"On the MA you meet people who are very much in tune with your own interests, creating an invaluable peer to peer network."
UK/EU students may be eligible for AHRC funding.
Building on the Centre for Cultural Studies research excellence in software studies, media philosophy and digital arts practices, you'll learn to employ our cutting edge research and practice-based methodologies to enhance your own skill set.
Your research and experiments will focus on new and historical modes of interaction to develop a critical understanding of technical objects and the way they are implicated in who we are today.
The programme will help you to prepare for a critical career in the cultural, creative, educational, analytical, computational sectors.
The MA in Interactive Media is structured around core modules and option modules offered by the Centre for Cultural Studies and more broadly by Goldsmiths MA programmes, leading towards a major final lab project and a theoretical dissertation.
Students are expected to critically evaluate different models as they learn how to theorise, understand code and create electronic and physical interfaces. The programme is delivered equally through theory and practice modules allowing you to engage with different theoretical approaches and methodologies whilst exploring contemporary themes.
Central to the MA is the Centre for Cultural Studies FLOSS (Free Libre Open Source Software) Media Lab. This is a social hub as well as a place to study. Students from around the world with different backgrounds and research interests in software development, design, philosophy, art, activism, media theories, curating, programming, share, exchange and refine skills and specialised knowledge, developing individual and group projects.
As well as attending lectures and seminars, students crucially spend at least nine hours a week in the Lab with close supervision in this technically and critically challenging environment.
This programme builds on the Centre for Cultural Studies’ theoretical and practical engagement with contemporary culture in order to explore emerging techno-cultural questions. In the 21st Century, we can no longer explore the cultural scape without an explicit understanding of how technical objects develop in society and how we interact with them.
It's been claimed that software is now producing the largest homogenising culture on earth. Our modes of governance, work, sociability, urban architectures, politics and economies are changing in tandem with the spread and development of digitality. Many of us are now continuously wired into our networks at work and at home. We find ourselves at the centre of networked relationships where power is being constructed from the residue we leave behind in electronic memories. We are finding ourselves policed not by old modes of media authority but by our ability to sort large amounts of information on the move.
You can apply directly to Goldsmiths via the website by clicking the ‘apply now’ button on the main programme page.
You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.
We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September.
We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.
Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.
Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.
You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a relevant/related subject or an experiential background, in a relevant subject, and an ability to engage with cultural theory.
You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.
If your first language isn't English, you need to demonstrate a minimum score of 7.0 in IELTS (including 7.0 in the written element) or equivalent to enroll and study on this programme.
Please check our English language requirements for more information.
Get in touch via our online form
+44 (0)20 7919 7766
+44 (0)20 7919 7702
For further information on staff and their research interests, please visit the The Digital Culture Unit.
Luciana Parisi (Co-convener)
Graham Harwood (Lab Director)
Matthew Fuller (Software Studies)
Bernard Stiegler (Media Philosophy)
Scott Lash (Cultural Theory)
Josephine Berry Slater (Biopolitics and Aesthetics)
|CU71007A||Critical Theory (30 CATS option)||30 CATS|
This module critically engages with the philosophical, aesthetic and cultural implications of computation-based media technologies. Computation is not the same as digitalisation and rather implies an abstract capacity to order data (linear and non-linear command) and organise communication (through input/output relations of information in an environment of data) common to all media technologies. From this standpoint, interactive media are only an instance of a computational method influenced by the sciences of cybernetics, autopoeisis and system theories, and challenging notions of reason and cognition, perception and memory, emotions and affection.
The module brings together media theories (M. McLuhan, F.A. Kittler, V. Flusser to P. Weibel, L. Manovich, P. Levy, G. Lovink, M. Fuller), scientific concepts (from Shannon and Weaver, N. Wiener, A. Turing, Maturana and Varela, Bateson, Prigogine, Clark) and philosophical approaches (Serres, Deleuze and Guattari, DeLanda, Latour, Stiegler, Badiou, Plant, Harman, Stengers, Massumi, Negri) to articulate a trans-disciplinary view of computational culture and system-based modes of interactivity.
