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Information and Syllabus

Creative Processes -- Summer '21

Time & Location: Distance Learning - June 10 - July 03
Course Syllabus Location: https://www.robertspahr.com/cpro/
Course Forums Location: https://www.robertspahr.com/forums/
Instructor: Robert Spahr

Office Hours:
T W  1:00pm - 04:00pm & by appt.
You can communicate with me during office hours by
email, telephone or Zoom video chat by appt.

Course Listings:
Topics Film Production: Creative Processes - CIN 470I 953
Media Arts Studio Seminar: Creative Processes - MCMA 543 201

Required Text:

* All readings will be available online. *


Creative processes is an interdisciplinary online course open to all students across the campus. Through a series of projects exploring sound and image, students will develop a variety of techniques such as Aleatory/Chance, Improvisation, and Problem solving. This work culminates in a final individual project. Students will keep an online blog to record their own creative process, as well as participate in written critique and discussion on the course forums. Online discussions and readings will supplement the media projects. We will be using Free/Open Source software available for Mac/Windows/Linux.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have developed a deeper understanding of their own creative process. They will have developed new methods to foster their own creative development, and applied this knowledge in critiques and to the creation of media projects.


Be sure to check back often for any updated information.

Module One - 06/10 - 06/20

Introduction to the Syllabus

Module One

Project One

Create a WordPress blog:
Each student in the class will create a WordPress blog, and use it as an online journal to record their own creative process. Create a WordPress Blog

Introduce yourself on the course forums:
Log in to the course forums following the instructions in the email you were sent. Please introduce yourself, tell us about your interests, your major, and any other information that would be relevant to the class. Remember to include the URL to your WordPress blog.

Steve Reich: Music as a Gradual Process
Tzara: How to Make a Dadaist Poem
George Brecht: Chance-Imagery
William Burroughs: The Cut Up Method

David Greilsammer - John Cage - "prepared piano", 1:12
Cut-Ups William S. Burroughs, 3:13
Pendulum Music / Steve Reich / 1968, 6:13
RiP: A Remix Manifesto, 1:26:24

Project One is assigned.
Project One is due by midnight CST, 06/19

Module One Forums:
Reflect on the readings, your own creative process, as well as the work created. How does a cut-up method, gradual process, or aleatory/chance seem to affect your intentions as an artist? What might the value be in giving up some control as the artist, and allowing the media, and chance to dictate some of the outcomes? Critically comment on at least two other students projects and forum posts.
Forum posts are due by midnight CST, 06/20

Upload all supportive material that documents your creative process from Module One. Ideas, sketches, false starts, successes, failures and thoughts about your own creative process.
Blog enties are due by midnight CST, 06/20

Module Two - 06/21 - 06/27

Module Two

Project Two

Sam Gilliam Jr: The Transformation of Nature through Nature, 1986
Agnes Martin: The Untroubled Mind, 1972
Bill Viola: Video Black - The Mortality of the Image, 1990
John Cage: Experimental Music, 1958
Shunryu Suzuki: Zen Mind Beginner's Mind - excerpts - 'Beginner's Mind' & 'Control'

Miles Davis: Improvisation, 4:50
Marcel Duchamp: The Creative Act, 1957, 7:18
Wikipedia: Sam Gilliam Jr.
Artsy: Sam Gilliam Jr.
Wikipedia: Agnes Martin
Agnes Martin | TateShots, 7:37
Wikipedia: Bill Viola
Bill Viola - An Ocean Without a Shore, 3:28
Bill Viola: Tristan's Ascension, 5:13
Bill Viola: Cameras are soul keepers, 28:09
Adam Savage's Everyday Carry (EDC), 08:04

Project Two is assigned.
Project Two is due by midnight CST, 06/26

Module Two Forums:
Post a response to at least four of your fellow students work. In your response, describe the work as if you were writing an email to someone who can not see the work themselves. Make connections with ideas from this weeks readings and artists. Begin to analyse and interpret the work. Spend time looking through the forums, and respond to at least two other threads of conversation.
Forum posts are due by midnight CST, 06/27

Reflect upon the readings and the artists we looked at in Module Two. Compare and contrast these artists ideas with your own creative practice, and your thoughts about your own art. Continue to document the work you are doing for project two.
Blog enties are due by midnight CST, 06/27

Module Three - 06/28 - 07/03

Module Three

Project Three

Paul Graham: Taste for Makers, 2002
R. Buckminster Fuller: Introduction to Expanded Cinema, 1970

Suggested Reading:
Free Online: Gene Youngblood: Expanded Cinema, 1970
Amazon: David Lynch: Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, 2007

Ephemeralization - Doing more with less - Buckminster Fuller (animated clip), 8:10
David Lynch, Big Fish Idea, 2:02
David Lynch - Meditation, Creativity, Peace, 1:10:57

Project Three is assigned.
Project Three is due by midnight CST, 07/03

Module Three Forums:
Post a response to at least four of your fellow students work. Spend time looking through the past forums, note some of the developments of the work produced. What seems the most successful? What seems to be less successful. and respond to at least two other threads of conversation.
Forum posts are due by midnight CST, 07/03

Reflect upon the readings of Module Three, and comment on their ideas with your own creative practice, and your thoughts about your own art. Continue to document the work you are doing for project three.
Blog enties are due by midnight CST, 07/03


Course Forums Location: https://www.robertspahr.com/forums/

The forums are where students will upload projects as images and text, and projects in audio or video format can be uploaded to Youtube and the links inserted into a forum post. In the forums students will provide feedback, written critique and discussion with their peers regarding the final work, and the creative process that resulted.

How to register for the course forums

WordPress Blog

Students will create an online journal hosted at wordpress.com. Each student will create a WordPress blog to document their own creative process, and include sketches, mock-ups, and alternative variations of final work. It is important that students continually add support material such as notes and sketches for each of the assignments.



A 95-100,   A- 92-95
Outstanding work.
Solution shows excellent depth of understanding and innovation. The solution has been fully developed in form and concept.

B+ 88-91,   B 85-87,   B- 82-84
Good work.
Solution exceeds all requirements and shows above average depth of understanding. Demonstrates more than adequate clarity of idea and execution.

C+ 78-81,   C 75-77,   C- 72-74
Average work.
Problem has been solved adequately, but the solution lacks depth of understanding, development and innovation.

D+ 68-71,   D 65-67,   D- 62-64
Poor work.
Solution is extremely weak and lacks understanding and innovation. Technical skills are weak.

F 61 or less
Unacceptable work.
Solution to the problem is unresolved and incomplete resulting in a failing grade.

Each Project will be graded on artistic, creative and intellectual merit.

Grades will be based on the following:

  • 20% Originality of concept
  • 20% Delivery (execution of the concept)
  • 20% Documentation / Process
  • 20% Craft
  • 20% Critique & participation

Your final grade will be determined by the following:

  • 25% Participation - Forums and Blog
  • 25% Project #1
  • 25% Project #2
  • 25% Project #3

Your are expected to participate each week by creating artwork, and adding critique and discussion to the course forums, as well as regularly documenting your own creative process on your personal blog. This includes learning to write clearly to express oneself when discussing your own and others artwork.

All assignments and projects are due at midnight Central Time on the due date. The forums will be locked to future comments on that date and time.

Late projects will not be accepted.

Web Resources:

Free / Open Source Sound Editing Software (cross-platform on Mac/Win/Linux)
Download: Audacity
Audacity Beginner Tutorial

Free / Open Source Image Editing Software (cross-platform on Mac/Win/Linux)
Download: The Gimp (GNU Image Manipulation Program)
GIMP Beginner Tutorial