Educating Artists in a Digital Age (posters_0056)

Professor Mel Alexenberg

SIGGRAPH ‏2005.  Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics of the Association for Computing Machinery. The 32nd International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques

31 July – 4 August, Los Angeles Convention Center

Interdisciplinary Programs in Art, Science and Technology

Alternative conceptual models for curriculum development are derived from a comparative analysis of degree programs for educating artists to create art at the interdisciplinary interface where digital technologies and scientific inquiry shape cultural values in an era of globalization.  

Current programs and departments in art schools, universities, and colleges have a range of cognate titles: art and technology, science technology art, digital art, digital media, computer art, conceptual information arts, media arts, new media, new genres, electronic art, interactive media, intermedia, multimedia design, electronic imaging and digital multimedia, interdisciplinary computing and the arts, arts computation engineering, interactive telecommunications, and interdisciplinary art, science and technology.

Four alternative models can be used to analyze BA, BFA, MA, and MFA programs in these areas in terms of their degree requirements, curricula, and course offerings in theoretical studies and studio practice.  These curriculum models can aid existing programs in their self-evaluation, growth and development, and provide invaluable assistance to institutions of higher education starting new programs worldwide. 

Alternative Conceptual Models for Curriculum Development

Process Model

Derived from psychology of the creative process in art and science coupled with ancient spiritual wisdom.             

1.  Precognitive realm: consciousness / spirituality / intention      כתר

2.  Cognitive realm: insight / conceptualization / inquiry    חכמה / בינה

3.  Affective realm: emotions / aesthetic experience / artistic expression

חסד / גבורה / תפארת / נצח / הוד / יסוד

4.  Space-time realm: action with materials / technologies / media מלכות

5.  Space-time realm: action in local community / global culture / biosphere מלכות

(From Mel Alexenberg, The Future of Art in a Digital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness, Bristol, UK: Intellect Books, in press.)

Product Model

Derived from properties of artworks created at the intersections of art, science, technology, and consciousness. 

1. Connectivity: of part to part, person to person, mind to mind

2. Immersion: into the whole, and the dissolution thereby of subject and ground

3. Interaction: as the very form of art, such that art as the behavior of forms has become art as a form of behavior

4. Transformation: perpetual flux of image, surface, and identity

5. Emergence: the perpetual coming into being of meaning, matter, and mind

(From Roy Ascott. “The Planetary Collegium: Art and Education in the Post-Biological Era” in The Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology and Consciousness.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.)

Semiotic Model

Derived from ways in which signs create significance in art through three representational art forms that signify what was by illustration, symbolization, and documentation and three presentational art forms that signify what is, what can be, and what is becoming

1. Iconic Art: represents the external appearance of things

2. Symbolic Art: assigns meaning maintained by convention, by agreement of community

3. Indexic Art: documents events by presenting direct physical evidence that they happened

4. Identic Art:  presents itself as art: form as form, color as color, object as object, event as event.

5. Prioric Art:  presents a plan or proposal for a potential event

6. Dialogic Art:  exists as the interrelationship between people, between people and their environments, and can extend to inter-species dialogue

(From Mel Alexenberg. “Semiotic Redefinition of Art in a Digital Age” in Debbie Smith-Shank (ed.), Semiotics and Visual Culture: Sights, Signs, and Significance.  Reston, VA: National Art Education Association, 2004.)

Information Model

Derived from information theory and media technologies used in creating art; art as research; art/science as cultural acts.

1. Digital Information Systems/Computers: computer media, virtual reality, activated objects, artificial intelligence, visualization

2. Telecommunications: web art, Internet, telephone, radio, teleconferencing, videoconferencing

3. Kinetics: robotics, light sculpture, sound installation, movement, performance 

4. Mathematics: algorithms, fractals, symmetries, artificial life

5. Physics: nonlinear systems, materials science, geology, astronomy, space science, global positioning systems

6.Biology: ecology, genetics, evolution, microbiology, plants, animals, body and medicine

(From Stephen Wilson. Information Arts: Intersections of Art, Science, and Technology.  Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002.)