Dan S. Wang on Sun, 13 Mar 2005 14:07:59 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> fundigested [rosler, jaeger]

> Thirdly, I don't see this 'digital boom' that others have mentioned, nor do
> I see the jobs that it is preparing us for (Maya Texutre modeling?
> .ASP/XML/CSS/Perl Programmer? I suppose these are out there but most rely on
> skills taught at trade schools, DeVRY, or self-taught..) I think Trebor
> Scholz has written about this. In fact, it seems that budget cuts are
> happening across the board. If the computing/arts department at UCSD can get
> additional funding that provides more research opportunities for graduate
> students, then me and my friends/fellow graduate students will be happy
> campers. ;)

You don't see the digital boom because it is over. You missed its growth
stage. It has reached a plateau--just about every art department in North
America in the last eight or nine years has managed to stock itself with at
least some instructors in new media/digital media, whether that's in a
graphic design area, printmaking area, photo area, or in an area simply
called new media. Sometimes in all these areas, often starting from zero.
The hiring has leveled off.

I remember the academic jobs listings in around '96 and '97 suddenly being
flooded with ads describing openings for people with electronic/digital/new
media skills, all over the country. Only a couple years before, there
weren't that many, and then, along with the internet bubble and all the
rest, the departments all went mad for digital. I think a lot of them
probably didn't feel like they had a choice. Maybe this was the beginning of
'market realities' encroaching on the art department in such a pronounced,
immediately effective way. Demanding that faculty (and especially the new
media newcomers) come up with self-funding or worse surplus revenue
generating schemes seems the logical next step.

What interested me at the time (and I guess still does) is that just about
every academic job listing included (and still does) the 'EOE' 'WMA' and
'AA' abbreviations at the end of the listing, meaning of course that the
department was/is supposedly an Equal Opportunity Employer, that Women and
Minorities are encouraged to Apply, and that it adheres to Affirmative
Action guidelines in hiring. Compared to the way scores of art departments
within several years managed to fill multiple digital media positions,
including with a lot of practitioners who were learning skills as they went,
making up curriculum, and in many cases possessing a questionable
expertise...and yet could not do the same when it came to finding
half-qualified women and (especially) minority faculty....For me, that was
the real drag, although I must thank the boom for revealing starkly the
priorities in play, and the near non-existent market pull of the Affirmative
Action partisans.

Dan w.

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