“We shape our tools and, thereafter, our tools shape us.”– Culkin, 1967
In our age of accelerating technological ubiquity these words are deeply prescient. The disturbing paradoxes of our modern world are hidden in plain sight. It keeps us safe but to do so it has to invade our privacy. It liberates while simultaneously confining us. It is both friend and foe. Significantly, technology does not choose its own path.
How can artists and designers actively inhabit this endlessly liminal space? Rather than retreating to a separate more comfortable reality, we see in these graduates a desire to engage directly with and reflect on the experience of modern networked life. Much of this work is socially engaged, questioning fundamental ownership and truth in data; exploring rules and pattern in closed systems; exposing the implicit biases in AI; investigating the encodings of language; revealing the cracks in Machine Learning systems; interrogating the nature of subjective experience; often with humour and absurdist tragedy at heart. Questions are raised as much as answers suggested.
To realise this ambitious work, these graduates successfully evolved an agile and hybridised workflow, developing emergent and responsive media art practices. By generating a range of investigative outcomes they effectively bridge media and materials found in both traditional and digital methods.