A few months ago I did a presentation at the CAA New York 2011 conference as part of the New Media Caucus panel: Fighting the Power – Open Source, Free Software, and Critical Digital Practices. My co-presenter Jody Baker and I were recently invited to do an encore for a symposium on online learning at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. It was great to be able to share our ideas and to listen to other presentations by fellow faculty and guest presenter from UBC, Brian Lamb (whom I always enjoy listening to). Here’s the slideshow from our presentation, followed by an abstract of our talk.
* slideshow includes some video clips, so use the play slider to move through it
Processing Digital: Opening up to a Space of Emergence in Art Pedagogy, by Heidi May and Jody Baker, presented at CAA New York 2011
Networked art practices share conceptual overlaps with current discussions about pedagogy, particularly those that encourage interactive and collaborative methods of meaning-making in response to contemporary digital culture. Decentralized processes of learning, which exist in participatory artworks and nonhierarchal art education, are embraced by the open source movement. In this paper, we argue that open source software can be used to demonstrate a quest for knowledge that is not representational but rather performative-based – a temporal epistemology that is about critical inquiry of media and the ongoing discovery of creative ways of interacting with, and remixing, our reality. This paper incorporates the above ideas into a proposal for a team-taught digital studio/theory course that explores the “remix” phenomenon, operating online and utilizing open source media. Drawing upon previous online teaching experience, the pedagogical intentions and anticipations for this course will be discussed.
Processes, Relations, and Situations: Expanding Understandings of Networked Art
My research examines notions of network and learning in the production, dissemination, and reception of contemporary art. The relational aspects of a network are often overlooked in a society that has become dependent upon the electronic information systems of the Internet – the network of all networks. I propose an understanding of “networked art” that is not based on art objects, nor digital instruments, but on the relationships and processes that occur between individuals (Bazzichelli, 2008; Kimbell, 2006; Saper, 2001). Through qualitative research that employs hermeneutic methods of aesthetic analysis, I explore how networked art might make available new understandings of network culture, and what networked art can contribute to ideas of teaching and learning.
Theoretical Framework and Context
Understanding art today requires a conceptual shift away from the aura of the art object, to the encounter with the artwork and an acknowledgement of the social relations produced from this experience (Bishop, 2004, 2006; Bourriaud, 1998/2002). Networked art, sometimes described as participation art (Frieling, Pellico, & Zimbardo, 2008), consists of multiple connections made through generative processes, often, but not always, incorporating digital technology. In many cases, the production and dissemination processes become the artwork itself. Contemporary art practices like networked art share conceptual overlaps with current Continue reading
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
1 : a fabric or structure of cords or wires that cross at regular intervals and are knotted or secured at the crossings
2 : 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
5 : 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 Continue reading
Amidst the reading and writing that has consumed my life, in addition to my Facebook project, I managed to get out of the house yesterday!
I went to see an exhibition on display at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site, out in Steveston (for those not on the west coast, it’s about 15 km south of Vancouver). Steveston is a small fishing village that attracts many tourists for its waterfront and quaintness, yet, similar to Richmond, has underwent a lot of changes over the years when its farmland was converted into a residential suburb. Until yesterday, I didn’t really know anything about Steveston’s history as a salmon canning centre. The salmon cannery now functions as a museum on a historic site. You can look through the cannery’s website for some information and this slideshow on the Virtual Museum of Canada (VMC) website, but of course it’s not the same as going there in person. Personal contact with objects in a museum can enrich the experience of learning historical information. However, museum displays can frame knowledge in a certain way that might prevent us from really understanding the history of a place and its people. Art can often represent historical narratives in a way that allows participants to enter into the conversation.
Catch + Release is the name of the current art exhibition in the cannery, created by Ruth Beer in collaboration with Kit Grauer and Jim Budd. The artwork is physically separated from the forms and Continue reading
Last week I attended the opening of CODE.Live at Emily Carr University Art + Design (venue 2). I also went to the CODE Dialogues, where participants discussed current art practices that incorporate digital technologies. Although I still have to check out the other CODE venues, along with so many other exhibitions going on in the city (it’s a bit overwhelming), I’ve been thinking a lot about a few of the projects on display in Vancouver right now…
Code.lab is a publicly-sited art project that asks visitors to consider the relationship between the observer and the observed. This page gives you a very brief summary of the project, but I really encourage you to visit the project website before you go down to see the project in person on Granville Island. As a writer who occasionally reviews art, I’ve been thinking about what I have to say about this piece/ work/ project/ exhibit that hasn’t already been covered by the artists themselves. How might I contribute to the understanding of this project, besides encouraging a few others to contemplate the ideas explored? One aspect I’ve been thinking about is the generation of the project and its creative process… Continue reading
Newton Virus, Prototype, 2005/2007
This is a blog entry in response to readings and discussions in a graduate course at UBC: Theory and Research in Digital Literacy…
In “Visual Aspects of Media Literacy” (1998), Paul Messaris discusses why those who are highly educated and interested in visual media seem to be unaware of paraproxemic devices by hinting towards a broader conclusion: “If we ask why paraproxemic devices are so transparent to the average viewer, a likely answer might be that it is precisely their analogical quality, that is, their nonarbitrariness, that makes them transparent. Because they appear to be simple extensions of our everyday, real-world perceptual habits, we may interpret them without much conscious awareness or careful scrutiny.” (p. 74) At the end of the article Messaris suggests that the aim of education about visual literacy should be to “denaturalize” visual syntax and for students to realize how they have accepted the implications of that syntax and how they can apply this understanding to their work: “A visually literate person can use these properties either as tools of creative thought and expression or as foundations for resisting the potentially negative influences of visual media” (p. 77). I incorporate these ideas into how I teach art and design. I may not use the exact same language as Messaris (paraproxemic, denaturalize, syntax) but usually everything I teach in art involves breaking the image/text down to the components that create the composition in order to understand its affect on the human psyche. Continue reading