Electronics, Arduino-based micro-controllers, electromechanics (motors, solenoids and servos), dynamic lighting, software and programming (Arduino IDE, Cycling '74 real-time programming and Max/MSP/Jitter).
This workshop takes an interdisciplinary approach to working with live electronics, kinetics, light and imagery. Students explore the basics of electronics work with micro-controllers and strategies for using light and movement to animate a miniature space. The metaphor of a miniature world invites students to integrate their own creative practices (in two- or three-dimensional media) into mixed-media interactive installations.
Fall 2019: Art 5490: Make Anything Talk to Anything
Professor: Ali Momeni
This course is intended for visual artists, musicians, designers, computer scientists, engineers and architects (among others) interested in exploring real-time interactive software applications. Such applications allow translations/interactions among various media; examples include sound to video (e.g. music visualizers), gesture to sound (e.g. the theramin, Wii controllers as musical instruments), gesture to video (e.g. motion tracking for interactive visualizations, interactive architecture), interactive sculptures (e.g. sensor controlled mechanics, robotics, lights, LEDs). The Max/MSP/Jitter new media programming environment will be the primary instrument of the course. Max/MSP/Jitter is a graphical programming environment that provides user interface, timing, communication with electronics, communications with the web, MIDI support, real-time audio and video synthesis and processing.
The topic for the semester is “Practice, Research and Teaching”. We explore the subtleties of how creative research intersects with making and teaching through studio based critiques, iterative refinements of personal research and teaching narratives, analysis of local arts organizations/institutions/collectives, stabs at grant-writing strategies, and round table discussions with invited guests.
Fall 2019: Art 5670/8600: Mechanical Theaters and Toy Orchestras
Professor: Ali Momeni
The paradox of shadows:
"Shadow is all appearance, immateriality, without substance; but at the same time gives a way of avoiding the seduction of surface–often referred to as appearance as opposed to essence."
-William Kentridge, Excerpt from a lecture delivered at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, on the occasion of the exhibition William Kentridge, 20 October 2001-20 January 2002
This class aims to create a collaborative practice based research structure surrounding the history, techniques and critical discourse surrounding automata, mechanical theaters, toy orchestras and shadows. Students and instructore will pursue a literature review whose findings will be shared through in-class presentations and on-line documentation. This research will include past and present-day technologies and aesthetics, as well as the analog and digital means through which the theatrical experience incorporates information.
As the course is intended for students with a primary interest in <em>making</em>, the research methodology will be practice-based and divided into two halves: for the fist half of the semester, students are expected to read, write, research, find, tag, organize, gather. This phase focuses on building a practice in working with mixed media as opposed to creating a finished object/work. In March we will hold mid-term reviewers, where students will lay-out all that they have gathered in their research and get feedback on the materials, directions, aesthetics, references and imagery they have gathered. The 2nd half of the course is dedicated to the creation of a new work.
Since this graduate-level seminar meets only once per week, students are expected to dedicate studio/making-time to this course outside of the class-period. In class studio days will be dedicated to demonstration of and monitored experimentation with the subject matter's instruments and techniques; in-class hours will also be used for group critiques.
Spring 2010: COLA 3950/5950: Art for the People, Art on Wheels
Professor: Ali Momeni
Art for the People/Art on Wheels is a vehicle for familiarizing and engaging students with the Minneapolis Art on Wheels (MAW) project, as well as a way for students to produce and show works of public art.
Minneapolis Art on Wheels is an on-going public arts initiative. We leverage advanced mobile technology to bring socially engaged art and technology into diverse communities. We aim to use the scale and accessibility of our exhibitions to make the Twin Cities an international leader in socially engaged and technologically enhanced creative projects. We are able to produce moving images up to several hundred feet, outdoors, in public spaces. Our emphasis on mobile devices (i.e. cellular phones) and gestural interaction with media (e.g. laser tag, real-time video tracking and gesture recognition) allows a wide audience to interact with mobile media. The project engages students in creative use of technology and materializes this engagement in the form of community outreach and temporary public art.
