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Black Rock City is a temporary city existing for one week in the harsh desert of northern Nevada. It plays host to the Burning Man festival with over 300 large-scale art installations and is considered to be the largest interactive art festival in the world. Besides the main burn, smaller local regional events have developed. These regional events encompass many of the same tenets as Burning Man including the presentation of large-scale art. Burn2 is the regional event held on the virtual world, Second Life. In 2013, both events used the theme of Cargo Cult as a stepping off point for the artists. Through the lens of spectacle, I used art criticism as a way to gain understanding of the artworks.
Art criticism is a means of interpreting and appreciating artwork and is often used in the art classroom. Edmund Feldman's method promotes a deeper understanding of art and consists of four steps: description, formal analysis, interpretation and judgment. Using Feldman's method, I analyzed three artworks from the 2013 Burning Man festival and three works from Burn2. From interviews, photographs, and personal observations I analyzed the artworks. I used external analysis to compare the literature on similar festivals and the artworks with other events held in the real life and virtual world.
I found in both events very similar concepts and themes. Artists had specific subject matter in mind when designing their installations. Artists used the theme as a stepping off point for rationalizing their content. Art made to be displayed at Burning Man was expensive; funding was a concern for all the artists. Burn2 artists were free from funding concerns even though there were expenses to making art in Second Life. Emerging themes were use of building materials and color, use of electronics and computer technology, art installations in festivals, spectacle, collaboration, and interactivity. Further implications included teaching about the engineering of structures, critical thinking about festival themes and the individual art installations, visual culture, and art making with these emerging art forms.
I conducted this qualitative research including data collection, data analysis and comparison analysis in a Casting and Jewelry Techniques course at Arizona State University for a whole semester. The purpose of this research was to explore the symbolic interactive meaning of metalworking to university students in metal courses, and if they had various learning needs to improve and enhance their metal art making by seeking their responses to the relationship between technical issues and concepts of their own artworks. The study results showed that the meanings of metalworking to students were craftsmanship, and a sense of accomplishment, and it related to their daily lives in career and presentation. Most of them focused on the degree of technical completion and forms of work rather than expressive concepts, and techniques were important in their works. I compared my findings in this study with my pilot study and James's study in a sculpture studio class, and found some similarities in teacher's philosophy and students' metalwork meanings that included career aspirations, some peer interaction, technical concerns rather than concept formation, and process as serious play or the exploration of materials.
This qualitative case study of 12, eighteen to twenty-four-year-olds from seven countries provided insight into the learning practices on an art-centered, social media platform. The study addressed two guiding questions; (a) what art related skills, knowledge, and dispositions do community members acquire using a social media platform? (b), What new literacy practices, e.g., the use of new technologies and an ethos of participation, collective intelligence, collaboration, dispersion of abundant resources, and sharing (Knobel & Lankshear, 2007), do members use in acquiring of art-related skills, concepts, knowledge, and dispositions? Data included interviews, online documents, artwork, screen capture of online content, threaded online discussions, and a questionnaire. Drawing on theory and research from both new literacies and art education, the study identified five practices related to learning in the visual arts: (a) practicing as professional artists; (b) engaging in discovery based search strategies for viewing and collecting member produced content; (c) learning by observational strategies; (d) giving constructive criticism and feedback; (e) making learning resources. The study presents suggestions for teachers interested in empowering instruction with new social media technologies.