Friday, April 23, 2010

Art School

Behind the scenes I am still building my material for a comedy album I'm producing on "Art School," "Creative Class Struggle," "Critical Thinking," and "What It Means To Always Be IN Character."

A more academic yet equally interesting investigation into similar themes can be found in Art School (Propositions for the 21st Century). I'm just getting a taste of it now. The collection includes this article which begins:
Artereality: the flow of mediating channels

In summary and with respect to an integrated Arts education, Artereality is an expanded model of humanistic scholarly practice and communication oriented upon cultural production and making, with a revised notion of craft as reflexive and critical practice. Artereality implies diverse ecologies of interest, skill and activity that subsume disciplinary boundaries without sacrificing expertise in specific subject domains. Quite the opposite, in our experience in Stanford Humanities Lab, Artereality is about the management of flows through articulated fields of deep and expert knowledge, articulations made through matters of common human and humanistic concern — broad themes such as the politics of association in modernity, the management of presence in contemporary media, the representation of historical time, the expression of local identity in relation to substantive fields such as the architecture of Berlin, revolutionary poster design, contemporary performance art, Asian-American artists, military simulation. These are the basis of integrated practices producing research, pedagogical experience and manifold publication.

The following is both a report on an ongoing experiment and a speculative application of that very experiment to the future of advanced-level arts education. It seeks to rethink some of the most productive institutions and moments from the modern past—the Arts and Crafts workshop, the Bauhaus, the laboratory of Constructivism, among them—in terms of the altered cultural and economic circumstances of the late industrial era. It assumes that art’s autonomy, one of the decisive conquests of the modern(ist) era, has led not only to an extraordinary proliferation of artistic forms and freedoms, but also to the current impasse which places arts education in the service of up-market commodity culture and at arm’s length from other forms of knowledge production and, in particular, from the very technology and media transformations that are reshaping the cultural norms of the present era.

We have coined the neologism Artereality to designate some guiding principles that could contribute to repositioning arts education closer to the center of the contemporary knowledge economy. As we envisage it, Artereality places the design and production of art objects and goods in a more discipline-dynamic context, shifting the focus away from “pure” creation toward the management of networks, links, flows, translations, and mediations —in short, arteries and nodes. It implies a number of things: teamwork-based education as a complement to the traditional individualized studio, a turn towards process as essential complement to product, the embrace of project-based and performance-based learning, and a conception of arts practice coterminous with research and pedagogy. We draw upon our experience in the Stanford Humanities Lab to outline the features of Artereality as a kind of manifesto for a new model of arts education within the Academy: a model embodied by the Ph.D. in Arts Practice. The M.F.A. was an institutional expression of the modern(ist) era in university-level arts education. The Ph.D. in Arts Practice is the expression of the distinctive complexities, demands, and opportunities provided by the present era. Its time is now.
Emphasis mine.

Metadata: , , , ,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Playing It As It L.A.ys

Just back from a visiting artist gig at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in their Graduate Media Design Program chaired by the best media designer I have ever worked with, Anne Burdick (among other things, Anne is the Design Editor of the electronic book review which I have been publishing for 15 years now).

The students in the Graduate course "New Modes of Reading and Writing" were investigating "the range of issues in the design and production of texts by designing a writing ecology (interface / technology / environment / system) to support a very specific, previously unaddressed (or poorly addressed) need." The students were asked to literally take on a fictional persona who would present a specific social group, institution or individual and their unique communication need (real or imaginary) and the constraints that make current technologies inadequate.

The projects that emerged played with conceptual 3-D picture languages, invisible messaging, and prehistoric remixologies. I was there for their final critiques.

While in L.A., which was awesome, I visited the house I rented in Beverlywood while going to film school at UCLA all those years ago (it's actually up for sale) and caught a couple of killer art shows, including this 30 year retrospective at Geffen's MOCA. It's great to see how SoCal supports their nationally and internationally recognized artists (wish I could say the same thing about the Denver art scene but unfortunately our big show the second half of this year is going to be King Tut).

For those visiting L.A. in the future, as always you need to be prepared to rent a car, and my experience was actually fantastic: the good folks at were waiting for me as soon as I arrived at the airport. They had driven a fully loaded Prius to the airport and literally within ten minutes after arriving I was driving off into GPS-instructed Drive-Thru Land. The price was right and they also met me at the airport upon my departure so that the return took less than five minutes as well.

And for coffee lovers, the top barista in Boulder, Greg at Ozo, who was also in L.A. competing in the U.S. Barista Championships, suggested L.A. Mill which has the best iced coffee I have had (except for Ozo). They also had an organic roast from Bali that is unlike any other coffee I have ever tasted. Great vibe inside the place as well. Runner-up in the cafe experience: Intelligentsia on Sunset Boulevard where I got through another 50 pages of Bolaño.

I'll be back (soon).

Metadata: , , , , , ,