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[Nettime-nl] Expert meeting "Back to the Boutique? Digital everyday cult
Florian Cramer on Tue, 1 May 2012 13:21:51 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-nl] Expert meeting "Back to the Boutique? Digital everyday culture vs. the art school"

[Dit expert meeting is feitelijk geen publiek evenement  maar een
roundtable met mensen die als kunstenaars, ontwerpers en theoretici
ervaring met de educatie van design en kunst voor digitale media
hebben en onze zorgen delen dat zich het kunstonderwijs naar de
'analoge boutique' aan het terug trekken is. Ik stuur onze tekst toch
naar Nettime omdat hier veel betrokkene mensen mee lezen. Wie nog
deelnemen wil, graag mij een E-Mail sturen. De sessie op zondag is
helemaal openbaar. - Deelnemers op vrijdag zijn naast mij en Aldje van
Meer onder anderen Felix Stalder, Olia Lialina, Renee Ridgway, Richard
Vijgen, Luna Maurer en Jonathan Puckey. -Florian]

"Back to the Boutique? Digital everyday culture vs. the art school"
Expert meeting
Friday, May 18th, 12-5 p.m. (lunch break at 2)

An extra public discussion session will be held on Sunday, May 20th,
during the Piet Zwart Institute symposium "Prototyping Futures -
Occupying the Present" (http://www.prototypingfutures.net/).

Quantitative research conducted by Aldje van Meer in our research
center tells us that in 2012, art students intensively use computers
and the Internet as communication and production tools - mostly for
social media and the Adobe suite -, but almost never produce works
that are digital themselves. Digital media skills and knowledge, from
writing HTML to knowing contemporary media arts and design, have even
decreased, sometimes dramatically. Dutch art schools have shut down
most of their digital/interactive media study programs in the past
couple of years. Such lack of engagement is all the more worrying in a
time where digital media are no longer techno futurist visions, but
the mainstream media and everyday communication tools.

In the meantime, media design education has migrated to technical
universities and technology colleges. Nothing needs to be wrong with
this. But it results in designers who consider themselves mere
technicians and are unfamiliar with art and design history, visual
languages, artistic experiment and critical reflection of visual

Conversely, art schools are now mostly chosen by students who love
manual craft such as drawing and handmaking of tangible products.
Often, for example in zine and print making, this is motivated by
cultural opposition to electronic media. Nothing is wrong with this
either since it could be productive as a critical point of departure.
But it is ultimately producing a culture of making beautiful
collectible objects that goes back to the boutique model of art and
design. This potentially throws the arts back into the 19th century,
undoing the work of among others constructivism, Bauhaus, de Stijl,
Fluxus and Situationism which all redefined art as intervention into
everyday culture.

This development does not seem to be specific to the Netherlands, but
can be seen all over Europe. Many art schools stopped their new media
programs or reverted them into film/video or fine art programs. Part
of the issue are former 'interactive design' and 'interactive art'
departments that did not keep up with the times but remained stuck in
1990s machine art paradigms.

This expert meeting will be a mostly informal roundtable of artists,
designers and theoreticians with a long experience of teaching new
media in art schools.

Kenniscentrum Creating 010, Hogeschool Rotterdam

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