works by MARC LAFIA    


    Tropes for the Moving Image
Marc Lafia
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Video 1
Instructor Marc Lafia
Class room ARC G-12, Edit room D-3.
Monday Nights 5-7:50

Catalogue Description
Enables the art student to produce her/his own work in video,
through the learning of basic production and post-production
skills, and to develop critical skills in looking at video. The
course consists of instruction, video screenings and discussion,
and group critiques. It focuses on the production of short
video works, with an equal emphasis on concept, content and
equipment use. Experimentation is encouraged in all areas.

Our Class
Above is the general description of the class, more specifically
our class will focus on developing each student’s personal take
on a number of visual and rhetorical tropes which will be given
to the class both as starting points to make small works and
as starting points to present and investigate practicing artists

The first half of class will be students presenting to the class a
practicing artist, his or her biography, examples and
description of their works, how the works perform and the
context and strategy of the artist work. This will require, the
group to do some reading, collect books , articles and videos of
the artist and present their research to the class.

The second half of the class will be screenings of student
work, discussion and critique.

Class Requirements
Each week students will be asked to either produce a short
video piece or present as a small group a visual artist’s work,
showing us examples of their work and presenting and
explaining to the class the strategy or underlying generative
or rhetorical trope of that artist. All assignments are required
as attendance.

Presentations to Class
In presenting artists work from the list below, all students in
the group (1 to 3 students) are required to present the
research on the artist work to the class. (It may be that the
students also reenact the artist work they are researching as
part of one of their above practicum assignments.)

All videos are to be burned to DVD and all of them uploaded to

Class Objective
The class aim is for the student to build a body of work, where
each of us makes a set of works along the same formal lines,
but of course is different because each of us has our own

Each piece requires a formal strategy and tone, only one
strategy and one tone for each piece. For example: all close
ups, a continual zoom, montage editing, the elliptical, the
simultaneous, off screen sound, off screen space, the
confessional, the adolescent, the deadpan, the obscene, the
grotesque, the ritual, the excessive, the indexical, the
unstable, the ordinary, the absurd, the poetic, the mythic, the
erotic, the amoral, the innocent, the clinical, the algorithmic
and these tropes considered through staging, reenactment,
re-staging, sampling, interaction, restraint, mobility,
ethnography, mechanical recording, the image as object,
through cinema as a repertoire of attitudes, through loops and
so on.

Students will be asked to have a heightened sense of their
modes of address, their tone, structure and strategy.

Assignment 1
2 Confessions (single channel works)
You are to talk to camera, say something personal– a
memory, a recollection, an incident.
One version is true
The other is made up.

Assignment 2
Use the Voice of one of your confessions and edit with still
pictures, a found film, to make an entirely new visual piece.
For example take 15 images from the New York Times, picture
on the train, another film, a newscast and use your voice
track to cut this piece.

You are in a room, a wrestler, an actress, a lover, (anything
you want to be) something is happening off screen, build a
relationship to you and a sound track of things happening off

Assignment 3
Use the off screen sound of Assignment 2 and use to edit still
Use the new pictures to your video, take out the voice and
design sound to it.

Assignment 4
Re-enact a painting or a scene from a film.
Arrange it as a multi-channel installation film in your
presentation to the class.

Assignment 5
Re-cut an existing film, newscast, video from the web
Arrange that it is viewed somewhere in school where others
are viewing it as the original source. Video tape this.

Assignment 6
Meet some one on MySpace, arrange to make an interview
film with them about the things they like.
Present them in a separate by giving them description but
they are to be unseen.
Assignment 7
Video a natural phenomenon, a series of objects – as it is.
Video a phenomena that is performative – that performs itself
Video the same objects above poetically.

