Multimedia and Interactive Communication for Art: Italian Case Studies

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Course Information
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Language of instruction: 
Contact Hours: 


Additional student cost: 



Milan, the Italian capital of contemporary creativity, will be explored as a privileged observatoire for cutting-edge multimedia and interactive communication practices for art and as a unique opportunity for students to be part of this vivid environment. Students will be enabled to develop a wide knowledge of multimedia tools and to analyze how classic media (such as printed ones) and new media (such as the Internet, social networks, apps for smartphones, augmented reality, etc.) play different roles in communicating art and in building a new relationship between art and viewer.

Students will be challenged to reflect on how this heritage can interact with contemporary perspectives of growing de-materialization imposed by new media. Some of the most interesting and recent proposals in Italy (MACRO – Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Roma and Gallerie d'Italia in Milan and Vicenza, among others), will be considered as case studies, which will underline the Italian specificity of such contexts and projects. Field studies and guest speakers will provide a deeper understanding and a wider professional perspective of current developments in the field.

Multimedia and interactive practices will be analyzed not only in relationship to art and design, but also in their connections to other fields such as fashion, music, theatre, and cinema. In the second half of the course, students will develop their own individual projects of possible interactive and multimedia experiences for art, and the course will culminate in a public presentation of their works, which will take place in IES Abroad at the end of the semester.

Attendance policy: 

Regular class attendance is mandatory. Students are expected to attend classes each day, including course-related excursions.

IES Abroad Milano allows a maximum of TWO excused absences per semester. Each further absence will automatically result in a penalty of two points off (2/100) on the final grade. SEVEN absences per course (including 2 excused absences) will result in a failing grade for that course. Furthermore, an absence on the date of scheduled tests, presentations or quizzes does not entitle you to recover/reschedule such tests. Failure to attend your midterm and/or final exam will result in an F grade on that paper/exam.

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Define terms of art, art practice, and management for art, in an intercultural perspective
  • Demonstrate basic design practice for communication in art by working with both printed and digital media
  • Conceive and develop a communication project for art exhibitions or events by using multimedia and interactive tools
  • Direct experience of the unique artistic and cultural context of Milan city through the exposure to experts in the field of multimedia and interactive practices
  • Develop art and communication practices through new media, such as the Internet and social networks, in awareness of how they change art experience
Method of presentation: 

Lectures, seminars with guest speakers, assignments, in-class discussions, field study trips, workshops, students’ presentations. Field studies and guest speakers’ contributions will be prepared and followed by lectures and discussions in class, and will exemplify crucial institutions, professionals and practices related to the creative cutting-edge developments seminal to the themes of the course. Following this first half of the course with lectures, guest speakers, discussions and field studies, the second half of the course will be devoted to the development and presentation of students’ individual projects, in a workshop guided and supervised by the instructors, up to the final presentation to the public.

Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Active class participation - 20%
  • Midterm Exam - 40%
  • Final Project - 40%

Active class participation
Punctual reading/writing/making of assignments, presentations, participation in group discussions, activities, projects and attendance will be recorded.

Midterm Exam
Midterm exam will have the format of a 2-hour in-class-essay concerning two general topics studied during the first two sessions of the course. To help the student in his/her exam preparation, the course can include a practice of the midterm exam, in the format of a written assignment, on student’s request (the performance in the practice will not be considered for evaluation).

Final Project
Final project will consist of an individual work, which will be a multimedia and interactive communication project for art. The individual work will be realized by students during the last session of the course and accompanied by a written paper explaining its meaning and aim (min. 8 pages).

Unit Content Field Studies Required Readings

Multimedia and Interactive Communication for Art in the Italian Contemporary Context

  1. Introduction to the course (Pola + Staniscia together)
  2. The Gallerie d'Italia case study (1): Milan (Pola)
  3. The Gallerie d'Italia case study (2): Vicenza (Pola)
  4. The MACRO case study (Staniscia)
  1. Gallerie d'Italia – Milan (Pola) - the first permanent and ongoing art museum multimedia itinerary in Italy
  2. Creative Locations in Milan (galleries, artist studios, designers’ studios, etc.) (Pola) – to be chosen each semester, depending on current possibilities in the city
  • Hyland, Angus (ed.). Visual Identity and Branding for the Arts. London: Laurence King Publishing Ltd, 2006. (pp. 9-31)
  • Klanten, Robert, Anna Sinofzik, Floyd E. Schulze, (eds.) Introducing: Culture Identities. Design for Museums, Theaters and Cultural Institutions. Berlin: Gestalten, 2013. (pp.5-55)

