MEDIA ART FOR PRACTITIONERS

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From March to June, the New Art School (NAS), a new educational brainchild of NGO Cultural Project, was held in Kiev. Unlike the previous initiatives of the organization, the first course in the framework of the NAS was aimed not at a mass audience interested in art in a broad sense, but at a very specific group, as the title of the course “Media Art for Practitioners” eloquently testifies it. 25 participants of the first enrollment to school – artists and young specialists from the IT and advertising industry – passed 4 modules, which included a lot of lectures and a number of practical exercises of very different perspectives, from mastering computer programs to the rules of obtaining grants for the implementation of media projects. Upon completion of the school, all participants prepared presentations of their final projects to be presented to a group of invited Ukrainian and Russian experts for assessment. Korydor asked different questions to several participants of the expert group – artists and theorists – trying to understand the visible results of school work, strengths and weaknesses of such an educational initiative, as well as the relevance of media art today – in particular, in the Ukrainian art field.

 

 

Dmitriy Bulatov
Artist, curator of the State Center for Contemporary Art (Baltic Branch). Organizer of exhibition and publishing projects in the field of science art and new media.

How do you think, is the number and format of lectures / classes offered by the NHS sufficient to give a start to professional practice in the field of new media?

It is important to understand that there is no direct link between the training in some activity and the activity itself. As a rule, a personal or professional breakthrough in art does not happen when something changes in the minds of artists or on their shelves, but when their daily practices undergo changes. And in this sense it is difficult for me to say whether the format and number of lectures or classes that were conducted were sufficient for young artists. Only time can show it. I would advise the moderators of NAS to introduce the practice of monitoring the subsequent artistic activities of school graduates, the direction of their projects and the technologies applied. In six months or a year it would be possible to obtain statistics and analyze it. It seems to me that such data, which represents a kind of feedback, could be very interesting.

What is your assessment of the overall level of graduate work? Could you distinguish some individual authors? If you judge about the final works of the graduation as a whole, have you noted for some general trends or specifics?

I watched with great interest all the presentations of graduates. But now I would not like to single out the authors whose projects seemed to me the most interesting – for the reason already explained above. When projects from the area of rhetoric go into the practical area – you can talk about them in more detail. I would only note that the most interesting to me were the projects in which the authors did not take the path of using the visual effects of new media, by definition focused on changing impressions. I am sure that the real change does not mean much accumulation and improvement of visual images, but rather a change in the principle that generates them. Therefore, I would advise the organizers of the NAS – as an experiment – for the next year to form a group of students who are not associated with fine arts in their practical activities. Let’s admit molecular biologists, robotics, IT-specialists, chemists and physicists-practitioners. And read them the theory of contemporary art, setting the task of making an art project using the technologies that they already possess.

What place does media art occupy in the artistic paradigm today?
For me, the history of art is, first of all, the history of the use of certain means or tools in art, be it the emergence of realism in ancient Egypt, the central perspective in the Renaissance or the emergence of photography, film and television in the XIX-XX centuries. Not to mention the use of the latest media – robotics, IT, biomedicine, etc – in the modern technological art. Every time at critical moments in the art development of art, artists paid special attention to the material basis of their works. Changing the image technical mechanism has always allowed the emergence of new models of the surrounding world, generating new meanings and new interpretations. Such “models” in the field of art gave birth to works of art encouraging interpretation procedures. From these metaphors, artistic statements, testifying to the man’s striving to master the simulated phenomena – to understand their structure and composition, the refinement of the received knowledge usually began subsequently. So it was in the past – I believe that it will be so in the future.

 

 

Yanina Prudenko
Curator of the program “NAS: Media Art for Practitioners”, PhD in Philosophy. Associate professor and doctoral student of the Department of Culturology of the Dragomanov National Pedagogical University. Curator of the Open Archives of Ukrainian Media Art.

