Commentary on Foundations Education

Okay. I try not to post commentary here because I prefer to keep this area as a medium for drawing. But lately I've had to post a few more words and a few less text-based images. I can't help myself this time because I'm on my way back from a conference that was both good and troubling.

MOstly it was good except for this guy who talked at two back to back panels about the same thing with horrible slide presentations running behind him. I actually got his book in the mail at my department without asking a few years ago and didn't realize it was the same person until he started talking.

What was troubling was that he presented an argument that I think is old and boring and I really couldn't believe that people were still arguing about it. Aside from all the inside jokes and jabs at other universities/instructors/artists, what I gathered from his talk(S) was that digital media is dangerous for first year students.

Brian Curtis' second panel was hand picked because he was the organizer and also presented so we got to her this theme over and over again. NOt to mention this other guy who thinks used a juggling analogy unti I almost puked.

Basically, they think that the computer or software run on computers makes art, not the people working with those things. I think they don't get it that software and digital media are just another media and you have to teach people how to use it, how it works, and why it does what it does so that they can understand it too. Ofcourse you can always use defaults and cheats, but those aren't what is progressive about digital media. What's progressive about digital media is understanding how/why they work or don't work and teaching how to use them as a tool for the creation of content. Only jerks think that the computer does all the work. It does some of the work, just like paint, just like charcoal but the rest of it comes from inside the programmer/artist.

I think it bothered me the most because there are still people that think that using a computer means you turn your brain off and are passive. That it doesn't take any physical memory at all and that you don't have to do anything. Sure at the Foundations level students have only used computers for limited interaction. That doesn't mean they shouldn't learn how to use the tool properly. YOu just have to take the time to engage them with that tool in a way that opens it up. For example, most students don't draw much before art school... maybe they drew cartoons or whatever they were interested in but we still should teach them what drawing is and how it works. I guess I just don't see any difference between how you teach/learn different media.

Oh, and someone on that panel said that art shouldn't have any meaning and that it should only be entertainment.
Whatever, they were out palling around while I talked about how to incorporate traditional drawing methods with digital media practice in a way that doesn't compromise either of them.

_______end rant________
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