01 October 2008

Inspiration by the Bucket-load

Enlightening Times
August 2008

Book Review
Educating Artists for the Future, edited by Mel Alexenberg

by Jade Ashcroft

This is the first book, to my knowledge, which considers the future of our Arts and Media Culture in the wake of the explosion of digital and technological Arts with such depth and rich diversity of content.From the point of view of an Esoteric Artist out in the field, the different subjects discussed herein have given me considerable food for thought, as well as insight and knowledge into disciplines that I had not previously encountered.

The reoccurring theme of Scientific research based Art and Technology is examined in great detail and with energetic enthusiasm, neatly interspersed with personal experiences from each author, dissecting and describing activities and projects in their chosen field.Subjects such as “Syncretism”, “Afferent and Efferent Education” and “Transgenic Art” are terms with which I was unfamiliar, but were explained by each Author with eloquence and coherence. I particularly enjoyed the chapter “New Media Art as an embodiment of the Tao”, “Multi-cellular creatures with sensors, joints and a neural network, living in a simulated environment”, would have been categorized as Science in my understanding, and therefore separate from Art and Artists, prior to reading this fascinating book.

I would highly recommend that anyone who intends to produce images of a symbolic nature read the chapter about “Media Literacy: Reading and Writing Images in a Digital Age”. The different levels of meaning in Art and Photography, discussed in the narrative, explores the successful production of meaningful, thought provoking and powerful imagery.

The links between Science and Art, severed so long ago, have not only reunited into a collective but are mutating into new and exciting dimensions. For Artists/Teachers/Researchers, and anyone interested in expanding their knowledge of post digital media Educating Artists for the Future: Learning at the Intersections of Art, Science, Technology and Culture is the perfect companion for navigation.

Delving into the different sections of this text reveals a wealth of information regarding proposed and already successful course structures in Art and Technology. From cross-cultural and multi disciplined perspectives, the pathway is illuminated resulting in omni-directional destinations.

You are guaranteed to find inspiration by the bucket-load whether you are an artist, designer, tutor, or student of Multimedia and the Arts.