Teaching art is about facilitating a critical yet constructive environment for creative inquiry and personal development. Critique establishes an essential platform not only for reviewing the artwork itself, but also for training students to think analytically and articulate reasonably. Through criticism, praise and dialogue, educators help students situate and present themselves in a larger artistic and social context. Rather than acting as an authoritative figure, I participate, mediate and direct discussion that prompts further analysis, inquiry and response for both the presenters and critics. Beyond classroom meetings, it is important to pay studio visits and establish one-on-one conversations with students.
Teaching electronic media art is not only about preparing students to utilize technology. It also involves cultivating a critical and analytical mindset to create art for a contemporary context. It is necessary to develop an awareness of media technology in our everyday lives. An interdisciplinary approach toward research, practice and theory prepares students for both immediate and future creative and technical challenges. Students are encouraged to build their ideas before jumping into any particular software. Through collaborations, peer discussions and extensive theoretical and historical research, students develop transferable skills that can respond to paradigm shifts and more modest problems alike, even as technologies become obsolete.
Fear of technology is one of the common obstacles in teaching media art. It is crucial to engage students in exploring their own interests through the medium. My varied educational and artistic background in film and video, theater and performance art, robotic art and critical theories allow me to present a variety of possibilities to students, converting intimidating means into something magical. With the confidence I instill, they propel themselves through their own visions and motivation, overcoming any technical difficulty.
Students in my classes keep a journal or a sketchbook to record trivia from their everyday lives, their lecture notes, their streams of consciousness, and their ambitious project ideas. Clear goals and endurance go a long way to both their later education and personal growth. There is never right or wrong for art assignments. Heightened observation and practiced communication helps students to come up with ideas that are of personal interest and relevant beyond themselves. Experimentation is assumed and required!
Obviously not every student wants to be an electronic media artist, or even an artist at all. My previous professional experience in media industry offers different perspectives from a production, art practice and academic point of view. Born and raised in cosmopolitan Hong Kong, I have traveled around the world for art events. I intend to expand my students’ horizons not only artistically but also culturally, inspiring them to think independently and elaborate their roles as art practitioners in society.