Liao, Christine L.
E.75 | Wednesday, 18 July 2007, 12:30 - 13:00, Room E1
Forming curriculum strategies from new media art: online identity issues in art education
Art educators today cannot ignore how technology intertwines with both new media art and identity. Issues which have been brought out by technology, such as online identities, are seldom included in art curricula. Furthermore, many art teachers still struggle with the lack of curriculum strategies to teach new media art in art education. This paper provides possibilities for developing new media art curriculum strategies to bridge the gap between technology, new media art, and art education. Since computer technology offers people different ways to communicate through the cyber world, many people express themselves differently through the Internet than in face-to-face exchanges. The use of the Internet also influences conceptions of our personal identity. In recent years, the boundary between cyber space and real society has been blurred. Some people spend more time in the cyber world than in real life. This new-formed culture and human/identity transformative trend raises questions and dilemmas for human beings such as the following: How do we switch between multiple identities? How do we express our selves through a different medium when we have different avatars? How do we reconstruct identity through the interaction with the technology? In recent years, students have been going through a process of recombination regarding what it means to be a human in a time of ever changing and expanding cyber societies. The many avatars of a person in the cyber world have already become part of reality in our society. The challenge for educators is how to discuss identity issues, which are related to the use of the Internet with students, and guide them to be aware of and think about their involvement in communication through the Internet personas in their daily lives. New media art can be the bridge that helps us rethinking identity issues in computer technology age. New media artists use computer technologies as a medium to understand and critically reflect on the interaction between technology and identity. Thus, art teachers and students need to analyze and understand new media art which concerning identity. Art educators can use these artworks to guide students to understand online identity issues in new media art and critically reflect their own experience in online identities. The circumstances concerning identity reconstruction on the Internet and new media art increase the need for exploring new media art curriculum strategies that could help address identity issues on the Internet in art education. First, looking at the phenomena of the interaction between technology and identity through Sherry Turkle’s idea of the second self, I will explore the challenges of identity in the computer technology era in the beginning of the 21st century. Following, I will focus my analysis on two new media artists who investigate issues of technology and identity: Lynn Hershman and Mouchette. Their artwork is based on the Internet and has a virtual character. Furthermore, they question the interactive process of the Internet and its impact on identity reconstruction. The selected artworks can be examples for art teachers to teach new media art and the issues of identity on technology. Finally, I suggest curriculum strategies based on critique and analysis on these artworks for teaching new media art to explore identity issues stemming from Internet technology. The suggestions for a new media art curriculum can be a lead-in for art educators to ponder new directions in art education curricula. Through these strategies, art educators can then develop a curriculum to meet the needs of their students.
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