This transdisciplinary view emphasises the necessity of rethinking computation away from immaterial idealism and material empiricism to develop new concepts that can critically engage with the abstract culture generated by this fast evolving field.
This module requires you to actively participate in the seminars. In the first week, you will be (arbitrarily) divided into groups of max three to max four members to make one presentation of max 10 minutes about one or two of the key readings designated for each week. These presentations will not be assessed or impact on your overall evaluation. They are only designed to encourage participation (and self-learning) in the theoretical development of the module.
Taught by Dr Luciana Parisi
|CU71069A||Software Studies||15 CATS|
Software Studies is specifically concerned with the inter-relation between the cultural, social, and the technical. The module provides key theoretical tools for understanding digital technologies and the software that underlies them. It provides an essential interface for modules that aim to link cultural and social concerns and practices with the technical.
Students will read and work with current and historical documents from the history of computing and computing culture, alongside those from cultural theory, as such this is be a uniquely interdisciplinary module that brings together and works through different approaches to the problematic of effective and inventive working in contemporary creative and social technologies.
Software studies is an interdisciplinary field that has emerged over the last decade amongst an international range of scholars and has a particular strength in Goldsmiths. It combines approaches from the arts, humanities and social sciences with those drawn from computing, in order to develop a creative and critical approach to the theories and practices of computing. Software is understood to be a core, yet under-theorised, aspect of contemporary culture and society. This module examines how software, and computing more broadly, is deeply implicated in the development of aesthetics, political forms, social agency and the generation of new forms of subjectivity. It follows a line of enquiry that draws together inventive critical thinking from technologists, hackers, computer scientists, philosophers, artists and cultural theorists, thus providing the context for a rich discussion on the nature of contemporary software cultures.
Students will write an essay or investigative report into a software system, a programming language, an aspect of the history of computing, work of software art, or other such topic.
Taught by Professor Matthew Fuller
First 5 weeks Autumn term
|CU71008B||Practical Methods Block 1 - Media Systems, Media Ecologies and Turbulence||15 CATS|
We use a series of defamiliarisation techniques to create an environment of enquiry rapidly producing small projects. As the lab work is student centered, the specific experiments undertaken depend on the current mix of students’ backgrounds.
Subjects covered might include Introduction to Media systems and Media ecologies; Linux command line; Formal Language vs Informal Language; the dissection of a unix file; Eco-media;programming Perl; variables lists, hashes, modules; editing with Vim; introduction to networking; introduction to electronics; introduction to physical computing (Arduino); Free-media; Radio waves including video sniffin; Telegraphy, submarine cables; garden hose telephones; introduction to Relational Machines- Database; introduction to Natural Language processing.
This module culminates in a group project and presentation. During previous years the module has culminated in the creation of a network of Coin Laundries, in a performance, reconfiguring a Laurie Grove Bath House as a media-scape. Working with world renowned artist Shu Lee Chang on Moving Forrest in 2011, students have created performances on the Thames as an analogue computer. In 2013, students have produced Evil Media for YoHa at Transmediale.
Taught by Graham Harwood
Lab: Monday 10am–4.30pm LGB 107
|CU71008C||Practical Methods Block 2 - Minor Project (Research Methods)||30 CATS|
After writing and reviewing the critical theory essay over the Christmas break, students refine their practice-based research learning objectives and, together with the lecturer, decide on an area of practice-based research to undertake either individually or in a group.
At the core of this module is a form of Action Research as a way of acting on and researching through at the same time. Students are asked to evaluate if what they produced worked as expected. If it didn't, we will together analyse what happened and what we might do differently or discuss any new leads that could help us to review the whole project. If necessary, we repeat the process.
Students learn to propose, budget and time plan research, discussing the ethics and methods in a group situation.
Some students choose to work in a wider social context that have involved liaison with prostitute organisations, older people, people with learning difficulties, asylum seekers and people with mental health issues. Other students decide to look into biotechnologies, algorithms, operating systems, social media, computational aesthetics.
Students taking this module have previously developed open-source software, telephone networks and mobile phone apps. They have curated shows, produced individual artworks, new web platforms, interactive dance, broadcast systems, games, musical instruments, sound scapes, and researched the interaction of databases and archaeological sites.
|CU71009A||Practical Methods Block 3 - Making it Public (Dissertation)||forms part of Dissertation|
During the third term, students refine an element of their research from term two for a public event usually held in early July.
