John Conomos

I shall argue in my paper that the autonomy of the contemporary art school or college has become progressively compromised within its larger context – being a critical part of today’s corporatised transnational university. This has happened for many reasons, but primarily because of the ‘globalisation’ of tertiary education, teaching and research. In a word, arguably, artists who teach the new media arts face cultural, historical and pedagogic situations that are foisted upon them because their institutions have been absorbed into the contemporary bureaucratised Euro-American university system. As a result, the radical pluralism of contemporary art is being seriously threatened or homogenised by the aesthetic, cultural, managerial and pedagogic values of our universities.

Furthermore, practicing artists who specifically teach contemporary art, media and technology are daily challenged by the shifting social role of the university in society and its internal systems of managerial rationalism, its literal, anti-metaphorical art education speak (especially as it pertains to artistic creativity) and its blinding cardinal institutional and pedagogic belief in the exploitative logic of global capitalism and media celebrity culture.

This is further complicated by the fact that contemporary artists who do not submit to this complex economic and cultural zeitgeist of tertiary education for global niche markets become, because of their personal and professional convictions and value hermeneutically critical and suspicious of ‘the administered world’ (Theodor Adorno)

Contemporary art, ideally speaking, as an act is controversial by nature; it is, according to one of its (post)modernist lodestars, Georges Bataille, in opposition to the status quo. So, fundamentally, we need to ask ourselves: What kind of education will suit this specific type of art? Can art schools merging with universities retain or create a pedagogic rationale that nourishes their teachers and their students who seek to question our one shared turning world?

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