Thursday, November 11, 2010

BPN 1452 It's EUROPRIX 2010 (3)

In the morning of the Academic Network Conference Ms Zsófia Ruttkay, Associate Professor and Head of Creative Technology Lab of the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest, Hungary, and Associate Professor at the Technical University of Twente in The Netherlands, addressed the audience on Educating Applied Artists in the Age of the Digital Renaissance. The majority in the audience were digital natives, born after 1980 and grown up with the web.
Ms Zsófia Ruttkay characterised the present day and age as the age of the digital renaissance. A tsunami has come over the over people of smaller, faster, cheaper, more clever computers, sensors and smart phones and they have come to the point of talking to each other as for example siftables, This equipment aims to enable people to interact with information and media in physical, natural ways that approach interactions with physical objects in our everyday lives. As an interaction platform, Siftables applies technology and methodology from wireless sensor networks to tangible user interfaces. Siftables are independent, compact devices with sensing, graphical display, and wireless communication capabilities.

The age of the digital renaissance talks about embedded, beautiful and post digital. Knowledge which used to be in encyclopaedia, news, timetables, manuals, music, photographs, is in digital format. Everything and everybody is on-line and connected world-wide, in cities, at school, at home. The community has become a content provider with wikipedia, YouTube, open source, creative commons community and crowd sourcing.

New genres are upcoming such as virtual reality, augmented reality, e-readers and e-books, e-learning and (serious) games. There is now a generation which has been living with internet, is visual and fast and learns in its own ways. So challenges and new goals lie ahead. No longer it is about faster, safer, cheaper and more but about free time, consciousness and better life and cooperation aiming at inviting (new) experiences, interactivity, engagement, wittiness, beauty and emotion. It should generate novel applications for private - public, local – global, culture and edutainment.

The question is however: who can, will invent the new apps and what business models will work? The man of the digital renaissance is an artist working with new media, new genres, with technology and science, but for the society. That renaissance artist will look for a new approach, experiment, explore, make sketches and play for the best solution. This renaissance should deliver a new type of experts: artistic, creative and socially sensitive, combine knowledge and skills in digital technologies.

This creates a new educational paradigm in learning by doing, using special tools for artists, visual and interactive projects and real-life scenarios. This paradigm is incorporated in the practice at MOME as can be seen in the Media Design BA course where students get chips of technologies such as web; programming (visual, procedural); sensor technology (Arduino); creative sound; 3d modelling; pixel processing and visual maths. But they have also to participate in interactive (art) installation; hacking Budapest, VJ and e-learning. And they have to sell their projects through written, online and oral presentations; at festivals and for real clients and surveys.

This sounds all very nice but there are also dilemmas such as discontinuity in culture. This poses problems with regard to history and reinvention, authorship, quality vs mass trash as well as reading and writing. The technology education teaches people to knowing about, but does it also provide team scenarios and is mastering for creative usage feasible at an art school? Besides art schools are in nobody’s land regarding national and EU financing and quality criteria. And is there a role for industry as a creative, mobile, cultural institute and beyond for example in architecture, textile.

In the afternoon I gave a presentation on the subject of my forth coming book (in the Dutch language) on Pre-internet. I put the fuull presentation on Slideshare.

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