Transdisciplinary New Media

Master of Arts /
Master of Fine Arts
in Transdisciplinary New Media

Production of new media is no longer the province of individual artists or designers working by themselves, but rather involves the collaborative practice of multidisciplinary teams.

Designed for those who are interested in exploring the wide-ranging creative field of New Media that goes beyond traditionally defined art and design disciplines, this program employs methods of transdisciplinary practice through collaborative teamwork. Through a shared creative process, students will re-frame their current understanding of different tools, technologies, theories and methods, developing hybrid systems and solutions that go beyond any one discipline.

At PCA, students can complete either a Masters of Art (MA) or a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in Transdisciplinary New Media. The first two semesters (fall and spring) of these programs follow a common curriculum. Then, students either go on to complete a full-time summer term to receive the MA degree or continue for two semesters of study in the following academic year (fall and spring) to receive the MFA.

Graduates of both the MA and MFA will go on to apply their skills to collaborative projects in domains as varied as online and traditional publishing, video games, art installations, exhibitions, live performances, web design, interaction/interface design, software development, service design, etc. As well, the MFA, which is considered a terminal degree in this field, will open the doors to teaching opportunities in higher education for our graduates.

The program is open to any applicant who has successfully completed an undergraduate degree (BFA, BA, BSc, BID, BArch, etc.). To encourage this transdisciplinary approach, candidates from varied backgrounds-including art, design, programming, business, literature, philosophy, science, music and theory-are actively encouraged to apply. Because we want to encourage students with varied skill sets and perspectives some students may be required to take preparatory summer undergraduate courses or pre-requisites: applicants without a BFA are required to have at least two semesters of Art or Design History; applicants with non-technical backgrounds will be required to attend a summer or on-line course prior to enrollment to shore up skills that may otherwise be lacking ( Video, Web (HTML, CSS, PHP), and Processing).

Faculty

Frederique KRUPA

Frédérique Krupa

Chair, Transdisciplinary New Media
Klaus Fruchtnis

Klaus Fruchtnis

Associate Dean for Graduate Studies & Chair of Photography

MA Curriculum

Credits

One-year program

fall

Core Studio 1

Code
MTNM 0501
Description

Introductory phase: students draw upon their previous knowledge and experience to contribute to the collaborative process. Projects are set to test preconceived ideas and the limits of students understanding.

Core Lab 1

Code
MTNM 0502
Description

Introductory phase: students master the relatively familiar tools and techniques such as digital photography, editing and lighting, video and film production/post production, web design and sound design. Projects illustrate the standard workflow, are set to test preconceived ideas and the limits of students’ skills.

Core Seminar 1

Code
MTNM 0500
Description

Research and Methodology is a wide field that involves an inter- and multi-disciplinary approach. In this course, students will be introduced to the basic tenets of research in order to support their reasoning with respect to the design process. Foremost, they will learn to formulate a design research problematic; engage in data gathering and analysis; differentiate between primary and secondary research sources; carry out quantitative and qualitative research. Students will be introduced to the basic tenets of design research and methodology supporting data gathering and analysis with respect to quantitative and qualitative research in a design context.

Masters Electives

Description

You may select electives from the course offerings below.

spring

Core Studio 2

Code
MTNM 0504
Description

Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Practice and Technology

Core studio encourages a questioning collaborative practice. Students are expected to rethink their experience/practice by working through projects designed to test definitions and boundaries between disciplines. New forms of working and thinking will be developed through a consideration of ‘technology’ in its widest sense, from digital-screen-based work to experiential and auditory proposals. Through a shared creative process students will challenge their understanding of different tools and methods, developing hybrid systems and solutions that go beyond any one discipline. Students will engage in critical reflection of their relationship to the group, contextualizing their experience through theories of the collaborative role and situating their emerging practice in relationship to the professional world. Master classes with practitioners who explore the possibilities of multi-media practice will provide students direct access to knowledge and hands-on experience of the most current and challenging ideas.

