Dirty Hands, Clean Machines: The Computer as a Critical Filter for Traditional Media

Prof. Tina Simonton
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Regardless of an instructor's own desires, habits and inclinations, the lure of software is strong; from day one of their education students of Architecture, Design and Art want to use the computer. If medium and genre are presented as content-bearers in and of themselves early in the academic discussion, a student is more likely to leverage that knowledge, later, just as they would any skill set — even when the emphasis on drawing and making in traditional hand media decreases in their upper level studio courses.

Continuing to teach traditional methods of filtering our experiences is not driven by nostalgia. If students lose those opportunities they might be losing yet-untapped capacities. Physical encounters and processes are paced dialogues with abstractions — the abstractions that reveal one's inner life and external ideologies, as well as the ones that enable meaningful formal decisions. When expectations placed upon image and form-making engage the poetic, the speculative or the absurd in addition to the anticipated literal, commercial and didactic early in a design education the chances are lessened that the student will revert entirely to what the computer lends itself so readily: mimesis, iconic projection, extrusion and novel form-making.

The exercises presented integrate the digital as a critical intervention into a traditional medium. The digital becomes a means to objective distance and steers critique from an exclusive focus on the apparent lack of skills to the reassessment of formal and conceptual content. It is an apparatus to make manifest the desire and need for ground — spiritual, intellectual and physical — in painting, printmaking and sculpture, and by extension, design and architecture. Perhaps most importantly it helps reveal the value of an object's interior relations — its internal dialogue — as well as its capacity for analogy, narrative and metaphor in the larger world.

Keywords: digital pedagogy, fine art pedagogy, design pedagogy, traditional media, studio critique
Stream: Arts, Drama and Design
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Prof. Tina Simonton

Assistant Professor of Architecture, College of Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology

Ref: L05P1068