Artists and Repertoires (select one of these artists for your

Performance 1:
Performing Identity: staging and adopting an identity, the
artist body as surface for the inscription of a visual language of
Vito Acconci
Paul McCarthy
Ana Mendieta
Cindy Sherman
Matthew Barney
Pipilitto Rist
Mona Hatoun
Mariko Mori
Shirin Neshat
Leigh Bowery
Marina Abromovitch

Performance 2:
Gesturing bodies; the artist as both subject and object. The
ordinary activities of everyday life elevated to the status of an
art work.
Bas Jan Adler
Yoko Ono
Joseph Bueys
Bruce Nauman
Mike Kelley
Peter Land
Gillian Wearing

Art and amusement, using existing forms of spectacle and the
lure of traditional entertainment, the abduction of language
codes, the art world.
Minako Nishiyama
Kyupi Kyupi
Peter Freidl
Carlos Amorales
Damien Hirst
Mauritzio Cattelan
William Wegman
Marc Lafia
Art Club 2000
Jessica Bronson

Instant time, image as object, sculptural form, the space
outside the monitor, surveillance, architecture and presence,
Nam June Paik
Dan Graham
Gary Hill
Diller and Scofidio
Mako Idemitsu
Julia Scher

Remaking cinema, the instant of seeing, memory and
perception, re-arrangement and alteration, action re-enacted,
the instant as full fledged now-time, sensations and
imagination, unstable identities
Douglas Gordon
Doug Aitken
Pierre Huyghe
Janet Cardiff
Issac Julien
Christian Marclay

Filmic narrative structures, the spaces between narrative,
reception as production, the space of the viewer, cinema as a
repertoire of attitudes, cinematic grammar
Pierre Bismuth
Stan Douglas
Steve Mcqueen
Eija-Liisa Ahtilla
Sharon Lochard
Candice Breiss
Yinka Shonibane

Art science and nature and the perception thereof,
phenomenological sculptures, the mediated notion
Olafur Eliason
Thomas Demand
Atelier Von Lieshout

Image 8:
Consciousness of perception, image as sensation, absence of
image, blur, pictures about pictures, isolating subjects from
context, posed, altered image
Candida Hofer
Uta Barth
Andreas Gursky
Rineke Dijkstra
Paul Pfeiffer

Image 9:
Kitchen-sink verite, highly choreographed photographic
scenes, archetypes, interiority
Richard Billingham
Nan Goldin
Sam Taylor Wood
Jeff Wall

Computation and the Network10:
Performing the network, interface, database, hypertext,
ontology of presence, open source, artificial life, information,
mobile content
Future Cinema
Lev Manovitch
David Rokeby
Alexej Shulgin
Paul Sermon
Andy Deck
Wolfgang Staehle
Mark Napier
Sommerer Mignnonnneau
John Klima
Marc Lafia
Maciej Wisniewski
Charlene Rule

Conceptual Keywords for Discussion and lecture
the posed and the unposed, documentaries, serendipity, the
deconstruction of the figure, the rising of the ground, the art
of the surface,, the delay, the work of desire, figures and
motifs, the meaning of size, things in themselves, the
performative audience, the series, representation and
expression, the uncanny, the importance of place, the
architecture of everyday things, collage, displacements, things
in themselves, the apparition, objects as subjects, the
unconscious, the truth of distortions, representation and
expression, the return to the "primitive", matter, the
American Dream, landscape as retreat, expressive interiors,
objects/words, transparency, assemblages, montage, art as
propaganda, assemblages, the sublime, readymades,
repetition and variation, the representation of movement,
typologies, subversions, the vanishing monument, perishable
art, the art of absence

Books with which to get familiar

The Language of New Media
Author: Lev Manovich
Publisher: Leonardo, MIT Press, 2001

The New Media Reader
Edited by: Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort (editors)
Publisher: Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003

The Cinema Alone (Essays on the work of Jean-Luc Godard
Edited by: Michael Temple, James S. Williams
Publisher: Amsterdam University Press 2000

New Media in Late 20th Century Art
Author: Michael Rush
Publisher: Thames and Hudson 1999

Essays for the future

Photography and Art (Interactions since 1946)
‘Conceptual Art and the Photography of Ideas’ by Andy
‘In the Studio: Constructions and Invention’ by Kathleen
McCarthy Gauss

Time, Perception and Sight Time
‘Perception and Sight’ by Robert Riley
‘Reclaiming the Archive – Art, Technology and Cultural
Memory’ by Marita Sturken

Between the Still and Moving Image, Chrissie Illes
Between the still and moving Image’ by Chrissie Illes (pages

