This week my Digital Media Aesthetics class is doing networked art (which is sometimes, but not always, the same as net.art) and today the students will be following Natalie Bookchin and Alexei Shulgin’s instructions on how to make DIY net.art. Their Introduction to net.art is even translated to Norwegian, which I suspect will be a relief to students forced to read almost all their curriculum in a second language. I love the idea of writing theory as a set of instructions, and I think trying to follow the instructions will be a much better learning experience than reading a dull description. I might bring dice so we don’t waste time on consensus decisions as to modes and genres but get straight to generating ideas.
After imagining new works of net.art we’ll try to classify them according to Espen Aarseth’s typology in Cybertext. If it works, great, if not, even better, we can discuss why.
3 thoughts on “DIY net.art”
what do you mean, “if not”?
Oops! Uh, well, actually, the taxonomy fit pretty well. But the learning moments were the less-obvious bits, where we had to think to classify…
It was a good class, I reckon. Fun, too, the students said, and the plenary discussion at the end was really productive. The dice were a good move, they were fun and certainly did stop the “what genre shall we choose” discussion where you never get to the point. Instead, some groups rolled up several different concepts. Also we got to see differences between a structured taxonomy like Espen’s and a haphazard one like Bookchin’s and Shulgin’s – of course, theirs was meant to be used rather differently. We spent 45 minutes on generating concepts in groups of three or four, about 10 on me going over Espen’s taxonomy, 10 on them applying it in small groups and 35 on the plenary discussion – yes, we went over time by 10 minutes.
You could actually scale this classroom activity for a huge group. A hundred students, groups of four design net.art and then analyse their concept, then of course since you couldn’t do a full discussion in plenary you’d need to just ask them to talk about the bits they found hard to describe using the taxonomy.
You’d need a lot of dice, though. I’d rather have, oh, about 11 students, like today.