CUST-MDST 4136H: Workshop: Computational Arts
Dr. Joshua Synenko, Cultural Studies and Media Studies
Fourth-year Cultural Studies and Media Studies students at Trent University have their hands full examining an important — but often overlooked — area of study.
Dr. Joshua Synenko, assistant professor of Cultural Studies and Program Coordinator of Media Studies at Trent, explores the relationship between media and geography in CUST-MDST 4136H: Workshop: Computational Arts, a capstone course offered this fall.
Media and geography may seem like an odd pair, but Professor Synenko says these subjects are more connected than we may think.
Interacting with digital media as we move from place to place is the norm
“With the prevalence of devices like smartphones, GPS, Wi-Fi, and various new ways for digital media to interact with how people move around the social world, it is now commonplace to include aspects of media geography in our everyday lives.”
Students take part in eight seminar classes over the term, in addition to four workshop classes where they work on projects individually while strengthening their work in collaboration with their peers.
“Computational Arts is not a production-style course where you narrowly learn the technical skills required to operate a specific digital media application or device.” Prof. Synenko says. “Rather, our workshop encourages students to adopt in-depth, critical perspectives on digital art in addition to making it.”
Opportunities to get creative with technology
Past course projects have given students the opportunity to work with and produce 3D printed objects, Unity games, ArcGIS Story Maps, VR documentaries, smartphone apps, digital animations, and soundscapes.
Students work with resources at Trent including the Odette Critical Making Studio, the Maps, Data, and Government Information Centre(MaDGIC), and the Experimental Methods and Media Lab.
Learning skills and gaining experience with different technologies is only part of the goal of the workshop. Prof. Synenko says the workshop’s technical training and learning is framed by a larger aim to develop an informed personal artistic vision.
“My hope is that students who take this course learn to explore their creativity through a diversity of media forms that are not readily available to them.” Prof. Synenko says. “Ultimately, a blended approach that combines theory and practice is what Media Studies at Trent is all about.”