In previous years, students have produced an exposition in which they have created a public interface to their project or ongoing research or enterprise. These expositions involved talking and demonstrating the findings of projects to invited groups and the general public.
Students learn to refine an element of research, produce a public event, produce copy and art work to deadlines, plan publicity and document research.
Dissertation comprises an integrated major practical project - presented at a public show and documented (see Practical Methods Block 3 above) AND an integrated 6,000 word written dissertation.
|CU71022B||Crisis and Critique||30 CATS|
What is critical theory, and whence the notion of critique as a practical stance towards the world? Using these questions as a point of departure, this module takes critical theory as its field of inquiry. Part of the module will be devoted to investigating what critique is, starting with the etymological and conceptual affinity it shares with crisis: since the Enlightenment, so one line of argument goes, all grounds for knowledge are subject to criticism, which is understood to generate a sense of escalating historical crisis culminating in a radical renewal of the intellectual and social order. We will explore the efficacy of modern critical thought, and the concept of critiqueʼs efficacy, by examining a series of attempts to narrate and amplify states of crisis—and correspondingly transform key concepts such as self, will, time, and world—in order to provoke a transformation of society. The other part of the module will be oriented towards understanding current critical movements as part of the Enlightenment legacy of critique, and therefore as studies in the practical implications of critical readings. Key positions in critical discourse will be discussed with reference to the socio-political conditions of their formation and in the context of their provenance in the history of philosophy, literature, and cultural theory. Required readings will include works by Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Heidegger, Benjamin and others, with suggested readings and references in lecture drawn from a variety of source materials ranging from literary and philosophical texts to visual images, film, and architecture. Students are invited to work on their individual interests with respect to the readings.
Kant, Critique of Pure Reason
Kant, Critique of Judgment
Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit
Hegel, Lectures on Aesthetics
Marx, The German Ideology
Marx, Preface to the Critique of Political Economy Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morality
Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle
Benjamin, Origin of the German Baroque Mourning Play
Husserl, Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology
Irigaray, Marine Lover of Friedrich Nietzsche
Taught by Dr Julia Ng
|CU71002A||Cultural Theory||30 CATS|
This module asks the questions: What is cultural studies. and, what is culture? A wide range of cultural theory dealing with issues concerning technology, art media, philosophy, and the economy, are explored in order to address a number of connected questions that span the field of contemporary cultural studies. Can culture be understood per se or may we only ever consider cultures? What is the nature of culture and how should we try to understnad what is specific to contemporary culture? What is cultural studies in a changing order, whereby China, India, and Latin America - the East and the South - become the drivers of global change? We look at the cultural foundations of the global economy: at 'individualist' and 'relational' orders of value. We ask who this non-Western other is and again, this time wth new eyes, who is 'the West'? We enquire into the Greek and Jewish-Christian transcendental God and in the process investigagte its association with the economic culture of our age; for its messianic ethos; for its critique of law; of neoliberalism and sovereignty and its everlasting obsession with justice; we think it as well for its implicit universalism and ask the broader question: what is universalism? We look at cultures of the East (especially China) and of the South. Here, as opposed to Western ontology, are questions of conduct and 'the way'; as opposed to the Western other-worldly God, immanent this-worldly, non-monotheistic, regimes of religion. We look at the immanent and relation culture of the gift and the clan, the linguistic foundations of Chinese culture. We ask, in this context, whether a new global universalism is possible.
M. Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics
Taught by Professor Scott Lash
Lecture: Monday 11–1pm BPB LT
Seminar: Monday 2–3pm RHB 350
Tuesday 12–1pm LGB CR
Tuesday 2–3pm LGB CR
|CU71011A||Postcolonial Theory||30 CATS|
The aim of this module is to introduce you to canonical, founding texts of Postcolonialism. Close, first-hand reading of texts is emphasised and you are required to probe the whole spectrum of postcolonial thinking - from literary theory, politics, psychoanalysis, diaspora studies, race and gender studies to philosophy, art, anthropology and history. Geopolitically, the emphasis is on the non-West and on the connections, linkages and translatory cultures forged through colonisation, movements, travel and deterritorialisation. We seek to problematise the very notion of post-coloniality - understood not as a temporal marker but more as a style of thought - as a problem.
