Initiation and the Academy


Session Title:

  • The Art Mainstream as the Enemy

Presentation Title:

  • Initiation and the Academy



  • The academies of art have failed to respond to the challenge of new technologies. They teach students how to push a mouse about and use ‘shrink wrapped’ apps, which emulate traditional media, whilst simultaneously undermining attempts to develop a curriculum that can address ‘significant’ issues and knowledge development. They are constrained by fear of the unknown and restrained by the new ‘rational’ economics of higher education which prioritise funding for developments that earn immediate benefits (like enrolment income) rather than for ‘prestigious’ developments like a reputable (albeit potentially subversive) arts program. The digital domain offers an emergent metamedium which has not yet consolidated and cannot therefore be named. Attempts to deal with long-term ‘pre-strategic’ research are often put aside in favour of programs that apply existing linguistic modalities and exploit historical media metaphors. Academic teaching is obsessed with late modernist rhetoric and the application of language where ‘scholarship’ replaces metalinguistic activities like creativity. The emergent culture questions and undermines the academy and it’s role in the initiation of new creative talent. Historical models like the development of photography, motion pictures or post impressionism suggest that the new media are likely to mature outside of and despite of the academy.