I am glad you are opening this debate. As you know, I tried to begin to raise some of these questions in Still & Moving last week.
I have a couple of quick responses to your outline.
First I think we have to realize that lens-based image making has become something like writing. Everyone knows how to write, and does so at one time or another. But there are relatively few Nabokovs, Mark Twains, Maureen Dowds. Their writing changes our world.
In a world where everyone makes images, we need to take the position that we are creating image makers whose work changes the world.
The big development over the last 4 years is, of course, the ‘social’ internet. Everyone’s images can be ‘published’ at the click of a mouse. I am thinking of Youtube and Flickr and the entire chaos of Web 2.0. However, even though it look like a level pla having equal opportunity for exhibition and equal access to all images, it’s not. Web 2.0 is forming itself into distinct cultures and communities, and we are seeing hierarchies emerging, often driven by the same old forces. Curated, authorized and selected nodes within web 2.0 are grabbing attention and influence, while the local, ‘bottom-up’ communities continue, but seem increasingly soft and irrelevant beyond their own borders.
My point is simply that the new social internet does not represent a radical shift in social and cultural relations: we are dealing with familiar power structures, albeit in new costumes that we don’t quite comprehend yet. One stream that we might pursue as this discussion continues is how the structures of commerce and hierarchy manifest themselves within the social networks.
I agree that our students need application softwares, including some of those you listed. But I am sure that they can develop t that will enable them to learn and use new apps as necessary. It is a wrong approach, in my opinion, to try to teach application softwares as ends in themselves. Let them pick up what they need when they need it, and let’s try to help them develop the general ability to fight their way through unfamiliar applications. I do it, and it is much harder for someone at my stage of life to learn new tricks.
Many of the students already have this attitude, and we will see more and more entering with it. We won’t need to teach “photoshop” or “after effects” — we will continue to need to help students develop concepts, skills and understanding, and to use whatever techniques (using all necessary technologies, old and new) they require to apply them. Most courses in the program — that I am familiar with — already take this approach, and I don’t think we want to shift that. What is missing is a broader kind of support — guiding the students to the technologi heir ideas. We need general technology support for the students at a better level than we currently have, but it should be outside the classroom.
In the link you sent, Oliasson makes an excellent point about the “art world’s” presupposing linearity in many areas: history, individual careers, criteria of success, processes of production. I see the concept of linearity and what the alternatives are as another fruitful area of continuing discussion.