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Installation Light and Sound Syllabus

Syllabus for a special topics art and design course exploring installation art through the lenses of light and sound

Installation: Light + Sound

Course Number: SEM 230A-330A-430Aa

Department: Sculpture + Expanded Media (SEM)

Room: 212

Time: Fridays 9:30 am - 11:45 am and 2:00 pm - 4:45 pm

Faculty: Jimmy Kuehnle -

Office Hours: By appointment

Semester: Fall 2023

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the sculptural form of space known as the Installation. While this term has a multitude of meanings throughout a wide variety of disciplinary fields, in the area of sculpture, installation refers to a specific condition of space. This condition of space is not necessarily object bound or object-centric in its condition but rather is a condition that is often immersive and intentionally activated to produce an experience beyond that of the everyday. Generally speaking we divide this condition of space into two basic categories known as an “environment” and “site-specific”. Within the organizational conditions of this sculptural category of space, beyond the physical boundaries, light and sound are two of the most fundamental elements through which space can be assigned, organized, negotiated, and experientially managed. While technology serves as part of the contemporary source for work employing light and sound, any form or instrumentation/mediation from the digital to the analog to that of the body may serve as a source. These sources include anything from a simple muted light revealed by a burning ember, to an LED light or strobe, to a mediated sound or may even include a live human voice, a human footstep or a simple touch. This course will introduce students to the wide variety of spatial conditions that can be qualified by the existence of light and sound.

Specific to Fall 2023 Iteration

Using the gallery as an experimental installation site, this course’s capstone project will culminate in a thematic exhibition project organized with support from the Reinberger Gallery team at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Hepp Maccoyexternal link of AudioPixel will collaborate with the students in the course to make an immersive light installation. Visiting artists specializing in sound, Raul Romeroexternal link and Bob Drakeexternal link will assist with the sound components of the installation.

Description from Course Catalog

Sculptural installation is a condition of space that is neither object bound nor object-centric in its existence but rather presents a condition that is often identified as immersive and intentionally organized to produce a spatially dependent experience beyond that of the “Everyday”. This course will investigate various applications and approaches to subject of Installation with an emphasis on contemporary practices using light and sound as a means of constructing space and form. Primary to this course is the understanding of light (lighting) as both a material and structural element with regard to organization and presentation and the combined relationship of sound as an immersive component in the production of installation-based works.

Course Overview and Goals

An introduction into the sculptural form known as installation, within the organizational conditions of this sculptural category of space, beyond the physical boundaries, light and sound are two of the most fundamental conditions by which space can be assigned, organized, and experientially managed. Students will investigate space as a medium contextualized by the Installation as a sculptural form using “light and sound” as primary conditions by which aesthetic arrangement purposed as conditions of artistic production are explored.

Course Topics

  • Installation (Environment)
  • Installation (Site-Specific)
  • Light and Sound as conditions of organization
  • Presence/Absence
  • Shadow / Trace
  • Muted / Silence
  • Still / Active
  • Reception / Transmission
  • Broadcast / Projection

Class Format & Policies

  • 4.5 hours of regularly scheduled instructional time. In addition to the regularly scheduled instructional time, you’ll need to plan on 4.5 hours of homework time for each of your classes.
  • combination of studio work as well as lecture, group dialogue, critiques etc.
  • Projects will sometimes have in-progress reviews in addition to critiques when the projects are finished. The Instructor as well as students participate in the critiques. This takes time and is part of the studio learning experience and a big part of the course.
  • Students must avoid behavior that disrupts the learning process, or that otherwise may be offensive to classmates, or that is disrespectful to the instructor.


You’re required to contribute to all critiques, even if your own project is not complete. Successful crits depend on each student’s generosity in sharing their honest thoughts, opinions and suggestions!

Late Work

Projects must be turned in on time. On time is before the beginning of class on the day that they are due or other time as specified by the instructor. Late projects will automatically drop 2% per day late.


  • Students should maintain regular, on-going and timely documentation of work in progress.
  • Images should be high resolution, well exposed, in focus, and well composed.

File Management

  • We will use Canvas to turn in assignments. If issues arise with Canvas’ file submission process then we will use Google Drive to turn in assignments.
  • The class will have a Google Drive folder specific to this course.
  • Use this format for naming all your class files:
    • YYYYMMDD Smith Lane Project 1
    • 20230801 Smith Lane First Day Project 1

Required Textbooks and Readings

There are no required textbooks for this course.

Required Supplies

  • Basic drawing and sketching supplies
  • Note taking supplies

Reference Texts

  • One Place after Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity by Miwon Kwon
  • Installation Art: Space as Medium in Contemporary Art edited by Sandu Cultural Media
  • The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard
  • Installation Art in the New Millennium: The Empire of the Senses by Nicolas De Oliveira, Nicola Oxley, and Michael Petry

Course Outline

1August 25Installation Site Visit + Ideation
2September 1Installation Ideation and Light
3September 8Installation Ideation and Sound
4September 15Model of Installation
5September 22Budget
6September 29Prototype Testing
7October 6Fabrication
8October 13Fabrication
9October 20Fabrication
10October 27Install
11November 3Install
12November 10Opening
13November 17Documentation
November 24Thanksgiving - No Class
14December 1Portfolio
15December 8Review
16December 15Final Critique

Key Dates:

  • Aug 23 – First Day of Classes
  • Sept 4 – Labor Day. No Classes
  • Oct 18 – Mid Term Grades DUE by 9am
  • Oct 24 - 25 – Student Fall Break. No classes. Faculty In Service Days
  • Oct 25 – Faculty Teaching & Learning Summit
  • Oct 27 – Last day for students to withdraw from a course without a grade penalty
  • Nov 22 – 24 – Thanksgiving Break. No classes.
  • Dec 5 – Final Day of Classes
  • Dec 18 – Final Grades DUE for all students by 9am

Cleveland Institute of Art Required Policy Language

Diversity & Inclusion Statement

The Cleveland Institute of Art recognizes and embraces diversity and believes that an outstanding education in art and design should be accessible to all individuals regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, socio-economic status or disability. It is essential for the College to advance diversity by encouraging our community to share a responsibility in creating, maintaining and developing an environment in which difference is valued, equity is sought, and inclusiveness is practiced.