We begin with Edward Said’s Orientalism, and ponder about the founding role of discourse in shaping geopolitical destinies and historical subjectivities. That takes us into complex questions about the complicity between power and knowledge and the legacy of slavery and colonialism in the present. These discussions are pursued throughout the seminars as we proceed from Bhabha through Spivak and Gilroy to Mbembe and Povinelli. We interrogate Bhabha’s ideas of colonial ambivalence, hybridity and mimicry and read Fanon and Glissant in the light of a generalised, global unhomliness to mark out the time of the postcolonial ‘contramodernity’ (Gilroy). While reading Spivak and Povinelli, we interrogate the enunciative modalities of liberal discourse and look for strategic prohibitions within which would not let the subaltern speak. The question about agency and location is confronted headlong in Chakrabarty’s Provincializing Europe while in Timothy Mitchell’s Colonizing Egypt we debate the role of representation in non-western modernity. Through an interrogation of Deleuze’s idea of difference, we try to make sense of the postcolonial ‘right to difference’ in the context of the politics of multiculturalism. Other themes highlighted in the module are: empire, secularism, governmentality, multiculturalism, gender and sexual politics, representation, minorities in Europe and diaspora.
Talal Asad, Formations of the Secular, 2003.
Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture, 1994.
Sion Bignall and Paul Patton (ed.), Deleuze and the Postcolonial, 2010.
Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe, 2000.
Gayatri Chakrovorty Spivak, Can the Subaltern Speak?, 1988.
Franz Fanon, The Wretched of The Earth, 2004.
Edouard Glissant, Poetics of Relation, 1997.
Paul Gilroy, Against Race, 2000.
Peter Hallward, Absolutely Postcolonial, 2002.
Achille Mbembe, On the Postcolony, 2001.
Naoki Sakai, Translation and Subjectivity: On "Japan" and Cultural Nationalism, 1997.
Charles Taylor, The Politics of Recognition, 1994.
Taught by Dr Shela Sheikh
Lecture: Tuesday 11–1pm BPB LT
Seminar: Tuesday 2 –3pm RHB 142
|CU71015A||Theories of the Culture Industry: Work, Creativity and Precariousness||30 CATS|
This module sets out the key theorizations of the culture industry. While incorporating classical figurations of the culture industry, the module is primarily concerned to assemble a clear engagement with contemporary research such as those spearheaded by leading researchers at Goldsmiths. The organization and substance of work and of precarious labour, of the developing debates and mechanisms of ‘intellectual property’ and cultural workers’ development of institutions and networks as well as contemporary configurations of the professional will be discussed. Students will learn to strategise cultural production and intervention through exploration of relevant material. The globalization of the culture industry will provide a persistent and ambitious point of reference.
The module will combine a critical assessment of the most significant theoretical frameworks for analyzing and understanding the contemporary cultural industries, with detailed analysis of the structure of specific cultural industries. The opening of the module will introduce key conceptual frameworks for interpreting the cultural industries, starting with the classic macro perspectives of the ‘culture industry thesis’ developed by The Frankfurt School, and Political Economy, which is concerned with the economic structure of the creative economy. These theoretical frameworks are read critically in relation to contemporary structural changes within the social world, primarily the shift from an industrial to a knowledge based economy, the rise of globalization, reorganizations in the labour market, and the proliferation of symbolic goods, brands and logos. As the module continues it draws more broadly from contemporary cultural theory in order to develop a model of the cultural industries which remains attuned to the influence of economic structure and ‘the domination of the commodity’ while being able to account also for the complex texture of innovation, creativity, and restructured power relationships which are emerging.
