Julian Bleecker on Tue, 18 Dec 2007 06:01:02 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Perhaps a way of teaching media

On Dec 15, 2007, at 3:20 PST, Arthur Clay wrote:

> The approach here regarding Media Art Education is something most
> students do after they finish with their education. Being one of
> those artists who skipped the whole endless chase after degrees,
> I can only state that there are also negative consequences of
> not having the old "sheep skin".

No doubt. There are also bitter consequences for having that bit of hide.
I've got three swatches of hide and trying to be undisciplinary _with_ them
is quite painful. I've been told by folks with more power and fewer hides
that I am supposed to have done x, y and z "things" post-PhD, many of which
I see as the wrong way to spend my intellectual, creative and family time
on -- so I don't..and thence the negative consequences unfold.

> Everything is basically a self taught situation. A teacher can guide
> students, but not learn for them.

Huh. This seems rather an ideal perspective. I suspect (my bias..) many to
most students expect their teachers to school them in what they need to
know in a rather instrumental way.  ("Teach me some tools!") You certainly
can't learn _for_ someone -- I'm not even sure what that would mean. But,
the better to best teachers will teach students how to learn, how to
circulate knowledge, and knit together the "conversations" from many
different practice idioms. Rather than teaching them how to camp out within
one "field" of study ("you should references to your work, go to this
conference, and write in this style"), they will teach them how to wander
creatively and intellectually, and pursue a broader geography of knowledge.

> After teaching the last 5 years in various art schools in Europe, a
> certain understanding of the politics of the schools and grant office is
> rather important. Otherwise survival is not possible.  The dean's new car
> and the other percs of holding such positions start becoming reasonable,
> when one takes a look how schools obtain the funding they need to exist.
> Student tuition is clear only 1000 Euro in most schools per Semester, but
> even if it was 40K per year, I am not sure it covers the costs of the
> school .


Sorry. I could justify this with forensic accounting, but the books are
concealed at my institution -- no fiscal openness. I'll have to rely on my
instincts from time-served in the normal, human world. But, the fact that
part of the administration is under investigation for student loan
malfeasance, that I've been made privvy to misbalanced salaries amongst
faculty who work harder and get paid 50% less than others (multiple counts
of this, at multiple institutions both public and private), and other
mysterious misallocations of "overhead" (including fancy cars, a
dead-giveway to graft here in Hollywood), I just have to disagree.

> So, perhaps the most important aspect that is not to be forgotten is that
> everything brought in the below program will also cost and that an art
> school may be an unneeded venture for learning to be artist, it is rather
> a  good network to function is an artists.

No doubt it will cost. And not everyone will want to spend their money that
way. Some would, given the option of either spending $1300 per credit
hour(!) (just _one_ credit hour) or spending that same amount of money on a
"student rate" month in Berlin during Transmediale, or that same credit
hour for two weeks in Linz during Ars Electronica, Singapore for ISEA,
etc., etc.

> The last question remains: is Prof. Bleeker is sawing off the branch he
> is sitting on  in that what he is proposing is a DIY education for the
> arts.

Assuming that there is maybe 1 in 20 students or prospective students, just
speaking from my own experience, who has the gumption and moxy to pursue a
rather peculiar course of study, I'm confident that there will be enough
who demand the traditional drill to keep the limb sturdy. I wish sometimes
I could offer the independent course of study to the students who I see who
would probably not do as well, or even suffer creatively, from a
traditional academic program.

Anyway..I'm just sayin'.


Julian Bleecker

> Arthur Clay
>> Year 1 -- Circulate. Attend the international new media arts/music/
>> video festivals, workshops, year-end shows throughout the year. I figure
>> you can be at one of these at least every 6-8 weeks. In between a
>> rigorous curriculum of readings across the canon of art history, media
>> history, anthropology, technical documentation, design journals and
>> fictions. Along the way, studio visits and informal cafe conversations
>> with distributed faculty.
> <...>

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