Wednesday, September 17, 2003

New Media, so what. 

Hall Chat: New Media + Digital Design

[The bleachers are very woodsy and beautiful in the W+K atrium, but can I suggest that PICA start a bleacher cushion concession?]

Here's the breakdown:

Technology is a tool which can be used for good or evil.

Some artists use it to deepen the audience's understanding of their message (like websites that direct you to other thoughts, musings, visuals on the work at hand), some use it to comment directly on technology's effect on your /our lives, and others just use and highlight the technical aspects of the particular tool. Those works tend not to be narrative, but rather environmental and ambient.

Coco Fusco's analysis was thoughtful, articulate and incisive. Jelly Helm, though he was unnecessarily apologetic for being on the panel, helped break down the notion of problematic new media and technology as anything other than yet another tool in the box (or arsenal as the case may be) from which to drawn upon.

Can I just ask what about free will? Education? History? If your kid doesn't know what a record is, whose fault is that? Technology's? If the art student pursues the cutting edge of 3-d flash programs and so doesn't have time to take any art history or other course work, whose fault is that? The institutional curriculum of the program that she enrolled in, or technology's? If you are away from the office, or at home and you feel compelled to work and answer email, is that not your choice? Or did the technology make you do it?

Ultimately New/Digital Media are tools, just like the printing press and the charcoal-y stick on the cave wall. But you still need to use the tool to do something of substance, to connect with someone, to tell a story or come away with a new perspective or inspire a magical moment. Ultimately the people who can do that, with or without whatever the New Media is of the day, will enchant, bedazzle, corrupt, and inspire us. Um, like before.

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