Theodor Adorno & Martin Horkheimer, ‘The Culture Industry, Enlightenment as Mass Deception’, in, Dialectic of Enlightenment, Verso, London, 1979
Theodor Adorno, The Culture Industry, Routledge, London, 2004
Bewes, T and Gilbert, J 2000 Cultural Capitalism: Politics after new Labour
Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim, Individualization: Institutionalized Individualism and Its Social and Political Consequences, Sage (Theory, Culture & Society), London, 2001
Ulrich Beck, The Brave New World of Work, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2000
Pierre Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production, 1993
Pierre Bourdieu, The Weight of the World, Polity, Cambridge, 2000
Paul Du Gay, ed. 1997 Production of Culture/ Cultures of Production.
Paul Du Gay and Pryke M. eds. Cultural Economy: Cultural analysis and Commercial Life, Sage, London, 2001
Kodwo Eshun, More Brilliant Than The Sun, Quartet, London, 2000
Dick Hebdige, Hiding in the Light, Routledge, London, 1989
David Hesmondhalgh, Cultural Industries, 2nd edn. Sage, London, Thousand Oaks and New Delhi, 2007
John Howkins, The creative economy: how people make money from ideas, Allen Lane/The Penguin Press, 2001
J. Hutnyk ‘Adorno at Womad, South Asian Crossovers and the Limits of Hybridity’, in Postcolonial Studies Vol 1 no 3, 1999.
J Hutnyk and S Sharma eds., ‘Music and Politics An Introduction’, in Theory Culture and Society vol 17 no 3, June 2000
Ettema, J & D. Whitney eds.. ‘Individuals in Mass Media Organisations: Creativity and Constraint’1982
Scott Lash and John Urry, Economies of Signs and Space, Sage, London, 1994
Scott Lash and Celia Lury, Global Culture Industry: The Mediation of Things, Cambridge: Polity, 2006
Charles Leadbetter, Living on Thin Air, 1999
Angela McRobbie, In the Culture Society: Art, Fashion and Popular Music, Routledge, London, 1999
Angela McRobbie, British Fashion Design: Rag Trade or Image Industry?, Routledge, London, 1998
Angela McRobbie, 'Fashion as a Culture Industry', in, Stella Bruzzi and Pamela Church Gibson, eds., Fashion Culture: Theories, Explanations and Analysis, Routledge, London, 2000
Angela McRobbie, 'From Holloway to Hollywood: Happiness at Work in the Cultural Economy' in Paul du Gay and M Pryke (eds.), Cultural Economy: Cultural Analysis and Commercial Life, Sage, 2001
Angela McRobbie, 'Clubs to Companies: Notes on the Decline of Political Culture in Speeded Up Creative Worlds', Cultural Studies, vol. 16 no.4, 2002, pp.516-531
Miege, B The Capitalisation of Cultural Production,. 1993
Keith Negus, Music Genres and Corporate Cultures, Routledge, London, 1999
Andrew Ross, No Collar, the humane workplace and its hidden costs, Basic Books, New York, 2003
Saskia Sassen, Cities In A World Economy, 1994
Herbert Schiller, Culture, Inc. The Corporate Takeover of Public Expression, 1989
Richard Sennett, The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism. W. W. Norton, 1998.
Julian Stallabrass, Art Incorporated, Verso, London 2005
Sharon Zukin, Loft Living, 1989
Convened by Dr Stefanie Petschik
Lecture: Tuesday 10–11am RHB 309
Seminars: Tuesday 11am–12pm LGB CR (group 1)
11am–12.30pm DTH B8 (group 2)
2-3pm LGB G1 (group 3)
|CU71012A||Cultural Studies and Capitalism||30 CATS|
This module involves a close reading of Karl Marx’s Capital (Volume One). The connections between cultural studies and critiques of capitalism are considered in an interdisciplinary context (cinema studies, anthropology, musicology, international relations, and philosophy) which reaches from Marx through to Film Studies, from ethnographic approaches to Heidegger, from anarchism and surrealism to German critical theory and poststructuralism/post-colonialism/post-early-for-christmas. Topics covered include: alienation, commodification, production, technology, education, subsumption, anti-imperialism, anti-war movement and complicity. Using a series of illustrative films (documentary and fiction) and key theoretical texts (read alongside the text of Capital), we examine contemporary capitalism as it shifts, changes, lurches through its very late 20th and early 21st century manifestations – we will look at how cultural studies copes with (or does not cope with) class struggle, anti-colonialism, new subjectivities, cultural politics, media, virtual and corporate worlds.
