DMS Student Showcase 2021

DMS 418/518 Landscape Projections

DMS 418 Header Image.

“Landscape Projections” is an advanced special topics course exploring landscape as a medium, predominantly through the lens of time-based media. “Projections” implies cinematic presentation, but we expand this idea of projection (from Latin projectio(n-), from proicere ‘throw forth’), exploring ideas around forecasts, mappings, visions, and transmission, as we consider a wide range of artists and filmmakers re-envisioning both the natural and manufactured landscape through cinematic geographies and spatial practices.

From the city to the wilderness, to wastelands and borderlands, we will look to painting, literature, film, video art, land art, sound walks, and experimental geography, among other forms. Within these historical and contemporary works, we will consider ideas of the sublime within natural and industrial landscapes, poetic representations of inner landscapes, film as spatial critique, narratives of displacement, the unearthing of repressed memories and hidden histories, post-human ecologies, as well as contested territories of colonization and exploitation of the earth and its people. Through screenings, readings, discussions, journals, and landscape sketches (audio, video, written, or other media), the class will engage deeply with the topic of landscape, culminating in a final project or research paper.

Lewuga Benson

The places I know

418 video

Jiacheng Ying

The girl and the lake

DMS 418 Video

I was recently inspired by a sentence in a video I saw online. It said why we humans have not found other intelligent lives. Is it because we can’t understand each other’s ways of communicating? In our imagination of intelligent life outside of human beings, these other intelligent life are more or less similar to ours. However, this is something we cannot verify. May be they can directly transmit consciousness, or they are the root system of plants and fungi. Indeed, I think that as human beings, the communication methods we can understand are limited to our five senses. Our society and thoughts are also built on this, so even if other intelligent lives are around us, we cannot understand them. Even in our own human society, we can easily stuck in our own mind, people with different ideas have different ways to communicate with others, which often leads to misunderstandings and even communication barriers.

Jesse Rodkin

Moon juice

DMS 418/518 Project

Where once we were a nationof direction and optimism, if often misplaced, we now unify solely inour love of moon juice. This country, which claimed for ourselves first the sky and then the stars in a pursuit of patriotism or nationalism, maybe from vitriol ,but always a form of advancement, today finds itself planting flags on its own turf. What can most of us do but sit around consuming the endless media content gushed at us as we watch the slow bleeding-out of American Exceptionalism come to a self-induced head. A snowy backyard, a couple beach chairs with a tiny towel and an old semi-functioning radio, and a hot cup of coffee. At least everyone loves coffee. I was tasked with creating apiece focusing on two distinct landscapes, and creating a working dialogue between the two. The film was shot with a Canon 5D mkiii, 100mm macro lens, and Rokinon24mm prime. The Darth Vader-esque breathing was recorded through a holey tin can, attempting to replicate both a spatial vibe and the sounds of a Covid-19 breathing ventilator.

Cydney Teeter


DMS 418/518 Image

ROT is a short experimental film exploring ideas surrounding humans’ physical relationship with the earth and how we occupy it and subsequentlyleave it. It focuses on a local Buffalo cemetery, Forest Lawn, to express this theme. Rather than using cemetery footage for the typical spooky and dramatic aesthetic, or to even focus on grief, this piece uses its imagery to take an almost environmental stance. The concept of how people see and handle the death and the bodies of othersis telling of how we view ourselvesas part of the earth’s system. The audio mix and voiceover of the piece adds to the statementand frames the views of the cemeteryunder this theme. The heavy use of frames within frames and repositioned footage is meant to question how we see these ideas that have become so normalized and engrained in us about life and death and decomposition.

