ARTTECH 4136 |  Art and Technology Studies | SAIC | Fall 2010

Instructor: Julio Obelleiro jobell (at)
Schedule: Friday, 9-4 pm,
Location: 112 S MICH, room 415

This schedule is subject to modification. Make suggestions on the depth to which various material is covered if the course is moving too quickly. The schedule will be updated online as the course progresses. You will be notified of any changes in assignment due-dates.


Students dissect, expand, subvert, and critique computer games to develop new hybrids of video games, cybertext literature, and interactive art. Beyond the graphics and fast reflexes, computer games can often be considered as stories, as simulations, or as social situations. Screenings and examples in class form the basis for analysis of the language and structure of computer games and some of the ways artists use them. These interests include drawing on the iconography of video games as cultural reference points, hacking games to critique them or present new content, examining the role of online games as mediated social spaces, and exploring ways to translate traditional literary structures such as plot, motivation, pacing, and character development into interactive forms.

Readings include theorists and writers such as Eric Zimmerman, Espen Aarseth, Janet Murray, Celia Pearce others. Technical workshops present programming examples and techniques which students use to develop interactive artworks and experimental games. Students are expected to have some previous experience in interactive multimedia (3D modeling/animation tools) or some familiarity with programming. Class projects may be undertaken using whichever tools and media you prefer. Throughout the course, students will use the class blog to share resources, interests and course projects.

Projects in this class do not have to be games, and can be in any medium as long as they address the issues presented in the course.


Complete assigned readings and participate in class discussions.

Complete midterm project and final project, and participate in class critiques. Participation in the final critique is Mandatory.

Willingness to experiment and take genuine artistic/creative risks. Students are required to document their design process in a personal sketchbook that includes all sketches developed throughout the semester, shared periodically with the instructor.

All assignments must be completed  to pass the course. Assignments are only considered as completed when posted on the class blog.


Weekly Schedule: here.


Attendance is mandatory. More than 3 unexcused absences may lead to No Credit.

Being late (15m) to class two times will be considered as one unexcused absence.


Work is due at the beginning of class/critique.

Late work is not accepted (unless the student has an excused absence).

Work that is late due to an excused absence may still receive full credit.

No work is accepted after the last class meeting.


See resources section of this website.


Processing 1.++, available online at
Unity3D, available online at: (resources link)

More Software/Materials/Resources on the resources section of this website.


Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan, eds. (2006). First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game. Available at Amazon

Other readings will be distributed though the portal or the course website.


Ruth Catlow, Marc Garrett and Corrado Morgana, eds. (2010). Artists Re:thinking Games. For now only available at Amazon UK. In mid September it will be available at University of Chicago Press and Amazon.

Flanagan Mary (2009). Critical Play. The MIT Press. Available at Amazon.

Noah Wardrip-Fruit, Nick Montfort, eds. (2003) The New Media Reader. The MIT Press. Available at Amazon.


Reas, Casey & Fry, Ben (2007) Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists. London and Cambridge: The MIT Press. Available at Amazon.

Reas, Casey & Fry, Ben (2010) Getting Started with Processing. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly. . Available at Amazon.

Goldstone, Will (2009). Unity Game Development Essentials. Packt Publishing. Available at Amazon.



The Writing Center is located in MC B1-03 (the basement of 112 S. Michigan), where tutors are available to help you with any stage of the writing process. The Writing Center is open Monday through Saturday. Sign-up sheets are posted in the hall outside of the tutoring suite. If you have any questions, contact the Writing Center Coordinator, Leila Wilson, at or 312.345.3588


Students are expected to attend all classes regularly and on time. Any necessary absences should be explained to the instructor. Students who are ill should contact their faculty member or leave a message for the instructor in the department office the day they are absent. For an extended absence due to illness, contact Health Services. Notification is then sent to all instructors informing them of the student’s absence. For other extenuating circumstances contact the Academic Advising office. Please note that the written notification does not excuse a student from classes. The instructor gives students officially enrolled in a course credit only if they have responded adequately to the standards and requirements set. If the instructor does not clarify their requirements and absence policy in the course syllabus, students should ask the instructor. Also note that if a student registers late for a class (during add/drop) the instructor counts the missed classes as absences and the student is responsible for assignments given during those missed days.
From Page 123-4 of SAIC Bulletin:

SAIC is committed to equal opportunities for students with disabilities and full compliance with relevant disability laws. Students with disabilities in need of assistance or accommodations should contact SAIC’s Disability and Learning Resource Center (DLRC). Staff at the DLRC will review the student’s disability documentation and work with the student to determine reasonable accommodations. The DLRC will then provide the student with a letter outlining approved accommodations. This letter must be presented to the instructor to implement accommodations. Call 312-499-4278 or email as early in the semester as possible.

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago prohibits academic misconduct, which includes “both plagiarism and cheating, and may consist of the submission of the work of another as one’s own; unauthorized assistance on a test or assignment; submission of the same work for more than one class without the knowledge and consent of all instructors; or the failure to properly cite texts or ideas from other sources” (Students’ Rights and Responsibilities, Student Handbook:

Plagiarism is a form of intellectual theft. One can plagiarize even if one does not intend to. The penalty for plagiarizing may range from failure on the specific plagiarized assignment to failure in the class. Repeat offenses can lead to disciplinary action, which could include suspension or expulsion from the School. The Faculty Senate Student Life Subcommittee has prepared a 28-page handbook entitled Plagiarism: How to Recognize It and Avoid It. The document is available online at

The final page of the handbook has been designed as a one-page handout, When to Give Credit. It is available online in PDF format at
Library staff has also prepared a two-page synopsis of the committee’s handbook, designed as a handout for students. Avoid Plagiarism: Quick Guide, is available at