- Course overview
- Course guidelines
Still from Network/Intersect (dir. Ollie Palmer, 2016)
This course immerses students in the processes and techniques of film-based visual storytelling, whilst introducing students to Oulipian-inspired constrained design processes.
Over the course of ten weeks, students make a series of short films, guided by rules that they create. Over time, both rules and films increase in length and complexity. For the initial films, students are assigned a subject matter, and have to devise a set of rules to shape the film they make. For example, students making a film about gravity might decide that the camera must always be moving downward, or swinging from a pendulum, or can only be made whilst the camera operator is falling over, etc.
The students make a series of these extremely short films both in class and in their own time, then present to, and provide feedback to their peers. This is intended to enable students not to be precious about the presentation of filmic work; the legibility of the rules used to create the films will be more important than the outcome of the films themselves. The films become a visual diary of constrained design processes. It also ensures that there is a substantial body of work (10-15 very short films per student).
Later this same process is expanded; students work in small groups to devise rules, and write, produce, and edit short films of increased length which combine multiple subjects. Students devise a set of rules which will inform every decision they make throughout the scripting, shooting, and editing process.
Throughout the course, students must document their process, present their works-in-progress, and provide feedback to peers about processes used. The course culminates in a public screening party of all films made during the course.
The course is taught via a combination of audio podcasts (which are also transcribed) as well as weekly meetings where students discuss their work and provide feedback to one another.
Anybody is able to listen to the podcasts and access course materials via this website. However, only students of the course at MIVC will have access to the weekly classes, feedback, and catch-up sessions, and be assessed on 11 December 2021.
Formal tuition is taught via podcast, which you can subscribe to via Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Pocket Casts, any other podcast provider - or listen via the embedded players on this site. There are eight weeks of podcasts, with three podcast episodes released per week. Each episode lasts up to 20 minutes, and most activities can be done in real-time whilst you are listening. During weeks 3-4 you will be learning film editing, so it may take you a little longer.
If you are enrolled in the course at MIVC, there are also weekly online meet-ups where we will critique each others’ work and discuss the exercises. You will be expected to upload work from the exercises in time for each class. It is a module requirement for MIVC students to attend at least 80% of these meet-ups.
If you’re participating from elsewhere, you are free to do exercises whenever it suits you. You could take the course in a short, intensive period, or stretch it over a year.
You are also expected to make one short film per day throughout this course. This may sound like a lot, but each film should only take you a couple of minutes to make. At the end of the course we’ll be compiling your ‘daily films’ into one body of work.
This course is performed in public. All of the exercises we’re doing are publicly accessible on this website. Over the period of this course, we will be making films and audio that we will put back into the public domain, so that anybody can use our work (with proper attribution). If for any reason you are uncomfortable with this, please contact the course tutor, Dr. Ollie Palmer.
If you are not enrolled at MIVC and would also like to contribute to the public body of work, please contact Ollie.
MIVC students, we will be using the following technologies to communicate:
- Our podcast, for all classes. You can listen to them on any we-connected device, and subscribe via the app which suits you best. Podcast episodes are also transcribed via this website, so that if you need to read rather than listen, or if you’d like to translate into another language, you can. The episodes build on each other, so listen in order! Start here.
- Zoom to speak to each other. You’ll be sent a new Zoom link each week if you are enrolled in the course.
- Miro to share and review each others’ work.
- Google Forms, to upload and store work we make. This means you’ll need a Google-enabled account to upload work (if you have Gmail, just use that address).
- This website, to share classes.
If you have any concerns or issues with any of this technology, please do contact me.
|0||27 Sep - 01 Oct||Introduction||1 x podcast||1 x class|
|1||04 Oct - 08 Oct||Rules and instructions||3 x podcasts||1 x class|
|2||11 Oct - 15 Oct||Cut-up||3 x podcasts||1 x class|
|3||18 Oct - 22 Oct||Memories||3 x podcasts||1 x class|
|-||25 Oct - 29 Oct||- MIVC break (no tuition) -||No podcasts!||-|
|4||01 Nov - 05 Nov||Translations||3 x podcasts||1 x class|
|5||08 Nov - 12 Nov||Styles||3 x podcasts||1 x class|
|6||15 Nov - 19 Nov||Combinations and constraints||3 x podcasts||No class (due to Studium Generale at MIVC)|
|7||22 Nov - 26 Nov||Combinations and constraints||2 x podcasts||1 x class|
|8||29 Nov - 03 Dec||Ordering||2 x podcasts||1 x class|
|9||06 Dec - 10 Dec||Assessment||No podcasts!||Assessment|
Podcasts are all released on Saturday mornings, so you have a whole week to listen to and work through them before the next class.
