Looking Outwards

What is a “Looking Outwards” report?

This semester, you will periodically be asked to “look outwards” — to browse various blogs and feeds (see below) or other resources in order to deepen your knowledge of the field, and familiarize yourself with the current state of the art. You will then be expected to report on your findings, as described below — hopefully, with a critical perspective. Some weeks, the “Looking Outwards” deliverables may be thematically oriented. There is no restriction on the sources of information you may use for a “Looking Outwards” report. For example, you are invited to use the …library…, particularly to learn about older works which may not be well-documented on the Internet.

A “Looking-Outwards” report is a blog post reporting on a new media project that interests you. Your job is to browse blogs and other sources, and then report on artworks or other projects that you haven’t seen before. (For this course, it may be most appropriate to select projects that are made by individuals or small teams, rather than large companies, but that’s not a strong requirement). Blogging about a project of which you’re already aware defeats the point of the assignment, which is to deepen your familiarity with the fields of new media arts and creative technology.

Try to find things that you aspire to make yourself. If you’re not finding projects that interest you, ask your professor or teaching assistant for advice. You probably just need to find the right search terms.

Where to research Looking Outwards subjects

You are encouraged to do research at our university’s library. It has books, films and other media that are not online.

If you prefer, below is a list of some prominent online feeds that present current work in new media art. This list can be used as a starting point for preparing your regular Looking Outwards reports. Highly recommended:

You may also find helpful:

How to do a Looking Outwards report

In a blog post,

  • write a paragraph (~150 words) about the project that interested you, and
  • embed relevant images and/or video documentation of the project.

In the paragraph you write, you should:

  • Explain the project in a sentence or two (what it is, how it operates, etc.);
  • Explain what inspires you about the project (i.e. what you find interesting or admirable);
  • Critique the project: describe how it might have been more effective; discuss some of the intriguing possibilities that it suggests, or opportunities that it missed; explain what you think the creator(s) got right, and how they got it right.
  • Research the project’s chain of influences. Dig up the ‘deep background’, and compare the project with related work or prior art, if appropriate. What sources inspired the creator this project? What was “their” Looking Outwards?
  • Please be sure to label your blog post with our WordPress “category”, LookingOutwards.
  • Title your blog post(s) consistently, with the title YourName-LookingOutwards-1, etc.

Part of the purpose of your Looking Outwards documentation is to increase the documentation, in the world, of noteworthy but vulnerable media artifacts. Therefore, when including video documentation of projects:

  • Embedding a YouTube or Vimeo video is great, but you should also
  • Prepare and upload an animated GIF to this WordPress.

Evaluation of your Looking Outwards Reports

Each Looking Outwards report can receive one of two marks:

  • 0 points. You did not do the report.
  • 1 point. You did the report.

Learning Outcomes of Looking Outwards Reports

After completing the sequence of Looking Outwards reports, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate familiarity with historic and/or contemporary new-media projects relevant to your specific research interests;
  • Demonstrate familiarity with new-media projects that exemplify cultural practices that use widely-used arts-engineering toolkits and/or with specific technologies.