Web Art
Instructor: Judd Morrissey
Monday, Wednesday 6-9 pm

Course Description

This course will provide an introduction to coding and creating art for the web. While realizing individual and collaborative projects, the class will also be focused on developing clean coding practices with special attention to new and emerging standards. Through presentations and outside readings and viewings, we will work to cultivate a critical discourse around emerging web art forms. Topics examined will include psychogeography, electronic writing, tactical media, and data-mapping.

Emphasis will be placed upon the concept of encoding: how do we encode our selves, our memories, and our responses to the real and virtual spaces that we inhabit? We will consider code as a language through which we translate our ideas into works and begin to develop literacy in the grammars and syntaxes of our networked culture.

Course Requirements

assignments: Students are required to complete all weekly exercises and to present substantial work for critique at mid-semester and at the end of the term. Assignments are due at the beginning of the class following the one in which they are assigned. You will upload homework to your personal directory on the artic.edu server and make a link to each assignment from the index.html page of your directory. If you want to put your homework on another server that's fine but I will still need you to make a link from your index.html page.

research and practice: Students will be asked to give two presentations during the semester. These presentations will focus on an articulation of the student's own developing creative and technical practice in relationship to other web artists, works, concepts, or internet phenomena. The goal will be for the student to define an area of research and artistic and technical concern as the semster progresses and the student begins to formulate a final project.

skills checks: Because of the technical demand of the course in terms of web-based tools and especially languages covered, students will be given occassional skills checks to insure that everyone is learning at a satisfactory level.

individual meetings: Periodically, I will schedule time for each student to address project specific questions and gauge progress. In general, I will often work one-on-one with students during lab sessions.


It is very important to attend every class. Most topics build on previous lessons and discussions, and missing a session will reduce your ability to successfully complete assigned projects. We will begin promptly at 6pm, as we will have a lot to cover each week. If you arrive later than 6:30, you will be marked as absent. If you accumulate three absences, an automatic No-Credit will be given. Please also keep in mind that it is expected that no absences will be unexcused, that is, if you cannot make a session, it is your basic responsibility to contact the instructor in advance. More than one unexcused absence may result in a failing grade.

Presentation and participation in midterm and final critiques:
* For both critiques, I expect that your scripting practice will be compliant with the latest XHTML standards whenever possible. If you do use deprecated HTML I expect that you will be conversant in why you made the choice to include it (for example, some code may not widely supported by your targeted browsers)
* For the final critique you will need to hand in a stand-alone versions of your project(s) burned to a data cd. I will be keeping this disc so please make additional copies for yourself.

Syllabus: Please note that the syllabus is updated weekly and, while it provides an overall framework, it is by no means a static document and should be referred to often.



A hard copy text is NOT required for the class as the latest information on the *evolving* XHTML1.0 standard and browser support is available online. Plus you can cut, paste and repurpose the example code when working online. If you do opt to purchase a a text I recommend spending some time at a bookstore browsing what's available to find one that is written and organized in a style that will be helpful to you. Some use tutorial style teaching while others assume a deeper understanding of the underlying technology.

Student Sites

Weekly Schedule

week 01

Thursday: 9/1
topic: introduction to xhtml: anatomy of a mark-up language
tutorial/exercise: encoded introductions
handout: "Louisiana 1927" (assembled fragments)

assignment: Using the handout as a starting point and the internet as a research tool, gather material to work with during our next session. Allow yourself to form creative connections and develop a fluid trail of associations. The material should be organized into the data structures covered in class (paragraphs, tables of data, headings, images, lists) and should come from both on-line and off-line sources (material from books, newspapers and other physical sources can be scanned in class). Once you have developed a body of material, consider how the different pieces relate to one another. What kind(s) of work does it potentially represent (for example, a research project, a memorial, a fractured narrative, a political critique)? Is the order of the pieces important? How might they be arranged in space or time?

week 02

Tuesday: 9/6
xhtml data structures reviewed, linking, basic navigation, file structure
ftp and accessing urls on artic server
discussion: mark-up languages, consciousness, semantics

discussion links:
Tagwebs, Flickr, and the Human Brain
Douglas Engelbart demonstrations

technical links:
html/xhml elements
deprecated tags

FTP help file and directory structure

assignment: Prepare to present encoded introductions at the beginning of class on Thursday. Students who missed day 1 will be introducing themselves. Bring any material collected in reponse to previous assignment for lab on Thursday.

