This multidisciplinary minor explores the impact of art on science and science on art along with the synergistic overlaps between the two. Specifically, students learn how art and design can be applied in good scientific practice and how the sciences impact the materials, processes, and ultimate perceptual enjoyment of the visual arts.
Art of Science of Art
Art of Science of Art is a weekly forum in which students will be introduced to and discuss historical and current topics relating art and science with one another. Examples might include understanding human perception of the world in comparison with artistic renderings, the effects of lighting on the permanence and appearance of artwork, the creation of artists’ materials (e.g. the science of pigments), and art conservation/restoration in the physical and digital domains. This seminar provides an introductory and over-arching context for students in the Art of Science / Science of Art minor. It focuses on journal club discussions of readings selected by the students and faculty. It also includes oral presentations from students and faculty as well as visiting speakers from within and external to RIT. Students will complete oral presentations and written assignments based on the course readings and independent research.
Core Courses–Students must complete a total of four core courses with one course coming from each of the following groups
Color Science for the Visual Arts
Color has been a topic of intense interest and inquiry for thousands of years. Knowledge of color science can be an aid to visual artists and those who study the visual arts such as art historians and conservators. Topics include the building blocks of color, seeing color, producing color, displaying color, reproducing color, and conserving color.
Imaging Science Fundamentals
This course is an exploration of the fundamentals of imaging science and the imaging systems of the past, present, and future. Imaging systems studied include the human visual system, consumer and entertainment applications (e.g., traditional and digital photography, television, digital television, HDTV, and virtual reality); medical applications (e.g., X-ray, ultrasound, and MRI); business/document applications (e.g., impact and non-impact printing, scanners, printers, fax machines, and copiers) and systems used in remote sensing and astronomy (e.g., night-vision systems, ground- and satellite-based observatories). The laboratory component reinforces the principles and theories discussed in the lecture, while giving students experience with many imaging systems and exposure to the underlying scientific principles.
Introduction to Imaging and Video Systems
This course provides an introductory overview of the basic engineering and scientific principles associated with imaging systems. Topics covered include imaging physics, photographic science, human vision and perception, image capture and display technologies (both analog and digital), and digital image processing. This course is taught using both mathematical and phenomenological presentation and prepares students to proceed with more in-depth investigation of these fields in subsequent imaging science and motion picture science courses. Accompanying laboratory exercises provide hands-on experience with the presented concepts.
Drawing for Non-Majors
This class is devoted to developing basic skills in drawing. Formal art elements, mark making, observational skills, and personal expression will be stressed. Students will engage in issues of representation and abstraction through relationships of marks, lines and other graphic notations.
2D Design for Non-Majors I
Students begin a personal exploration of techniques in painting to advance their understanding, using color theory, building compositions and effective use of painting materials. Individual approaches to content range from abstraction through representational art, as students address contemporary visual arts issues.
Introduction to Film Photography
An introduction to black-and-white still photography – technical, aesthetic, conceptual – for non-photography majors. Through weekly assignments, students will become familiar with the operation of a 35mm camera body/lenses and film processing/printing, while exploring basic principles of lighting, depth of field, principles of design, blur/stop motion, accurate exposure, and tone control. Lectures will address photographic aesthetics, in addition to historical, contemporary and innovative practices. Students will engage in the language of the critique through participation in discussions of photographic shooting assignments. Students are required to provide their own 35mm camera, film and processing, and photo paper. Non-Photo majors only. **Fee: Photo fee required**
History of Western Art: Renaissance to Modern
The subject of this course is the history of western art and architecture from the Renaissance through the early 20th century. We will examine the form, style, function, and meaning of important objects and monuments of the past, and consider these in their social, historical and cultural contexts.
A chronological study will allow us to recognize when, where and by whom a given object was produced. Once these decisive factors are established, we may try to determine why the object was made, what it meant in its time, place and culture, and whose ideology it served. Since we are dealing with visual information, the primary goals of this class are to learn how to look, and how to describe and analyze what we see.
At the end of the term, students will be prepared to pursue additional courses in the discipline, for they will have gained a foundational knowledge of the object, scope and methods of art history. The knowledge obtained in this introductory course will also guide students in their own creative endeavors.
History & Theory of Exhibitions
Art exhibitions are organized around a curatorial premise, a statement that articulates an idea allowing for the selection of work included in an exhibition. This course begins with an overview of exhibition history, starting with the transformation of the Louvre into the first public art museum following the French Revolution, where art history, a discipline developed in the 19th century, was enlisted to organize exhibition. The course then examines the proliferation of types of exhibitions that accompanies modernism, up to the present, paying close attention to the curatorial premise animating the exhibitions.
