Panel: Slowness: Responding to Acceleration through Electronic Arts
“Why, you might just as well say that I see what I eat is the same thing as I eat what I see?” _said the Hatter to Alice.
Recently we eat more what we see than we see what we eat. Hungry for informations and seeking any kind of varieties we are going to loose the different meanings of perception and reality. Meanwhile a movie theater is a better place to show Media Art than a museum. Our students pay for a 140 minutes 3D experience, but they are not willing to invest 90 seconds for a masterpiece of Electronic Art. Asking my students why they are not interested in works of art, they answering: “Works of art are so slow and therefore so boring.” And: “It looks so antique.” Talking with them about works of art often simple statements and comparisons are mistaken for insight. So the questions are: How can we decelerate the dynamic of the students’ user attitudes? And how can we simplify the complexity of works of art for a „multitasked“ generation who is unable to concentrate in one item? In my seminars in CAST, a new study course at the Department for Design at Zurich University of the Arts, I teach my students how to decelerate their daily speed, learn the power of slowness and how to discover their abilities in finding „the right moment.“ So we analyze the „self-destruction“ in Dieter Kiessling’s masterpiece „Continue“, discover the principle of simultaneity in the dissimultaneity in the work „Focusing“ of Tamas Waliczky, and we feel the rhythm in „Les larmes d’acier“ of Marie-Jo Lafontaine. By discussing movie scenes of Hitchcock, Cronenberg, Peckinpah, and Bresson, the students learn that dramaturgy in a film is the correct application of pacing, of rapid pulse beats and then to pause for a moment. This means that the story is not only used as a narrative but also as a way of design, and furthermore also that the story serves as a means for the recipient to identify with the content. Retelling the story of a comic book by using only 6 images is another strategy to reduce the artificial complexity. And they have to express themselves by writing „Haikus“ about paintings of Edward Hopper, Hokusai, Herbert Starek, and about pictures of Taryn Simon or Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan but also about TV commercials. On hypermedia classics like Vienna Walk, Sigmund Freud, and Virtual Transfer Musée Suisse they learn how to accelerate and decelerate the flow of information at the right moment, as well as learning to understand how to lead the user with a storyline and in equal measure through a navigational design. Thus by following the philosophy of „Festina Lente“ („Hurry slowly“) – and always remaining considerate of the needs of the user – it should be possible to create a story which is at the same time complex yet still intuitive. And to produce high quality „short stories for the small screen“ is the aim of CAST. But those who wish to tell stories, will have to learn to listen first.
- Harald Kraemer is producer, designer and director of online and offline hypermedia applications. He received a PhD in History of Art from the University Trier/Moselle (Germany) on Museum Informatics and Digital Collections and a Diploma in Museum Curatorship from the Institute of Cultural Sciences, Vienna, Austria. Some of his projects: ‘Aura’ (1994) media space in the exhibition at the Vienna Secession; ‘Vienna Walk Demo’ (1998) prototype of an interactive DVD-ROM with Science Wonder Productions; ‘Art and Industry’ (2000) media for the exhibition at the MAK – Austrian Museum of applied Arts, Vienna; ‘Documentation and Methodology of Contemporary Art’ (1999-2001) for the German Research Foundation (DFG) at the University of Cologne; ‘Virtual Transfer Musée Suisse’ (2002-2003); ‘Artcampus’ (2005-2007) for the University of Berne ’69-96 Linksalternative Szene in Konstanz’. He has written and published widely on the subject of hypermedia, museum informatics, digital collections, documentation as well as contemporary art. After teaching art history and new media at the universities in Berne, Cologne, Constance, Luneburg and Zurich, he is recently Docent for CAST at the Department for Design at Zurich Academy of Arts and at the Department for Image Sciences at Danube University Krems. Supported by a grant of the Hofer-Wild-Stiftung Berne he is currently working on a publication about Hypermedia Communication Design & Museum. Focal points in research: Knowledge Hypermedia Design online and offline, knowledge transfer, cognitive design, cross media art, and contemporary art. virtualtransfer.com