The main reading will be the relevant chapter or chapters of Capital each week. Do also read the footnotes, they are sometimes quite entertaining (attacks on ‘moneybags’, comments on Shakespeare, notes on bamboo ‘thrashings’, and celebrations of the work of Leonard Horner, factory inspector).
K Marx, Capital: Volume One (Penguin or Progress Press)
T Adorno, Minima Moralia
G Bataille, The Accursed Share
Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto
F. Jameson, Representing Capital: A Reading of Volume On
S Lotringer (ed), Hatred of Capitalism: A Reader
G Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason
M. Taussig, My Cocaine Museum
*Unavailable Spring term 2014*
|CU71016A||Practices of the Culture Industry||30 CATS|
One of the problems that the study of the culture industry presents is that in its very nature its key object of analysis, the culture industry, as a whole has the status of a theoretical or policy-oriented fiction. Such a status does not negate its analytical use, but reflection on the particularly fragile and temporary nature of the field and its associated circumscription by notions of policy need to be brought into productive comparison with actual cultural practices. Equally, those active in the field described by this term recognise the term as belonging to a separate category of knowledge than that required to succeed in the production of culture. Culture involves complex networks of production ranging from the institutional and the transnational to the interpersonal and aesthetic. Here questions of genre, of variegated economic models and ultimately of existential and aesthetic rationale, break up any treatment of the culture industry as a coherent whole. Driven by questions of practice this core module is organized around a series of more detailed analyses of specific cultural dynamics, where the theoretical models from part one are brought to bear on individual areas of practice and the ways that they can and cannot be thought of in terms of ‘industry’. The section will focus on the empirical structure of particular, methodologies for researching the culture industries, and the practice of cultural workers within these fields. In addition to lectures by academic researchers with particular expertise in music, fashion, radio and new economies, students will have access to practitioners from the fields of radio, film, music and art.
Kathy Acker, ‘Writing, Identity and Copyright in the Net Age’, in, Bodies of Work, Serpent’s Tail, London, 1997, pp.66-80
Bernadette Corporation, Reena Spaulings, Semiotext(e), New York, 2004
Nicholas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics, Editions du Réel, Bordeux, 2002
Claire Bishop, ed., Participation, The MIT Press, Cambridge, 2006
Gilles Deleuze, Francis Bacon, the logic of sensation, Continuum, London
Peter Drucker, (1969). The Age of Discontinuity; Guidelines to Our changing Society. Harper and Row, New York. ISBN 0465089844
Thomas Franks, The Birth of Cool, beat, be-bop and the american avant garde, Free Press, New York, 2001
Convened by Professor Matthew Fuller
|CU71024A||Media Philosophy||15 CATS|
Media Philosophy is taught by Prof. Scott Lash, Prof. Matthew Fuller and Dr. Luciana Parisi. This five-lecture course investigates media by a close analysis of key texts and authors in this field. We understand media as much from an engineering point of view as from a philosophical one. We look at how information and media comprise self-reproducing non-linear systems; and how this involves the interchange of information between media and ourselves as physical, social and cultural beings. This course is uncompromising in dealing with the philosophical questions underpinning contemporary media and technology and is at the same time always embedded in the critique of today's capitalist political economy.
F. Kittler, Film, Gramophone, Typewriter
G. Simondon, Psychic and Collective Individuation
F. Guattari, Three Ecologies
D. Haraway, Modest Witness@Second Millennium
G. Deleuze Cinema One
L. Irigaray, Speculum of the Other Woman
Lectures by Professor Scott Lash, Professor Matthew Fuller and Dr Luciana Parisi
Five weeks, second-half Autumn term
|CU71027A||Biopolitics & Aesthetics||15 CATS|
If, in modernity, bare life enters the stage of history and the field of politics for the first time - as the philosophers Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben have extensively argued - and we are living in a biopolitical age in which power intimately accesses and regulates this life, how do aesthetics register, mirror and contest these developments? The desire for modernist, avant-garde and critical art to burst their banks and fuse with 'everyday life', the chaos and contingency of social life, the body as a site of experience and action, parallels power's increasing need to act upon 'active subjects' and to co-opt the vitality of populations. This module will move schematically through key artists, movements and conditions of beholding, from the late 18th century until today, to explore this relationship and consider art's dual role as pioneer and antagonist of biopolitical power.
