This course is the foundation for the core curriculum in media arts at Hampshire College in Film/Video, Photography, Performance and Installation art centering on the analysis and production of visual images. Students are expected to learn to read visual images by focusing on the development of art forms and their relationship to their historical and cultural context (economic, historical, political, intellectual and artistic) from which they came. Areas explored in depth will include the beginning of photography and cinema, from the camera obscura to the Lumiere brothers; Pictorialism, Documentary, Dada, Surrealism, Russian Constructivism, Experimental and Structuralist filmmaking, Feminist Performance Art and Identity Politics. Faculty members in the media arts will present their own work as producers/artists/critics and thinkers. Students will read a variety of seminal text including: Walter Benjamin on "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction;" Susan Sontag's ""On Photography; several chapters of Eisentein's Film Form, Bazin's "What is Cinema"; Laura Mulvey's "Visual Pleassure and the Narrative Cinema" etc.