Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Spring 2021
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture, 1 laboratory per week (60 total per quarter)
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area I: Humanities
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable


A survey of experimental film from the early 20th century to the present, as well as video art from the 1960s on. Investigation and critical analysis of influential films/videos, prominent filmmakers, and technological developments. Study of the political, cultural, and artistic forces at work in the development of experimental film and video practices.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Identify and analyze the major historical developments and movements in experimental film and video.
B. Critically analyze the works of major film and video artists.
C. Identify and explain innovative techniques employed by experimental filmmakers and video artists.
D. Identify and explain the inter-relationship between experimental film/video and other art forms.

Course Content

A. Major historical developments and movements in experimental film and video.
1. Dada, Cubism, Surrealism 1920-1940
2. Russian Realism
3. Animation
4. Pre– and Post-War American Avant Garde 1930s-1950s
5. Underground film 1960s
6. Structuralist film 1960s
7. Psychedelic light shows 1960s
8. Video art pioneers 1960s-1970s
9. Reflexive performance video 1970s-1990s
10. Video installation 1980s-2000s
11. The digital present and future
a. Projection mapping
b. Dome projection
c. Generative video
B. Works of major film and video artists.
1. Hans Richter
2. Man Ray
3. László Moholy-Nagy
4. Dziga Vertov
5. Oskar Fischinger
6. Maya Deren
7. Fluxus
8. Kenneth Anger
9. Bruce Conner
10. Stan Brakhage
11. Andy Warhol
12. Yoko Ono
13. Morgan Fisher
14. Peter Kubelka
15. Joshua White
16. Nam Jun Paik
17. Steina and Woody Vasulka
18. Joan Jonas
19. Bill Viola
20. Diana Thater
21. Tony Oursler
22. Matthew Barney
C. Innovative techniques employed by experimental filmmakers and video artists.
1. Superimposition
2. Slow-motion
3. Negative reversal
4. Stop-motion animation
5. Split screen
6. Kaleidoscoping
7. Blue/green screen
8. Step-printing
D. Inter-relationship between experimental film/video and other art forms.
1. Avant garde and electro-acoustic music
2. Cubist, surrealist and abstract painting
3. Kinetic sculpture
4. Modern dance
5. Graphic design
6. Music video

Lab Content

A. Screenings of experimental films/videos on-campus or online for completion of written assignments and quizzes.
B. Feedback on tests and assignments either in person, by telephone, email or online message.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. Forum-type room with projection booth, video projection system, amplified sound system. Internet access and laptop computer patch to system. Playback equipment formats required: DVD, VHS, audio cassette.
B. Library for film research, books, scripts, videotape/DVD playback facility.
C. When taught online, access to computer with email; email address, internet browsing software and embedded video viewing. Instructor will provide feedback on tests and assignments via email, personal messaging, telephone, discussion forum or assignment comment form; class discussion may be delivered in online forums.

Method(s) of Evaluation

A. Written essays and papers on individual films, film movements, filmmakers.
B. Quizzes, midterm and final exam on readings, screenings and presentations.

Method(s) of Instruction

A. Lecture/online presentations and classroom/online discussion.
B. In-class/online viewing of films, followed by instructor-guided interpretation and analysis.
C. Group presentations of major projects followed by in-class/online discussion and evaluation.
D. Discussion and critique of assigned readings and film screenings.

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Ramey, Kathryn. Experimental Film: Break the Machine. Focal Press, 2015.
Lippit, Akira. X-Cinema: From a Theory of Experimental Film and Video. UC Press, 2012.
Rees, A.L. A History of Experimental Film and Video. 2nd ed. London: British Film Institute, 2011.
Sitney, P. Adams. Visionary Cinema. New York: New York University Press, 2002.
Kuenzli, Rudolph E. Dada and Surrealist Film. New York: Willis Locker & Owens, 1996.
Le Grice, Malcolm. Abstract Film and Beyond. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1982.
Although some texts are older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, they remain seminal in this area of study.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Critical film analysis in the form of quizzes or online discussion assignments.
B. Analytical essay that requires student to select a film and develop an argument referencing the film and the reading materials.
C. Analytical essay that requires student to conduct research on an experimental film/video of their choice in relation to form, theory, aesthetics, or social issues.


Media Production or Commercial Music