By Savitha Hira
Images: Courtesy Meena Vari
|Synchronizations - At Ars Electronica 2005 Linz, Austria|
Inter-disciplinary programs that foster critical design thinking seem to be the key to pursuing Experimental Media Arts as a career option…
Contemporary fine art, time and again, is known to engage in plural thinking, weaving varied media into a cohesive whole, and this, often with a social or political message. How the messages are interpreted and acted upon is a story apart; but the critical aspect of conveying serious public and humanitarian issues vide the art media remains a heightened cognitive exercise.
Meena Vari, Dean - Contemporary Arts and Curatorial Practice; and Coordinator – Center for Experimental Media Arts at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore since September 2002, works closely with other academic deans to drive the practice and study of Experimental Media Arts (EMA) both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
A recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship for a course in Arts Management from the University of New Orleans, USA, Meena was a special invitee at Visiting Arts, UK, for a meeting of cultural directors from India. Her efforts to study and explore the possibilities of development and participation in the arts, has her currently engaged with curatorial practice as a form of experience, cognition and knowledge making.
|Balloon Mapping with DIY
camera and mapping tools at the India Art Fair- 2011, |
Part of the Autonomous Public Laboratory (APL 1) installation.
She enlightens us on EMA as a career option. “EMA helps students to develop innovative approaches to contemporary art practice using audio, video, digital, electronic and web art; media archaeologies, network culture, bio-arts, net art, sound art, digital cinema, 3D animation, immersive interactive installation, conceptual art, and performance art. They go through an immersive program to develop critical thinking skills, an understanding of media history, history of technology, and awareness of contemporary art practice.”
Sound Art Installation in Lal Bagh during Srishti Interim 2011-
Mobile Aural Observatory Station2 (MAOS2)
Meena enlightens us on the merits of pursuing a study program in EMA.
1. How important is it to pick new media arts practice as a profession as against other conventional vocations/ as against the conventional mode of painting/ sculpture etc?
I believe none of the practices as you have mentioned above is less or more. Every practice has an audience, both as practitioners as well as audience/consumers. It depends on the person, what tool or medium they would choose to practice and express. Media Art practice is just another set of tools that artists use to express themselves. These artists find it easier to work with media technologies and not with the known, familiar mediums.
In the classic sense 'new media arts' encompasses media technologies and the list is growing as we speak, it now includes digital art, machinima, algorithm art, tactical media, computer graphics, computer animation, virtual art, internet art, interactive art, computer robotics, and art and biotechnology, art and science, bio-arts, art and space and more….
Autonomous Public Laboratory (APL) an Art-Science
experimental installation set up at the India Art Fair 2011
2. What qualities should one look for in a student prior to guiding him/her to this specific stream?
Curiosity and willingness to be a learner at all times is the best quality a student of art should have. To be part of this specific stream of enquiry, the student should be willing to experiment, question, and understand the contexts plus have the urge to push the boundaries.
3. Is there a retirement age for an art professional?
I think the only time an artist retires is when he/she dies… they keep reinventing themselves with the changing times and keep coming up with artworks, reflecting new avatars, if need be.
Media Art Installation at Ars Electronica 2005 Linz, Austria
4. What is the ‘edge’ over others that a student gets when he/she graduates in Experimental Media Arts from an institution like Srishti?
The edge is the “exposure to new artistic practices” that the students get while they are at Srishti. There is a steady stream of national and international faculty, artists and designers at Srishti. The EMA program was set up for practitioners, who want to fill in the gap, which is usually felt after an undergraduate program or after few years of practice as creative professionals.
Srishti is a space to incubate ideas, projects and experiments. It provides a space for emerging creative professionals, who have fair knowledge of the artistic practice and would like to use the resources and teaching methodology at Srishti to emerge as innovators and creators of a new artistic practice/product/innovation. The undergraduate programs and the other advanced diploma programs at Srishti are very unique and vibrant and there is a constant support from these programs as well.
|Media Art Installation during Srishti Interim 2011- Stories are flowing...|