Douglas Gordon
‘The instant of seeing’ Raymond Bellour
Interview, ‘Oscar van den Boogaard talks with Douglas

New Media in Late 20th Century Art, Richard Rush
‘Video Installation Art’

The Language of New Media, Lev Manovich

Survey Performance Art
‘Survey’ by Amelia Jones (pages 16-47)

Do It
‘Introduction’ by Hans-Ulrich Obrist
‘Art by Instruction and the Pre-History of Do It’ by Bruce

Let’s Entertain
Come Back to Pleasure’ by Richard Shusterman
‘March 27, 1999 – Bellagio casino and Art Gallery, Las Vegas,
Olukemi Ilesanmi and Philip Vergne’

The New Perplexity
Science and Subjectivity; by Israel Rosenfield
Interview with Francisco J. Varela
Interview with Carsten Holler, ‘The Perplexity’

Art and Artifact
James Puttnam
‘The Museum Effect’
Two-Way Mirror Power Selected Writings by Dan Graham on
His Art
Dan Graham

The Writings of Robert Smithson
‘Entropy and the New Monuments’
‘Donald Judd’
‘Interview with Robert Smithson for the Archives of American
Art/Smithsonian Institute’

The Aesthetics of Failure “Post-Digital’ Tendencies in
Contemporary Computer Music
Kim Cascone

Georges Perec: A User’s Manual
From Freize Magazine

From Participation to Interaction: Towards the Origins of
Interactive Art
Soke Dinkla

Media _ Art / Art _ Media
Forerunners of media art in the first half of the twentieth
Dieter Daniels

Multimedia ‘Overture’
Randall Packer and Ken Jordan, pxiii-xxxi

Digital Art, Christiane Paul
‘Introduction’ p 6-25

Post Media Aesthetics
Lev Manovich

Kim H. Veltman History of Art About and by Means of
Computers ARCO 2001 Conference, Arco Noticias 20,
Madrid, 2001, pp. 56-61. *Use PDF

Art as Open Practice
Peter Weibel, p22-33

Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp, Pierre Cabanne
‘I Live the Life of a Waiter’, 91-107

Conceptual Art, Tony Godfrey
‘Anti-Art Gestures in Early Modernism’ p17-53

Art by Instruction and the Pre-History of Do It
Bruce Altshuler, p.20-32

Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life
Allan Kaprow, Edited by Jeff Kelley

Theory of the Derive
Guy Debord

Through the Vanishing Point
Marshal McLuhan and Harley Parker
‘Sensory Modes’ p1-31

The Artist’s Body
‘Surveying the Body’ Amelia Jones

Relational Aesthetics by Nicolas Bourrriaud
‘Relational Form’ p.11-24
‘Art of the 1990’s’ p.25-40

Class Days
1.22, 1.29, 2.5, 2.12, 2.19, 2.26, 3.5, 3.12 holiday, 3.19,
3.26., 4.2, 4.9, 4.16, 4.23, 4.30
5.7 last day of class

Some Definitions (I am still collecting these)
dead·pan [ded-pan] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA
Pronunciation adjective, adverb, verb, -panned, -pan·ning,
marked by or accomplished with a careful pretense of
seriousness or calm detachment; impassive or expressionless:
deadpan humor.
displaying no emotional or personal involvement: a deadpan
in a deadpan manner: He spoke his lines utterly deadpan.
–verb (used without object), verb (used with object)
to behave or perform in a deadpan manner.
–noun Also, dead pan.
a face showing no expression.
a style of comedy that relies on the comedian's maintaining
such a face.

in·dex [in-deks] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA
Pronunciation noun, plural -dex·es, -di·ces [-duh-seez]
Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation, verb
(in a nonfiction book, monograph, etc.) a more or less detailed
alphabetical listing of names, places, and topics along with the
numbers of the pages on which they are mentioned or
discussed, usually included in or constituting the back matter.
a sequential arrangement of material, esp. in alphabetical or
numerical order.
something used or serving to point out; a sign, token, or
indication: a true index of his character.
something that directs attention to some fact, condition, etc.;
a guiding principle

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