Instructor: Paula Levine    Office: Fine Arts Rm 537   T: 415.338.6457    Office hrs: T/TH 12-2PM, and by appointment


Course Description

This course is a general introduction to new practices in digital media and an exploration of strategies for generating ideas and producing new work. Our focus is both on process and product, developing and understanding various approaches by which to generate ideas, and carrying these ideas through to their concluding visual result. 


Art 410 is a combination of studio work informed by presentations, research, experimentation and critical discussions. We will investigate the complex webs of influences of art of technology, culture and everyday life, in order to understand more fully how each is formed and informed by the other.  Students will learn new digital tools, work in new digital environments and build new ways to approach ideas and make are dfferently.


Art 410 is one of two foundation classes for Conceptual Information Arts. This semester is an exception. Under normal circumstances,Art 410 is taken concurrently with Art 412. Severe budget cuts within SF State has made this option impossible for this semester. For those of you who are considering an concentration in Conceptual Information Arts ,or who are interested in taking Art 412 and other classes we offer in CIA, make an appointment to talk with me.


Resources, references and works in Art 410 come from:

Video, film, sculpture, printmaking, photography, painting, interactive works, web works;

Avant-garde movements including Dada, Surrealism, Futurism, Fluxus, Situationists, Conceptual Art;

Culture jamming, Interventionist and radical spatial practices, new cartographies, social networking practices;

Cultural theory, semiotics, literature, urban studies.

Goals & objectives:

Attain a functional level of mastery in the software presented, or further develop the level of skills already in place.

Develop a strong criticality through engaged class discussions of work and articles, critical writing and reading, viewing and discussions of work by those in the class and by artists in the world. 

Develop research skills and incorporate research into art studio practices.

Expand existing knowledge of art and artists, learning about new arenas that often bridges art, technologies and other disciplines.

Extend studio strategies, approaches and sources of ideas.


Art 410 involves studio/lab projects, readings, presentations and writing.  Class meets twice a week, for 3 hours a session, and there is an additional 3 hours of outside class work expected per week. Projects involve: developing basic digital skills (or building on those already present), researching selected topics for individual projects or class presentations, assigned readings and blogging responses comments to articles, creating studio work, fully participating in class discussions. Readings will be handed out in class, or available on-line.   All course materials, such as syllabus and assignments, will be located on-line on the class web site. The two textbooks are listed below and will be available through the campus bookstore.


Complete all work on time.

Participate fully in all studio critiques, discussion and exercises.

Arrive to class on time. 

Bring any problems, questions or circumstances that hamper full participation in class to the attention of the instructor as soon as circumstances arise.

Course Requirements (for an A):

1. Regular attendance. Attendance is kept for the class throughout the semester.  Three unexcused absences will be an automatic "F". Two late arrivals = one unexcused absence.

2. Active participation in class discussions & critiques.

3. Complete all assignments on time. Full credit will be reduced by ½ grade for each class an assignment is late.

4. Keep an ongoing blog of ideas, notes from class discussions and readings, screening and viewing work in class.  The notations should reflect your wrestling with class material to make ideas your own.

5. Attend a minimum of three community art events such as openings, art exhibitions, lectures related to class along with short (blogged) written responses to each.


Overall, grading is in accordance with University standards outlined in the SFSU Bulletin - Grading Policy which can be found at:


Specific criteria for grading in this class for excellence (A):

1. Maintaining a constant and growing blog reflecting a consistent and focused engagement with ideas, works, discussions and other related subject matters and class exchanges.

2. Completing all assignments on time.

3. Actively participating in and contributing to all class discussions, critiques, lectures and presentations.

4. Maintaining a consistent and timely presence.

5. Taking risks in projects and ideas, pushing past what you already know and discovering new territories, terms, skills, connections. Ideas that fail often teach more than ideas that succeed.

6. Attending a minimum of 3 outside art events and posting a written response to each on your blogs.


Projects: 50% Attendance/Participation: 50%


e-books SFSU library links:

Illustrator CS4 for Windows and Mac: Visual Quickstart Guide

Photoshop CS4 Bible

Lab Fees
The lab fee for this course is $30 and must be paid by the last day courses can be changed. If you remain enrolled in this course past the add/drop deadline, a charge for the above amount will appear in your University Account. Notification will be sent by the Art Department Office when your University Account has been charged. Lab fee payments can be made at One-Stop Student Services (SSB 103) or the Bursar’s Office (ADM 155). Unpaid balances in the student university account can affect registration, graduation or other campus services.

If you have any problems, such as physical disabilities, that require special attention or accommodations, please contact me directly.