classes at Heath Mill Studios, Heath Mill Lane, Birmingham

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School of Global Art, review by Adele M Reed
LuckyPDF is currently developing a School of Global Art, ‘a revolutionary new correspondence school offering courses in New Media Art [leading to BA, MA & PhD equivalent qualifications]’. At Fierce Festival the artists gave a platform to four different emerging academics each researching areas related to the online culture, identity and possible future conditions for exhibiting art in digital formats.
Cadence Kinsey spoke about the history of ‘Net.Art’ 1994 to 2001, eloquently bringing to our attention the changing landscape of digital exhibition and the dynamics between the “real” and the “virtual” realms. Her talk designated the role of artist as an “agent of chance suggesting the artist could possibly “embody” the Internet and use it’s qualities in new ways to develop it’s commercial usage into a public sphere.
Alex Andrews carefully described “The Political Economy of Cute Animal Pictures”. According to his position, we, as dedicated users of the largest and most profitable personal profiling corporation, Facebook, should potentially be owed a wage in return for all our (free) online labour.
His fascinating ideas, derived from the ethics of capitalism and the current necessity of the free work to the model (such as internships and domesticity) referenced the traditional role of the housewife as a crucial profession to aid the flow of business. He recommended various responses to this conundrum of “unjust” labour exchange: 1) Poisoning the common ie. flooding sites like Facebook with false information. 2) Digital Sabotage. 3) Hyperbolic Demands. 4) Copy the far left and boycott the service.
Jesse Darling, the final speaker, was formally trained in dance and performance but is currently practising as an artist with an exhibition open at Arcadia Missa Gallery in London. Curiously to begin with she emphasized how she is not a scholar and yet the ideas which followed were just as, if not more insightful than the previous talks. She likened Facebook to Ikea comparing their organized, ordered working models and suggested each company’s success lay within their appeal in helping us to survive our hyperactive information-saturated lifestyles. As a performer, her talk understood the ‘space’ and ‘frame’ that each individual needs to inhabit and take control of in order to make sense of their world, and the worlds of the people around them. According to Darling we use Facebook strategically and portray a performance of our ‘ideal self’ using images, status’, comments etc.
At end the afternoon Darling conducted a surprise test of our sef confidence. Each member of the audience, made up of roughly 20 or so, took their place one at a time in-front of the others and attempted to present themselves at ‘neutral’. As the hour passed mannerisms, humours and talents developed and glowed out of each participant’s ‘performance’ only spurred on further by the previous person’s turn. It felt that at the end, after having concluded with an open feedback discussion whilst stood in a circle, that I had been lucky enough to experience some of the insides of a group of stranger’s minds, whilst they face up to and justify their social strengths and fears. With the intensity of online social networks taking over our routines of late, once in a while it’s important to reaffirm our connectivity to physical human psyches and interact IRL.

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