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Arts & Culture

High Tech High Media Arts Serves Up Interactive Art Experiences

High Tech High Media Arts senior Joshua Espinoza works on his Dada and Vaporwave project for the Old School Vs. Now interactive arts showcase, May 11, 2017.
Guillermo Sevilla
High Tech High Media Arts senior Joshua Espinoza works on his Dada and Vaporwave project for the Old School Vs. Now interactive arts showcase, May 11, 2017.

Old School Vs. Now exhibition tonight only

High Tech High Media Arts Serves Up Interactive Art Experiences
GUESTS: Margaret Noble, artist and High Tech High arts/technology teacher Beth Accomando, KPBS arts reporter

Tonight high-tech media our students will host an exhibition of more than two dozen interactive art projects connecting their lives to our limits of the past. It is called old school versus now. Beth Okamoto visited the classroom to get a preview with an artist and teacher. Said tell me where you are here and what the students are doing. You are in the digital arts lab. Right now students are finishing up their final project. It's a very interesting project looking at movements throughout history and how they pertain to our lives now. There wrapping it up in the classroom. How do you decide on the project that you do every semester. We look for a theme that has enough variation within a that all students can find something that they are particularly interested in to grab onto. It is very different each time. This is the first time that have done art movement. We have done what does it mean to be a teenager. We have looked at the impact on humanity. Any idea where there's multiple entry point at any kind of interpretation they would like to explore. They go from the Renaissance pixel art to have conceptual are and performance art and abstract painting we have video art and any kind of payment you have that she can imagine there is one group of students that were not excited by this movement and I want to go further back in history.. How are they connecting that to their lives. Why should I care about a painter. Why should I look at what they are doing and why I was doing. Sometimes they were really interested.. This looks like our life now with the propaganda art and the campaigns... We are at a particular point in time where it seems to be coming under attack you yourself are an artist so is it important for you to come up with the topic that exposed the younger generation to write are is relevant for their lives. That is my reason for being in the system. I think that no matter whether you will be an artist or patron.. Are sending all the time so I'm sort of an advocate doing my work it. It is really important and can translate beyond looking at movements. We will look at aesthetics and we will look at our work and activists and artists of the how people use creativity to express their ideas in different ways. What you bring into the classroom as a working artist as opposed to somebody who is just teaching them. What you are Inc. you are bring into these students that they are not getting anywhere else. I do not lecture. It is a work studio. I bring a lot of the processes I would do which would be working in the studio to conceptual research and participate in regular critiques and show work to the audience and outreach to the public and I have expertise that really works well for the discipline I teach. This project would go beyond the classroom that will put beyond an exhibition that anyone can come to. What is it going to be like.. Each student actually has a directive experience. They will facilitate the conversation and walk into the graphics essentially with their mind and go through a lot of different choices that they are coping to provoke you to think deeper about the topic and the movement that would be 25 different experiences. Some are more abstract but the hope is that each one starts a conversation. You have a lot more time with your students so you can do deeper work and deeper learning. And it is embedded within project work that happens over a period of time they are picking up skills not only the soft skills and the social skills and their in the conversation and how people are learning from each other and really interested in pure networks students will not to make better work. Ethics exhibition. Does it work better are you reaching out to the community and an important and interesting way. Part of it is not just using this project also get that into a broader discussion in the community. I think that their work is really interesting and I really pushed thinking on a lot of audiences. They are the catalyst that they will be spending on. Is there anything else that you want to add about this project. I think it is really excellent. I hope that they will get a lot of audience members to join us and see what they can do. Exhibition old school versus now is open to the public tonight from 5:00 to 7:00 at high Tech high media arts at liberty Station.

High Tech High Media Arts Serves Up Interactive Art Experiences
High Tech Media Arts graduating seniors will be holding an exhibition Tuesday night of interactive art projects connecting their lives to art movements of the past. It’s called Old School Vs. Now.

High Tech Media Arts graduating seniors will be holding an exhibition Tuesday night of interactive art projects connecting their lives to art movements of the past. It’s called Old School Vs. Now.

High Tech High Media Arts students are doing something seemingly rare for kids these days in school: they are learning to think.

