A Level Exhibitions

When I was an art adviser in Bucks I always made a point of going to all the school art exhibitions. I had set up a website to share ideas, work and information with art teachers. When digital cameras were new I took short videos of the exhibitions and posted them on my website that evening so they were available the next day. Not very dramatic today, but in 2010 it was pretty cool – my attempt to promote the use of digital media in art education.

I had forgotten about these until this morning when I found an old link to some of these that I posted on Vimeo. The quality of the video reflects the limited technology of the time (a floppy disc Mavika), and my learning curve. But the work from these schools at the turn of the century is really extraordinarily fresh, varied and exciting.

This is one of them. It is a video of an ‘A’ Level exhibition from a school in Chalfonts Buckinghamshire. At the time this art department offered a pioneering curriculum way ahead of it’s time. The work spans a wide range of media including digital animation, fine art, illustration and design. The digital work was inspirational, reflecting the fine art animations of William Kentridge and of contemporary advertising and digital design. Students went on to stuidy degree courses in digital media. Student’s special studies became art works in their own right reflecting the work of designers and artist makers of books and things – above all the exhibition reflects a joy in, and celebration of, creativity and imagination.

AI and Lichtenstein

I am exploring the potential and dangers of AI in art education. It is a confused and confusing arena for an art educator at the moment. There is a need for careful reflection and to take note of the story of the baby and the bathwater. But in my casual experimenting I found myself, like everybody else, exploiting the capacity of AI to combine unrelated ideas and images. In my case the combination of art and spoons was an obvious query.

I suspect this trick will quickly lose it’s appeal and become a cliché. Novelty is not the same as creativity. However, I did find the notion of spoon design in the context of Lichtenstein or Picasso’s ‘Desmoislelles d’ Avignon’ amusing.

I asked AI to make a picture of me – a 75 year old, bespectacled, art adviser with a grey beard. It’s an endearing cliché, but a cliche nevertheless, and layered with bias, mysogyny, and racism.