The Digital Media course (FND251) in the Foundation Year now comprises a workshop component, presenting the students with a new tool for expression and presentation: video art. Using innovative visual media techniques and 4D time-based design for the most part, the workshop spans over two and a half days and acts as a practical injection into the semester. This long weekend is a period during which first-year students gain familiarity with motion graphics and work towards the production of a 30-second to one-minute video segment.
“My approach to the workshop is form giving, becoming form, and analysis of space. Students in their foundation year usually come straight out of high school with little-to-no experience when it comes to thinking outside the box,” said Dr. Chahid Akoury, one of the workshop tutors at the Byblos campus. “This is an opportunity for students to look through the artificial eye of the camera and see things they cannot see using their natural eyesight, such as zooming in, distortion, angle variations and asymmetry,” Dr. Akoury further added.
Through controlling the notion of time—a feature which video art allows—workshop participants change common perceptions with regards to the conceptual and physical premises of structures, the relationship between users and objects, and even interpersonal communication.
“Our aim is to teach design students how to be aware of their surroundings,” said Deena Charara, a visual artist and film editor tutoring another series of workshops. “Students have a very short time to select, conceptualize, shoot, edit, and present what has captured them most, what has drawn them in.”
Through the application of video and digital media techniques, students address issues of identity, personal space, self-discovery, and relationships. The workshop has been a rewarding investment for many students thus far.
Jalal Moghraby is one of them. Still in his first semester at LAU, Moghraby is looking to apply for a scholarship at the prestigious Parsons The New School for Design.
“I didn’t have the guts to apply at first, but now I’m sure I want to go there. Just few days ago I didn’t even know how to edit and add effects to videos. Now I have something substantial to add to my portfolio and my application to Parsons,” Moghraby enthused.
The value of those short films is usually appreciated two or three years later when they become the visas that get students accepted into prominent film festivals and their dream schools.
“It is fascinating for us as instructors to see students who have never used cameras create impressive pieces of work and impress admissions committees around the world at the best design schools,” commented Silia Abou Arbid, Associate Chair of the Fine Arts & Foundation Studies Department. “It’s amazing to see where this work can take students.”