Meeting Italian Artists and Professionals developing Multimedia and Interactive Practices

  1. Guest Speaker (Artist working with Multimedia): Lecture and workshop-discussion (Pola with guest)
  2. Guest Speaker (Professional developing Interactive Documentaries and Tools for art): Lecture and workshop-discussion (Pola with guest)
  3. Guest Speaker (Professional working with Augmented Reality and its applications in the art field): Lecture and workshop-discussion (Staniscia with guest)
  1. Triennale Design Museum – Milan (Staniscia)
  2. Creative Events in Milan (for example: Milan Salone del Mobile and Fuori Salone; Milan Fashion Week, etc.) (Staniscia) – to be chosen each semester, depending on current possibilities in the city
  • Bilton, Nick. I live in the Future & Here's How It Works: Why Your World, Work & Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted. New York: Crown Business – Random House, 2010. (pp. 3-16 and 27-60)
  • Ruberti, Federico. REFF. The book. Rome: FakePress, 2008.
  • Staniscia, Simona. “Il visual design per il MACRO: verso un sistema flessibile e inclusivo” in Design di sistema per le istituioni culturali. Il museo empatico. Ed. Vitale, Giovanna. Bologna: Zanichelli 2013. (pp.120-141. English abstract will be provided)

Mid-term Exam

  • 2 hours in-class essay (Pola)

Project Proposal for Multimedia and Interactive Communication in Art

  1. Developing Ideas and Concepts for individual projects and briefing the class (Pola + Staniscia together)
  2. Students present preliminary projects (Pola + Staniscia together)
  • Keedy, Jeffery, “The Rules of Typography According to Crackpots Experts”, in Looking Closer. Critical Writings on Graphic Design – n. II. Eds. Michael Bierut, William Drenttel, Steven Heller, DK Holland. New York: Allworth Press, 1997. (pp. 27-31)
  • Klanten, Robert, Sven Ehmann, Verena Hanschke, (eds.). A Touch of Code. Interactive Installations and Experiences. Berlin: Gestalten, 2011. (pp.5-8, 46, 90,  148, 216)
  • Lupton, Ellen. “The Birth of the User”, in Looking Closer. Critical Writings on Graphic Design – n. V. Eds. Michael Bierut, William Drenttel, Steven Heller. New York: Allworth Press, 2006. (pp. 23-26)
  • Miller, J. Abbot and Ellen Lupton. “A Natural History of Typography”, in Looking Closer. Critical Writings on Graphic Design. Ed. Bierut, Michael, William Drenttel, Steven Heller, DK Holland.  New York: Allworth Press, 1994. (pp 19-33)
  • Warde, Beatrice. “The Crystal Goblet or Printing Should Be Invisible”, in Looking Closer. Critical Writings on Graphic Design – n. III. Eds. Michael Bierut, Jessica Helfand, Steven Heller, Rick Poynor. New York: Allworth Press, 1999. (pp.56-59)

Workshop for Realization of the Individual Projects and Final Projects Presentation*

  1. Workshop for individual projects and pin up crit with class discussion (Pola + Staniscia together)
  2. Workshop for individual projects and pin up crit with class discussion (Staniscia)
  3. Workshop for individual projects and pin up crit with class discussion (Pola + Staniscia together)
  4. Workshop for individual projects and pin up crit with class discussion (Staniscia)
  5. Workshop for individual projects and pin up crit with class discussion (Pola + Staniscia together)
  6. How to present works; developing good presentations (Staniscia)

*Themes and development of the workshop will change every semester, as it will depend on the ideas conceived by students, and will follow different and creative ways of individual and group interaction, up to the final results.


Final Exam and Presentation of the individual projects

  • Presentation of the individual projects in class and hand-in of the final individual work report (Pola + Staniscia together.)Students will be responsible for the organization and the communication of the event (Pola + Staniscia together supervising the whole preparation and presentation)