Objects at the Human-Computer Interface (HCI) A Case Study of Artists’
Cybernetic Relationships and Critical Consciousness email@example.com
The computer is a new tool for artistic investigation and its results have to be diagnosed. This study offers a glimpse at the effects of emergent objects on critical consciousness. New Media Art programs are still in their infancy in art schools and universities. Their need for growth in terms of curriculum development and research practice should foster exploration of artistic practice with cybernetics in the studio (See Figure 1).
1. Cybernetic Model of Change over Time .
The observed phenomena are artists practicing with digital technologies to create emergent objects (See Figure 2.). Geertz (1983) made an argument for local knowledge as value added to empirical research (cited by Flick 2002). Local knowledge of an artist is vital to understanding their cybernetic relationships at the HCI. Subjects incorporated the computer into their studio through diverse pathways that informed the way they work with digital technologies. This information is encapsulated in the emergent object as depicted in Figure 2.
Engaging in empirical research in the visual arts is an emerging field. Practice-based research or doctoral level work in the arts that produces original research around creative work using critical inquiry is more developed abroad in higher education (especially in the U.K.) than in the U.S. (Sullivan 2005). I used Sullivan’s (1998) Case Study Critical Influence as model for practice-based visual arts research. For these reasons I selected a qualitative research case-based study.
In order to execute the methodology I used a studio critique format for two reasons: 1) I needed an approach that artists would feel comfortable with and 2) structured protocols that enabled consistency across cases. The first interview was focused on biographics and process and the second interview on product.
There are new skills required for using the computer to make art. In prelude to consciousness we exist in an age of strife where, as Enzensberger (in Handhardt, 1986) predicted, with mass media everyone can be a manipulator; this realizes the potential for everyone to become both an artist and a terrorist. This is evident as end-user control increases over the Internet with technologies such as Flickr (www.flickr) or Google Earth, whereas an artist may be creative with spatial coordinates of a snap shot or find a live/work space with a satellite image of a neighborhood, the same data could be used for subversive purposes. Bell (1973) predicted that this swell in the information class would lead to social transformation, whereby, society would become economically instead of morally regulated. This has occurred and caused a need for the development of a mass collective critical consciousness about the development of cybernetic relationships at the HCI that has resulted in global class stratification.
Artists like researchers create knowledge and in our information-based society we need all types of workers to assemble information sets that construct meaning. Art education needs to develop arts technology curriculum that strategizes interdisciplinary experimentation and empowers students’ critical decision-making skills. Artists and cultural objects are significant contributors to our evolution and their contributions should be cultivated in higher-educational models that integrate arts technology experimentation and create new spaces for self-directed interdisciplinary inquiry.
2 Miles, M. B. and Huberman, M. A. An Expanded Sourcebook: Qualitative Data Analysis 2nd ed. (London: Sage Publications, 1994) p.9
3 Glesne, C., and Peshkin, A. Becoming Qualitative Researchers: An Introduction. (Whiteplains, NY: Longman Publications 1992) p.141
4 Flick, U. An Introduction To Qualitative Research second edition. (London: Sage Publications, 2002) p.41
5 Eisner, E. and Day, M. Efland and Sullivan in Handbook of Research and Policy in the Field of Art Education (Unpublished manuscript, 2002) p.5
6 Efland, A., Freedman, K., and Stuhr, P. Postmodern Art Education: An Approach to Curriculum. (Reston, VA: The National Art Education Association, 1996) p.24
Bell, D. 1973. The coming of post-industrial society: A venture in social forecasting. New York: Basic Books Publishers.
de Rosnay, J. 1977, January 6. Principia cybernetica web: Feedback. Retrieved on September 13, 2003, from, http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/FEEDBACK.html .
Efland, A., Freedman, K., and Stuhr, P. 1996. Postmodern art education: An approach to curriculum. Reston, VA: The National Art Education Association.
Eisner, E and D., M. 2002. Handbook of research and policy in the field of art education. Unpublished manuscript.
Flick, U. 2002. An introduction to qualitative research second edition. London: Sage Publications.
Glesne, C., and Peshkin, A. 1992. Becoming qualitative researchers: An introduction. Whiteplains, NY: Longman Publications.
Hanhardt, J. G., ed.1986. Video culture: A critical investigation. Layton, Utah: Gibbs M. Smith, Peregrine Smith Books, Visual Studies Workshop Press.
Hayles, K. N. 1999. How we became posthuman: virtual bodies in cybernetics, literature and informatics. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
Manovich, L. 2001. The language of new media. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Miles, M. B. and Huberman, M. A. (1994). An expanded sourcebook: qualitative data analysis 2nd ed. London: Sage Publications.
Rinder, L. R. 2002. Personal communication. September 22, 2002.
Sullivan, G. 2005 Art practice as research: inquiry in the visual arts. London: Sage Publications.
Sullivan, Graeme. 1998. Critical influence: A visual arts research project with Jayne Dyer and Nikki McCarthy. Published by the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales.
Turkle, S. 1995. Life on the screen: Identity in the age of the internet. New York: Touch Stone, Simon & Schuster.
Wolff, J. 1993. The social production of art 2nd ed. New York: New York University Press.
Mayo received her doctorate from the Art and Art Education Doctoral
Program in College Teaching (EdDCT) Teachers College Columbia
University and her MFA from New York University.
She has been engaged with integrating technology into
her studio art practice since 1993 and has been curating new
media art projects and exhibiting in New York, nationally, and
abroad. Mayo is an artist
whose studio practice and critical writings examine perceptual
shifts in how we envision bodily interfaces with artificial
environments. As these perceptions form our critical consciousness
of digital culture and of our social interactions, her inquiries
seek to extend cross-disciplinary dialogues through artistic
expression, research, and education.
© New Media Caucus. All rights reserved.