IMA Number: IMA 780.09 | 3 credits

Professor: Scott Kiernan, scott@esptv.com, 732.552.7199

This class meets THURS 6-9pm in HN 436 TV STUDIO


Class website: www.superstationtv.com

You will find the syllabus, readings, and many links to clips, articles etc. for reference and expanding upon our class discussions. The site will be updated throughout the semester with new material so please visit weekly.


Course Description:

This course will challenge traditional ideas of the television studio by placing the “control room” front and center as a locus of performance.  Citing examples both past and present in media and contemporary art, expanded cinema, pirate television and more; we will examine artists’ appropriation of, and interventions in, television and broadcast media.  By building on, and then breaking the rules of live television production; our intensive use of the TV studio will dig deeper into experimental and tactile practices such as the design and use of our own signal processing system. We will study unconventional uses of the vocabulary and distribution models of television and apply these to independent projects in which we work as each others crew. Course work will culminate in a class “mix tape” to be aired on Manhattan public television and online.



Grading will be based on participation and personal projects.

Participation for our purposes is defined as: contribution to class discussions and critique, sharing skills and taking an active role in all crew capacities. Student completes assigned readings and can discuss or ask questions about the material. Noticeable effort is made to understand basic concepts and functions of the studio, and key concepts in readings and discussions.


Personal Projects:

Personal projects will be evaluated through in-class critique, according to the following criteria:


·       Commitment. How much thought was put into the planning and conceptualization of the work?

·       How does the work use the studio and crew resources effectively?

·       How does this work address its precedents and where is it trying to go that is new? What is its critical function? Does it challenge any pre-established aesthetic boundaries?

·       How do you speak about the work and how does the work speak for itself?

·       What is at risk? What boundaries are being pushed?

Personal Projects should take risks, while addressing the studio site-specifically and as an instrument. Pre-recorded and live material may be combined at will, and we will act as each other’s crews as needed.


Some aspect of the project should transpire live, in-studio, in some capacity.

What this means however, is up to you to decide. If you choose to reject or subvert the shared production language of the studio, you should be able to effectively argue for its conceptual function in your work.


Hunter College Policy on Class Participation:

By enrolling in this course and entering the classroom, each student makes the tacit commitment to participate in the class. Active class participation involves more than mere physical presence. Students are expected to be actively involved in the class. They should take the initiative in discussion and projects, ask relevant questions, and contribute to the over-all learning environment of the class.


It is your responsibility:

1.    To prepare for class by having read assignments, written papers and/or prepared projects;

2.    To actively participate in class discussion and activities;

3.    To take notes on discussions, presentations, and activities conducted within the class;

4.    To complete all course assignments, even if you are absent from a class meeting. 


Keeping in mind the above, attendance is no longer directly counted towards your grade. However, our classwork will require a large degree of cooperation as each other’s crew. Out of respect for each other, please keep absences to only what is necessary and notify the class as well in advance as possible. Things obviously come up; but if we’re prepared to be short a crew member we can make other arrangements!

Hunter College Policy on Sexual Misconduct:

In compliance with the CUNY Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Hunter College reaffirms the prohibition of any sexual misconduct, which includes sexual violence, sexual harassment, and gender-based harassment retaliation against students, employees, or visitors, as well as certain intimate relationships. Students who have experienced any form of sexual violence on or off campus (including CUNY-sponsored trips and events) are entitled to the rights outlined in the Bill of Rights for Hunter College. Sexual Violence: Students are strongly encouraged to immediately report the incident by calling 911, contacting NYPD Special Victims Division Hotline (646-610-7272) or their local police precinct, or contacting the College's Public Safety Office (212-772-4444).

All Other Forms of Sexual Misconduct: Students are also encouraged to contact the College's Title IX Campus Coordinator, Dean John Rose (jtrose@hunter.cuny.edu or 212-650-3262) or Colleen Barry (colleen.barry@hunter.cuny.edu or 212-772-4534) and seek complimentary services through the Counseling and Wellness Services Office, Hunter East 1123. CUNY Policy on Sexual Misconduct Link: 

http://www.cuny.edu/about/administration/offices/la/Policy-on-Sexual- Misconduct-12-1-14-with-links.pdf 


We are going to do our best to stick to this schedule! Things may shift on occasion if we find ourselves particularly interested in one train of thought or way of working… However, time slots for Personal Projects will need to remain as rigid as possible to allow everyone equal time. Please carefully consider your schedule as we plan these days out together.

WEEK 1: Aug 30

Introductions and Inspirations

1. Introductions, run-through course syllabus and assigned readings

2. Television vs. “Televisual”

  • Pervasive tropes of the televisual
  • Visual language of television vs. cinema vs. immersive media and their intersections

Historical and Contemporary examples of experimental conceptions of televisual art

  • Michael Asher: Via Los Angeles
  • Robert Ashley: Perfect Lives
  • General Idea: Test Tube
  • Ann Magnuson & Tom Rubnitz: Made for TV
  • Jaime Davidovich: The Live! Show
  • Jacqueline Humbert & David Rosenboom: Daytime Viewing
  • Stan Douglas
  • Michael Smith
  • Peter D’Agostino
  • Doug Davis
  • E.S.P. TV: WorkYou Don’t Say Much, Do You?
  • Auto Italia South East: Double Dip Concession
  • Jennifer Juniper Stratford

3. Small-scale/People’s broadcasting and de-centralization of the studio concept

Pirate Broadcasting and public access television

  • Videofreex/Lanesville TV
  • TV Party
  • Keith Sonnier/Liza Bear, “Send/Receive”
  • Naftazteca TV
  • Paper Tiger TV
  • Live-streaming platforms vs. Livepeer models
  • Possibilities inside of virtual and immersive spaces. Who/what is the camera?


