Net.aesthetics, net.history, net.criticism: Introducing net.art into a computer art and graphics curriculum
Alison R. Colman, The Ohio State University, United States
The Ohio State University . Awarded
Net.art is an art form that uses the Internet as a medium, and has been created specifically for viewing on the World Wide Web. For the art instructor whose curriculum includes art criticism, art history and aesthetics with studio activities, including net.art in such a way that encourages critical thinking and new perspectives on art as well as the Internet is a daunting challenge. The art instructor needs the computer skills necessary to assist students in creating net.art, as well as an understanding of the cultural, technological and theoretical underpinnings of net.art in order to demystify it for students. Net.art tends to be highly conceptual, strongly challenges commonly held notions regarding art, and often requires the viewer to have some knowledge of the history of the Internet. It also requires the viewer to understand the Internet as a cultural phenomenon rather than a technological tool.
My primary empirical objective was to formulate effective pedagogical strategies for the high school art instructor incorporating net.art into their curriculum in such a way that would facilitate students' critical thinking, meaning making, and deeper understanding of the cultural aspects of the Internet. The principal research question is: how can net.art be integrated into a high-school level computer art and graphics curriculum?
Over the course of the study, the principal investigator engaged in reflective practices that enabled her to devise pedagogical strategies that, in turn, facilitated a demystification process that enabled the students to overcome their initial disorientation and became increasingly able to appreciate and understand net.art. Despite the students' familiarity with the Internet and traditional art forms, however, they were not able to translate their knowledge gained from these experiences into an adequate vocabulary in which to describe and interpret net.art as an artistic form. When asked to compare the web sites they are more accustomed to with net.art, these students defined a typical web site in terms of its functionality, how its form is dependent on its functionality, and its content; in direct contrast to a “typical” web site, most of the students described net.art's form and function as something quite opposite.
Colman, A.R. Net.aesthetics, net.history, net.criticism: Introducing net.art into a computer art and graphics curriculum. Ph.D. thesis, The Ohio State University.
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