How do you think, is the number and format of lectures / classes offered by the NHS sufficient to give a start to professional practice in the field of new media?
As a person who composed the format and quantity of tasks, I can see all the disadvantages of the NAS format. The main disadvantages are as follows: the number of workshops of students with each teacher-artist is insufficient, there was not enough time for for the development of some programs.

What is your assessment of the overall level of graduate work? Could you distinguish some individual authors? If you judge about the final works of the graduation as a whole, have you noted for some general trends or specifics?

As for me, the students showed a fairly high level. Of course, not all of them gave their one hundred percent. Of course, I have my favourite students, but it would be unfair to the others. By the way, some of them were not even among the 5 best candidates according to experts’ final decision. In general, I do not really believe in the rating system, I adhere to the ancient truth about the first and the last. The time will tell who the best was and who can work on their projects in the future. The works were very diverse, created in different genres of media art. All the students came to school with a certain background, and this, of course, was reflected in the final projects.

What place does media art occupy in the artistic paradigm today?

This is a question is worth a separate article! Actually, in many of my academic and journalistic articles I often touched on this issue. Media art at the same time exists and does not exist in Ukraine. Of course, a modern artist cannot ignore the new media that surround us from all sides, but the artistic infrastructure in this area is practically absent in Ukraine. Graduates of the NAS will need a great deal of persistence to implement their own artistic ambitions in this field. I hope that all lectures on cultural management delivered at NAS were not in vain.

For NGO Cultural Project the school format is a new experience. Did this format justify your expectations?
I do not think this question is for me. But my personal expectations were overfulfilled!

You have worked with students for quite a long time and you can judge about the changes that probably occurred to them during the school’s work. How important and representative are the graduation works in this regard? Or the acquired knowledge and experience were/will be manifested in a different way?
Preparation of the final project is a significant component of educational process, which we communicated to our students at the start of New Art School. Students had the possibility to work on final projects doing their homework. For us this is an opportunity to see how the student learned the material. For students this is the opportunity to cope with the deadlines, create a project ready for the exposition, and hear valuable advice and comments from the experts of the NAS.

How would you like to see the further practice of the first graduates of the NHSH?
I hope that this will move certain layers in the field of artistic culture in Ukraine and will give an incentive to artists to continue their practice.

 

 

Lyudmyla Motsyuk
Curator of MEDIAARTLAB, Kyiv

How do you think, is the number and format of lectures / classes offered by the NHS sufficient to give a start to professional practice in the field of new media?
I think they are sufficient for participants to start further education or self-training. Such lectures are more likely to inspire and direct the thoughts and imagination of artists in some new way, form a new approach, a new-medial format of artistic expression.

What is your assessment of the overall level of graduate work? Could you distinguish some individual authors? If you judge about the final works of the graduation as a whole, have you noted for some general trends or specifics?
Graduation works were rather the draft ideas for projects. I cannot give the names, because I saw participants for the first time. But I found interesting the presentations with the mapping from guys from Simferopol [Yaroslav Kostenko, lives in Kiev, did a project in the Crimea – editorial comment), project with audio-visualization of the girl – composer [Asmati Chibalashvili – editorial comment], the concept of the project of Dasha Kuzmich.

The trend was obvious – all participants were involved, they wanted to “review” their existing work, their preferences from the prism of new tools and new opportunities. But the answers to the questions “why and how” were not always obvious. Many presentations sounded like intentions, and it’s a pity that we did not even see their experiments with the programs. There was only one guy who did not hesitate to show his formal experiments. But, in general, I had very positive impressions and particularly of the seriousness and inspiration of the participants!

What place does media art occupy in the artistic paradigm today?

This question is a topic for a separate article. In my opinion, media art is at the stage of developing its figurative language. The technological, intellectual and commercial components, that center around the material sphere of media art at this stage, seem to limit the traditional possibilities of the contemporary artist. But in fact, new formats of artistic statements and ways of representation are gradually being formed.

