[iDC] sharing "new media" curricula/potentials

saul ostrow sostrow at gate.cia.edu
Sat Jan 27 19:17:38 EST 2007

I think that this whole discussion has to start with us moving away  
from the present notion of hybridity that orders most programs  
conception of  interdisciplinary - I do not think we need to teach  
our students to be interdisciplinary as much as we need to teach them  
to be able to navigate the present interdisciplinary environment,  
which seemingly necessitates we move away from the present model of  
authorship  that is presently promoted within the context of critical  
cultural production (art, etc)and move to one premised on  pragmatic,  
often short term (project based)collaborations -- by this I do not  
mean an artist bringing together a team to realize their vision- nor  
do I mean a collective/ corporation committed to gaining a market  
share as an entity -

This curricular initiative consequently focuses on developing  
programming ordered by both portable as well as fixed technical or  
disciplinary based skills. Such a charge is an acknowledgement that  
the coherent consensus supplied by the Bauhaus  more than 75 years  
ago is now seriously frayed and therefore it no longer contributes to  
the theoretical or philosophical grounding needed to create a new  
pedagogic model that would be sensitive to the fact that while the  
conceptual boundaries between disciplines are no longer rigid, and  
art production has been substantially been deskilled, we continue to  
produce with in an environment that is defined by disciplinary  
practices even if these are no longer necessarily media  based  
practices. This shift necessitates that we recognize that the  
objective of building media based skill sets is no longer a question  
of teaching students to produce or reproduce a certain kind of  
object, but rather to supply them with the skills and experience  
necessary to the production of what they have thought of.

As has been pointed out this re-orientation requires the introduction  
of real-world perspectives (rather than merely instrumental or  
functionalist ones) on experimentation, integration and the  
application of skills within both a specific genre and without.  
Consequently,  disciplinary skills must be taught with a view toward  
teaching students to negotiate and navigate and interdisciplinary  
environment. Such experiences would give students a chance to  
understand and _call into question_ within multiple contexts, and  
under diverse material circumstances, the general ecology of their  
field rather than reflecting the pragmatic realities of an assumed  
fixed subject and context.  By learning to deploy skills that are  
multi-dimensional, they will be able to determine what other skills  
they will need to learn. It is extremely important for artists to  
understand the various worlds, particularly the ones they want to  
operate  within, so that they may not only navigate them, but have  
effect. Without the necessary critical skills  to function within the  
socio-cultural environment, it will be hard for them to not only  
comprehend but apply their skills and concepts to a broader context  
as they move beyond disciplinary based activities. This means that  
programs must continually be in motion, so as to reflect new and  
specific aspects of the real world conditions of cultural production.

More information about the iDC mailing list