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Next Art Education. 9 Essential Theses

Torsten Meyer / 2014

The next art is the art of the next society. Sociologist and cultural theorist Dirk Baecker pinpoints the term Next Society to the society based on the computer as the leading media technology. Baecker develops his argument on the assumption that nothing influences societal structures and cultural forms as significantly as the respective dominating media technology. As a result in the long run, the introduction of the computer will impact society as dramatically as the introduction of language, writing and printing press.[1]
Next Art Education draws upon this assumption by asking for adequate reactions in the field of Art Education.

  1. This is the general starting point: Next Art Education must be radically based on the future. We live in proto-times. It is about becoming, not being. This is best achieved by seriously focussing on “the now”.
  2. The sovereign subject of the modern age is an out-dated role model for educational projects. The hero of the Next Society – it’s neither the intellectual of the Enlightenment who appeals to public reason nor is it the critic as the sole judge over real and ideal –, it’s the hacker.
  3. Along with the computer as the leading media technology comes a surplus of control. Next Art Education is focussing on the cultural techniques necessary to deal with this. The artist of the next society is in control of the cultural techniques of his and her time. His and her art buzzes within the network and vibrates in the media. The artist of the Next Society does not have to be an IT expert, but he or she maintains a creative use of coding techniques and control projects.
  4. Next Art Education breaks with the history of art as a grand narrative of Eurocentric high culture. It operates on uncertain ground. It opens up to the unknown, to Next Art, and attempts to think in terms of Post Art. Next Art Education is recognizably connected to the field of art, but is thinking beyond. Next Art Education knows: Next Art does not remain unaffected by the world in which it arises. It deals with current aspects of contemporary life by utilizing the current methods of presentation and it operates on the current ground of everyday culture.
  5. This goes to the digital immigrants: The dominant culture of Next Art Education is the culture of the digital natives. It is a culture that is emerging in this very moment. We do not have any experience here. It is strange to us. The respect for the natives of the Next Society commands our special attention.
  6. Next Art Education must be based on the principles of cyberspace turned inside out into real life: the connection of all with all, the creation of virtual communities and the collective intelligence. The issues, problems and phenomena on which the students of Next Art Education should be educated must be placed in front of a backdrop of the digital networked global society. And that means that academic institutions can no longer maintain the modern educational goal of critical and likewise contemplative work with books and images. They must be based on the dispersion in the networks and on the operational handling of complexity.
  7. For the Next Society, time is no longer an outstretching line that spans from yesterday to tomorrow and causally joins past with future. History belongs to the age of modernity, as does teleology. For the Next Society, time is an instance – what is essential is the present. In geometrical terms: a dot instead of a line. The cyberspace turned inside out is becoming the medium of a global contemporariness. Cultural globalization therefore is a constantly present layer of reality.
  8. Next Art Education knows that Next Art no longer considers the image as the goal of art, but as its raw material. It no longer strives for one grand masterpiece, but deals with the plurality of images. It produces deep knowledge of the codes structuring our reality and develops the ability to interactively adopt culture in the form of sample, mashup, hack and remix. And it senses that control over our global reality of life can only be attained through forms of participatory intelligence and collective creativity.
  9. In particular, this requires a very thorough rethinking of the basic reference points of Art Education: Next Art Education has not only left behind the opposition of art and technology originating from the 18th and 19th century, but has also moved past the related opposition of nature and culture. There is a new kind of nature in the global contemporariness, a culturally emerged nature implying all the born and grown things as well as all the man made things, which are beyond our control. The homme naturel 2.0, as a starting point for Kulturkritik* as well as for educational projects of the Next Society, is man in the state of Next Nature[2]. According to this, the artist of the Next Society as a role model for Next Art Education projects must be thought of – very carefully with respect to the depth of rooting in academic reasoning – under Immanuel Kant’s premise – as updated with the concept of Next Nature: “Genius is the innate mental aptitude (ingenium) through which [next!] nature gives the rule to art.” (Immanuel Kant 1790, para. 46)

[1] cf. Dirk Baecker, Studien zur nächsten Gesellschaft. Frankfurt/M. 2007.
[2] cf. Koert van Mensvoort, Hendrik-Jan Grievink, Next Nature: Nature Changes Along With Us. Barcelona/New York 2011.

[Dieser Text findet sich im Reader Nr. 2 auf S. 218.]

[Es sind keine weiteren Materialien zu diesem Beitrag hinterlegt.]

Torsten Meyer

*1965, Prof. Dr. phil., Studium der Erziehungswissenschaft, Soziologie, Philosophie und Kunst an der Universität Hamburg, Universität Lüneburg und Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg; Professor für Kunst und Ihre Didaktik, Schwerpunkt aktuelle Medienkultur, an der Universität zu Köln. Arbeitsschwerpunkte: Pädagogische Medientheorie, Globalisierung & Digitalisation, Mediologie der Bildung, Next Art Education. www.medialogy.de.


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Baecker, Dirk  ·  Kant, Immanuel  ·  Meyer, Torsten