Master Classes as a Component of the Core Studio

Each semester, a selection of master classes are proposed to bring highly accomplished professionals into the classroom within the framework of the Core Studio course (for the MFA program). For one intensive week, all graduate level students (MFA and MBA/MA) will engage in this period of cross-departmental collaborative workshops that allow for professional networking and varied perspectives on the art and design world today. Master class faculty, enrollment limits, schedules and projects vary. Participation in the Master Class is required, as it is an integral component of the Core Studio course.

Core Lab 2

Code
MTNM 0505
Description

Core Lab classes focus on achieving core competency in a wide variety of new media technologies. Closely linked to the Core Studio, students are expected to put into practice the theories and methodologies presented in other Core classes, but the focus is on developing technical skills and a thorough understanding the working processes of each specialization. Technology is defined in the widest sense possible – not just screen-based, digital technology, but also mechanical, chemical, auditory, experiential, etc. – since the hybridization of “low tech” and “high tech” often produce powerful emotional experiences – familiar yet awe-inspiring at the same time.

Each Core Lab class builds on its predecessor, so that over 3 semesters, students have had an opportunity to be introduced to a wide variety of tools and techniques. Every student attempts every technique, not just to appreciate the difficulties of mastering a technology, but to understand the core knowledge that a collaborative expert can bring to the table. Students with high competency in a topic will co-teach that segment, introducing them to the world of education, increasing their understanding of their collaborative contribution/potential, and improving their communication skills.

Core Seminar 2

Code
MTNM 0503
Description

This course focuses in depth on various research methods currently used to inform the design process. It builds on knowledge and skills acquired in the first semester to introduce students to specific research methods for designers. The course will cover research in physical human factors; cognitive human factors; cultural human factors; and ethnographic fieldwork. Students will learn how to apply these methods to the design process through hands-on projects requiring a multidisciplinary approach.

Professional Practice Workshop Series

Description

Professionals from the Parisian art and design world will come in to introduce students to their professional practice and engage them in practical exercises preparing them for the job market. Instructors will be drawn from a broad range of fields: photographers and videographers; designer and architects; galleries, museums, auction houses and private collections; art fairs and international exhibitions; art dealers; curators; historians; journalists and iconographers; artists; magazine editors; I.P. and licensing lawyers, etc.

 

Masters Electives

Description

You may select electives from the course offerings below.

Overall Credits Total
30

MFA Curriculum

Credits

Year One

fall

Core Studio 1

Code
MTNM 0501
Description

Introductory phase: students draw upon their previous knowledge and experience to contribute to the collaborative process. Projects are set to test preconceived ideas and the limits of students understanding.

Core Lab 1

Code
MTNM 0502
Description

Introductory phase: students master the relatively familiar tools and techniques such as digital photography, editing and lighting, video and film production/post production, web design and sound design. Projects illustrate the standard workflow, are set to test preconceived ideas and the limits of students’ skills.

Core Seminar 1

Code
MTNM 0500
Description

Research and Methodology is a wide field that involves an inter- and multi-disciplinary approach. In this course, students will be introduced to the basic tenets of research in order to support their reasoning with respect to the design process. Foremost, they will learn to formulate a design research problematic; engage in data gathering and analysis; differentiate between primary and secondary research sources; carry out quantitative and qualitative research. Students will be introduced to the basic tenets of design research and methodology supporting data gathering and analysis with respect to quantitative and qualitative research in a design context.

Masters Electives

Description

You may select electives from the course offerings below.

spring

Core Studio 2

Code
MTNM 0504
Description

Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Practice and Technology

Core studio encourages a questioning collaborative practice. Students are expected to rethink their experience/practice by working through projects designed to test definitions and boundaries between disciplines. New forms of working and thinking will be developed through a consideration of ‘technology’ in its widest sense, from digital-screen-based work to experiential and auditory proposals. Through a shared creative process students will challenge their understanding of different tools and methods, developing hybrid systems and solutions that go beyond any one discipline. Students will engage in critical reflection of their relationship to the group, contextualizing their experience through theories of the collaborative role and situating their emerging practice in relationship to the professional world. Master classes with practitioners who explore the possibilities of multi-media practice will provide students direct access to knowledge and hands-on experience of the most current and challenging ideas.

