defining my research > Networked Art / Networked Pedagogy

Most of my online mullings these days are located over on Postself and FB, but I like using this space for documenting ideas relating to my “research” at large…

I am in the midst of defining a new direction for my dissertation focus, which I intend to be working on towards the end of this year into next year. My expected graduation date is 2012…

I’ve had to narrow things down and really think about what I want to be working on for the next couple of years. Below is a proposal that I’m sure will evolve and change. At this point, I am really open to feedback and comments from anyone who might be reading this…


ped·a·go·gy \ Pronunciation: \ˈpe-də-ˌgō-jē also -ˌgä-, especially British -ˌgä-gē\ Date: circa 1623
the art, science, or profession of teaching; especially

net·work \ Pronunciation: \ˈnet-ˌwərk\ Date: 1535
: a fabric or structure of cords or wires that cross at regular intervals and are knotted or secured at the crossings
: a system of lines or channels resembling a network
3 a
: an interconnected or interrelated chain, group, or system <a network of hotels> b : a system of computers, peripherals, terminals, and databases connected by communications lines
4 a
: a group of radio or television stations linked by wire or radio relay b : a radio or television company that produces programs for broadcast over such a network
: a usually informally interconnected group or association of persons (as friends or professional colleagues)


Networked Art/Networked Pedagogy:
Examining the converging practices of the contemporary art professor

Contemporary art practices share conceptual overlaps with current discussions about pedagogy, particularly those that encourage interactive and collaborative methods of meaning-making. For example, networked art (sometimes labeled as participatory art) consists of connections made through participatory and generative processes, often, but not always, incorporating digital technology. One particular kind of networked art is work made to exist on the Internet. Since its beginnings, the Internet has served as a space for artists to create and disseminate work. The Internet continues to be used by artists critically engaged with new media and social practices. The genre of work produced by these artists is not always specific to a particular medium and the artists’ networked practices are often interdisciplinary.

My research study will investigate how networked art practices affect post-secondary art pedagogy and how pedagogy affects the practices of those who make networked art. Throughout my research I will consider these questions: What happens when an artist who makes networked art also teaches within universities and art colleges? How does contemporary networked art resemble pre-digital networks, such as mail art? How does an art practice that may combine the Internet, digital media, traditional art, social engagement, and interdisciplinary methods impact the pedagogical approaches of these artist-educators? and, reciprocally, how do their pedagogical approaches influence the kind of work that they produce and disseminate?

This study explores networked art practices and art school pedagogy together, using a theoretical framework of a temporal epistemology (Osberg & Biesta, 2008), derived from complexity theory. I am especially interested in how the Internet is being used as a platform for cultural production, however, I argue for an examination of networked art that does not concentrate on digital technology as its defining characteristic, but rather focuses on the meanings that emerge in and between the multiple relations. Network culture is not limited to digital technology or to the Internet, but rather is a sociocultural shift (Varnelis, 2008).

Through reflexive methods that acknowledge my own position as an artist/educator at post-secondary schools, I will engage in interviews with a selection of artists whom I feel operate within a networked practice and who also teach within university and college art programs. I will focus on three to five artists, alongside which I may incorporate my own experiences as an artist, teacher and previous art student. I intend to use an active interview process (Holstein & Gubrium, 2004), which will include dialogue collected from phone and online video sessions as well as written correspondence. Interview questions will stem from a comparative analysis of the participants’ artist statements and pedagogical statements.

This project argues that art school education may better reflect cultural production in a network society if the teaching of art incorporates the multilinear relationships that are formed in networked art practices. Ultimately, this research contends that contemporary art has the potential to reconfigure our understandings of network culture.

Key texts for this research:
Alexenberg, M. (Ed.) (2008). Educating artists for the future: Learning at the intersections of art, science,  technology and culture. Chicago: Intellect Books, The University of Chicago Press.

Ascott, R. (2003). Telematic embrace: Visionary theories of art, technology, and consciousness. Berkeley, CA:  University of California Press.

Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (1987). A thousand plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. University of    Minnesota Press.

Fouquet, M. (2007). Contemporary art/ Contemporary pedagogy: Interrupting mastery paradigms for art school education. PhD dissertation, University of British Columbia.

Holstein, J. A. & Gubrium, J. F. (2004). The active interview. In D. Silverman (Ed.), Qualitative research: Theory, method, and practice (pp. 140-161). London: Sage.

Osberg, D. & Biesta, G. (2008). The emergent curriculum: Navigating a complex course between unguided learning and planned enculturation. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 40(3), 313-328.

Osberg, D., Biesta, G., & Cilliers, P. (2008). From representation to emergence: Complexity’s challenge to the  epistemology of schooling. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 40(1), 213-227.

Munster, A. (2001). Digitality: approximate aesthetics. In Kroker, A and M. (Eds.) CTHEORY. a093. 3/14/2001.  Available at

Munster, A. (2008). Data undermining: The work of networked art in an age of imperceptibility. Networked: a (networked_book) about (networked_art). Creative Commons. Available at:

Pinar, W. & Irwin, R. L. (Eds.). (2005). Curriculum in a new key: The collected words of Ted T. Aoki. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Varnelis, K. (2008). The immediated now: Network culture and the poetics of reality, Networked: a (networked_book) about (networked_art). Creative Commons. Available at:

Wooffitt, R., & Widdicombe, S. (2006). Interaction in interviews. In P. Drew, G. Raymond & D. Weinberg (Eds.) Talk and interaction in social research methods (pp. 28-49). London: Sage.




Filed under with/in process

2 responses to “defining my research > Networked Art / Networked Pedagogy

  1. For those interested…

    Artist shortlist at this point:

    Olia Lialina (Merz Academie, Germany) — personal relationship to internet, net based, disruptive, digital folklore
    Mark Amerika (Univ. of Colorado, US) — postmedium (cited from Stallabrass), nomadic, remixology, multilinear
    Nathaniel Stern (Univ. of Wisconsin, US) — interdisciplinary, relational, feedback loop system, collaborative, traditional with digital
    Harrell Fletcher (Portland State University, US) — founder of the Art and Social Practice MFA program, interdisciplinary projects that are social engaged, participatory web projects

    Other artists:
    Mark Tribe (Brown University, US) —
    Jon Thomson + Allison Craighead (Slade School of Fine Art; University of Westminster, UK) — broad exploration of networks
    Cary Peppermint (Colgate University, US) —, performative style of net art
    Nell Tenhaaf (York University, CA) — individual self, artificial life
    Julie Andreyev (Emily Carr University of Art + Design, CA) — collaboration, consciousness
    David Clark (Nova Scotia College of Art + Design, CA) —, narrative
    – M. Simon Levin (Emily Carr University of Art + Design, CA) — public pedagogy, collaboration

  2. Surprise, surprise….this outline has already changed. The focus of the research question is now more focused on the production of networked art itself (which I argue is actually dependent on the relations of the artist, the dissemination and reception of the work), yet I still intend to get input from networked artist-educators…however, the dissertation is leaning towards a more conceptual format.

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