A TERM most often attributed to Fluxus artist Dick Higgins, ‘Intermedia’ refers to creative works that lie between established media. It’s also the name we chose for the fourth production stream in the BA program in the Department of Communication Studies at Concordia University.
Officially launched in Fall 2007, the Intermedia production stream allows students to explore media and creative practices not directly covered in the three existing streams (ie Film, Sound, and Video). It also builds off these highly successful arenas of activity, actively engaging with theories and tools that have in some ways grown out of these long-established media.
Importantly, Intermedia embraces the analog and the digital; the residual and the emergent. For example, students in the first- and second-year courses have tackled graphic design and typography, illustration, rotoscoping, stop-motion animation, interactive narrative, database documentary, motion graphics, and web design.
WHILE industry-standard tools such as Photoshop and Flash are important to this process, the emphasis in the classroom is fundamentally on ideas: on the ability of students to recognize and define communication problems, and then develop appropriate and novel solutions.
The very best of these creative ideas will be truly intermedial, in the sense that they will be hybrid or liminal solutions. We use the term Intermedia as an ideal, then: an aspirational goal for the work we produce (rather than a hollow claim that we are somehow producing legions of baby Duchamps or Rauschenbergs).
Our well-maintained labs and competent teaching assistants ensure that students become familiar with the ‘usual suspects’ in terms of software (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Flash, etc) but, in the age of ‘The Adoborg’, it’s more important than ever that we also take time to explore free and open source authoring environments such as HTML/CSS, WordPress, Processing, and the Korsakow System.
The Intermedia production stream has had a very successful first year, even garnering enthusiastic media attention for a first-year group assignment. Over the next few years, the stream will continue to grow as a vibrant and challenging option within the Department of Communication Studies’ highly reputable BA program.