[iDC] sharing "new media" curricula/potentials

patrick lichty voyd at voyd.com
Wed Jan 24 07:53:53 EST 2007

James is doing great things, for sure.  We're working together (Ars
Virtua and my institution, The BitFactory, which houses several groups)
on some projects, including launching The UPGRADE! SL towards the middle
of the year.  
Patrick Lichty
- Interactive Arts & Media
  Columbia College, Chicago
- Editor-In-Chief
  Intelligent Agent Magazine
225 288 5813
voyd at voyd.com
"It is better to die on your feet 
than to live on your knees." 
-----Original Message-----
From: idc-bounces at bbs.thing.net [mailto:idc-bounces at bbs.thing.net] On
Behalf Of Joel Slayton
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 10:18 PM
To: IDC list
Subject: Re: [iDC] sharing "new media" curricula/potentials
Hello everyone,
You might be interested in a conference being organized by one of our
faculty here at CADRE, James Morgan.   James is responsible for the Ars
Virtua Gallery in Second Life which is definitely worth a visit.   He
has also organized Virtual Artists-in-Residence (AVAIR) which provided
a $400 stipend, training and mentorship that results in an exhibition in
the Ars Virtua gallery.  http://arsvirtua.com/
Joel Slayton
Director, CADRE Laboratory
Ars Virtua Conference on Borders April 26-28
contact:   james at factorynoir.com
"Borders, Boundaries & Liminal States", a three day conference in Second
Life, will explore divisions and shed light on these ideas and on the
nature of the synthetic environment.
.           Borders define geographic boundaries of political entities
or legal jurisdictions, such as governments, states or sub-national
administrative divisions.
.           The boundary of a set (in mathematics) is those points that
can be approached from within the set and without.  It is all points not
contained in the interior of a set.
.           The liminal state (in ritual) is characterized by ambiguity,
openness, and indeterminacy. One's sense of identity dissolves to some
extent, bringing about disorientation. Liminality is a period of
transition, during which normal limits to thought, self-understanding,
and behavior are relaxed, opening the way to something new.
Borders are frequently under contention; they are regions that neatly
separate two entities and enable a form of deconstruction.  However, the
distinctions formed by borders are not sufficient and we realize that
often the border begins to represent a third region and generates more
contentious borders.
It is truly difficult to discern the breadth a border, an indeterminate
space, and it's depth is dependent on the sphere, there is a point when
you can cross into the "other." Borders would be impossible to cross if
this was false and the liminal space would disappear.
It is our assertion that the synthetic world is a fundamentally liminal
space.  This is not because it is functionally transitional, except
perhaps that it is not a destination, but that it functions parallel to
'real' space and remains temporary in its occupancy.
Our interest lies in both the synthetic and the terrestrial world though
fundamentally one is a subset of the other. A Venn diagram may hold
visual information about this relationship, but it misses the point.
There is a functional liminal space that exists outside the terrestrial.
We want to emphasize that while there is a relationship here the liminal
space that is created synthetically doesn't exist in a terrestrial
sense.  So the atoms and the electrons are terrestrial and represented
by our friend Venn, the intellectual space is not however anything but
contained by materials and represents a different space.
To that end we are considering sessions relating to gender/sexuality,
race, architecture, body/technology, body/digital image, life/non-life,
transgenics, and game/environment. If you have an interest in these
topics and would like to present, or would like to suggest another topic
please contact nmc at arsvirtua.com
Conference Date: April 26-28, 2007
On Jan 23, 2007, at 3:02 PM, Tiffany Holmes wrote:

