Courses by Professor Sha Xin Wei


Future Graduate:

Art and Technoscience Studies: Knowledge How and Knowledge That

In this reading course, students explore how technologies of representation and performance shape our thinking and our experience, drawing from theories of scientific knowledge to art and performance. Typically the questions: How do we know what we know? What is knowledge? can be explored from the perspectives of formal logic or biology or cognitive science. We amplify this investigation to include social and cultural fields as well. We consider how there are as many different forms of knowledge as there are ways of making knowledge.

Art and Technoscience Studies: Objects, Process, Stoffa

How are objects -- physical, psychological, linguistic, time-based media, politico-social, ethico-aesthetic objects -- constituted in material, discursive, and media processes? As a corollary, we will be concerned with the emergence of abstraction as a result of these practices. What is process and how can we articulate processes? Approaching these questions materially motivates us to treat matter and media as dynamical substances suffused with value.  What happens to art practices when we attend to process instead of objects?   In this readings class students will be asked to imagine how to use our present technologies to construct shared social objects of joint concern. What that means is part of the subject of the class as well.

Tangible and Responsive Media

This studio/readings class explores questions such as: What makes something tangible? Does causality imply tangibilty? What makes stuff material rather than “virtual”? What kinds of temporality are there? Does temporality impart tangibility? When is it better to use physical media, numerical simulations or representations? (And what’s the difference?) What makes a substance responsive, active, agentful, lifelike?  (Or is that a grammatical or categorical error?) Students are expected to have experience with physical and computational materials out of which we can construct hybrid, responsive matter, including such materials as fabric, glass, networks, clay, lattices, video. Students are also expected to have some facility for working with electronics and physical computing.  (DART 339 Second Skin and Software, CART 360 - Tangible Media and Physical Computing)


Present and Past Graduate:

SPEC 820W / SPEC 620B : Architecture of Responsive Spaces

In this reading/projects course students design environments configured of physical materials and responsive computational media as meaningful responses to our urban condition. Students will have an opportunity to work substantially on critical aspects of creating responsive installations using physical computing and realtime media synthesis. This seminar hosts critical studies accompanying the creation of installation-events in parallel studio courses.

Architecture of Responsive Spaces (2001-2004)

SIP 825 / 637: Seminar Critical Studies of Media Arts and Sciences

HUM 888 2013: Doctoral Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies I: Language, Power, Performance, and Process

HUM 888S Winter 2009: Doctoral Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies I: Critical Studies of Media Arts and Sciences: Subjectification, Process, and Performance

COMP 691X: SLOT Ph.D. Alchemy and Real-time Media: Calligraphic Video (Fall 2005)

This seminar/studio introduces phenomenological and computational approaches to real-time media synthesis based on physical simulations or other models of continuous dynamics for aesthetic and performance applications.  The course introduces, for example, lattice computation of canonical PDE's such as heat, wave, and Navier-Stokes equations.   Alchemical practice provides historical and creative context for the technical discussion.  Readings will be drawn from computer graphics and computer vision as well as performance, media arts, and the philosophy and history of early science, e.g. alchemy and chemistry.  This seminar is designed for participants with prior experience in realtime video (Max/Jitter/MSP), and computational physics, OR philosophy or history of science.  For projects, we will pair students with complementary abilities.

ASEM 652I/4: Alchemical and Topological Media (Winter 2006)

As micro-cameras, sensors, and active, luminous materials become ubiquitous, the space itself between us becomes a sensate and kinetic tissue that extends our expressive bodies.  This readings seminar explores the emergence of bodies, objects or events in fields of active matter.   Students will critically examine the technologies of performance vs. technologies of representation.  Students will also poetically explore how continuous, topological transformations could act as diffuse agencies on living matter.  The seminar introduces graduate and advanced undergraduate students to art research via computational media and experimental technologies of performance.

COMP 691X: Responsive Environments (2008-2009)

This readings/projects course concerns the design of responsive environments: spaces augmented by computational media, mechatronics, and elements of animated, architecture in the built environment that respond to inhabitant activity.  We survey technologically mediated spaces, ranging from Situationist and other early modern experiments in public spaces, and theories of everyday life (e.g. Alexander, Gins and Arakawa, Hendricks, Goffman, Geetz, Lefebvre, Bachelard). We also survey computationally augmented environments, virtual reality, augmented reality systems, human-computer interaction, ubiquitous computing, and sensor networks. Particular applications appear in movement arts, performance, architecture, and urban design.   Students will have an opportunity to create interventions in the built environment using physical computing and realtime media synthesis.


Undergraduate:

CART 370: Realtime Video

CART 411: Project Studio I

CART 412: Project Studio II

CART 414: Matter and Media (

CART 451: Interactive Multimedia: Architecture of Responsive Spaces

CART 454: Topics in Multimedia Theory: Seminar in Alchemical and Topological Media

CART 498C: Topics in Multimedia. Alchemy and Real-time Media: Calligraphic Video (Fall 2005)

COMP 471 : Computer Graphics: Realtime Video (Fall 2006)

COMP 498X: Computer Graphics: Realtime Video (Fall 2007)

DFAR 454A: Introduction to Topological Media (Winter 2005)

COMP 4XX: Society, Ethics, and Computer Science (2008-2009)


Past Graduate and Undergraduate:

LCC 2100: Introduction to Science, Technology and Culture: Knowledge That and Knowledge How

LCC 2116: Science, Technology and Postmodernism: Objects, Things and Stuff

LCC 3314: Technologies of Representation: Speech, Writing and Language

LCC 3833N: Special Topics in Issues of Science, Technology and Culture: Living Pattern

LCC 6310: The Computer As an Expressive Medium?

LCC 6318: Experimental Media: Responsive and Topological Media

LCC 6321: Architecture of Responsive Spaces

LCC 6322 / LCC 8803: Tangible Media

LCC 6650H: Project Studio, Topological Media Lab


Sha Xin Wei, Ph.D.

sha@encs.concordia.ca •
1-514-848-2424 x 5949 (art) • 1-514-757-3597 (m can) • 1-404-579-4944 (m us / eu)
Canada Research Chair, Media Arts and Sciences
Associate Professor • Fine Arts and Computer Science • Concordia University
EV06-769, 1515 Ste-Catherine West • Montréal, Québec • H3G 2W1 • CANADA


Hexagram • Active Textiles and Wearable Computers Axis • www.hexagram.org/spip/a5_en.html
Director, Topological Media Lab • topologicalmedia.concordia.ca/ • hybrid.concordia.ca/~xinwei/