Fall 2011

Writing The World With Image, Movement and Sound

Listed in: Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-313  |  Film and Media Studies, as FAMS-225

Formerly listed as: ARHA-92  |  FAMS-45


Ramon G Rivera-Moret (Section 01)


(Offered as ARHA 313 and FAMS 225.)  How does the physical weight of a video camera influence the emotional weight of the captured image? What can we uncover as we explore a space through the broad, sensuous perspective of a stereo microphone or through the stark directionality of a shotgun microphone? Conversely, what remains of a space that is slowly going out of focus? What meanings are generated when a hand-held camera gesture crashes, through editing, against the stillness of an image captured on a tripod? How can we generate ideas through film form? Can we talk about the ethics of a tracking shot? What cinematic stories can we tell? This course is a hands-on, in-depth exploration of the expressive, narrative possibilities of moving image and sound. We will work with video cameras to take advantage of the accessibility of this medium, always bearing in mind the differences with the filmic image. We will begin with a study of the camera, and, through in-class projects and individual assignments, with an emphasis on inquiry, experimentation and discovery, we will explore framing and composition; light, color and texture; camera movement and rhythm; editing and relationships between image and sound. We will approach set-up and documentary situations from a variety of formal and conceptual perspectives. We will consider all equipment not simply as technology, but as powerful creative tools to be explored and manipulated, incorporating other equipment (tripods, lenses, filters, lighting kit, and sound recording equipment) as they relate to the topics explored. At every step, we will consider the narrative potential of the formal elements studied: narrative understood in a broad sense that goes beyond formulas or standard storytelling modes to include the abstract, the fragment, the open-ended structure and the small gesture.

During the semester, students will create a video diary, a motion-picture sketchbook. With entries on a daily basis, the diary will be a moving, changing record of formal reflections and intellectual, emotional and physical engagement with the environment. The goal is to make the camera an extension of our eyes and minds, to learn to see and think the world around us through moving images and sound. As source and counterpoint to our studio work, we will examine, from a maker's point of view, the films and writings of international filmmakers from the classical period, underground and avant-garde cinema, the New Waves of the 1960s and 70s, and contemporary filmmakers. An individual final video project will give students the opportunity to bring their approach to image, movement and sound explored throughout the term into a work with a expressive, cohesive cinematic language. In rio du film Passion, Jean-Luc Godard expresses his desire to turn a camera movement into a prayer. It is this profound engagement with the world and intense, thoughtful consideration of the medium that we seek to achieve.

Requisite: ARHA 102 or 111 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Artist-in-Residence Rivera-Moret.

If Overenrolled: Instructor will review and cut after 1st class if necessary; contact instructor


Artistic Practice


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Fall 2012