This year marked a transitional stage for the Experimental and Media Arts department. Together with my colleagues Lynn Lukkas and Diane Willow, we accomplished the following:
-Official name change from Time and Interactivity to Experimental and Media Arts
-Creation of the EMA area blog with a centralized calendar and online resources for our graduate and undergraduate students
-Conceptualization and initial deployment of a comprehensive space reconfiguration: new sound studio (Regis W131), new advanced video lab (W121, the old space was given to the Regis tech staff to meet their needs), new mixed analog-digital studio shared with painting and drawing (W248)
-Preparation and submission of three major CLA-OIT Tech Fees grants (requesting a total of $150,000) for necessary upgrades of hardware and software in Regis
Between July 27-31, 2009 I taught the 18th annual CNMAT Max/MSP/Jitter night school course (for my 9th time!). All course documentation is kept on CNMAT’s one-of-a-kind new music web portal: there you will find the course outline, video screen shots of some of the lectures, as well as patches and links.
While in Spain for showing Smoke and Hot Air at FEEDFORWARD, I gave a lecture on Minneapolis Art on Wheels as a part of the symposium, on a panel with Eric Kluitenberg, Daniel G. Andújar, Fernando García-Dory, Carlos Motta.
The Symposium Feedforward. The Angel of the History, will take part on October the 23 and 24. A panel of experts and artists in new media art will debate about some of the central topics of the exhibition.
PARTICIPANTS: Christiane Paul, Steve Dietz, Sarah Cook, Margot Lovejoy, Tamiko Thiel, Chris Baker, Jose Carlos Mariategui, Stephanie Rothenberg, Angus Cameron, Tiziana Terranova, Piotr Szyhalski, Naeem Mohaiemen, Barbara Fluxá, Esther Leslie, Hasan Elahi, Konrad Becker y Marco Peljhan, Nonny de la Peña y Peggy Weil, Knowbotic Research, Tom Levin, Jaron Rowan y Clara Piazuelo, Tere Badía, Emmanuel Rodríguez, Graham Harwood, Eric Kluitenberg, Daniel G. Andújar, Fernando García-Dory, Carlos Motta, Ali Momeni.
Fall 2009: ART 1601: Introduction to Experimental and Media Arts
Professor: Ali Momeni
This introductory course explores the fundamental elements of experimental and media arts in general, and electronic art using digital production tools in particular. Students will explore a personal aesthetic and develop a critical framework for their ideas and work. Theoretical/critical readings, lectures, discussions, presentations of film, video, and new media artists are included.
The course is organized around 4 themes:
The weekly schedule follows this themes in order and allows students to explore combinations of media with increasing facility as the semester proceeds.
1. To introduce students to image/video/sound/performance and their digital production tools as a medium of artistic production with a unique visual, aural, and temporal language.
2. To foster the development of a personal aesthetic.
3. To enable students to explore and articulate the connections between digital art processes and more traditional art practices.
4. To explore historical and theoretical aspects of electronic and digital art and integrate that with their interests and creative production.
5. To provide introductory experience with creative coding for artistic creation.
6. To promote and support collaborative working pratices.
I will be representing the Experimental and Media Arts area of the department of art in the GARC committee for the next two academic years.
Primary agenda items to which I will be contributing are:
-space reconfiguration in Regis: working with Marc Knierim and area representatives to identify and reconfigure under-used spaces in Regis. the focus is to create spaces for cross-area collaboration for the graduate students
-coordination of materials for the new art department web-site.
-coordination of EMA incoming graduate student applications
Fall 2009: Development of the new Art Department website is underway. As chair of this departmental committee, I am acting as the main organizer and communications agent between the department, CLA-OIT and the CLA Web Team. All coordination of the department's efforts are organized through this website. First draft of text revisions will be gathered by 12/9/09; in the mean-time, I will be working with area heads and staff members to get all necessary content components in place for the CLA Web Team. For more information about tasks and time-line refer to the above website.
Fall 2010: Development site of the Art Department website is now on-line and being regularly revised. In addition to collecting and generating necessary/missing content for the site I am coordinating a larger effort to the departmental site to a much more visual appearance (by consisten attachment of current stills and videos to various site nodes) as well as a more communally maintainable one (by creating areas/roles within the site/staff).