This course covers perception in all of the sensory modalities (vision, hearing, taste, smell, touch). We will trace what happens to the physical stimulus as our sensory systems analyze it to produce complicated perceptions of the world around us. We will explore the fact that many complex perceptual phenomena draw upon explanations at the physiological, psychological, and cognitive levels. Topics on sensory perception in non-human animals may also be covered. This is a required course for psychology majors in the visual perception track.
Electives–Students must complete a total of three elective courses with at least one course taken from each group. At least two courses must be taken at the 300-level or higher.
Vision & Psychophysics
This course presents an overview of the organization and function of the human visual system and some of the psychophysical techniques used to study visual perception.
Fundamentals of Color Science
This course will introduce students to the field of Color Science. Students will learn about the physical sources of color, the visual mechanisms that provide our experience of color, and the descriptive systems that have been developed for relating the physical and visual properties. Through hands-on projects, students will learn practical methods for measuring, modeling, and controlling color in digital imaging systems.
Introduction to the field of behavioral neuroscience, the study of neurobiological basis of cognition and behavior. Topics include neuroanatomy and physiology, localization of function, brain injury, research methods in behavioral neuroscience, and biological basis of language, memory, emotion, conscious states, and sexual behavior, with an evolutionary perspective.
This course examines how people perceive, learn, represent, remember and use information. Contemporary theory and research are surveyed in such areas as attention, pattern and object recognition, memory, knowledge representation, language acquisition and use, reasoning, decision making, problem solving, creativity, and intelligence. Applications in artificial intelligence and human/technology interaction may also be considered.
The image remains a ubiquitous, controversial, ambiguous and deeply problematic issue in contemporary critical discourse. This course will examine recent scholarship devoted to the image and the ideological implications of the image in contemporary culture. Topics will include: the modern debate over word vs. image, the mythic origins of images, subversive, traumatic, monstrous, banned and destroyed images (idolatry and iconoclasm), the votive and effigy, the mental image, the limits of visuality, the moving and projected image, the virtual image, image fetishism, the valence of the image, semiotics and the image, as well as criteria by which to assess their success or failure (their intelligibility) and their alleged redemptive and poetic power.
Students in this course will examine the history of illuminated manuscripts, learning about the working methods of artists as well as the cultural significance of the illuminated book. Issues of production, style, function, and patronage will be introduced, and students will explore the relationships between images, texts, and readers.
Museums & The Digital Age
The digital revolution has profoundly influenced how we think about the world around us. Information once available only to experts is now accessible digitally to a much broader audience. Museums, archives, and libraries have adapted to this democratization of knowledge and decentralization of access in myriad ways. As visitors to museums—whether online or onsite—each of us is part of the creation, consumption, and reception of digital information. What does this mean for museums and for us as audiences and consumers of such information? How has the combination of digital technology and social media increased visitors’ abilities for interaction with cultural institutions, their collections, and other visitors? This course will examine the history and evolution of museum practices as they adapt to new technologies and rethink traditional museum practices. The course has no pre-requisite and is open to students of all majors.
Introduction to Archival Studies
This course introduces students to the role of archives in the construction of a society’s cultural heritage and historical identity. Archives are repositories of a culture’s original documents, both paper and electronic, and they function as a site for the construction, preservation, and dissemination of historical memory, as a source for social responsibility, and as a tool for the understanding of the cultural, social, and political forces that influence events. The course will examine the history of archives, the theory and practice that guide the work of archivists, and examine the basic components of an archival program: including acquisition and appraisal, arrangement and description, preservation and legal and ethical issues related to access to archival records. The class will also cover the transformation of the profession in the digital age, including digital preservation, the work of archival appraisal and collection building in an age of digital proliferation, and archival collection management systems.
This course introduces students to Cultural Informatics, the interdisciplinary field that examines the intersections of information technologies, information science, and cultural information centered in museums, libraries, and archives. Among the topics to be examined are: how information technologies are used in museums, libraries, and archives; how modern information systems have shaped the museum environment; the nature of convergence; the development of digital collections, digital curation, and online exhibitions; and the role and status of the information professional in the museum and cultural organizations. The course is designed around projects, case studies, and readings so that students gain hands-on experience working with information. The course has no prerequisite and is open to students of all majors.