Course Title: Nuclear Mythology Credit Hours: 2

Course Numbers: Art 4930-901 (undergrad), Art 6940-902 (grad)

Time: Tuesdays, 6-8:50 p.m. Place: FAH 282 (Amiga Lab)

Scope of the course: an overview of three related mythologies in modern visual culture: electricity, nuclear energy and the computer.

Computer Literacy Requirements: Everyone must have USF UNIX accounts. Communications with the Prof. on weekends, etc. must be by e-mail and not by phone. This isn't a computer techniques course, and the Prof. makes no claim to be a computer ace. But Robert Lovejoy (graduate student in art history) and I can help you with the basics of setting up a Web page, scanning an image, creating a .gif file, etc. (Maybe we can set up teams in which the more advanced computer students can help some of the beginners. Art history and studio/computer students might be a good mix to plan projects. Part of my motivation for doing the course is to encourage art history students to learn more about computers!)

Stuff Studied: Hollywood and experimental films, government documentaries, posters, political cartoons, ads, comic books, web sites, even "ART".

Textbooks: (1.) Paul Boyer, "By the Bomb's Early Light, American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age", The Univ. of North Carolina Press. (2.) John Hersey, "Hiroshima", many paperback editions. (Available at Inkwood Books, 216 Armenia Avenue, s. Phone: 253-2638.)

Normal Classroom Activities: Each week we'll spend about 20-30 minutes discussing the readings (discussions will be led by students). The textbooks will give us an overview of classical nuclear lore, and provide a cultural and historical background for your projects. Some time will be spent on computer demos/instructions, with input from the more computer literate students (how to make a web page, etc.). Most evenings, we'll look at a film on video. The films will be used as starting points for discussions of the iconography of electricity, nuclear energy and computers. Some lecture sessions will focus on electrical, nuclear and computer imagery in the arts. We'll have a busy agenda, so steer clear of the course if you just want to snooze!

Student Projects: All projects must be in a format typical of mass/pop culture. It is not acceptable in this course to use standard scholarly or art formats, such as research papers or oil paintings. Your ideas and research must be translated into the visual formats of mass/pop culture. Everyone must do three projects: one web page plus two projects in two other formats. Of course comic books, etc. can also be done on the Web.

Possible Formats: * web pages (everybody must do at least one) * classic comic books or comic strips * the "For Beginners" series of educational books with drawings and text * children's books, like the old "How and Why" series * Pop-up books * Computer games * Board games * Posters (protest posters, posters advertising nuclear films, etc.) * Tabloid feature stories * Animations (gifcon on the Web, DP IV animations on the Amiga etc.) * A script with a story board for a movie or TV series * TV News Specials, a possible video project? * family photo albums (the Nuclear family album, The Wire-head family album, etc.)

Possible Themes: * The electric family, the nuclear family, the wire-head family * The electric politician, the nuclear politician, the wire-head politician * Film Primitivism for Beginners * Global Thermonuclear War for Beginners * The iconography of computers in films or ads * Atomic Mutations for Beginners * Art mutations * Cross comparisons of electrical hype, nuclear hype and computer hype * A comparison of computer labs at USF (Art, business, medicine, engineering, etc.) * Sex and electricity, sex and the atom, sex and the laptop

Possible Modes of Exposition: * Educational or Informational, like the "For Beginners" series * Highly partisan stuff, designed to sell your ideology * Romantic/Expressionistic, to show "world pain" * Satirical, mocking, scoffing, anarchistic * Stylish, beauty oriented

First Night Stuff: Go over the scope and purpose of the course. Emphasize the topics and formats for creative projects. Discuss recent films like "Independence Day" and "Escape from LA." that exemplify some of the classic lore about electricity/nuclear energy/computers.