Title: Make Anything Talk to Anything: Cross-Media Real-Time Programming with Max/MSP/Jitter
This course is intended for visual artists, musicians, designers, computer scientists, engineers and architects (among others) interested in exploring real-time interactive software applications. Such applications allow translations/interactions among various media; examples include sound to video (e.g. music visualizers), gesture to sound (e.g. the theramin, Wii controllers as musical instruments), gesture to video (e.g. motion tracking for interactive visualizations, interactive architecture), interactive sculptures (e.g. sensor controlled mechanics, robotics, lights, LEDs). The Max/MSP/Jitter new media programming environment will be the primary instrument of the course. Max/MSP/Jitter is a graphical programming environment that provides user interface, timing, communication with electronics, communications with the web, MIDI support, real-time audio and video synthesis and processing. The course will be a rigorous boot-camp for this instrument; after the initial introduction in the first third of the semester, the course will be project-based where each student will develop several independent projects/works/experiments. The course is offered as an upper-level undergraduate/lower-level graduate rank. In-class meeting hours will be similar to those of studio courses in the Art Department, i.e. two three-hour sessions per week. Like other studio courses, much of that time will be spent on supervised individual work. In addition to the 6 weekly in-class hours, students are expected to considerable time outside of class mastering this powerful instrument. Students are encouraged to collaborate with one-another; collaborations with the instructor are also possible. Familiarity and comfort with laptop-based technology is a pre-requirement; this includes experience any of a variety of desktop publishing tools (Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver, GoLive, QuickTime, Final Cut) as well as a general sense of interest and curiosity in the creative potentials of the laptop and software platforms. Previous programming experience of any kind is welcomed but not required. Similarly, previous experience with Max/MSP/Jitter is not required but also welcomed.
I am the EMA area representative for the visiting artist committee, chaired by Jenny Schmid and Chris Larson. In addition to recommending and reviewing recommendations for visiting artists, my primary goal is to create an online presence for the visiting artist program to 1) coordinate organizational efforts and 2) to make the programs activities more publicly visible.
The visiting artist committee’s new website is here. Committee members are charged with gathering and submitting appropriate content for this site. The new Art Department website will be able to receive feeds from this site in order to make our activities visible on the primary art department website as well.
I was invited by Dave Schroeder (of Pilot Vibe) to give a lecture at the his annual Flashbelt conference. My presentation was primarily on MAW‘s use of a mix of digital and physical technologies to create real-time animation for public projections (i.e. “livedraw”).
This class introduces students to the diverse practices of movement and rhythm applied to sculpture. Instead of a literal translation of kinetic sculpture as sculpture that moves, we seek to deconstruct presuppositions about the limits of this practice and its history. By exploring notions of the body, movement, function, gesture and the relationship between objects in motion we will find expansive ways to collaboratively redefine this medium.
Sample Course Syllabi and Student work by Ali Momeni
I am committed to using technology in my teaching. With the help of the pedagogic tools available at the University of Minnesota, I have conducted all of my courses thus-far in a mostly paper-free manner. All course syllabi, reading assignments, references and student works are on-line. Below you will find directed links to my course materials; please use the digital copy of this document with a computer connected to the internet.
As a founding faculty member of the Collaborative Arts program, my colleagues and I have devised the major/minor requirements, established the core curriculum, created the fundamental COLA 1001 course, as well as a number of to-be-permanent course, currently offered as workshops (among the Art for the People/Art on Wheels, the precursor to MAW.
Spring 2008, Fall 2008
Together with the two other core faculty of COLA, Michael Sommers and Guerino Mazzola, and our director Michael Cherlin, we finalized and submitted the following:
1) Requirements for a COLA major in the CLA
2) Description of the COLA Fundamentals course (i.e. COLA 1001, The Art of Collaboration). The course is approved, and will be co-taught by all COLA core faculty.
Fall 2008: After a convincing argument to the department, delivered by myself and Jenski at the faculty retreat in Feb. 2007, I was appointed chair of the Public Image/Web Presence committee.
The College of liberal arts has approved (and funded) a major update of the West Bank Arts Quarter (including Arts, Music, Theater and Dance, and Collaborative Arts). The college has hired the services of bswing to evaluate the usage and needs of the arts departments websites.
