[ISEA94] Panel: Rejane Spitz – Transcultural Approaches Panel Introduction

Panel Statement

Panel: Transcultural Approaches

In his report on the study of pictorial perception among African subjects, William Hudson (1967) says that we take it very much for granted that methods which are only moderately successful in our own cultures will prove equally, if not highly, successful in an alien culture: “We fall into the error of thinking of the black man’s mind as a tabula rasa, which we have only to fill with the benefits of our own cultural experience in order to promote whatever objectives we may have in mind. We forget or ignore the fact that the black man possesses his own indigenous culture”.

During recent years, many artists have addressed the issue of cultural diversity as part of their discussions on Electronic Art. Although the vast majority of artists claim the need for a
transcultural approach, most of them have taken a superficial look at this complex problem, turning attention away from some of its more crucial points. Their discourse focuses on the
possibilities for providing artistic bridges across different cultures, while their attitudes and works reflect, in many cases, a typical ethnocentric view.
The discussion aims at promoting a debate on transcultural issues, as one of the major challenges electronic artists face today. In a world of social, cultural and economic disparities, how can technology meet basic human needs in both developed and developing countries? Which are the dominant cultural values that underlie computer-related technologies today?
What is the impact of new electronic technologies on Third World nations? How can we minimize technological dependence and cultural domination, when 30 developed countries       –with less than 30% of the world’s population– account for approximately 95% of the world’s scientific and technological production?

  • Rejane Spitz is an Assistant Professor of Computer Graphics in theDepartment of Arts of Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio deJaneiro, Brazil. She received her PhD in Education from PUC-RioUniversity (Brazil) in 1993, and her MA in Graphic Design from the Central  School of Art & Design (England) in 1983. Since 1991 she is theACM SIGGRAPH Education  Committee South American Representative. She is an Editorial Advisor of LEONARDO (1993-1995). She also coordinates the South American branch of the Inter-Society for the  Electronic Arts.