WebCamTalk 1.0 - Guest Speaker Series and Conference on New Media Art Education

Find a series of 20 interviews on these issues at:
Webcamtalk in Kiasma seminar room on Saturday 16th, at 16:00

Over the past ten years new-media art programs have been started at universities. Departments are shaped, many positions in this field open up and student interest is massive. In China, India, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand enormous developments will take place in the next few years in “new media” art education. At the same time technologists, artists and educators acknowledge a crisis mode: from Germany to Canada, Finland, Ireland, Australia, Taiwan and Singapore to the United States and beyond. But so far, at least in the United States there has been surprisingly little public debate about education in new-media art.

Many educators point to a widespread tension between vocational training and a critical solid education. There is no stable “new media industry” for which a static skill set would prepare the graduate for his or her professional future in today’s post-dotcom era. Between Futurist narratives of progress with all their techno-optimism and the technophobia often encountered in more traditional narratives- how do we educate students to be equally familiar with technical concepts, theory, history, and art? How can new media theory be activated as a wake-up call for students leading to radical change? Which educational structure proves more effective: cross-disciplinary, theme-based research groups or media-based departments? Does the current new media art curriculum allow for play, failure, and experiment? How can we introduce free software into the new media classroom when businesses still hardly make use of open source or free software? How can we break out of the self-contained university lab? What are examples of meaningful connections between media production in the university and cultural institutions as well as technology businesses? How can we introduce politics into the new media lab?

Between imagined flat hierarchies and the traditional models of topdown education, participants will give examples based on their experiences that offer a middle-ground between these extremes. Further questions address anti-intellectualism in the classroom and the high demands on educators in this area in which technology and theory have few precedents and change rapidly. In response to this- several distributed learning tools will be presented that link up new-media educators to share code, theory, and art in real time.

Key Issues:
* Vocational training versus solid critical education
* Open Source Software, open access, open content, technologies of sharing
* Edblogging, blogsperiments
* Creation of meaningful connections between art, theory, technology, and history
* Education of politics, politics in education
* Shaping of core curriculum without fear of experiments and failure
* Distributed learning tools: empowering for the knowledge commons (organizing academic knowledge and connecting new media educators)
* Intellectual property issues in academia
* Use of wifi devices to connect people on campus and in the classroom
* Uses of social software in the classroom (wikis, and weblogs, voice over IP,, IM, and Flickr)
* Battles over the wireless commons
* Models for connecting university lab with outside institutions and non-profit organizations.

Trebor Scholz
Trebor Scholz is a New York-based media artist whose current practice Includes the facilitation of discursive networks and writing about collaborative new media art, mapping and education. His work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennial (with Martha Rosler/ The Fleas), the Sao Paulo Biennial, FILE (Sao Paolo) and many other venues. Trebor organized several large scale programs such as Free Cooperation (2004, with Geert Lovink) and Kosov@: Carnival in the Eye of the Storm (2000). In 2004 he founded the Institute for Distributed Creativity, a research network that focuses in collaboration in media art, theory and education. (