UVA // Spring 2017 // Musi4545
T & Th from 12:30 to 2 // VCCM & Wilson Hall
peterb@virginia.edu // office hours: W from 3-5 & by appointment



This is a course in audiovisual composition and time-based new media. Over the course of the semester, we will create fixed video pieces, learn interactive & real-time audiovisual techniques, and explore sculptural & networked approaches to combining sound and light. Readings and examples help to frame our discussion and short projects and workshops provide opportunities to experiment with new concepts and techniques. The final project is a 5-8 minute audiovisual piece/environment presented for the public. Experience with sound, music, animation, video editing, and/or image processing is required.


Readings: Readings and other materials are assigned and available online and due the date they are listed. You are also expected to buy Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud.

Workshops: introduction to tools and techniques. On workshop days, either bring your laptops or plan to work on one of the lab computers (bring a flash drive to save files).

Project Discussions: There is not enough in class time to discuss each project individually. Instead, everyone will watch the projects before class and be prepared with questions and thoughts for discussion. These thoughts can be specific and refer to an individual piece or broad, referring to the project and it’s constraints more generally.

Topic Discussions: Reading and other materials on a specific historical or theoretical topic. Read before class and write a paragraph or two in response to the discussion materials. Feel free to bring up technical questions too.

Visiting Artist Talks: There will be 2 visiting artists over the course of the semester. No prep is required, but you are expected to be present and active in any discussion that emerges.

Work Days: Towards the end of the semester there will be more work days. These are open sessions to work on your final projects. Bring in technical/conceptual questions, rough sketches, share working methods, etc.


Navigate a history of audiovisual practices through readings, listenings, screenings, and online media.

Make a series of pieces that explore a range of technical and conceptual approaches.

Develop your technical understanding of sound & light and the tools used to capture and process them.

Take risks. Try new ways of making and new artistic identities.


The grading in this course is additive. You start at 0 and receive points for doing things. It is possible to earn 112 points. You are in control of how many points you receive. The only way to lose points is by not coming to class. Attendance is mandatory and each unexcused absence beyond 1 results in a 5 point deduction.

Completed Project – 8 points per project (5 x 8 = 40 possible points) Projects successfully completed and uploaded on time are worth 8 points. Incomplete and late projects receive 4 points for up to two weeks. So for each project you get 8, 4, or 0 points.

Participation – 3 point per week (3 x 14 = 42 points total) Engage with all assigned materials prior to class and prepare 2 thoughts for discussion. All or nothing each week.

Final Project – Piece (20 points) and short paper (10 points) = (30 points total) Your final project is a 5-8 minute piece that shows both significant effort and individual development over the semester.

112 Possible Points Total | > 100 = A+, 95-99 = A, 90-95 = A-, 85-89 = B, 80-85 = B-, 70-79 = C, < 70 = no credit


Responsibilities / Policies

What will we expect of each other?

Honor Code: I expect you to follow the Honor Code. Production courses often call into question traditional notions of fair use, copyright, and plagiarism. If you have questions about a specific project, talk with me during office hours.

Communication: I will make every effort to reply to emails within 24 hours. If I don’t reply within 24 hours, please email me again.

Violence Prevention:  I am committed to reducing incidents of violence, harassment, bias, and hazing at UVA and in the broader community. We also believe that every person can play a part in reducing these incidents. If you are interested in becoming a more active bystander ask Peter or Katie about the Green Dot program and other organized prevention efforts underway at UVA.

Just Report It: If you would like to make a report of bias, hazing, or sexual/gender-based harassment or violence, either anonymously or in your own name, you can do so through the university’s Just Report It website: https://advocate.admin.virginia.edu/public_report/index.php/pid606829?

Circumstances: Let me know if you have a disability or another condition that might require modification to these course procedures and exercises. For information visit http://www.virginia.edu/studenthealth/sdac/sdac.html

Resources: If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual/gender-based violence or harassment, information on reporting options and resources can be found here:www.virginia.edu/sexualviolence.

Resources for people who have experienced bias related to age, color, disability, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, or family medical information can be found here: http://www.virginia.edu/justreportit/bias/student-support/

Resources for people who have experienced hazing can be found here: http://www.virginia.edu/justreportit/hazing/


Expect that the syllabus and schedule will change as we move through the semester.