A Critical Teaching Strategy for the Digital Art


Session Title:

  • Pedagogical Policies (Electronic Art in Universities)

Presentation Title:

  • A Critical Teaching Strategy for the Digital Art



  • Intro

    Students are learning to be artists in a time of radical transformation of the systems utilized for the creation of art. The emergence of digital technology is viewed by many to be heralding an age of flexible interdisciplinary utilizations of new tools which will seriously affect the relationship between artists and their media. University Art Departments are faced with the difficult task of integrating emerging technologies into their curriculum in order to prepare the artists of tomorrow with the knowledge and ability to utilize modern technology effectively in their art practice. The integration of art and technology courses within the University often raises problematic issues. These include the concerted lack of attention given to technology related issues and practices in Art Foundation and History courses. Students entering introductory courses in Computer Art of- 194ten lack any understanding of the context of the development of technology as related to the arts. Introductory computer courses generally focus on teaching large amounts of technical information necessary to utilize new tools. Unfortunately, this approach often creates students which are technically adept, yet conceptually and historically deficient. The author will detail a teaching philosophy which attempts to remedy this situation by creating an educational environment for the exploration of digital electronic systems through a balance of a strong critical, historical and cultural analysis and the development of technical skills through controlled experimentation. Functioning from a strong belief that it is only through informed and meaningful experimentation will the artists of tomorrow be empowered with the abilities necessary to avoid the creation of technologically masterful exercises which are meaningless as works of art. It is imperative to challenge students to move beyond the superficial utilization and understanding of technology to create art that forgoes fantasy in order to critically engage our reality. This is in part accomplished by challenging students to consider the larger cultural and historical implications of the technologization of art.