Dear all,
Thanks to all who have posted a response to the questions about how to
create community/interdisciplinary collaborations and innovation in new
media curricula.  Thanks to those to who took the time to describe your
programs to us!  We'd love to hear more-------Mark Tribe and Michael
Naimark created a whole list on their WIKI but we'd like to hear your
take on your curricula and its effect on the student population---in
particular the diversity of the new media student population.
In terms of strategies to encourage a diverse community and modes of
participation in curricula, I'm thrilled to hear Patrick's comment about
creating a virtual classroom in Second Life.  Is anyone else working
with Second Life as an educational space or performance venue?
Interesting questions have been posed about the ways that computer
programming as a medium is approached by both students and their
instructors.  Most of you agreed that there is no need for a concrete
set of standards or outcomes for a new media program.  But I'm curious
about your position on this question: should every new media student
learn the basics of computer programming? Why or why not?
Blanca described the difficulty of learning programming in a
collaborative group when everyone in the group was working on a project
to be produced with a deadline.  She spoke of the challenge of having so
many levels of experience in a working group.
Shawn articulated his position that artists should learn to code ("The
artist should not be absent from the creation of their own custom
software.") and that computer programming was a medium to learn no
different that painting or drawing.
Coding literacy takes time to acquire---but if you spend the time anyone
can do it.  MFA students at SAIC want to make large-scale projects
without having to fool around learning media "basics."  Recently, a
graduate student informed me that our department should hire an
additional computer programmer as technician who would work exclusively
with students to "code" their projects from inspiration to installation.
Nancy mentioned this problem of the production costs---the elaborate new
media installations one sees these days at festivals require tremendous
resources to produce.  The graduate students are hyper-aware that 2
years is a short time to learn programming and produce a thesis piece.
Our MFA population (25 total) is incredibly varied in terms of levels of
experience and interests.  It is a constant concern, how to get these
students to independently solve coding problems and feel empowered by
their tool so they can realize their exciting ideas.
In Unlocking the Clubhouse (2002), social scientist Jane Margolis and
computer scientist Alan Fischer make recommendations to decrease the
gender gap in computer science (CS) programs particularly in those areas
that prepare individuals to design and create new software.  This
discussion, while focused on CS students, is incredibly relevant to this
debate over how to keep new media students engaged in a community of
students studying the same medium: the practice of learning programming.
The book is based on interviews with over 100 computer science students
from Carnegie Mellon University.  The authors' study was a huge success;
since 1995 the proportion of women has risen from 7% to 42% in 2000 in
the undergraduate CS program.  Here are some of the key recommendations:
1) Level the playing field---give those with less programming experience
a background.  Combine a "discovery-based", real-world orientation to
curriculum with an introduction to programming that would prepare
students for a more advanced course. 
2)  Advertise to everyone---Prior experience with computer programming
is not a prerequisite.
3) Hire a pool of diverse teachers and TAs; equal numbers or men and
women in particular, and hire individuals that engage a variety of
learning styles.
4) Create programming problems around real-world issues.  (Molly
Steenson described short, 4 to 6 week courses in Ivrea that addressed
this need---sounded very interesting!)
I think for the most part these four are good rules to live by.  Let us
know if there are other strategies you have employed to increase the
diversity of your student population.
Thank you to the IDC listers for these resources also:
Andrea Polli-Leonardo Education Forum
Shawn Lawson-Siggraph Education Committee
PAUL D. MILLER aka DJ SPOOKY-Media Sounds course syllabus, and
description of the European Graduate School. Thanks for these
references.  I want to take the class....
Michael Naimark and Mark Tribe: Wiki Directory of Academic Art and
Technology Programs (IDC listers--try to add yours if it's not there)
Kevin Hamilton: Apply, this one sounds fascination!
Workshop on HCI and New Media: Methodology and Evaluation
Molly Steenson: description of interaction design at Ivrea
I look forward to hearing more.  Cheers, Tiff
Tiffany Holmes, Associate Professor
Chair, Department of Art and Technology Studies
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
112 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago IL 60603
Phone: 312-345-3760,  Fax: 312-345-3565
Mobile: 312-493-0302

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iDC at bbs.thing.net
List Archive:
Joel Slayton
Director, SJSU CADRE Laboratory 


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