I met with bswing on a number of occasions for interviews and discussions. They seem to be asking the right questions, though their focus seems to be the West Bank Arts Quarter, as opposed to the departments that make up the WBAQ.
According to the presentation on bswing on Dec. 4, 2008, the WBAQ remains only a geographical indication, while the needs of the websites for independent departments remain many, diverse and sometimes overlapping. The next stage will be a graphical presentation of a web-site by bswing to the WBAQ-wide committee to which I am the Art Department representative.
Fall 2008: I served on the Curriculum Committee in the department of art. Our main considerations were:
1) re-evaluation of major project for the BFA track; after consideration of all feedback from students and instructors, we decided to recommend to the department to break the class into a number of options: 1st, an “Art and Life” course, much in the style of the present “Art in the Twin Cities” course; as many of the BFAs do not go on to pursue careers in the arts, a fitting cap-stone course would be to assure that the know their local art world well and have experienced it aesthetically and critically. Another option would be an advanced studio; most BFAs do not get a lot of studio experience in our department (more than P are transfer students). An additional upper level studio would allow them valuable time to develop their voice
2) re-consideration of the Public Spaces position for grads: the last three graduate students have quit this position due to its unrealistic demands. A potential solution can be to make the BFA show juried, and therefore smaller.
3) re-consideration of the 2-year language requirement for BFAs. This question is to be investigated further
Professors: Guerino Mazzola, Ali Momeni, Michael Sommers
This introductory course presents the characteristics and the challenges of collaboration through three representative approaches from the visual arts, music, and theater. The course unfolds around concrete problematic situations arising from the project of a collaborative and multimedia-enhanced project.
The class includes lectures by guest artists as well as exploration of the cultural landscape of the Twin Cities.
Fall 2008: COLA 1521/3521/4521: The Art of Collaboration
Professors or record: Ali Momeni,
Participating professors: Guerino Mazzola, Michael Sommers
A collaborative creative environment where over the course of a semester, students from different disciplines create a installation or performance that expresses their independent and collective talents and interests.
Fall 2008: ART 8400: Theoretical Constructions in Contemporary Art
First Year Graduate Seminar
Professors: Ali Momeni, Jenny Schmid
This course focuses on theories of contemporary art and how they have created a foundation for current art practices. In addition to reflecting on theory, this class seeks to collectively explore new paradigms in the ways that artists are working today- through the creation of collectives, the globalized community and artist-as-curator model. Can post-modernism shift to not just operate as a resistance against an historical Western paradigm, but rather formulate new approaches that are based in a globalized, less provincial and more dynamic way of thinking?
I was invited by Vice President for Scholarly and Cultural Affairs, Steven Rosenstone, to be a part of the 6-member technology advisory committee for the ambitious re-design of Northrop Hall, one of the oldest buildings on the UMN Twin Cities Campus.
We collectively came up with a list of wants, needs and ideas; they include: the maximization of public spaces, the allocation of the best spaces in the building to those public spaces, the need for a highly wired building, the possibility to use the outside of the building (e.g. projections) as well as the inside, the possibilities of visualizing the activity inside the space on the outside architecture.
Benjamin M. Johnson has been appointed to the position of Concerts and Lectures at the University of Minnesota, here‘s the announcement.
Video documentaiton of a panel discussion on Feb. 13, 2:30-4:30pm, in Regis Art Center’s In-flux space.
The participants were the following:
-Mary Altman, Minneapolis Art Commission Public Arts Coordinator (confirmed)
-Mike Hoyt, Director of Kulture Klub (confirmed)
-Nora Paul, Director of the Institute for New Media Studiesat the U of M (confirmed)
-Jim Nystrom, UMN Police officer responsible for West Bank and Athletic Facilities (confirmed)
-Tracy Smith, UMN General Council Attorney in charge of student activities (confirmed)
-Steve Johnson, UMPD Deputy Chief
I acted as a moderator for the first segment of the panel discussion (about one hour); we then open the discussion to questions and answers for another hour.
I’m teaching a course along with Professor Doug Geers from the School of Music, on the topic of treating time. The course is titled Interdisciplinary Media Collaborations: Treating Time and here is the course description.