 

 

Yuriy Kruchak
Artist, co-founder of “Open Place”, artistic non-commercial organization

In what field is it necessary to have knowledge for an artist working with new media?
Media art is a quite a vast field, its expanses are in different fields of knowledge and can spread from robotics to astronomy or from sociology to genetic engineering. In such a situation it is quite difficult to give advice what knowledge should be mastered in the first place and what can be neglected. Knowledge is also acquired in the process of creating works. Therefore, I would rather speak about the character traits that an artist working with new media should possess. Curiosity and persistence – these are qualities allowng a person not only to master already well known skills necessary for work, but also to form the new ones.

If we talk about the technical and technological side in new media, we may state that everything is changing very rapidly in this sphere. How important is the practice of media art to keep track of all “novelties” and try to master new skills in their application?

Indeed, it is very important to be aware that there is a new technology in the world. But it is also necessary to know what was invented by mankind in the past, as knowing the trends of technology development can be foreseen and contribute to the emergence of new opportunities. Every day there appear dozens of new devices and if you keep track of all new items and study their capabilities there will be no time left to create art works. Therefore, in the beginning of a career it is necessary to determine the field of activity and, specializing in it, to master relevant technologies and skills. The eperience has also shown that interesting art works are obtained not at the expense of technical “novelties”, but by establishing a certain balance between form and content, technology and idea, or more precisely – their effective use.

What is the specificity of media art or its separate areas, with which you work and in Ukraine in general?
For me, media art is first of all about construction of reality, with the creation of interactive platforms that enable people to interact with each other and with the space in which they live. My profile in a media art can be defined as the creation of interactive media installations. In Ukraine, due to the lack of institutional support for the development of media art, there is a range of difficulties, problems and tasks that must be addressed to each time in their own way. It is necessary to apply for support to foreign institutions and develop our own methodologies taking into account the local context, which gives, as a result, original results.

What place does media art occupy in the artistic paradigm today?
An understanding of what a work of art should be has changed over the course of art development for many times. If we talk about the modern art paradigm, it differs significantly from the previous ones in that it assumes a certain level of freedom between the author, the hero and the addressee of artistic activity. In this respect, media art has tremendous potential, since the idea of ​​equality lies in its basis. In addition, the artistic object in media art often appears as a discourse – a trilateral communicative event. These principles already have an impact on other arts, this influence will be strengthened with time.

 

 

tenpoint (Maksim Poberezhkiy, Alexey Tishchenko)
The project of Kyiv media artists and pioneers of VJing in Ukraine. Since the beginning of their creative activity in 2003, tenpoint accounted for more than 200 commercial and non-commercial performances as VJ, a number of interactive installations, constant cooperation with Ukrainian musicians and festivals.

In what field is it necessary to have knowledge for an artist working with new media?
We think that the main thing is a basic understanding of the key existing technologies. We started as VJs, so for us the entry point was video, the methods of its production and operation. Then we had to do programming and 3D.

If we talk about the technical and technological side in new media, we may state that everything is changing very rapidly in this sphere. How important is the practice of media art to keep track of all “novelties” and try to master new skills in their application?
There are two basic approaches: to play off the idea or technology. If you go along the first path, it is important to at least approximately know how you can implement the plan and what kind of people you need for this. In the second approach, you go for technology and it pushes on itself the new ideas of its use, often at the expense of the semantic component, but this process is natural and necessary – for conscious use it is necessary to understand all possibilities.

What is the specificity of media art or its separate areas, with which you work and in Ukraine in general?
An economic one. Interesting media art is expensive to produce, expensive to show and almost impossible to sell. In addition, there is a conceptual moment: the word “attraction” is too often used for media art, making it secondary to traditional techniques. In the end, everybody wants media art, but not always ready for it.

What place does media art occupy in the artistic paradigm today?
The mere fact that today it is possible to manage with the power of thought both robots and living beings, should make not only media artists give it some thougt. The future has come, so new technologies deserve the closest attention, no matter how meaningless they seemed at first glance. In addition, there are global concepts, for example Postdigital, with which it is generally impossible to work without using new media.

Liza German, KORYDOR



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