Master Classes as a Component of the Core Studio

Each semester, a selection of master classes are proposed to bring highly accomplished professionals into the classroom within the framework of the Core Studio course (for the MFA program). For one intensive week, all graduate level students (MFA and MBA/MA) will engage in this period of cross-departmental collaborative workshops that allow for professional networking and varied perspectives on the art and design world today. Master class faculty, enrollment limits, schedules and projects vary. Participation in the Master Class is required, as it is an integral component of the Core Studio course.

Core Lab 2

Code
MTNM 0505
Description

Core Lab classes focus on achieving core competency in a wide variety of new media technologies. Closely linked to the Core Studio, students are expected to put into practice the theories and methodologies presented in other Core classes, but the focus is on developing technical skills and a thorough understanding the working processes of each specialization. Technology is defined in the widest sense possible – not just screen-based, digital technology, but also mechanical, chemical, auditory, experiential, etc. – since the hybridization of “low tech” and “high tech” often produce powerful emotional experiences – familiar yet awe-inspiring at the same time.

Each Core Lab class builds on its predecessor, so that over 3 semesters, students have had an opportunity to be introduced to a wide variety of tools and techniques. Every student attempts every technique, not just to appreciate the difficulties of mastering a technology, but to understand the core knowledge that a collaborative expert can bring to the table. Students with high competency in a topic will co-teach that segment, introducing them to the world of education, increasing their understanding of their collaborative contribution/potential, and improving their communication skills.

Core Seminar 2

Code
MTNM 0503
Description

This course focuses in depth on various research methods currently used to inform the design process. It builds on knowledge and skills acquired in the first semester to introduce students to specific research methods for designers. The course will cover research in physical human factors; cognitive human factors; cultural human factors; and ethnographic fieldwork. Students will learn how to apply these methods to the design process through hands-on projects requiring a multidisciplinary approach.

Professional Practice Workshop Series

Description

Professionals from the Parisian art and design world will come in to introduce students to their professional practice and engage them in practical exercises preparing them for the job market. Instructors will be drawn from a broad range of fields: photographers and videographers; designer and architects; galleries, museums, auction houses and private collections; art fairs and international exhibitions; art dealers; curators; historians; journalists and iconographers; artists; magazine editors; I.P. and licensing lawyers, etc.

 

Masters Electives

Description

You may select electives from the course offerings below.

Year Two

fall

Core Seminar 3

Code
MTNM 0506
Description

Advanced research and methodology requires an appreciation of designers’ use of intuition, bricolage (tinkering) and improvisation. Building on the knowledge acquired during the first year, students will progress from ambiguity to uncertainty to explicit knowledge by applying the specific methods learned in previous courses. Empathy, inspiration, alternative data approaches will be explored as additional knowledge informing the transition from abstract to concrete ways of knowing in the design process.

Core Lab 3

Code
MTNM 0508
Description

Advanced phase: students are introduced to iterative design processes, pervasive application programming, clusters and peripherals.

Core Studio 3

Code
MTNM 0507
Description

Projects at this stage will be designed and realized independently by the group with an advanced level of understanding and ambition.

Masters Electives 3

Description

You may select electives from the course offerings below.

spring

MFA Degree Project and Research Seminar 4 – Thesis

Description

Building on the research, critical thinking and writing skills developed in the first three semesters of the seminar, in the final semester, each student will be responsible for the production of a 40 to 60 page thesis paper and corresponding body of work, culminating in a public exhibition or conference. For their final paper, each student will be responsible for identifying an urgent, critical or current problematic, that may stand independently of the student’s studio practice. Rigorously researched and constructed, this paper will provide the platform for ongoing lines of investigation. Students should be versed in the critical voices and issues surrounding their own practice and develop the communication and research skills necessary to assert their own critical voice in regards to their evolving practice. Faculty and guest lectures will guide each student to a reading list appropriate to their research and final exhibition. For their final exhibition, the students will focus on creating a body of work and build a portfolio based on their artistic research, documenting process and their different projects. This is done under the guidance and support of an internal and external thesis committee.

Overall Credits Total
60

Frequently Asked Questions

How is this program cutting edge in contrast to other MA/MFA programs?