This course is designed to further your creativity and allow you to explore new ideas, techniques, and concepts.
In order to do this, we need to make sure that everybody feels able to express themselves in a safe environment. At The Master Institute of Visual Cultures we embrace an atmosphere of creativity which is enriched and enhanced by diversity along a number of dimensions, including race, ethnicity and national origins, gender and gender identity, sexuality, class and religion. We are especially committed to increasing the representation of those populations which have historically been excluded from participation in Dutch higher education.
It is critical that each class member show respect for all world-views expressed in class. If you feel that something said or done in class is troubling or has caused discomfort, please contact Ollie confidentially. If you would like to speak to someone outside of the classroom, please contact Renaat Casier, MIVC’s student counsellor. You can make an appointment by calling the Student Information Desk at +31 88 - 525 75 50. You can also find out more information about our student services at studentinfo.avans.nl/international.
If you have a name or pronoun which differs from the one we have on record, please let me know. Like many people, I am still in the process of learning about diverse perspectives and identities, and am always eager to hear from students how I can improve in this respect.
If you feel like your performance in the class is being impacted by your experiences outside of class, please speak to Ollie or student counsellor, Renaat Casier. Ollie is also available for individual tutorials on Fridays outside of class for students across MIVC.
Your work will be graded on 11th December 2021 by a panel consisting of your tutor, Ollie Palmer, and an external critic. You will be assessed on the following:
- 1 film or mixed-media presentation consisting of your ‘daily videos’
Student has produced a high quality film or mixed-media presentation demonstrating that they have:
- followed the procedure of making at least one rules-based video per day, leading to a body of work to draw from
- curated and assembled this body of work into a coherent film or mixed-media presentation which shows the breadth and variety of their videos.
The presentation will show the films in a mode which is appropriate for their subject matter, with a visual coherence and editing suitable for the content.
40% of total grades
2-3 short experimental ‘sketch’ films, made individually / in groups
You can demonstrate that you have followed rules laid out in class, or self-created rules, to create 2-3 experimental ‘sketch’ films to a high standard, with care and attention given to the genre, subject, editing, and mis-en-scene of the films.
40% of total grades
- Documentation and description of process, to be presented in graphic and verbal format. This presentation is the means by which the students’ understanding of the module’s content and their own work within it.
You are able to present a structured and logical overview of their work, and the processes, methods, and theories you have used to create their work, as well as critical reflections on your own practice. The presentation should utilise appropriate audiovisual methods (for example a Powerpoint presentation, a scripted performance, etc) to deliver its message.
20% of total grades
I am passionate about lowering barriers to education. This course is both open access and open source:
The contents of this course are open access. Please feel free to take and adapt any of the learning materials, try the exercises, start teaching your own course, etc.
Whilst the site and course are open access, there are copyrighted materials on the site. This includes students’ work, and images from relevant films, etc. Copyrighted material is clearly marked as such: please respect the original copyright holder. If you like the look of something on the site (e.g. a film, podcast, book, etc), please support its creator! :)
The creation of the podcast for this course in 2020 was supported by the Centre of Applied Research for Art, Design and Technology (Caradt).
The website this course runs on is open source; you can find the whole code-base on Github. The website is built with Jekyll, and uses a slightly modified version of Just the Docs. The site uses Manrope by Mikhail Sharanda font licence and description can be found over here. Please use, adapt, and modify the site as you see fit. More information about how it’s all put together, and how you can copy it to your own site, on GitHub.
This course is taught by Ollie Palmer - an artist, designer and film-maker whose work critically questions control systems and contemporary use of technology, and takes place across installations, films and performances. Projects often include collaborations with scientists, dancers, and other people outside of his own discipline. From 2015-16 he was Pavillon artist-in-residence at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, and his work has been shown internationally (V&A Museum, Seoul Museum of Art, Opera Garnier de Paris). He holds a PhD by Design from the Bartlett School of Architecture entitled ‘Scripted performances: designing performative architectures through digital and absurd machines’ (link), and is alumni of the Bartlett’s Interactive Architecture Lab. He has taught at the School of the Art Institute Chicago, the Bartlett School of Architecture, TU Delft Architecture, and AKV St Joost, where he is Pathway Leader on the Situated Design masters course. He is also a researcher within the Situated Art and Design research group within the Centre of Applied Research for Art, Design and Technology.
This course is designed for you! If there is anything that is unclear, anything that could be better organised, or you have any ideas you think might make the course better, please just tell me.
- Send a WhatsApp message +31 6 23 20 46 49 (this number is just for WhatsApp and teaching, but expect a quicker response than email)
- Leave a voice message for the podcast (you’ll need a free Anchor.fm account)