[ISEA94] Panel: Paul Brown – An Unbearable Load: Teaching New Technology in Art and Design

Panel Statement

Since ISEA93 in Minneapolis a group of art educators have been participating in a private InterNet conference called F-Burnout. The conference addressed the problems associated with teaching new technology in art and design education. Due to other commitments during this period my contribution to this dialogue has been minimal. However I have “listened in” with interest and am pleased that a series of recommendations have been formulated to address these problems. Elsewhere I have aired my own concerns on a number of occasions. referenced below. In particular:
* Subject specialists should accept responsibility for teaching new technology within their own area. Sculptors should teach sculpture, interior designers should teach interior design and so on. It is unreasonable to expect a small number of ‘art and technology specialists’ to accept responsibility for acquainting students from many areas with high-technology processes and tools. This implies that ALL teachers of art and design have to accept responsibility for teaching their students about technological developments within their field of specialization.
* Specialists in new technology in the arts should be placed in positions where they can maximize their contribution to their academic community. Employing them to run basic introductory computer courses is a waste of their talents and of a valuable (and possibly essential) resource.
* The acceptance of new paradigms of art & design and art & design production are a necessary prerequisite for the development of adequate opportunities for work in the area. If the establishment believe that new technology is about using userfriendly application packages to make ‘traditional’ art objects then opportunities for change are unlikely to exist.

  • Paul Brown is an artist who has been using computers for twenty years. In 1980 he was a cofounder of the UK’s first computer animation company, Digital Pictures, and, in 1986 a founder of their National Centre for Computer Aided Art and Design. In 1988 he moved to Australia and, in 1990 helped establishing the Advanced Computer Graphics Centre in Melbourne. He has published numerous papers about art and technology and his artworks have been exhibited internationally. Since 1992 he has edited FineArt Forum, the art and technology network news service.