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
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.
* 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
* 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.