Performing the Virtual

Performing the Virtual:
Intro to Digital Cultures & Creativity II
Honors College
Design Cultures + Creativity
University of Maryland, College Park
Spring 2013  
HDCC 106
team-taught with Krista Caballero, Jason Farman, Leah Flake

In a digital culture where we are increasingly communicating through asynchronous forms, what is the value of live events? Does technology enhance or disrupt the practices of face-to-face gatherings? Why are we drawn to virtual experiences? Answers to these questions require us to examine the major themes, issues, and questions that arise between the relationship of the “virtual” and the “real.” This course will study the idea of virtuality by exploring the long history of the word’s usage, from its Latin roots to later uses in computing culture. We will trace the development of “the virtual” beginning in the 1400s (when it was understood as external forces and powers) through the 1600s (when religious communities used the word to stand in for a link between the physical world and the metaphysical world of the afterlife). Looking at our contemporary practices through this historical lens, we will see that these practices of virtuality are founded on an experience of layered reality.This team-taught course is heavily dependent on an interdisciplinary approach, coupling hands-on experimentation with a curriculum designed to focus awareness on the historical, theoretical, and cultural contexts in which digital creativity happens. Therefore, the questions and ideas raised above will be explored in tandem with creating a large-scale digital production. As a class, you will collaborate from inception to production to develop one vital component of this larger production. The outcome might range from live performance to game design but will focus on the major themes of the course.