CIA Course Attendance Policy from the College Catalog

Course Attendance

Students are expected to attend all sessions of the classes in which they are registered and to attend all associated lecture programs and meetings. Progress as an artist depends not only on completion of assignments but also on full participation in dialogue with studio and academic classes. All absences will count towards a student’s absence total for the semester. Students are responsible for all missed class material, including assignments and tests, when absent from class. Each faculty member is required to take, and to maintain records of, class attendance. CIA’s absence limits are as follows:

Course TypeAbsence Limit
Course meeting once a weekNo more than 3 absences per semester*
Course meeting twice a weekNo more than 6 absences per semester
Independent StudyParticipation and attendance expectations are at the discretion of the faculty member.

*note: for studio courses that meet in 2 sessions over 1 day, missing one of the two sessions will be counted as 0.5 absence

A student who has missed the maximum absences per semester, as outlined above, must meet with their Academic Advisor to discuss their options. To uphold the integrity of the educational content and curricula, absences exceeding the limit as outlined above will result in failure of the course. Students must notify their faculty member if they will miss a class, and should contact their instructor(s) as soon as possible after an unavoidable absence. To protect a student’s privacy, written documentation of an illness, injury or obituary is not required nor requested. An absence from a final critique or exam will result in automatic failure of the project or exam.

Faculty may factor tardiness into determining if a student is absent or not. Tardiness policies should be stated on the course syllabus.

Absence Due to Religious Observance

Students who expect to miss classes or activities due to religious observances should notify their faculty members well before the expected absence. Students are responsible for the missed work.

Absences Due to Extenuating Circumstances

The absence limits as described above, are adequate for emergencies, minor illnesses, doctor’s appointments, transportation issues, etc. In the case of exceptional circumstances that would cause a student to exceed the absence limit, the student should contact Academic Services. A student who is hospitalized or has an extended illness is asked to give HIPPA permission to their academic advisor in Academic Services so they can communicate with their medical provider regarding the student’s illness and assist as needed. When protracted absence has been caused by illness or other extenuating circumstance, students may be given the privilege of making up lost work by arrangement with, and at the discretion of the instructor. Students approved to exceed the absence limit due to exceptional circumstances are still responsible for completion of any course requirements missed during their absence.

Extracurricular Life and Class Attendance

At CIA, we value students’ total educational experience, including its curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular components. All departments, academic and other, are encouraged to minimize the scheduling during established class meeting hours of events at which student participation is required or desired, including but not limited to extra class meetings, professional development opportunities, field trips, and other organized activities. When conflicts exist, all parties (students, faculty, and staff) should work together so that the student can meet their academic obligations and participate in extracurricular events. If agreement about an appropriate accommodation cannot be reached, the student’s obligations to classes meeting on their posted schedules will take priority.

Class Trips Policy from the College Catalog

All students attending instruction-related trips or tours that require them to travel away from CIA must sign an approved release form in advance of the trip that declares they will not make a claim against the college or its personnel/representatives for injury or damage sustained while on the trip. Release forms should be returned to the faculty member leading the trip before the event. All CIA policies are in effect during sponsored excursions away from campus.

CIA Grading Policies and Grade Descriptions from the College Catalog

Letter grades are a means by which faculty members communicate their professional assessment of students’ work. The primary purpose of assigning grades is to provide a realistic standard of reference by which students can measure their progress while enrolled at CIA.

Grades are reported twice each semester: mid-term grades after the first eight weeks, and final grades at the close of the term. The mid-term grade is a preliminary indication of progress to date.

Semester and cumulative grade point averages are reviewed by Academic Services each term to determine each student’s academic status. Each transcript includes the semester Grade Point Average (GPA) and the cumulative GPA. Letter grades have the following meaning:

A, A-: Work of consistently outstanding quality, which displays originality, and often goes beyond course requirements;

B+, B, B-: Work of consistently good quality, demonstrating a high level of proficiency, knowledge, and skills in all aspects of the course;

C+, C, C-: Satisfactory work that meets the requirements of the course and conforms to the standards for graduation.

D+, D, D-: Work deficient in concept or execution but acceptable for course credit in all courses.

F: Work unacceptable for course credit and does not meet the standards for graduation.

CIA Policy on Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty excerpted from the Student Handbook:

All acts of academic dishonesty diminish the integrity of the Institute and are taken very seriously by the school. Students being accused of Academic Dishonestly will participate in our judicial process and if found responsible, will be subject to appropriate sanctions. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to any one or a combination of the following:

• Formal warning/censure/academic alert. • Reduced grade including a failing grade for the assignment. • Reduced grade including a failing grade for the entire course. • Forfeiture of student leadership positions, and/or restrictions on participation in Institute activities. • Academic probation • Suspension • Expulsion from the Institute.

CIA Course Evaluation Policy

All students are expected to fill out a brief course evaluation for each class at the end of the semester. Your participation in the course evaluation process is critical to CIA’s evaluation of faculty teaching, assessment of student learning outcomes, and identification of opportunities for continuous improvement to course content and instruction. Please take a moment to respond to the evaluation when directed to do so at the end of the semester. Your thoughts matter.