The Planetary Collegium


Session Title:

  • Pedagogical Policies (Electronic Art in Universities)

Presentation Title:

  • The Planetary Collegium



  • Intro

    Remember Vincent Van Gogh’s Painter on His Way to Work, carrying it all on his back? That’s where art education is heading. I don’t mean the canvas and easel. I mean carrying it all on your back, in the clothes that you wear and in the headband in your hair. 50% pure natural wool 50% optical fibre. I am talking about the interface moving onto and, eventually, into the body. That’s your electronic media artist on her way to school. She’s wearing the university on her sleeve.

    We’re not talking about a few curriculum changes here. We’re not talking about the gradual replacement of some of the library stacks with a few computers. We are talking about the total dissolution, disintegration, and dispersal of Higher Education. From real estate to cyber estate. The university is becoming the “Interversity”. Ask the students. Hundreds of thousands use the Internet daily. When Larry Smart first issued NCSA Mosaic, the network interface to hypermedia browsing, there were ten thousand users in the first three weeks. Now there are over two million. Students are half in school and half in cyberspace. They live between the virtual and the real. They are in the Net more often than out of it. This is the advent of Inter Reality, the space we are most likely to inhabit for the next many years. The ethics of the net, its integrity and inclusiveness, are creating a social behavior, a morality, which will bring huge bonuses to the real world. I am with Esther Dyson of the Electronic Frontier Foundation when she says that organized political parties won’t be needed if open networks “enable people to organize ad hoc, rather than get stuck in some rigid group”. The end is to reverse-engineer government, to hack Politics down to its component parts and fix it. She echoes the words of Hazel Henderson writing twenty years before her: “Networks are a combination of invisible college and a modern version of the Committees of Correspondence that our revolutionary forefathers used as vehicles for political change”.
    This post-political process also involves the student in learning to browse, to graze, to hunt for ideas, projects, data, as well as intellectual and artistic collaboration and friendship in all kinds of electronic places, virtual libraries, tele-common rooms and cyber colleges. The students’ time in telepresence and virtual learning mode is increasing rapidly. Have you noticed in the studios, libraries and computer suites how every terminal, every interface is occupied, all the time.