Spring 2023 Co-Taught Interdisciplinary Course in the STUDIO: “Mediated Realities”

Lawrence Shea, Johannes DeYoung

Photo credit: Wesleigh Gates


Mediated Realities, co-taught by Lawrence Shea (Drama) and Johannes DeYoung (Art), is an advanced studio course that investigates the potential applications of mediated-reality technologies and location-based interactivity for storytelling, site-specific art-making, and live performance (broadly defined). Converging trends in cultural production, mobile computation, and media technologies present new affordances for artists and designers to shape location-based experiences.  Studio work engages a breadth of strategies in post-media aesthetics, as related to one’s experience and understanding of place. Trans-media storytelling, real-time graphics, machine learning, gamification, locative artworks, augmented reality and powerful portable media devices present opportunities for artists and designers to create experiences that heighten multisensory experience by merging live performance and participant interaction with systems for digital information, imagery, and 3D visualization – all ubiquitously available in low-cost and widely distributable formats (e.g. apps, mobile web sites).


The course frames technological experimentation in the context of 1970’s Land Art, Happenings, Fluxus games, Performance Art, Expanded Cinema, and the unresolved theoretical issues emerging from this rich period in American history – site specificity, competing definitions of “community,” the effects of media and representation, audience/performer dynamics, and the nature and limits of the art work. Reading discussions, site visits, and presentations from outside experts (CMU faculty, visiting artists) will expose a range of relevant topics, disciplinary and creative perspectives, and potential avenues for investigation. Specific areas of focus will include Pittsburgh history, local ecological dynamics, labor history and the effects of technology on the landscape and lives of Pittsburgh’s population.


This course is made possible with support from the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and DeepLocal