Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Underground Art School

The last few weeks here at Professor VJ have been relatively quiet. First, it ends up that experiencing image actualization is much more fun than sitting down to write about it. My own thoughts are coming out in realtime a lot faster than this blog can accommodate them. I can see how this will lead to some format changes in the near future (could it be Twitter?).

Where have I been? Besides New York, L.A., Austin, and Grand Forks, I have been deep in The Zone. The comedy album is more work than I could have ever imagined and is slow-going, but turning out great. The second feature-length film to follow Immobilité has gone from being 95% finished to about 97.2% finished. My new book of artist writings, REMIXOLOGY, is now under review at a major academic press. And before I forget, my students, who were featured in the new CIAC magazine last month, have just finished their final projects, all of which were included in a huge end of the school year blow-out event we titled INVASION. The projects were wonderfully experimental and featured live A/V performance, digital video remix and installation, sound installation art, a zine, an interactive net art manifesto, and a never before attempted collaborative text message performance with live video and poetic remixing of the incoming messages, many of them appropriated texts such as Tiger Wood's naughty grams, aphorisms from Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, excerpts from a Japanese text message novel, and random text messages from others out in the network.

Bringing both remixology and some of the material from my comedy album into the conventional studio art styled classroom has been a trip. Something that differentiates me from a lot of my colleagues around the country is that even though I am a Professor of Art and Art History, I never went to art school. So that means I do not carry any of the baggage associated with that whole studio art critique model of learning. My "higher" arts education took place in various art scenes around the globe. This means that instead of creating the perfect environment for individual studio artists to pursue their genius only to be stomped on by my institutionally supported critiques that are meant to give them a dose of reality that I feel they need to struggle with especially if they ever hope to become successful players in the elitist commodity art world circuit, I just try and inform them how interdisciplinary art (and writing) scenes organically evolve out of hybridized social networking discourse while at the same time introduce them to some of the ploys used by collaborative networks and digitally manipulated personas to build these scenes of contemporary practice from the underground up. Most of them appreciate it, even if they prefer to stay above-ground and prepare themselves for the white cube.

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