Digital Paper Planes is the first full-scale graduation exhibition for Media Arts and Digital Media at the University of Wollongong.
Situated at our new facility at the university’s Innovation Campus, the Digital Media Centre which houses our exhibition is well equipped to support the incredibly diverse requirements of contemporary art.
This exhibition is a testament to the breadth of approaches and themes tackled by today’s young artists. From sonic sculptures to feature films; from multiscreen video to happenings in public space; from YouTube campaigns to steam-powered phantasmagoria; it is perhaps true to say that the only thing uniting “media arts” in 2012 is a deep engagement with the very stuff of media and technology, whatever they may be.
Media Arts is the strange and interesting three-legged sibling of the visual arts – with one foot in the gallery, one foot in commercial vocations, with a third glitter-encrusted shoe shuffling furiously in the dancefloor of popular culture and social media.
Although technology-based university degrees – such as our Media Arts stream, or our newly minted Bachelor of Digital Media (taught collaboratively between TAFE Illawarra and UOW) – are often trumpeted as creating “industry-ready” graduates, the reality is rarely that simple.
What “industry” do we prepare our students for?
The film industry? The games industry? Television? The art world? Web design and content creation? Advertising and marketing?
The truth is: all of these, and none.
Throughout their final year at UOW, this cohort of talented individuals have been boot-camped in and out of the classroom. Their exhibition has been project managed, curated, promoted, and catered almost entirely by the students themselves.
These skills – combined with their conceptual and formal training in aesthetics and technics – are the essential elements for survival after graduation.
In the coming years, this group will begin carving out opportunities beyond the educational context – and beyond what we can possibly imagine for them. Many of them will surprise us with the directions they take. But they will all be shaping and defining what constitutes a “creative career” in the future. We wish them luck!
– Dr Lucas Ihlein
Co-ordinator, Third year Media Arts
Faculty of Creative Arts
University of Wollongong