“Cutting edge” technology for its own sake isn’t enough anymore; it’s what you do with it that counts. Technology has to focus on benefiting its stakeholders. What makes this program different is that the creative process taught here focuses on collaborative creativity and is very different from programs that exalt the individual artist/designer. Collaborative creativity is much more important now than driving one single vision forward and cajoling/paying people to execute it for you. That’s a very 20th century way of looking at artists and designers. The 21st century is about systems. Their complexity requires teams of creative people with different talents who can bring their ideas and work together. You have to be open to the possibility that others may have better ideas than you, and that’s not easy when students have been fed four years of manifesting certainty in their skill, talent and vision in traditional art and design programs.

What is the range of disciplines from which the students will be pooled?

We seek to have highly a highly diverse student group. Candidates from backgrounds including art, design, architecture, engineering, humanities, business, science and music are all encouraged to apply.

How do you know if the program is right for you?

This program is for students who want MORE than the field that they studied or work in. This program is right for you if you are looking to stretch beyond your discipline, using transdisciplinary approaches to push or blur the boundaries. For example, we are looking for:

  • Fashion students who want to work on wearable technology or smart fabrics
  • Historians and writers who want to make better narratives for video games
  • Architects and urbanists that want to implement systems on an urban scale
  • Sociologists who want to design for social change
  • Programmers and engineers who want to develop their creativity and apply their skills in creative projects
  • Philosophy majors who want to address issues through group action
  • Business/Management students who want to work in technology

What are the prerequisites?

Applicants without a BFA are required to have at least two semesters of Art or Design History; applicants with non-technical backgrounds will be required to attend an undergraduate Digital Crash Course; and certain elective courses may be made mandatory to shore up skills that may otherwise be lacking. The PCA Digital Crash Course includes: Video, Web (HTML, CSS, PHP), and Processing.

What kind of projects have the students worked on?

Students work on projects with open-ended themes, so that they can direct them with areas of previous interests. They can take the work in an artistic direction or in a design project. MA Degree and MFA Thesis projects are self-directed though. This year students worked on a #LowTech project show at the Saatchi Gallery in London this past January, and they worked on projects of the body as terrain, the body in space and the hosted body. This semester, they are focusing on physical interfaces beyond the screen and immaterial materials like sound, light and open data. The Transdisciplinary New Media department also hosted a 24 hour workshop with the Gaité Lyrique to create a music video for the upcoming French lo-fi band RequinChagrin, and the videos will be premiered at the Gaité Lyrique for 2 weeks in late May as part of the Ateliers Partagés Festival.

Are there other graduate students at PCA?

PCA is starting 4 new Masters programs next year in Fashion, Fashion Photography, Accessories and Interior Design ? which increase the students’ transdisciplinary opportunities. Studio electives are a great opportunity to explore another discipline with other masters’ students. PCA also collaborates with Toulouse Business School in offering English language MSc degrees in marketing and communication specializing in the fashion and luxury industries. These programs draw student from around the world to the PCA campus.

What are the advantages of studying in Paris?

Paris is a great place for new media, between the game and software industries and digital art venues like Gaité Lyrique and Palais de Tokyo. While people may work remotely, face-to-face interactions help solidify links between people, so having direct access to Parisian networks is equally important for the graduates’ future practice. Paris attracts international talent, and you will need to go out to these venues regularly, participate in calls for projects and socialize. It is important to nurture your network.

What are concrete design problems or projects students can expect to complete?

We focus on social design projects that have a humanitarian/humanist edge to them. Past examples include:

  • Collaboration with a faculty from the Yale School of Medicine Child Study Center for the development of a digital reading tutor for autistic children
  • Collaboration with an NGO for improving school attendance and completion for girls in the slums of Nairobi by designing new solutions to feminine hygiene (washable menstrual pads)
    Addressing gender stereotype through video games for young children
  • Creative solutions concerning first-world e-waste sent to third world countries for “recycling”
    The project could also be to implement an installation for Paris Nuit Blanche or Designers Week, or to respond to a professional commission. It may not be purely digital and can encompass physical artifacts as well.
 
Masters in Transdisciplinary New Media

Masters in Transdisciplinary New Media