Michael Chernoff

discarding earth(2021)

DMS 418/518 image

Forgotten places in cities are often deemed lonely, sad, lacking purpose. A popular belief is these abandoned structures should have a meaning injected back into them. A renovation opportunity for realtors and a historical treatment via restoration. But there are some eyesores I don’t believe should berestored. My video recordings captureone of countless moments where human made constructs are not falling apart but arestill changing. Progress does not need history. This non-historicstatecan be bothfading degradation, new erections, and whatever is in between. The crumbling structure is human culture returning to the sands of time. The crackedasphalt lots are gradual movements underground. The trash strewn fences contextless fragments. Anew home standsprematurely raw, incomplete, without real history. Every place was or is about to be something. Progress is not a starting and ending pointit ceaselessand not necessarily pristine. That which has no history is ignored or discarded. The look of the infantile home original wood frame will be covered upto be forgotten. The people who once occupied fresh structures will be gone as the building slowly deteriorates. People build new things for a sense of progress to continue. But there are no inhabitants at these sites of progress. Once a place is inhabited, we can learn something about progress.

Michael Chernoff

Nowhere to visit (soundscape)

What happens beneath a highway? What did I just see along a freeway? The high-speed road is a non-specific place. No driver or passenger can ever really know where their placedmomentarily. Everything happens as soon as things finish. The traffic is segregated from the ground while objects rush by immaterially. We should not stop to look and listen relying on location and space to be just a glimpse. Outside the road is a real location. There are families walking, fisherman casting lines, cyclists joy riding, and birds cawing where the westside highway meets the water in Buffalo. An insignificant placewhere I can punt bottles and cans to hear them roll and bounce in unexpected ways. Yet the violent symphony of cars zooming is inescapable. In and around the road is a deep opression. Neither the world of the road nor the land it engulfs truly know one another. Compressed it’s the road-zone it is a sound of wailing metal and tolerant inhabitances. A highly populated place with few visitors. A stream the pedestrian would never dive into nor a fish would jump out of much like the water so close by.



DMS 418/518 Video


Once, when I was 8, a woman screamed at me for feeding pigeons romaine lettuce. “Those flying rats are everywhere!” She yelled, “They’re dirty!”... as if that would change my mind about any kind of hungry animal. Pigeons were one of the few pieces of nature we had to interact within the city, and I’ve always seen them as more than “rats with wings”. They’re as much a part of New York as its famous skyline and restlessness. Birds of New York was created from found footage and photographs from around the state and Brooklyn. Though the city’s rumble has quieted over the pandemic, our birds have been more active than ever. While many despise these pigeons, starlings, crows, or sparrows, they're numerous as people. Between concrete and bricks, these birds have found homes here, much as we all have.

