Someday I’ll have to animate the process of creating content for the blog. It begins with at least a half-dozen false starts. Sentence after sentence falls onto the page, short-lived attempts to shape (or discover) the story I hope will capture your imagination and set the tone for the day. There’s almost always a chicken or egg scenario with the picture that accompanies the story. Today was different. I knew I’d be using Zack T’s Cinema 4D/Photoshop, perspective-defying WIP. Well, unless I switched at the last minute and used Alex S’s Bugatti. But Gravity (Kyle H) got the nod a few minutes ago.
That’s not only how the blog is written, it’s how the Mac Lab functions. Like it says in the excerpt from DYC right here, improvisation’s planned. I knew how this second semester was going to unfold when I stood before the class the day we returned to school back in January. I remember, quite distinctly, how I took a breath and began to speak, but the words weren’t anything I’d planned on saying. Sudden inspiration altered our direction that day. The blog was born the following week. We’ve had one constant though, from that first post right up to yesterday’s. We experiment. Every creative act involves a measure of uncertainty. We don’t move from A to B in a straight line. We learn though process. We ponder, reflect, imagine, adapt, improve, refine, present, and begin again. We actively seek out inspiration, always reaching higher.
Yesterday, thanks to the interconnectedness of the 2.0 world the Mac Lab’s now a part of, an automated email informed me of a pingback linking to one of our galleries. Dr. Craig Roland, a professor at the University of Florida, published an article about teaching art and design in a post-digital age. To understand what that means, you really have to read the article but what might interest you most are these two paragraphs:
All of these findings have raised several questions for me. If there indeed is a paradigm shift taking place in how we think about technology, what are the implications for teaching art and design in schools? How might the post-digital aesthetic inform K-12 art teaching practice? What does all this mean for preparing future art teachers for the classroom?
It may seem unreasonable to expect that public school art teachers teaching digital art would start encouraging students to hack software or exploit “failures” in the digital tools they have at their disposal in the classroom. On the other hand, I’ve seen some very intriguing high school student work lately that resulted from experimentation (or “messing around”) with software and using technology in ways that it wasn’t originally intended. (example #1, example #2).
As you can see, the Mac Lab is one example and a classroom in China is the other. If you read the comments on #2, you’ll see that there’s a direct connection to this individual who writes this blog, teaches photo and video, and with whom we’ll be collaborating as participants in Rotoball 2010 (and very likely other projects). I cannot express how excited I am about the direction we’re heading. And while we’re on the coincidence carousel, both Jacki and Tierra (featured in this story) have artwork in the 25 examples cited in Dr. Roland’s article. (BTW, Jackie’s mom wrote me yesterday about a fundraiser this weekend. Please tell anyone you think might be interested.)
After six years of virtual isolation, the Mac Lab will join a much larger community next year. As has been the tradition, some things will change and some will remain the same. We’ll have to wait to see what changes are coming our way but the constants have been in place each and every year: higher expectations, stronger foundations, expanded experimentation, and, of course, the right to earn creative freedom. Find your voice and learn to use it!
International Visitor Update: Lebanon makes 80.