New Media, New Forms has provided me many challenging opportunities to revisit art and technology through the lens of education. The course and perspective [art/tech/ed combo], staged the discourse of New/Media-Forms in subtle variance with art-tech-centric modalities, and with the conversations situating theory as the mediator for both art & tech. I found this shift awakened and expanded unexplored territories for practice and thinking about many facets of my 4D+ art approach. At the same time the class added to my artistic skill-set (e.g., with introductory training in 3D printing, laser cutting, basic circuitry, etc), provisioning new directions I plan to explore in production. Through NMNF I encountered platforms and pedagogy that were unfamiliar and suggestive of neglected areas in my skill-set - always a good sign for this student! I found the exchanges in each class to be almost entirely respectful and often compelling. The in-class discussions blended nicely with the informative readings attaching to the syllabus. To summarize, after I reviewed my CTC statement of purpose and thought about my objectives for NMNF, I am satisfied with the progress made in the intensive course, which Richard Jochum, our instructor, indicated is a survey for Creative Technologies program.
I have struggled at times to adapt to the educational orientation of NMNF. I have found it difficult, but rewarding to sort through that struggle, and to discover more about it. Frequent, congenial, frank (and ongoing) discussions with Professor Jochum have provided me helpful guidance in navigating these difficulties. Through these talks, Richard and I have been able to identify the main factors contributing to my problems adapting to the art/tech/ed paradigm. Coming as I do from a production artist background, informed by prodigious research/theoretical pursuits, I - for example - do not approach tasking the same way someone whose primary expertise is classroom instruction might do. That art production and creative ed do not share identical objectives, beyond the abstract/macro (i.e., "cultural enrichment," etc.) is not much arguable. However, the tech-factor flattens the fields at field-convergent points of shared gear, software, sometimes processes and to a certain degree "users," clients and stakeholders, etc. Society writ large, at least ideally (from an assumed "enlightened" democratic perspective), as in ought-to-be, equally invested in art and education. How technology figures into the mix seems to be exactly what Creative Technologies at CTC is designed to explore.
The "drivers" for an artist are not entirely or necessarily identical to the motivations and aspirations for achievement, as it is defined by and for teachers and the students of teaching. Therefore, the methods and sensibilities right for studio production may not work in the academic setting. The intensity, work ethic and focus I bring to the production studio did not at first translate well to the playful approach to the course work/material assigned by Professor Jochum. I tended to overdo assignments, relative to Richard's suggested time-parameters for them and for the coursework in toto. By the final class, truth be told, I still hadn't managed to align my output to the metrics of NMNF, which the professor frequently reminded us was meant to be a function of "fun" - in the spirit of "play." However, the exercise of attempting to modulate my work/output intensity proved valuable and yielded interesting results. The most obvious instance of this mannered flow-change is evidenced in the re-direction of my Impact 25 project, from the concept "My Favorite Move," to the completed "SELFIE." The former is better suited for a 3-month+ full production timetable, etc., and the latter was more or less executed overnight. In the rear view mirror, "Selfie" is still a worthwhile, valuable undertaking, for a number of reasons.
Another divergence is located in what I might characterize as craft-sense, which is a relative of craftsmanship. Through NMNF, primarily via interactions with peer-students, I developed a keener sensitivity to potential variegation in responses to the New Media genre, its tools, history, politics, psych-/anthro-/sociology, theory and so forth. The forms of New Media are not uniform, and no agent owns the massive scenario unfolding in both Real and Virtual Time under the umbrella of that term (New Media). My fixation on Time and other concerns (e.g., astronomy, physics, an emergent 4D practicum and embedded, if marginalized art history, etc.), as mapped in my texts for the Oxford/Ruskin application [Fall/Winter 2016-7], barely appeared in the scope of NMNF. The orientation of theory-practice I've been committed to since the mid-00s is not the orientation, I found represented in and around my first CTC/CT course. Instead I discovered what for me is a whole "world" and space, inhabited by people whose interests are directed at solving very different problems, with another body of ideas, set of practices and historical perspectives, whose science is faceted differently than the one in which I had become comfortable without noticing, without knowing it. The scales and scopes, abbreviations and buzzwords, even the anecdotal mannerisms differ from those with which I am fluent. In my discussions with Richard, and some of my fellow students, I needed to ask questions about what for them were mundane matters in the vernacular. Fortunately, almost all my requests for explanations were answered kindly and tolerantly. I found that career teachers make excellent co-learners. I am not sure my "art world," which frequently seems to reward snark and the curmudgeon, has taught me some of the fine qualities I see in the CTC demographic.
Probably most importantly, in NMNF I got comfortable with being uncomfortable, and by the final week, had accepted those aspects of practical conversion I can accommodate at once, those that might take longer, and those that might not happen. Again, the most vital aspect in this process was regular communication with Professor Jochum. Within the syllabus/curriculum I discovered wiggle room in which to operate in a sort of hybrid mode. I think this blog demonstrates the benefits of activating the interstices among disciplines, which today exists in the body, the forms of New Media.