The Theory of Technological Media
(József Tillmann / Miklós Peternák)
8 semesters

The objective of this course is to provide a general overview of the media which are put to artistic application and taught at the department, creating a broader context for their extended use and research. The issues in question are: images through technology, audio-visual processing, the relationship of the image and writing, photography, film, video, computer (including issues of networks, multimedia, virtual reality). Importantly, the instruction is based on a careful analysis of the current philosophical background of the issues and the stimulating demonstration of the theoretical field. This course focuses upon theoretical ramifications and the presentation of their transformation in time, while the histories of the various media are dealt with by the course "General Media History."

General list of topics (the actual courses offered in a semester are tied in to one or more of these):

" Image theory, the relationship of the image and writing, visual and acoustic transformations
" Light and theories of light, light in art and nature
" Time in the arts and in the history of ideas
" Space, matter, form and motion: composition and division
" Science and art
" Mass media: Newspapers, radio and television
" Media theory and media criticism
" Audio-visions (S. Zielinski)
" Video as an alternative
" Computers: the information revolution
" Interactivity, new communication technologies

A sample course: The theory of technological media (1993/94 I)
Lecturer: Miklós Peternák

" The status of the image
" Various types of images, the relationship of image and meaning
" What is "media?"
" The meaning of concepts and words: their use here and elsewhere
" Art and media
" The instruments of art and shifts in its functions
" From the slice to the whole: man, information and society (the timeliness of an artistic approach)
" Media theory: Marshall McLuhan
" Since when do we talk about this? The career and works of McLuhan
" Misunderstanding Media - A critique of McLuhan by B.Winston
" Chronology: story and history according to the media and vice versa: media in history and the history of media histories
" Philosophy and the media
" Why are philosophers concerned with art and media (and vice versa)?
" The artist and the theory (examples and conclusions)
" 20th-century courses: Eggeling, Moholy-Nagy, W. Vasulka, Weibel

Sample semester: the theory of technological media, 2000/01
Lecturer: J. A. Tillmann
Heidegger and the modern techno-philosophies

" Why is technology an issue?
" Why do we approach it through philosophy?
" "Science does not think " (Heidegger)
" Why is it that we try to find an answer to Heidegger's question?
" TECHNÉ in Heraclites' teaching of the logos
" Image/Writing. The history of abstraction according to Flusser
" The cult of images and the cult of books
" "Philosophers are a people of their own kind, but they speak in the name of all mankind." (Hannes Böhringer)
" Perspectives of Philosophy. Creating distance with philosophy and technology. Nietzsche and Virilio
" Anselm Kiefer: Breaking the display cases (work analysis)
Archives and museums
" The techno-cultural expansion
Kittler: gramophone, film, typewriter
" Virilio's bunker archaeology. The aesthetics and technique of war

Suggested literature in the academic year 1996/97
(Lecturer: J.A. Tillmann)

Topics for exams:
" Optical and aural transformations before the advent of photography. Perspectives, camera obscura, optical innovations, duplication and communication technologies
" The invention of photography and its effect on the arts
" Technological and scientific developments in the 20th century, with special regard to communication technologies and their impact on the arts
" The birth of film, and the archaeology of motion picture
" The art of the 1920's, with special regard for the Bauhaus
" Significant oeuvres of the 20th century (Duchamp, Malevich, Moholy-Nagy, Kassák, Beuys, Erdély etc)
" Electronic image and sound: the development and differences of digital and analogue technologies
" The emergence of video art and its relation to television
" The avant-garde in the 1960's, the meanings of the concept of media and its various applications. Intermedia and multimedia
" "Late modern perspectives" - The most significant theoretical trends of the past three decades, its authors, theories and the changing definitions of the arts
" Methods of art analysis. Possible approaches to media art
" The development and features of networks.

