DTC 201: Major Project #1: Dada Reality

The deadline has been extended from Friday, February 14, to Wednesday, February 19.


In this assignment, you will use Adobe Photoshop to create a full-page photomontage that applies Dada principles to an imaginary augmented reality system. You will submit image documentation, as well as a short essay that answers specific questions about your work. Final deliverables are due by class on Friday, February 14, Wednesday, February 19, 2020, although some drafts are due earlier.

See below for:

Detailed Description

The lecture on augmented reality systems noted their purpose was to layer new information or graphics on top of the reality around us, to provide us with new dimensions of meaning and instruction. AR systems give directions; provide entertainment; preview products and architecture; add virtual art to the real world; and more.

As reviewed in lectures and web sites, Dada artists repurposed existing works into new works. They aimed to criticize and mock cultural and artistic standards. Most often, their work was a protest against war and social ills. A popular Dada visual art style was the photomontage: incorporating multiple real-world images into a single image whose meaning was very different from the original works.

In this assignment, you will use Adobe Photoshop to create an image as seen through an augmented reality system designed by Dadaists. You will begin with a photograph of a real-world location, either found online or taken with your own camera. You will then incorporate new photographic elements into the image to convey a specific cultural message or protest of your choice.

Other than your original real-world location image (which can be an image of your own), all of your photomontage images must be found from the “free” online resource list provided by the instructor, and must not be watermarked.

Final Deliverables

  • Images: A full-page 8.5″ x 11″ modern photomontage based on a real-world context, commenting on a real-world issue of your choice. You will turn in two versions of the image: your working Photoshop (PSD) file, and a compressed JPG version.
  • Link to your project in your cloud storage: a URL to the shared folder containing your project material.
  • Documentation: image citations for all images incorporated into your work, using the spreadsheet format reviewed in class.
  • Written essay: a well-written essay of 1000 words or more that answers four key questions:
    • What specific protest message are you expressing?
    • In what ways does your photomontage demonstrate Dada influence?
    • What composition guideline(s) did you use in your image?
    • Explain the construction of your Photoshop document, particularly how you used layers, masks, adjustment layers, image enhancement, and resizing.

Or, to put it another way:

  • You will upload two files to this assignment via Blackboard:
    1. Your final JPG image, and
    2. Your essay as a Word or PDF document.
  • You will include two links in the assignment text box on Blackboard:
    1. The sharing link/URL to your main project folder up on cloud storage (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.), and
    2. The sharing link/URL to your documentation spreadsheet in Google Sheets.

Milestones & Deadlines

Rough drafts of your photomontage should be brought to class on Wednesday, February 5, and Monday, February 10, for group critiques.

UPDATED: All final deliverables are due before class on Friday, February 14, Wednesday, February 19, 2020. You will upload a link to your project’s cloud storage via Blackboard.

Grading Considerations

You will be graded on the following aspects:

  • 50%: Your skills in using each Photoshop skill reviewed in class and in tutorials, such as: image layers, adjustment layers, selections, masking, etc.
  • 15%: The clarity and detail of your written essay.
  • 15%: Your expression of one or more Dada principles.
  • 10%: Your use of one or more of the image composition guidelines reviewed in class.
  • 10%: The organization of your documentation, files, and folders according to course guidelines.

A baseline project would only include 2-3 images in the photomontage; only roughly combine the images into the photomontage; use limited organization of the document folders and Photoshop layers; and submit an essay that is not particularly detailed or thoughtful. Your grade can go up by including more images; combining them more skillfully; being very detailed about your file and layer organization; and submitting an essay that is thoughtful and well-written.