Senior Bryce Kerr has been thinking about propaganda art, feminism and specifically the famous “We Can Do It” poster that appeared briefly in the 1940s to get women into the work force and then resurfaced decades later as an iconic image for the women’s movement.

"This [poster] actually sparked another wave of feminism in the '60s when you see a lot of protests about job equality. So I wouldn’t say propaganda is good or bad but it’s something that has sparked a lot of things and propaganda indirectly started this movement for feminism," Kerr said.

Connor Sweeny and Bryce Kerr discuss the video game they created about propaganda art and how the "We Can Do It" poster played a role in the women's movement, May 11, 2017.
Guillermo Sevilla
Connor Sweeny and Bryce Kerr discuss the video game they created about propaganda art and how the "We Can Do It" poster played a role in the women's movement, May 11, 2017.

Kerr is one of 50 students working in pairs and preparing interactive arts projects for an exhibition called Old School Vs. Now. It reflects the project-based learning High Tech High advocates and that English teacher Sani Vanderspek teaches.

"We’re trying to have students leave the classroom with an inquiry, and leaving with wanting to ask more questions about the world and not have this idea where 'Oh I’m finished, I’m throwing my books on the ground, I’m graduating' but questioning the world around them and answering those questions too," Vanderspek said.

Joshua Espinoza, a senior, wanted to use the Dada art movement of the early 20th century to discuss the contemporary vaporwave genre that uses music and memes to satirize corporate and consumerist culture.

"This [Marcel Duchamp's Fountain] is an example of an art piece made by an artist and it’s just a turned upside down toilet seat, which would not be considered art to most people but it has meaning, which questions art’s norms and that was really interesting to me because what vaporwave has shown me is not only is it not just a random art piece but it says that anything can be art with a message you just have to take the time to look at it," Espinoza explained.

Helping students take that time to appreciate those messages is artist and teacher Margaret Noble.

"Right now students are finishing up their final projects," Noble said. "They are very interdisciplinary projects, first grounded in research and then expressed through interactive media looking at art movements throughout history and how they pertain to their lives now so they are just wrapping it up in the classroom now getting ready for exhibition."

High Tech High: Old School Vs.Now

The exhibition will showcase about two-dozen interactive art experiences that highlight movements as diverse as pop art, minimalism, performance art, impressionism and magical realism.

Emily Sanchez worked with Sierra Clegg to explore the Catholic Church’s involvement in Italian Baroque art.

"Actually our research concluded two different things so it was hard to pinpoint the intention of Baroque art," Sanchez said. "So my research showed that some of the artwork was more rebellious toward the church and it included civilians, like everyday civilians, so it was interesting that a lot of people got offended by this by mixing everyday people with Biblical characters whereas Sierra’s research said it was mainly for the church."

Vanderspek said students work on research papers that start with larger questions.

"Like what was happening in the world? What is an art movement? And what is the art movement pushing against or what does a movement in history or a social movement push against? What is that history?" Vanderspek asked. "And then we move to now, which is what are we pushing against now, what are artists doing what do these students want to say, what is their message?"

Those questions are then incorporated into the digital projects that Noble oversees.

"Each student actually has an interactive experience so they are going to invite you to their station they are going to facilitate a conversation with you and you are going to walk into their graphics essentially with your mind and go through a lot of different choices that they are hoping will provoke you to think about their topic," Noble stated.

Student Jack Schwatrz wanted to use magic realism to explore contemporary refugee issues.

"We wanted to show the Syrian refugee crisis in a different way," he said. "We’ve all seen the shocking photos of the child on the beach and I think we wanted to show something that wasn’t as abrasive but it showed the struggle the refugees are facing."

Some students create video games while others use a documentary style to convey information but Noble said the hope is that each one starts a conversation.

"I really proud of their work, I think it is really excellent and I hope that we get a lot of audience members to join us to see what high school kids can do," she said.

And to see how learning to think and ask questions is something we can all benefit from

The graduating seniors of High Tech High Media Arts will present their interactive arts showcase Old School Vs. Now on impressions of social, cultural, technological, and ideological constructs as interpreted through historical art movements from 5 to 7 p.m., Tuesday. The exhibit is at High Tech High Media Arts' Main Commons at 2230 Truxtun Road on the third floor.