Sunday, November 16th, 2008
Michael Shanks on intramural art:
Whether looked at from the standpoint of teaching and training, or from that of intramural or extramural programming, what is striking about this landscape—a landscape shared with many (if not most) leading contemporary research universities—is at once the richness of the options that are made available and what is best described as a collateral “cost”: a tendency for arts practice, education, and training to find themselves atomized and distanced with respect to the university’s core functions of producing knowledge. Within this model, humanities scholarship that involves critical reading, reflection, and writing on the history of literature and the arts is cast in a role that is, at best, complementary, at worst, ornamental, but never integral to arts education. The social sciences are relegated to an even more accessory role, perhaps with the lone exception of domains involving issues of cognition and perception. Even further removed are the very technology and science disciplines within which the transformative techné of our era have developed, from gene splicing to robotics to global positioning satellites to 3D visualization.