January on empyre soft-skinned space (you can join the list-serv discussion at http://www.subtle.net/empyre
* view archived discussion from January
Contesting the Netopticon
Moderated by Simon Biggs (UK/Australia) with invited discussants Joseph Delappe, Marc Garrett, Davin Heckman, Patrick Lichty, Heidi May, Christina Spiesel and Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead.
Dear empyre subscribers,
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) described an apparatus he termed the Panopticon, intended to condition the behaviour of subjects by disallowing them knowledge of whether they were being observed or not, causing them to fear they were. The space Bentham sought to control was the prison, seeking to replace capital punishment with a penal system focused on rehabilitation. Janet Semple’s study (Semple) evidences Bentham’s correspondence, suggesting an intent to establish for-profit penal institutions based on his Panoptic model.
George Orwell, in his novel 1984 (1949), evoked a state of perpetual government surveillance designed to crush deviation from mandated behaviour, seeking to implant the self-governing mechanism within the psyche of the
Michel Foucault employed Bentham’s conceptual framework as a motif for social order in an interpretation that has become an intellectual touchstone. In Foucault’s vision, mapped out in his seminal 1975 text “Discipline and Punish” (Foucault), the Panopticon extends far beyond the prison and manifests as a pervasive property of social space and relations, the dark matter of power relations. Continue reading
Perhaps by applying user terminology to our experiences with the internet we are setting ourselves up to be ‘used”? Does it also place more emphasis on physical vs. psychological acts of being? When we hear the word ‘use’ do we first think of the physical, concrete world over an imagined reality? Language can hold us back from meaningful understanding, thus meaningful creative responses to those understandings…How might our understanding of these experiences and ourselves change if we were to call ourselves ‘participants’ and ‘players’ acting on or within rather than ‘users’ or ‘subjects’ of the digital world…
Questions are more interesting than answers. I think this is the case for all artists who incorporate any kind of conceptual pursuit into their work. In a similar line of thought, the dialogue that emerges following a critique is often more interesting, and definitely more in-depth and revealing, than the critique itself.
Yesterday I skimmed over a book review on Rhizome for Digital Folklore Reader, a new book edited by Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied. The authors seem to explore ideas I am considering within my own work, however, I can’t decide whether to fork over the money to have it shipped to me from the UK. I went back to the review today and saw that a new comment was posted by a fellow reader. The comment inspired me to actually read the full review. Through the questions posed by this commentator, I became much more engaged with the review itself because I was encouraged to develop my own thoughts about the content of this book. Read the book review and my commentary here >
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
Below is an annotated version of the slideshow for a session I presented on June 17th, 2009 at the Canadian e-Learning Conference.
Art educators are capable of seeing new pedagogical possibilities when working with digital technology in curriculum, which suggests that their work might benefit the future of networked learning. This session will demonstrate how online technologies are being used to foster meaningful discourse and original imagery within studio art courses at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. These particular courses offered online are not about using the computer to make art, but rather an understanding of visual principles and conceptual themes. In many cases students use traditional media and then document the work for online presentation. Although the lack of human contact adds challenges to the teaching and learning process, our experience has revealed success in quality of work, active participation, and critical thinking.
Click to view pdf of slideshow
Find out about other presentations I have done in this area here.