Compulsory readings in Hungarian

Suggested readings in Hungarian

General Media History
4 semesters

The objective of the course is to familiarize students with the history of the technological media in general and with the historical images of the individual media in particular - both from the perspective of the history of technology, social presence and possible applications, as well as in the domestic and international literature. The topics listed below will determine the scope of the actual courses to be launched in the given semesters:

" History of the image before the age of art (H. Belting) - image and its functions
" The history of writing and printing (books and newspapers)
" The perspectives of perspective, from Brunelleschi to the present (J. White, H. Damisch, M. Kemp)
" From the camera obscura to photography
" The invention of photography
" Sources and narratives of photography (Gernsheim, Scharf, Newhall, Coe, Baier, Kemp)
" The history of image projection (The laterna magica and its mutations)
" Moving pictures: time, painting and the other arts
" Film before film
" Marey, Muybridge, Eakins, Anschütz
" The invention of film
" Science and art in the 18th and 19th centuries
" The predecessors and history of telephony and telegraphy
" The history of the spread of radio and television (Tivadar Puskas and the telephone news, Brecht on radio, visions of television: Senlecque, Paiva)
" Hungarian and universal cinema history
" Film histories and film collections - what are the sources of cinema history? (Liesegang, Zglinicki, Sadoul, Rhode, Gregor-Patalas, J. Wyer, etc.)
" The history of experimental cinema
" The emergence of the "new media"
" Video from Nam June Paik to the Piazza Virtuale
" The history of avant-garde television and networks
" Cultural history of computing and the impact of the computer on cultural transformations

General Media History
Cinema History
Lecturer: Zoltán Sebők
BBS, Toldi Cinema

Sample courses:
Universal cinema history (1993/4 and 1996/97)
lecturers: György Horváth, Gábor Kövesdy.
(1st semester)
1. Lumiére, Mélies. Reality and Imagination, documents and fiction.
2. The early and classic periods of cinematic slapstick
3. From film documents to documentaries
4. Classic theories of montage in the 1920s
5. From Griffith to Stroheim
6. The Expressionistic cinema image
7. Béla Balázs and the "spirit of cinema"
8. Iván Hevessy and the aesthetics and dramaturgy of motion picture
9. Cinema moguls - the founding fathers of Hollywood
10. Orson Welles - Hollywood and the director's cuts

(2nd semester)
1. Popular myths: the western
2. The myth of America in Hollywood narratives
3. The neo-realist film narrative
4. The English "free cinema"
5. "New Waves" and the birth of the director's film in Western Europe
6. Bresson and the so-called "spiritual" style
7. Bunuel and the so-called surrealist method
8. Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, Ozu
9. Their generation: Polish cinema 1956-1965
10. Trends in the Czech New Wave
11. Cassavetes and the American independent filmmakers
12. Currents in contemporary cinema.

Screenings: plan and scope

1. American slapstick: the "sweetest child" of cinema. Generic features and depiction rules. The protagonists and worldview of slapstick. (Screening: Buster Keaton: Sherlock Junior)
2. City cinema of the 1920s. The avant-garde and the "pure visual poetry." The secret ties between film and the metropolis. (Screening: Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera)
3. Early methods of handling documentary visual material - the school that respects and uses facts (Screening: Flaherty's Nanook of the North)
4. Theories of assigning meaning I. The principle of attractive montage (Screening: Eisenstein's The Strike)
5. Theories of assigning meaning II. The principle of long shots (Screening: Welles' Citizen Kane)
6. Theories of assigning meaning III. Serial montage (Huszárik's Elégia)
7. History of Style I. Expressionistic image creation (Screening: Lang's Metropolis)
8. History of Style II. Surrealism as action and method (Screening: Bunuel's An Andalusian Dog and The Exterminating Angel)
9. History of Style III. Transcendental style (Screening: Bresson's Hasard, Balthazar
10. History of Style IV. Reduction-based methods of stylization. (Screening: Ozu's Tokyo Story)

Exam topics and compulsory readings

1. Assigning meaning in cinematography
2. History of Style I (expressionism, surrealism and "spiritual" style)
3. Genre issues, "purely" visual types of films (slapstick, city movies, problems of the documentary genre)

(Apart from the films and readings listed above, the exam will also consider the lectures)

Sample Courses:
General Media History
History of Photography

2 semesters
Lecturer: György Gadányi

" The Road to Photography
" The desire to record the image created by optics
" Daguerreotypes
" Calotypes (negative-positive processing)
" The wet collodion processing
" Interesting transitory processings
" The dry plate
" The printed photo
" Becoming an industry
" History of science photography
" Colour photography
" Instant photos - picturesque photos
" Hungarians in the technical history of photography and the Hungarian photography industry
" Lens, light, colour, perspective, angle of vision, etc.
" Cameras - theory and practice
" Special tools and processes: stereo, panorama, fish-eye, macro, infra, etc.

