Project One

Dystopian Collage

  • Due for group critiques: Thursday, 9/14
  • Final due: Thursday, 9/21



Many western art movements in the early 20th century used collage and photomontage to comment on the politics of the times, including the chaos of war and social experiments like communism. This photomontage is by Russian Constructivist Aleksandr Rodchenko.

Create a digital collage that speaks to the notions of dystopia and/or utopia. You may also wish to incorporate your understanding of 1980s culture and technology, as well as other ideas from Ernest Cline’s novel, “Ready Player One.” Apply your understanding of the history of collage and photomontage as well as principles of design and composition. Create your collage in Adobe Photoshop, using the techniques, tools, and best practices covered in your tutorials and class demos. Some of the material used in your collage should be from online sources—with appropriate citations and links provided—and some material should be newly digitized by you using the flatbed scanners in the Center for Digital Technology and Curation (CDSC, 4th floor, Holland-Terrell). Your digital collage should use at least six separate image sources.

We will have a brief introduction to the Photoshop workspace in class, and you are expected to follow the required tutorials as homework and when time is available during class. Your instructor will provide as much one-on-one assistance as possible. You are welcome and encouraged to seek out additional tutorials to supplement your knowledge.

Anthony Goicolea is a contemporary artist and photographer who makes work that could be considered dystopian. Many of his images are digitally composited from multiple photographs.





Additional Resources


What you will bring to group critique:

Bring a nearly complete draft of your collage, ready to open in Photoshop to share with the members of your group. Be ready to walk your group through the ideas behind your work and your plans for the finishing touches. Write down their feedback. Also make notes so you can write a critique of the work of one of your group members.

What you will hand in for the final project:

On your thumbdrive,*** in a folder named “yourlastname-project1”:

  1. Your finished Photoshop file with layers intact
  2. Your online image sources as you originally downloaded them, with appropriate citation checklist, in a subfolder labeled “online sources” (These are for the images you use in the final collage only: Do not include images you don’t use.)
  3. Your original scan(s) made in the CDSC, in a subfolder labeled “scans”
  4. A typed explanation of your work (1 page, double-spaced, 12 pt. font), addressing:
    1. How your design readings informed your compositional strategy and choice of imagery
    2. How you hope your final image describes, references, or evokes dystopia or utopia, and perhaps 1980s culture and technology as well. Make sure to reference Ready Player One, Ernest Cline’s lecture, and other class resources that contributed to your understanding (Photoshop tutorials, photomontage and collage, elements of design, layering and juxtaposition, etc.)
    3. How specific Photoshop tools and techniques influenced your creative process.

*** Thumbdrives must be labeled with “your first and last name” and “DTC201”