Course Description:

Many artists and activists have turned to new technologies in an effort to create meaningful experiences that can lead towards a rethinking of dominant attitudes in society at large or effect social change. In this course we survey both direct tactical media strategies and more aesthetically based tactile strategies from Krzysztof Wodiczko to the Institute of Applied Autonomy to the Bureau of Inverse Technology and Blast Theory. Students identify critical topics for exploration from both an arts context and beyond. There are research, reading, and writing assignments during this course.

Thursday, 10:15pm - Noon


Active student participation throughout all aspects of this course will make your experience much more meaningful and is necessary for the successfully completion of the assigned work. There are reading/research assignments, weekly discussions, student presentations, and a final paper/project for this course. Students are expected to be present for all class meetings. Please email me if you must miss a class. More than 2 absences or consistent tardiness will seriously jeopardize your standing in this course.

Students will be evaluated based on the following: Participation/attitude, presentations, and final paper/project.


Each student is required to make a presentation on an artist or collective that engages in work that could be classified as tactical media. The presentation should be well researched, neatly organized, and equivalent of a five page paper. Presentations should be rich with media and/or visuals that can be found on the web, library etc. Links to pertinent websites for your presentation should be posted to the blog prior to class.

Final Paper or Project:

A) Final paper (6-8 pages). Papers should demonstrate a close reading of Critical Art Ensemble's Digital Resistance Explorations in Tactical Media and exhibit a method of critical analysis of their ideas and creative work. If you would like to write on another pertinent topic, you may propose this in writing to Robert for approval. Creative writing, memoirs, etc., are not acceptable.

B) Creative project, plus a written analysis of your project in relation to the material covered in class(2 pages). Note: no production skills will be taught in this course. Students submitting creative projects must be completely responsible for their productive output. If you would like to do a creative project, a proposal should be submitted to Robert for approval. Special one-on-one sessions will be arranged during the term for students doing creative projects.

>> I do not accept late work! <<


All students are expected to visit and contribute to the class weblog on a regular basis. In-class presentation materials should be linked to from a post on the blog. If you have a personal website, you are encouraged to locate your presentation materials there. In addition, the links page for this class is a wiki, which allows each of us to add to the page as the term progresses.

Subscribe to the Rhizome Net Art News List.

Office hours/help:

I am available for help or to discuss individual ideas, questions, or concerns via office hours and email. If you would like to schedule a time to meet with me, please check my calendar (link above) and email me an appropriate time that works with both our schedules. Please do not leave voice mail! I am also readily available via email and will regularly respond within a few hours.

Bang-Geul Han is the Digital Arts Technician and has regular help hours each week. For more information, please visit the POD website.


Required (Available at the Bennington Bookstore):
Critical Art Ensemble, Digital Resistance Explorations in Tactical Media, Autonomedia, 2001.
A course pack with additional readings will be distributed in class.

This document is a guide and will change over the term, check back often!

Session 1: February 23

Introduction to the course. What is Tactical Media?

Session 2: March 2

Lucy Lippard “Trojan Horses: Activist Art and Power,” From Art After Modernism, Rethinking Representation, 1984, Godine.

David Garcia and Geert Lovink, “The ABC of Tactical Media,” From Nettime list, 1997

Session 3, March 9

Pages 3 - 28, "Introduction" and "Electronic Civil Disobedience, Simulation, and the Public Sphere" from Digital Resistance Explorations in Tactical Media.
Peter Marshall, Excerpt from Guy Debord and the Situationists ED. Tom McDonough, 2004, MIT Press.


Critical Art Ensemble: Ryan Moran
Critical Art Ensemble: Aurora Thornhill
Session 4: March 16

Pages 31 - 62, "The Mythology of Terrorism on the Net" and "The Promissory Rhetoric of Biotechnology in the Public Sphere" from Digital Resistance Explorations in Tactical Media.
Christiane Paul, “Tactical Media, activism and hacktivism,” from Digital Art, 2003, Thames and Hudson.


Bureau of Inverse Technology: Hanny Ahearn
Natalie Jeremijenko: Lisa Dietrich
Session 5: March 23

Pages 65 - 112, "Observations on Collective Cultural Action" and "Recombinant Theater and Digital Resistance" from Digital Resistance Explorations in Tactical Media.


Ricardo Domingues (Electronic Disturbance Theater + Zapatistas): Madeline Best 
Surveillance Camera Players: Ashley Davis

Session 6: March 30

Pages 115 - 133, "Contestational Robotics" from Digital Resistance Explorations in Tactical Media.
Nato Thompson, “Trespassing Relevance,” from The Interventionist, User’s Manual for Creative Disruption of Everyday Life, 2004, MassMOCA.

Institute for Applied Autonomy and Tad Hirsch: Audrey Culp
Krzysztof Wodiczko:Adam Freed

Session 7: April 6

Pages 135 - 165, "Children as Tactical Media Participants" and "The Financial Advantages of Anti-copyright" from Digital Resistance Explorations in Tactical Media.


Yes Men: Ben Choiniere
Antonio Muntadas (The File Room): Katie Miller

Session 8: April 13

Long Weekend: No Class
Session 9: April 20

Brian Holmes “The Revenge of the Concept: Artistic Exchanges, Networked Resistance,”


Anne-Marie Schleiner, Velvet Strike etc.: Alana Rios
Josh On, They Rule: Michael Hauen

Session 10: April 27

Guest Lecture by Nato Thompson, Curator of "The Interventionist" at MassMoca.

Geert Lovink, “An Insiders Guide to Tactical Media,” from Dark Fiber, Tracking Critical Internet Culture, 2003, The MIT Press.
McKensie Wark, “Strategies for Tactical Media,”


Alex Galloway, RSG Carnivore: Ian Kowaleski + Bang Geul Han
subRosa: Caitlin Roben

Session 11: May 4

Chapter 5, "Turning Signs Into Question Marks" from Graham Meikle's, Future Active, Media Activism and the Internet, 2002, Routledge


RTMARK: Dee Goldsmith
Adbusters : Carlie Metzger
Session 12: May 11

Chapter 6, "Hack Attacks and Electronic Civil Disobedience" from Graham Meikle's, Future Active, Media Activism and the Internet, 2002, Routledge

Etoy: Josh Kovner
Mongrel: Ariel Cohen

Session 13: May 18

Nicolas Bourriaud, Excerpt from Relational Aesthetics, 1998, Presses du Réel.

U.S. Department of Art and Technology

Session 14: May 25

Last Class. Final papers/projects due.

  Robert Ransick Creating Change: The Art of Tactical Media, Spr. 2006 Bennington College
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