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04/04/2012 for

Puppet follows Dan Hurlin’s multi-year effort to tell the story of Depression-era photographer Mike Disfarmer. In this film, we see three artists at work: the filmmaker (David Soll), Hurlin and Disfarmer. Write a comment to this post focusing on one visual aspect of the film and how it supports the intention of the artist. In short, how does form help communicate the message.

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Watch “Exit Through the Gift Shop” in class. Share an observation on the film in the comment section below. What caught your eye? What can be learned by the making of this film as it relates to what you are planning to do?

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% Megan completed


% Andrew completed


% Sang completed

By next week, you should commit to a direction. Commit to either content, methodology, or a formal language (or many of these).

Present your project and your progress to the class in the form of a multimedia presentation. Your presentation should be about two minutes in length and include a title “slide” (may not necessarily come first). I suggest that you script the presentation in order to clarify your thoughts. Scripted or not, the presentation should include inspirations, existing progress, experiments or other illustrations of your thought process. The design of the presentation should also be considered as part of your message.

Because each of you is in a different place, this is not meant to take anyone backwards. Make the presentation serve you at whatever point you are in your process. If you’re making, then present what you’re making as connected to a bigger idea.

In conjunction with preparing your presentation, make a list of words that describe or inspire your project or your work in general. These words are meant to give some focus to your work and to help you keep track of what’s important to you as a maker. These can be formal or thematic words. Examples: big, opulent, bright, smart. The more specific the words, the more helpful. Keep this list handy for you to edit as the semester goes along. Be prepared to read your words at the end of your presentation.

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Read more on IMDB

Things to consider:
– How does the film come about?
– How does Varda’s working method effect the film?
– How does Varda incorporate herself into the work?

Post a comment response to the movie you watched in class. What caught your eye? What can be learned by the making of this film as it relates to what you are planning to do?

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Spend the next week doing due diligence on your topic. What work has come before you that might inform your project? How might your intended audience perceive your work in a larger sense? Culturally, socially, economically. What predictions can you make?

Seek precedents in visual art, literature and pop culture. Use the class blog to collect your research. This can be the starting point of our individual meetings next week.

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Analog photo booths in train and bus stations are all but a thing of the past. Last year at this time, Bonanza pulled its Polaroid-based system and has yet to replace it.

Photo booths take four photographs with a few seconds between each photo. Apple makes a Photo Booth application that does the same thing. I am asking you to use the application to make a set of four prints that say something about yourself or your DP project.

Do not choose any of the effects that the application provides. Use timing, composition and props to illustrate your point. Be open to the unexpected.

Insert the portrait of yourself with a new post on this site under the category Assignment 1

– Bring props.
– Work with the timing of exposures.
– Bring your own background.
– Do nothing.
– Sing a song.
– Interact with the space/camera.
– Create a narrative.

In class:
I will project each portrait. Who is the maker of the portrait? What are words that describe what we see? How can we use those words as the basis for interpretations or “readings” of the work or person. Are those readings what the maker intended or expected?

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Degree Project (3298-03), Spring 2012
Rhode Island School of Design
– – –
Design Center, Rm 801
Thursdays, 1:10PM – 6:10PM
– – –
Instructor: John Caserta, jcaserta@risd.edu
Office Hours:  Mondays, 10AM – 12PM
The Design Office, 204 Westminster St. 4th flr


“The Degree Project represents a synthesis of your work at RISD, pulling together into one creative effort the vision, skills, and abilities that have been developed over the under-
graduate experience. For this we invite you to create your own project experience for a design interest and concept, to research its critical elements, and to explore an effective visual language for its communication. Taken seriously, this important undertaking will consolidate many of the diverse design elements of the past four or five years as you set out to practice design in the professional arena. We charge you to launch a worthy project. It should be as enjoyable as it is educational.”
– Graphic Design Faculty


* to take responsibility for all phases and aspects of the project (content & form) with integrity and care
* to develop a project that naturally follows your existing body of work and timeframe
* to begin making as soon as possible


Grades from A to F will be assigned at the end:

* Attendance (3rd absence fails the course)
* Participation
* Motivation/Attitude
* Craftsmanship
* Depth of investigation
* Risk taking
* End products: success in meeting objective, both formally and conceptually
* Individual growth

Course Schedule

Although each of you is at a different stage of development with your work, let’s structure the semester as we might any three-month project.

UNIT ONE: project refinement & RESEARCH

Week 1: Syllabus, Presentations

Week 2: Review assignment, individual meetings,
Film: The Gleaners and I


Week 3: Two half groups
Film: Exit through the gift shop

Week 4: Individual meetings
Film: My Architect

Week 5: Two half groups
Film: The Puppet Film

> Spring Break

Week 6: Group and individual meetings

Week 7: Guest presentation, mid-term crit
Individualized assignments

Week 8: Group meeting, review assignments

Week 9: Individual meetings


Week 10: In-class: About “Introductions”
and Presentations

Week 11: Review “Introductions”
Week 12: Trial run of presentations.

“Introductions” due

Relevant Dates

Tue Mar 13  Portfolio Reviews, The MET at 12:45—4PM

Thu Mar 8  Senior Show Reception, Woods Gerry, 6PM – 7:30

Mar 24-31 Spring Break

May 21–25 Review week

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