alan Shapiro version). Be creative in order to better communicate. This group pedagogical practice will help us to connect to our subject matter (becoming great futurist designers through transdisciplinarity, the hybrid of art and science, and knowledge of media theory) through what we feel in addition to what we think. In the full version of this practice, we should begin by watching a portion of the film “The Matrix” together. We will do this in April.

4. Designing interactive communication experiences

Discussion of the emerging phenomenon of “Social TV.”

5. Future “history” and timeline of quantum evolution

In an interesting way, we will reconsider the time sequence of history and future.

Update: December 14
IMPORTANT NOTE: At our meetings on January 24 and 31, students should be prepared to present the ideas of their design projects. Each student will present his or her idea-design-project for 5-10 minutes.
Starting in the Summer semester 2013, the seminar will be called “History of Visual Communication” (although it will really be more about the future of visual communication — in an interesting way, we will reconsider the time sequence of history and future).
At our next meeting – December 20 – we will do the following:(1) Continue and conclude the discussion about 1960s Pop Art and its significance for design and our seminar projects.

(2) Discuss McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage.What is, for McLuhan, the relationship between text and image?

(3) If time allows, I will start to talk about the media theory of Vilém Flusser.

Update: December 5

Next Monday, December 10, at 17:30, I will do a lecture at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Offenbach on “Art and the Future City.”

Update: November 30
At our next meeting – December 6 – we will do the following:
(1) finish to discuss the Digital Timeline.
(2) discussion about 1960s Pop Art and its significance for design and our seminar projects. Recommended to get a copy of: GEO EPOCHE EDITION: DIE GESCHICHTE DER KUNST — POP ART, REBELLION UND REKLAME.What is the relationship between the movements of social rebellion in the 1960s and advertising?

(3) Start to discuss McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage. 

What is, for McLuhan, the relationship between text and image?
(4) if time allows, I will start to talk about the media theory of Vilém Flusser.
Update: November 27
The book on quantum physics that students can take a look at is called Quantum by Manjit Kumar.
At our second meeting – tomorrow – we will do the following:
(1) Listen to the Audio of 3 Excerpts of Performances by Alan N. Shapiro at http://age-ism.tumblr.com/, and have a brief discussion about this. This will give us an idea about the design of software, and the design of the car.
(2) Get clear on some definitions of Quantum.
(3) discuss the Digital Timeline.
(4) Start to discuss McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage 

It has been decided that, after tomorrow, our meetings will be on:
December 6
December 20
January 24
January 31
We will not meet on December 13.
Seminar: “The Future of Reading and Learning”
The first meeting of the seminar will be on November 22.
This page provides information to the students about the seminar.
Professor Alan Shapiro
This seminar will help to prepare the future communication design professional for engaging in creative processes related to the production and distribution of contents and formats on media which are the successors to print media such as books, newspapers, magazines, archives, and educational materials. We will rethink and reinvent the profession of designer for the digital age, and we will do so based on principles that come from media theory. First, we will look at the communication and media theories of Vilem Flusser and Marshall McLuhan in a simple and clear way, and derive a set of basic principles from their works. This will be a conceptual framework for understanding new ways/forms of reading and learning in the digital age, and the work of the designer who has to continuously make choices of both format and editorial content in a hybrid way. Then, armed with our basic principles, we will make an overview of selected topics in digital communication design theory: the structuring and visualisation of information, elements of communication graphics, and creative processes for better communication. Finally, we will get very specific about application issues such as typography for digital media, typography for hypertextual linked systems, designing interactive communication experiences, and designing for e-learning.
The students should order copies of these two books: “Kommunikologie” by Vilem Flusser (in German, Fischer Verlag, 13 Euros), and “The Medium is the Massage” by Marshall McLuhan (in English, either the Penguin Classic edition, 8 Euros, or the Gingko Press edition, 15.50 Euros)
Donnerstags 14:00 – 16:00
The seminar will meet 6 times, on the following dates:
22. November
29. November
6. Dezember
13. Dezember
20. Dezember (maybe)
24. Januar
31. Januar (maybe)
One of the meetings will take place on either December 20 or January 31. It is not decided yet.
SEMINAR PLAN 

Meeting 1 

1. Seminar introduction and overview
2. History and timeline of digital evolution
3. Marshall McLuhan, “The Medium is the Massage”
4. The medium is the message
5. The global village
Meeting 2 

1. 1960s Pop Art – Warhol, Lichtenstein, Johns, Rauschenberg, Hockney
2. Book culture and electronic culture
3. The impact of media on the human sensorium
4. Reading through the mirror
5. Information at your fingertips
6. Vilém Flusser, “Kommunikologie“
Meeting 3 

1. Communication from the existentialist point of view
2. Dialogue and discourse: dialogic media, discursive media
3. The word design
4. The designer’s way of seeing
5. Design = Technology plus Art
6. The code of the pictorial image
7. The code of the text
8. The code of the technical image
Meeting 4 

1. The new hybrid culture of texts and images
2. Writing and calculating
3. Website design – relation of editorial content and format
4. Structuring and visualisation of information
5. Elements of communication graphics
6. Structures and spontaneity
Meeting 5 

1. Books and e-books
2. Newspapers, magazines, archives, educational materials
3. Designing for e-learning
4. Typography for digital media
5. Typography for hypertextual linked systems
Meeting 6

1. Is reality natural or artificial?
2. Creative processes for better communication
3. Designing interactive communication experiences
4. Future “history” and timeline of quantum evolution

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