The MFA in Intermedia is a creative studio-centered degree that extends a key aspect of much of the best contemporary creative work, that is its hybridity, as a core of the Program’s focus in creative and studio work. The MFA focuses on the intersection of contemporary arts with other disciplines and and areas of interest, technology and social praxis to model a new direction and approach to teaching and learning in the creative fields. We have chosen the term Intermedia to reflect our aim and intent – that is to work with, and study creative processes which fall conceptually and physically between known/used media, as well as between traditional disciplines such as photography and computer science, biology and sculpture, or music and sociology. The three key factors of Intermedia for the program and the faculty involved are:

  1. Traditional media distinctions are only reference points and not limits for current practice.
  2. A key component in current studio practices are intellectual/critical tools, (what we call praxis in our program).
  3. A necessity of new, or responsive forms that result from a dialectic between media.

 

Exhibition view from Without Border VII, 2010. Work by Janek Schaefer.

The MFA in Intermedia is an interdisciplinary program committed to creative research, experimental investigations, and technological engagement as well as development and production in hybrid forms of art such as time-based media, digital and video art, installation, performance art, artists’ books and multiples, community-based social art practices, conceptual art, net art, generative art forms (algorithmic art forms), and other new forms that the students may generate from their own intermedial explorations. These new forms are however, not without grounding in, or connections to, traditional art forms in music, writing, performance studies, media studies, and the visual arts.

Intermedia should also be seen as part of a process of creative innovation and question forming that spans the 20th century and now into the 21st century; from Dada and Marcel Duchamp, through John Cage and the Zen influenced arts of the 1950s into the variety of new forms and movements of the 1960s and 70s such as Happenings, Fluxus, Conceptual art, earth art, artists’ books, performance art, video art and may others and into the forms of relations art and social practices of today. In all of these historic forms, in much contemporary work, as well as in the Intermedia Program itself, there can be discerned three formative questions:

What are the materials of art?

What is the relationship between the artist/work and the audience?

What are the processes of manipulation/creation available to the artist?

It is these questions that the MFA Program helps students answer for themselves as the develop their practices as professional creative producers.