Readings for next week:

Michael Asher, Via Los Angeles, January 19, 1976, KGW-TV

Connolly, Maeve; TV Museum, Introduction


WEEK 2: Sept. 6

Basic Training Pt. 1

A hands-on introduction to the TV Studio and its equipment including cameras, lighting, switcher operation, audio, media players

Readings for next week:

Glossary of Production Terms, Director Cues

Connolly, Maeve, TV Museum; Chapter 1

Also: Bring personal video material for use in next class. This can be something you shot or a piece of found video that you wish to use for tutorial on the board and video routing system.


WEEK 3: Sept. 13

Basic Training Pt. 2 / Storyboarding and Shot Lists

-Continued introduction to the studio equipment including microphones, headsets and monitoring.  Further switcher introduction with hands-on incorporation of personal video projects/clips. 

-Review of Control Room and further work on the Switcher


Connolly, Maeve; TV Museum, Chapter 2: “Quality Television and Contemporary Art: Soaps, Sitcoms and Symbolic Value


Readings for next week:

See Website: Storyboarding, Scripted shoots, Blocking for Live Studio Shoots, Types of Shots


WEEK 4: Sept. 20

Experiments in Image Processing Pt. 2

Discussion of Expanded Cinema and Experimental Video Art Practices involving direct signal manipulation

  • Stan VanderBeek
  • Scott Bartlett
  • Nam June Paik and Shuya Abe
  • Peter Campus
  • Malcolm LeGrice
  • Steina and Woody Vasulka
  • Sabrina Ratte
  • E.S.P. LAB / Scott Kiernan & Victoria Keddie
  • Benton Bainbrdge

Basics of Video Synthesis and hybrid imaging systems

Many of the tools we will be using for this are not located at Hunter full-time. I will be bringing them into class for our use whenever possible from this date on to the end of class. This is a dense area of hands on learning that will inspire some more than others. For those who would like extended use of this equipment outside of regular class meetings we will attempt to setup lab hours, schedule permitting.

  • Brief review of historical tools: Paik-Abe, Stephen Beck Video Synthesizer, Chromaton, Fairlight CVI, Rutt-Etra
  • Current video synthesis tools and hybridization with digital media

Demonstration of alternative signal processing methods

  • Connection and design of modular signal routing systems
  • Basic Video synthesis component blocks
  • Waveform Types
  • Hands on demonstration of LZX video system in tandem with studio keyers, outboard DVE (Digital Video Effects) processors, feedback manipulation and scaling
  • Re-integration of analog processing into a digital capture environment


-Assign Dates and Crews for Personal Projects

For Next Week

Continue developing Personal Projects


WEEK 5: Sept 27

Live Taping Scenario 1

-We will test what we’ve learned in a live taping scenario to produce a live program for television. A visiting performing artist will be taped live in the studio and we will rotate between the positions of Technical Director, Cameras, Sound Engineers, CG/Pre-Roll/Tape Operators and Floor Manager. We will run through multiple short takes, rotating roles in the studio.


WEEK 6: Oct. 4

Live Taping Scenario 2

-We will test what we’ve learned in a live taping scenario to produce a live program for television. A visiting performing artist will be taped live in the studio and we will rotate between the positions of Technical Director, Cameras, Sound Engineers, CG/Pre-Roll/Tape Operators and Floor Manager. We will run through multiple short takes, rotating roles in the studio.

You must work as a different studio position than the week before (9/27)

For Next Week

Provide a basic storyboard, script (if applicable) and camera blocking chart for your Personal Project. These will be reviewed through one-on one meeting in class 10/18


WEEK 7: Oct. 11  NO CLASS

Read: Connolly, Maeve; TV Museum, Chapter 7: ”Production on Display" Television, Labour and Contemporary Art

Prepare Personal Projects for discussion next week.

Open Lab for those who want to practice on studio equipment.


WEEK 8: Oct. 18

In-Class Lab/ Advising on Personal Projects and Advising

By this class your Personal Project script, storyboarding, shot lists and blocking should be fairly developed. We will devote this class to further development of these projects with one-on-one advisement. By the end of the class, our full schedule for Personal Projects will be finalized including crew and needed equipment for each shoot.

This class time may also be used as a lab for preparing any footage you will be using for your production as playback material.


WEEK 9: Oct. 25

Personal Projects #1

Over the remaining sessions, each class (except the final meeting) will be devoted to producing two live pieces in the studio, as directed by one of your classmates. These dates will be assigned by a discussion in class and signup sheet. Crew will rotate for each project, everyone will have at least one half of a class (or approx. 1.5 hrs including setup) to produce their piece to be added to the class mixtape at the end of the semester.  


WEEK 10: Nov. 1  NO CLASS

Open Lab for those who want to practice on studio equipment or prepare pre-recorded material for their projects.


WEEK 11: Nov 8

Personal Projects #2


WEEK 11: Nov 15

Personal Projects #3


WEEK 12: Nov 22

NO CLASS: Hunter College Holiday


WEEK 13: Nov 29

Personal Projects #4


WEEK 14: Dec 6

Personal Projects #5 (as needed)


WEEK 15: Dec 13

Personal Projects #6 (as needed)


WEEK 16: Dec 20

Final Class

-Assemble Personal Projects Mix Tape

-Course Review and Discussion