Taught by Dr Josephine Berry-Slater
Five weeks in spring term
You may prefer to look through the full range of optional modules available across Goldsmiths departments. Please note that not all the modules listed below may be open to you - your final selection will depend upon spaces available and timetable compatibility.
MA in Interactive Media, 2012
"On the MA you meet people who are very much in tune with your own interests, creating an invaluable peer to peer network."
"With its intersecting of experimental media practice with critical theory it was not a difficult decision for me to choose the MA Interactive Media (MAIM) as the Masters programme to study on. I wanted to explore my own creative practice but with a strong theoretical backbone present along the way, which the course gave.
I found Graham and Luciana to be extremely supportive and inspiring, encouraging me to think more critically than I would have previously and giving me brilliant mentoring on the main two projects which I developed whilst at Goldsmiths: Ace of Spades Hunt and Lost London.
The network which you build during your year on the course is invaluable. I made some lovely friends whilst on my BA but not necessarily any who I would work with. However, on MAIM you meet people who are very much in tune with your own interests, creating an invaluable peer to peer network. I think after an MA course this is vital.
Since graduating I've embarked on a one week residency at DEC labs hosted by Metal (facilitated by Graham), starting a project called Emotional Geocaching, I have become part of MzTEK which has given me the chance to work with renowned artists such as Shu Lea Cheang, Tine Bech and Anna Dumitriu, I completed an internship with Blast Theory last year and currently I'm working with Ele Carpenter on her Embroidered Digital Commons project, facilitating workshops for it at Furtherfield Gallery."
MA Interactive Media: Critical Theory & Practice
"I chose Goldsmiths because the programme seemed truly unique and I knew the reputation of the school for being forward-thinking."
Before coming to Goldsmiths, I had completed a BA in Computer Science and had been working as a software developer (programmer) for a year. When decided I wanted to do a Masters, I knew I wanted it to be interdisciplinary so that I would be able to be creative and collaborate with others from different backgrounds. When I visited London to check out prospective universities, Goldsmiths was one of the ones I attended. When visiting the Goldsmiths Digital Studios, the faculty there recommended I check out the MA in Interactive Media course.
In the end I chose Goldsmiths because the Interactive Media programme seemed truly unique, and I knew the reputation of the school for being forward-thinking. The Cultural Studies department helps maintain a social and critical perspective - I'm able to study computational cultures from both a theoretical and practical approach. There are always lectures and events going on every week that are relevant to my interests, and I've been able to audit option courses outside of my department as well. After I graduate, I plan on doing my PhD with a focus on either digital sociology or human-computer interaction. I'm glad I'll have had this year at Goldsmiths to prepare me for further interdisciplinary research.
Alexandra Sofie Joensson
MA in Interactive Media, 2010
Undergraduate degree and course: BA Art History, Copenhagen University Denmark
Current Job: Self employed media practitioner and researcher
“I was interested in more practice-based research methodologies and in the critical approach to media history and technology, which seemed to be at the heart of the Centre for Cultural Studies research production.
The main difference from the other programs I looked at, was that the Interactive Media course offered a Free and Open-Source Software lab environment to support research through practice. I remember thinking that I did not really understand what it was all about in the beginning — but it was worth taking the risk to try it out.
The course enhanced my openness and curiosity, my critical thinking skills, and skills in conceptualizing practice-led research projects.
I think this course is a potential space where practice-led research can spring out of collaborations. Every year is very different, but during the year I attended, the most exciting questions where produced collaboratively. For example, the award winning project (http://xmsg.org.uk/) initiated by Cliff Hammett and myself, saw us creating a low cost DIY telephony server together with sex workers activist group x:talk.
Today the project is a platform for critical reflection on how communication practices and structures materialise in the sex industry — a space where new collaborations and knowledge ecologies can take form as a mutual exchange.