The historical and practical approaches are conducted simultaneously.
The knowledge of optics, chemistry and the tools, a disciplined use and command of the technology are vital for artistic freedom.

Art in the 20th century
6 semesters

The objective of the course is to enable students - most of whom use and study the media that appeared in the 20th century and which are therefore called "new" - to have an in-depth knowledge of the essence of the century's art, its novelties, significant artists, periods, trends and theories. This is why this course will provide an opportunity for a deeper understanding of a particular personality or artistic viewpoint. Lecturers will come from the ranks of significant artists, theorists or representatives of other art forms, and will be at liberty to develop the curriculum as they see fit.

Parallel Course - Test Course II.
Tamás Szentjóby

As it is vital that students familiarize themselves with the meaning of the concept of INTERMEDIA, we will subject to thorough analysis such concepts as media, monomedia, mixed media and multimedia, which will lead us to the concept of intermedia, something we often describe as "non-art art," to make it obvious that we are aesthetising non-art. Mentions of mythological, philosophical, theological, scientific, political, psychological aspects are unavoidable, but we should never make the mistake of regarding ourselves as specialist - we should always stay in that intermedia-aesthetics-experimental-research zone. This zone will undoubtedly stimulate the individual's imagination and provide greater freedom through the application of new measures. At the same time, this zone lays greater emphasis on individual participation and responsibility than the practice of conventional media did. The large quantity of intermedia works and the ones that appear in monomedia conveying a particular approach to existence (especially iconolatry and icinoclastasy) whose reproduction I have screened in the past and will screen in the future, have proven to be very inspiring for students.
The practical approach is twofold.
On the one hand, we will be encouraging individual work, on the other hand, we will be suggesting a collective scope and structure. In other words, we will assess individual work both individually and collectively, in the context of the continuity of the individual and the collective.
When realizing collective constructions - since the overwhelming majority of Fluxus works are collective and inter-medial, is seems rather evident that we should stay mostly in this field. Even though this often signals a direction towards immateriality, it also forms the circumstances and modality of personal presence, demands multiple manual skills and strengthens musicality: the Fluxus event preserves the unity of the aesthetic sphere in the individual so that it can assert itself in the non-aesthetic as well.
Learning about the concept of intermedia and applying multimedia (whose primacy in the programme is obvious) simultaneously can be realized by putting on CD-ROM the material collected about intermedia. The students will collect dictionary material, images, maps, theatre events, objects and references, and once the collection is systematized, they will turn it into a CD-ROM production of the department.

Media Histroy
4 semesters. Lecturer: János Sugár

The media history lectures aim to present an overview of the history of medialization and the civilizatory techniques of preservation and distribution that have always existed in one form or another. A further aim is to find the historical context of the tools, forms of expression and phenomena that emerged in the wake of technological development and played a part in the emergence of the information society, as well as to introduce the central topics and concepts of media theory.

In a completely medialized environment where communication equals existence, the emergence of new technological media is followed by global feedback, a totally self-reflexive social environment that is shot through with uncontrollably complex communication relations. Whatever exists will provide feedback, generate information, manipulate data-is, in other words, interactive in the broadest sense of the word. The paradigm-shift of the Enlightenment was followed by a technological boom best described by its feature of asynchronicity, the temporal shift between social reality and rhetorics, the techniques of persuasion, i.e. the effectiveness of the media. The so-called new media are not the fruit of cultural development but a result of technological progress - which means art also finds itself handling tools which do not have a past, tools that have hardly been used, their functions largely unknown, and are under constant development. Pushing beyond boundaries, the classic avant-garde tactics, is the only valid strategy here, since both developers and users want to know what all this can be used for - what as-yet-unknown needs are met by the emerging holistic unity and menacing convergence of digital communication and methods of self-expression.


1st semester:
Writing, oral tradition, early preservation techniques, book printing, duplication, the effectiveness of the media, subjective image, manipulated image, conscious vision.

2nd semester
Technical image, photography, copying, duplicating, early cinema: cinema language, history of censorship, the cult of speed, technological optimism, electricity.

3rd semester
Text, sound and image transfer, cinema, television, video, publicity, public images, television

4th semester
Cybernetics, computers, virtuality, networks, hacker ethics, hypertext, multimedia, interactivity, the body, the private sphere, code, identity and complexity.

Textbooks, readings
Own publications to be used as texts
Suggested readings