LZX-based academic curriculum?

Hi everyone,

I wanted to see if I could gather some of your thoughts on a project that I’m working on. Has anyone in the community gone through an academic program that contains many of the theoretical and practical elements of video synthesis? I assume that there have been many offered since the 70’s but it looks as though visual synthesis has more or less always been oriented towards the engineering of these circuits, and less so towards the performance of the art. What are your thoughts on this? My question is, if I were to set out to curate a curriculum map for students of analog video synthesis in 2019, what would be the core elements of that curriculum? If you were to join a one-year program dealing specifically with the field of electronic visualization, what courses would you want or expect to take? and what prerequisites would you think should be required before taking said courses?

From what I’ve seen, the members of this community (myself included) have gone to great lengths to self-teach and truly explore the possibilities through trial and error and communication with a close-knit community. How do you think that experience might be streamlined in an academic setting?

Just FYI, I work for a small university and this is something that I’m putting together in my spare time. I already use university resources to fuel this exploration on my own, and I’d like to make it as accessible as possible by building this into an academic infrastructure. Help me out!




much of analog video art can be learned by:

Photography 1 (or any kind of darkroom-based photography class)
Photography 2 to understand the manipulation and processing

Video Production or Multimedia classes to the fundamentals of video as a whole medium

DC circuits and Digital Fundamentals if you want to go further into the basics of understanding how the circuits actually work together.

That’s great input. So our university currently has a film focused media and communications program, which can cover Photography 1/2 + Video Production/Editing in 3 levels including options for studio work. If I were personally looking for a program, I’d definitely want to get a project-based background in circuits, but given this wouldn’t be an electrical engineering degree, I’d like to see it cover essentially an associate’s degree level of electrical engineering content (preferably project-based), dealing with Audio and Video circuits. The ultimate goal would be to produce artists with a technical/working background in A/V electronics, that can build and utilize their own modular and outboard A/V equipment at a professional level.

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Adding onto the idea of building and utilizing their own modular rack, it would be cool if you could make a plan for your rack at the beginning of the semester and completely DIY it throughout the course (or have it finished in some state halfway through, at least). That way you would understand the engineering behind every piece of your modular before you can even start to use it. Then down the road if you decide later you want to change something out, you’ll have to write something explaining why the new module would be crucial to your setup and why what you currently have can’t do that thing. Lots of modules have workaround/easter egg features that make them do other things, so being forced to explain why something can’t work in your current setup and then potentially figuring out a workaround would be good practice for getting the most out of what you already have. Additionally, adding a new module will come at the cost of building and learning something new from scratch.

At the end of the course, everyone could write an artist’s statement about their modular instrument’s intended uses and the thought process behind the inclusion of each individual component and give a final performance that displays thorough technical understanding of the instrument as a whole.

If the course included the materials to build multiple Cadets or other circuits to accompany a video rack as well as a rack itself, I’d go bananas for something like this

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In addition to covering the theory behind video synthesis and the actual construction of this equipment, a broad survey of video art that has utilized these techniques, especially focusing on early experimental works by all the greats would be helpful. My perspective is that historical context is key to understanding what has already been accomplished in a medium and where it can lead to next.

Russ Johnson at Wright State University’s Motion Pictures Department in Dayton, OH used to offer a fascinating video art course that was very much the springboard for my pursuits into video synthesis, even though we didn’t get too much into the direct theory of video signal manipulation. If that sounds like part of where you’d like this curriculum to go, DM me and I can see if I can put you in touch.

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I would love this as a video Cadet :grimacing::nerd_face: