Keifer-Boyd, Karen
E.62 | Wednesday, 18 July 2007, 12:00 - 12:30, Room E1
Collaboratively building resources and strategies to learn about and create new media art
CyberHouse, a computer game that I have been developing in collaboration with a programmer and animators, is intended as a Web-based environment to explore perception, production, and dissemination of images as cultural practices of inclusion and exclusion from power and privilege. My goal is to provide a learning environment toinvestigate how subjects’ positions in society are constructed by conventional expectations informed by pervasive visual culture. CyberHouse, a computer game of inquiry, provides for continuous reflections on self and possibilities to reconstitute self. The goal is not to redefine self, nor is it to fragment self, but rather to continuously question the grounds of one’s assumptions. These displacements of normalized assumptions of self in CyberHouse occur through simulations, animations, graphics, and texts that ask for decisions by the player, which in turn programs consequences that appear as a worldview in which the player is immersed. That worldview can be continually deconstructed and reconstructed. Abstract 2: My initial piloting of CyberHouse tested the effectiveness of an entrance animation to stimulate self-representation. In April 2003, I used the animation in an art lesson at an alternative school for pregnant youth in South Allison Hills, Pennsylvania. Using a computer projector, I projected on a screen an animation of a breathing house while conducting a visualization exercise. I asked the participants (pregnant youth) to physically “breath with the house.” Breathing with the house allowed them to relax and focus on self. With their breathing coordinated to the movement of the house, I suggested to them that the house was their body. Their responses to participating in this workshop changed from aggression and disinterest to collaboration and enthusiasm. Fall 2006, the first segment of the CyberHouse “game” is piloted with university students in the United States in a Multicultural Competency Certificate program. It is also being piloted with 4th-12th grade art students at a school in Helsinki, Finland, where as a Fulbright scholar teaching at the University of Art & Design in Helsinki for the fall 2006 semester, I am also conducting research on children creating computer games and on collaboratively building resources and strategies for 4-12th grade art students to learn about and create new media art. I propose to present qualitative analysis of use of CyberHouse with these two groups, and on how CyberHouse is situated within creativity, self-education, societal and institutional education goals, and the complexity of identity in a time of globalization. Research questions include: Is the design of CyberHouse, and other selected new media art brought into the curricula, gender inclusive and age-appropriate learning experiences for all participants in the two groups in terms of its design, strategies, and content? What are the differences in the interactive “play” and responses in CyberHouse and other selected new media work in terms of cultural context, institutional context, age, and gender?
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