Microcinemas and Alternative Media
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Media Studies
Course Number: NCOM 3042
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
- Media Studies
- Curatorial Practice
- Civic Engagement
In this course, we investigate the programs, audiences, and organizational models of sites for exhibition, education, and community building centered on alternative media arts. We begin by reading cultural theorists such as Walter Benjamin, Theodore Adorno, and Rebecca Solnit in order to grapple with the significance of underground, niche, repertory, and other noncommercial cinema spaces in our culture. Who watches alternative media? Is the audience necessarily urban and elite? How can makers of short or noncommercial films and videos reach an audience? Do radical modes of artistic production call for equally unconvential sites of exhibition and education? How do alternative media arts organizations contribute to democracy? Each student is expected to develop a case study of a New York–area site of cinematic exhibition or education and create a possible program for the selected venue. Guest speakers from Film-makers’ Cooperative, Maysles Cinema, Millennium Film Workshop, Mist Studios, Petit Versailles, and Union Docs visit and discuss their vision and the daily struggle to stay afloat in an expensive city and avoid being overshadowed by the multiplex and the Internet.