VISUAL ARTS TRADITION GETS A DIGITAL BOOST

Published 17 July 2001

From this Thursday, SCU undergraduates will get their hands on the latest technological development in the field of Visual Arts when the University officially opens its new Digital Art and Design studio featuring twenty high-capacity G4 Apple computers.

Other state-of-the-art design equipment includes 19" monitors, flatbed and film scanners, digital cameras, and black & white and colour printers.

Although unrivalled in the region, the high-tech studio is just the latest stage in the historical evolution of 'tools' for the visual arts, according to the Head of SCU's School of Contemporary Arts, Associate Professor Jan Davis.

"Artists have always taken new technologies and used them to make art. They use gas and electricity as well as wood to fire their ceramic kilns, painters moved onto acrylic as well as oil paint, printmakers now use presses along with barens*," Prof Davis said. "This technology is the latest in a long tradition - a new tool in a well-worn toolbox, rather than a revolution to sweep away all arts practice as we know it.

"The studio is a computer lab built in the Visual Arts building, between the painting and printmaking studios. It's a symbolic and practical integration of digital technology with traditional studio practices. It will give artists the opportunity to plan and execute their work in exciting new ways."

The new studio will be accessed by all visual arts students - painters, printmakers, ceramicists and sculptors - while students in photography units will study digital processes in addition to traditional darkroom processes.

The Bachelor of Visual Arts degree program has also introduced a new strand of units in Digital Art and Design which will enable students to undertake a minor or major in Digital Art and Design. These units will also be available to students undertaking other degrees.

"The Digital Art and Design studio is a significant recognition of our changing environment and will enhance the pre-existing skills of our young art students who are already familiar with hardware and software when they enrol in our programs," Prof. Davis added.

"It will also be of great benefit to graduates who go on to secondary teaching where digital skills are becoming a regular part of the curriculum."

* A Baren is a hand held tool for burnishing the back of printing paper when it is layed over the block.

Media representatives are invited to attend the opening on Thursday, 19 July at 1.00pm, in the Visual Arts building. Ribbon cutting by Professor Angela Delves, Pro Vice-Chancellor, International & Enterprise.