Thursday: 9/08
scanning and preparing images
instructions for lab assignment

required reading:
Vanevar Bush: As We May Think

recommended reading:
How the Internet Works
An Internet Timeline
Alternate Visions: Way Out of the Box
New Media Concepts
City of Bits

week 03

Tueday: 9/13 < br /> topics: evolution of the WWW and underlying technology
exercise: dérive
Groups go out on assigned walks and collect material in the form of video, still images, creative textual responses, and statistics. This material will be used in class on the following week.

useful links:
html/xhml elements
deprecated tags

FTP help file and directory structure
introduction to external css: body and text properties

CSS Resources:
Avoid deprecated tags
Basic CSS syntax
CSS Measurements
CSS Property Reference
W3C Property Examples
Sample Code

Thursday: 9/15
topics: building a css foundation, classes and pseudo-classes

encoding space: blueprints and rooms
A New Way of Walking
psychogeography and the dérive
One Block Radius
Providence Walkers

related works:
Ardnamurchan Zillij
Border patrol

week 04

Tuesday: 9/20
CSS continued, box model, div tag, floats and clears
div and span elements
The CSS box model and basic positioning
webmonkey: the wonderful div tag

Thursday: 9/22
lab time to finish mapping project

Readings: Hypertext/Hypermedia

Shelley Jackson, My Body
Mark Amerika, Grammatron
John Cayley: Recent Works
Loss Pequeno Glazier, Io Sono At Swoons
new rhizome narrative

week 05

Tuesday: 9/27
presentation of assignments

Thursday: 9/29
navigation: creating complex menus from simple lists

discussion of mid-term project sketches

download demo from class
please familiarize yourself with framesets for next week

Begin initial development of mid-term projects. Bring materials into class for scanning, digitizing, etc., and be prepared with work for afternoon lab session.

advanced css resources:
the noodle incident

week 06

Tuesday: 10/04
guest artist lecturer, Lori Talley

Thursday: 10/06

week 07

Tuesday: 10/11
lab time for development of mid-term projects, individual tutorials

Thursday: 10/13
lab time for development of mid-term projects, individual tutorials

week 08

Tuesday: 10/18
lab time to complete projects

Thursday: 10/20
critique presentations group 1

week 09

Tuesday: 10/25
critique presenations group 2

Thursday: 10/27
scrolling divs, iframes, absolute positionining

screening: titler.com

week 10

Tuesday: 11/01

Thursday: 11/03
DOM: walking the document tree

week 11

Tuesday: 11/08
exercise: encoding/coding
xhtml character codes
scripting and inherent events: manipulating style, launching windows, swapping images

Thursday: 11/10
scripting intensive: coding fundamentals, functions, random image arrays

download sample code

week 12

Tuesday: 11/15

Thursday: 11/17

week 13

Tuesday: 11/22

Thursday: 11/24
no class: Thanksgiving

week 14

Tuesday: 11/29
work day

Thursday: 12/01
work day

Tuesday: 12/06, Thursday 12/08

week 15

Tuesday: 12/13
final critiques

Tuesday: 12/15
final critiques



concrete & digital poetry

language/code/identity: http://netwurkerz.de/mez/datableed/complete/
trade centers: http://vv.arts.ucla.edu/teaching/classes/honors98_f01/frames.htm
referencing games: http://www.jodi.org -- download a game
generated text: http://directory.wordcircuits.com/browse.php?t=5
artbyte net picks: http://www.artbyte.com/web/net_pick/np_050101.html
blogging (push-button publishing for the people): http://www.blogger.com/

Net Art Collections and Shows
www.rhizome.org Collection of net.art, history of net.art, reviews, interviews, articles, criticism. Weekly updates also distributed via e-mail as 'rhizome digest' mailing list.
010101.sfmoma.org '010101 - Art in Technological Times'. Recent gallery/online show at SFMOMA.
www.file.org.br FILE 2001 Electronic Language Festival. Gallery/online festival in Sao Paulo.
www.walkerart.org/gallery9 Walker Art Center's Gallery 9 - online gallery sponsors net.art projects.
www.eliterature.org The Electronic Literature Organization, a collection of hypertext works and related material.
www.aec.at/festival2001/ Ars Electronica, venerable Austrian tech-art organization sponsors annual festival.

A few popular works
potatoland.org Mark Napier's web-reconfigurations, including Digital Landfill and Web Shredder.
worldofawe.net World of Awe, poetic travel postcards inside a found laptop.
jodi.org creators of the popular style of formalist web chaos.
rtmark.com net.art business model, brokerage house for hacktivist projects
airworld.net corporate site reconfiguration
www.0100101110101101.org Life Sharing
entropy8zuper.org collaborative art projects
www.unknownhypertext.com The Unknown, hypertext road novel.

Online References and Useful Sites
example code used in class
Electronic Frontier Foundation
CSS properties Reference

BBEdit Lite: Free version of BBEdit, popular Mac text editor.
MMKEdit: A free Mac text editor with HTML extensions. Also comes in Japanese.
EditPlus: An excellent text-editor for Windows
macromedia.com: 30-day trial downloads of Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks, Director, etc.
Savitar: Mac MUD/MOO/MUSH Client