Conceptual Information Arts 

Descriptions of Courses

Introductory Courses

Art 410 Conceptual Strategies I
An introduction to art making focused on ideas and conceptual strategies. An exploration of chance, mapping, indexing, listing, icons, language, theory and technology. Introduction to computers in art production. 410 and 412 are required for students with a CIA emphasis. No prerequisites but familiarity with cultural theory issues an important asset.

Art 412 Computer Applications Conceptual Design I
An introduction to artistic explorations of emerging media.  Instruction in use of the computers for artists covering graphics, sound, interactive programming. Use of computers in cross media and non-media specific applications. . 410 and 412 must be taken concurrently. No prerequisites.

Intermediate Courses (Art 511)

Students who are developing a CIA emphasis complete three 511 courses from a series of rotating topical courses that change from semester to semester.   These courses reflect a body of knowledge and skills all of which combine studio projects, research, writing and presentations.

The 511 courses section numbers (eg. 511.2) vary each semester, depending upon the number of courses offered. These courses are open to students outside the CIA emphasis although priority enrollment is given to those within the emphasis.

Art 511 courses - Current:

New Communications Technology
An exploration of the concepts and hands-on techniques for creating art works that use older and contemporary telecommunications technology including computer networks, social media, computer bulletin boards, modems, answering machines, the telephone system, videotext, slow scan image transmission, and satellites. Focus on World Wide Web. No prerequisites.

Interactive Media & Conceptual Art
An introduction to multimedia programming, interactivity, and narrative issues, digital sound, text, digital images, and study of conceptual art models. Students will produce projects in interactive media with a focus on interactivity, narratives, and contemporary cultural issues. No prerequisites.

Exploration in Sound 
This course will involve the exploration of sound within a creative process that focuses on experimentation, discovery and awareness. Students will make use of found objects, found sounds and text, the human voice, and selected hardware and software to explore the properties of sound and create sound pieces, installations and performances. (sometimes listed as Art & Theory In Technology) No prerequisites.

Digital Video 
The course is a hands-on studio introduction to digital production and editing, as well as an exploration of the history and new emerging forms of the medium. Students explore videoworks from the beginnings of video in performance, installation and experimental single channel pieces, to current emerging forms on the web and mobile devices. Productions focus on experiments in the short form and on narrative structure, non-linearity and narrative theory. No prerequisites.

Advanced Digital Video 
Advanced Video class explores digital video in more advanced forms, such as including large scale projections, site specific work, web and mobile platforms, interactivity and installation. Introduction to digital video is a prerequisite.

Art & Biology
Whether the cycles of life act as an inspiration or are actually incorporated into your art-making process, the study of biology can be a hotbed of novel visions.  In this course we will attempt to reinvent the concepts and practices of biology in an artistic context.  Possibilities may include: playing with microbes and microscopes, studying embryonic development, visiting laboratories and discussing recent advances in molecular biology.  Living art projects will be encouraged.

Trio of Experimental Technologies 
Hands on, introductory course using a variety of experiments with technologies such as GPS, sensor, and webcam. No prerequisites.

Physical computing, Electronics and Robotics 
Hands on, introductory course in electronics, sensors and robotics through a focus of projects and applications in the arts. No prerequisites.

Research in Emerging Technologies 
This course aims to prepare artists to become innovators in the development of emerging technologies.  The past decades have shown that scientific and technological research that seemed esoteric and outside artistic or media realms can quickly become the core of new cultural trends and industries (for example, the basic ideas of the World Wide Web were considered wild, unrealizable ideas when first promulgated  by Ted Nelson).  Artists who want to help shape future cultural development and new media must become adept at understanding the worlds of  research. This approach is critical for those who want to stay ahead of the current pace of change. 

This course teaches students skills of monitoring scientific research and emerging technologies.  It presents several areas of research that promise to be important in the future.  It demonstrates the artistic possibilities by studying the pioneering work of artists around the world who work with concepts, tools, and information contexts not usually defined as art.  It explores cultural theory that relates to the development of new 
technologies.  It helps students to reconsider the interrelationships of science, technology, media, and art. 

Locative Media Studio
An introduction to location-based media and to the emerging and rapidly changing area of locative media. Students investigate the impact and changes that locative-based media is having upon culture and daily life through readings, presentations and studio based work. Tools involve mobile phones, gps devices. Software may include new mapping technologies and platforms eneabling location based media. Possible topics include changing use of public space, place based gaming, narratives, local histories, commericial applications and augmented reality.

........................ ************************

Art 511 courses - Past:

Interactive Cinema
A hands-on introduction to the use of computer controlled interactive video technology for cinema and experimental visual arts applications covering conceptualization, programming, production and presentation using the Macintosh Director development system. No prerequisite

Digital Word and Image
A studio course in the tools of desktop publishing, digital photography, conceptual arts, the exploration of information as aesthetic material and a critical analysis of corporate advertising. No prerequisites.

Conceptual Strategies II
A studio course exploring strategies introduced through the conceptual art movement of the early 1970's. Conceptual Art can be generally characterized as the renouncement of material production as visual expressive forms in favor of conceptual, structural or linguistic forms. No prerequisites.
Interactive Media & Lingo
A studio course will explore intermediate multimedia authoring stressing conceptual and critical approaches. Some experience in Lingo programming for Director recommended. No prerequisites

Advanced Courses

Art 610 Advanced Seminar
An advanced studio course in Conceptual Information Arts in which students explore issues in culture and technology through studio works. Emphasis on student research and completion of major projects. Prerequisites: Art 410, 412 and at least one Art 511 course.

Art 612 Advanced Seminar (Internship)
An advanced studio course in Conceptual Information Arts in which students can explore issues in art, culture and technology. Focus on internship in real world settings. Prerequisites: completion of 410, 412 and at least one 511 course.

Art 704 Graduate Seminar
Graduate seminar focused on support of student art work and explorations of contemporary issues in art & culture. Prerequisites: MFA graduate status in Art.

 Page revised: 2.2012
- This page created by Stephen Wilson, Professor Conceptual Information Arts Program, Art Department, SFSU (
- More information about the Conceptual Information Arts program is available at (