2021 DMS Courses

  • DMS 103 Basic Video (Section 2)
    This course provides an introduction to the technical and aesthetic practice of video production and post-production, with a critical eye to both form and content. Through lectures, readings, exercises, and projects, as well as screenings of historical and contemporary film and video work, students will gain an understanding of film and video language and explore conceptual strategies for the development of creative approaches to digital video making.
  • DMS 480 Social Media & Networks (Section 1)
    In this online course, we will learn about, critique, and create social media and networks theory. Through media theory and case studies, we will analyze social media and networks; through online discussion, we will develop our ideas; and finally, through creation we will implement our learning into action. By the end of the course, you will have a better understanding and will be able to critically read, analyze, and write about social media from a variety of perspectives. Along with rigorous reading and writing, students will engage through creative making and collective presentations. In doing so, we adhere to learning through creating.
  • DMS 342 Intermediate Documentary Workshop
    Intermediate Documentary is an intensive workshop in nonfiction film production, with an emphasis on both hands-on practice of documentary filmmaking and in-depth study of the art of nonfiction filmmaking. Production projects helpedstudents develop conceptual and technicalproficiency, including knowledge of the development, production, and post production ofnonfiction films. Readings, writing assignments, and class presentations will deepen students’understanding of nonfiction filmmaking and storytelling.
  • DMS 201 Green Media
    This course analyzes fictional and documentary media that investigate our relationship to nature: climate change, pollution, environmental justice, wildlife extinction. The course interprets the word media broadly to include film, games, social media, media-art, big data visualization, simulation and sensing. It examines the consciousness-raising power of film, media and journalism; traces the ecological impact of our obsession with the latest media device; and ponders the relationship between our feelings about our changing planet (denial, engagement, optimism, hopelessness) and our actions.
  • DMS 418/518 Landscape Projections
    “Landscape Projections” is an advanced special topics course exploring landscape as a medium, predominantly through the lens of time-based media. “Projections” implies cinematic presentation, but we expand this idea of projection (from Latin projectio(n-), from proicere ‘throw forth’), exploring ideas around forecasts, mappings, visions, and transmission, as we consider a wide range of artists and filmmakers re-envisioning both the natural and manufactured landscape through cinematic geographies and spatial practices.
  • DMS 341: Intermediate Video
    This course took place in the fall of 2020 and was an intensive workshop in fiction film production, with an emphasis on both hands-on practice of fiction filmmaking and in-depth study of the art of fiction filmmaking. 
  • DMS 598 Project Supervision
    Graduate Student Project Supervision taught by Margaret Rhee
  • DMS 435/535 Scriptwriting
    In this production workshop students concentrate on writing and editing script elements for all kinds of media including film, video, game, installation, AR, VR location- or web-based projects. The course explores traditional and experimental methods for generating and structuring text for any genre of fictional, documentary or hybrid work. Scripts include original writing, interviews, collaged or found fragments - which may be performed, heard or displayed in the final piece.
  • DMS 103 Basic Video (Section 1)
    Basic Video is a beginner level production class on the uses of digital video, moving image, and media as a medium of artistic expression and communication. There is a mixture of history, theory, artistic practice, technique, analysis, and there is a distinctive focus on learning while making.
  • DMS 213 Immigration & Film (Section 2)
    This course offers an introduction to South Korean drama and cinema with attention to
    Korean culture and history, TV/cinema/visual cultural analysis, and within the contexts Korean cultural global reach also understood as Hallyu or the Korean Wave. Students will study South Korean drama and film through thematics such as historical development, aesthetics, genre, auteur theory, stardom, subtitling, and the politics of distribution.
  • DMS 448 Games, Gender & Culture
    DMS 448: Games, Gender And Culture provides a comprehensive investigation of the emerging field of Games Studies, the critical analysis of games and interactive environments made possible by the computer. We will address different theoretical perspectivesthat view games and gaming as historical, social, cultural. aesthetic, technical, performative, and cognitive phenomenon. 
  • DMS 462/562 Game Design
    DMS 462 is a production course that allows students to explore the fabulous and sometimes frightening world of Game Design. Games are all around us in modern culture, ranging from video games to board and card games to sports to politics (Game of Thrones, anyone?) and beyond. 
  • DMS 534 Media Archaeology
    In this theory/practice seminar, students will interrogate the strain of scholarly and artistic practices concerned with the cultural and material histories of media technology known as media archaeology.
  • DMS 474 Media Theories and Approaches
    Media theory investigates the technoculturaloperation of media, including media technologies and social practices. The basic question media theory must ask is “what is media?” If something is identified as media, is it always media or only under certain circumstances? For example, paint is a mediumwhen used for a painting, but what about on a wall or in a can? Air is a medium for sound and music, but what about when the world is silent? Fiber optic cables, wifi signals, and the internal operations of a computer delivering a film on a laptop are media, but so is the film. How do they relate? Conversely, what is not media?
  • DMS 606 Sound and Space
    In this course, students interested in learning more about music and sound, and sound’s relationship with and existence ins pace, have been experimenting with creating virtual spaces. (This was particularly germane since the class took place over Zoom, an entirely virtual space.) We have analyzed how sound behaves in real spaces, both natural and human-built, with the goal of understanding how these spaces influence sound, and human perception. 
  • DMS 302 Experimental Moving Image
    “Experimental Moving Image” is an intermediate level undergraduate production class introducing students to alternative approaches to the moving image, from abstraction and collage, personal documentary and hybrid narratives, to stop-motion and video installation, across single and multiple screens.
  • DMS 441 Advanced Video Production
    This production course is designed to build on and further students’ conceptual and technical skills in video production. Through a combination of in-class workshops and exercises, assigned projects, and close attention to visual, creative motion picture ideation, students will strive to produce thoughtful, personally meaningful, technically proficient videos.