I think doing this course can raise ones awareness of how questions can be critically investigated through collaborative environments. The Flee Immediately (http://fleeimmediately.co.uk/), by former student Renee Carmichael, is yet another initiative investigating forms of practice-led collaboration through production and publication, bringing attention to the frameworks in which co-productions can materialise.
The course has led me to many new research areas and pushed me to work with practical projects in technology that I did not have previous experience with.
I work as a full-time mum, practitioner and researcher, and in most of my activities the skills that I have acquired during the masters course including, critical thinking, learning by doing, and project management, are all operating in the back or foreground of my life.
I would advise prospective students to be open, ready for plenty of failure, and to make sure you have fun.”
Interviewed by Claire Shaw
The Digital Culture Unit is very active in academic research, the arts, and experimental modes of social inquiry. The MA is jointly convened by the leading theorist Luciana Parisi (author of Contagious Architecture. Computation, Aesthetics and Space, MIT Press), who teaches Critical Theory and International artist and Lab Director Graham Harwood (http://yoha.co.uk/), who teaches practice-based enquiry.
They are joined by theorist Matthew Fuller (editor of Software Studies, co-author of Evil Media, MIT Press) who teaches Software Studies; with special input from Bernard Stiegler (author of Technics and Time) who teaches Media Philosophy, Scott Lash (author of Critique of Information) who teaches Cultural Theory, and Josephine Berry Slater (editor of Mute Magazine), who teaches Biopolitics and Aesthetics.
At the Centre for Cultural Studies we are developing experimental modes of engagement that allow us to enquire into how the technical, cultural, aesthetic, and political structures of society are being transmuted into networks of interaction. This research has involved many of our ex-students working with us as volunteers, or visiting research students or as independent freelances on several projects.
In 2012, visiting research students worked with the Southend-on-Sea Education Trust, to produce 'Rebooting Computing', to provide innovative workshops around teaching code in schools. These students have then established the Open Systems Association.
This is an interdisciplinary network of practitioners and theoreticians that have continued to carry out projects after the MA. OSA offers current students the chance to participate and collaborate with ongoing artistic and intellectual projects. In particular, the OSA carries out weekly meetings in the lab and monthly public events.
Open Systems Association, Southend-on-Sea, Education Trust, Schools Computing Pilot 2012.
Supporting teachers to develop new models in the classroom.
Theoretical and practice-based research methodologies, software and hardware production including basic electronics, programming, networking, telephony, relational database analyses, group working skills, event planning and production.
The programme helps students to prepare for a critical career in the cultural, creative, educational, analytical, computational sectors.
Maria Beatrice Fazi (MA Interactive Media 2008/9) has a BA in Philosophy and is now completing her PhD on Computation and Aesthetics at the Centre for Cultural Studies.
Lisa Baldini (MA Interactive Media 2010/11) is a New York based curator. In 2012 she has curated Code of Contingency.
Loes Borges (MA Interactive Media 2010/11) has a BA in Media and Cultural Studies and is now lab manager at the Digital Art Lab in Zoetermeer, (NL). www.loesbogers.com
Tom Keene (MA Interactive Media 2011/12) has a BA in Fine Arts and is now collaborating with Furtherfield, London-based media arts organisation, co-director of Brixton Remakery, a community-led recycling initiative. www.theanthillsocial.co.uk
Marcos Chitelet (MA Interactive Media 2011/12) has a BA in Design and is co-founder of the design agency DID, as well as political web platform Sentidos Comunes, and FaceEnergy, a start-up developing projects on energy efficiency for the city of Santiago, Chile.
In 2011, MA in Interactive Media’s students Alexandra Sofie Joensoon and Cliff Hemmet won a prestigious prize at the media arts festival Ars Electronica. Alex and Cliff created a low cost DIY telephony server together with sex workers activist group X-talk. Today the project is a platform for critical reflection on how communication practices and structures are materialised in the sex industry.
You can access current students' work at imiant.org.uk.
Here you will find students' research leading to the end of year Expos and final projects. These individual and collaborative blogs work as research platforms to explore the power of computation in social, political and aesthetic fields.
Content last modified: 29 Aug 2014
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