Digital World and Image Group Seeks to Combine Digital Media and Craft

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The Digital World and Image Group (DWIG) is one of the project studios that the Digital Media Program houses as part of its curriculum. Project studios are collaborative work sessions where students work together to produce projects in different interest fields of digital media. Students in the DWIG project studio study interaction as performance, as an expressive and creative activity. The group does not have a preset project goal, but instead each term is a combination of theory, analysis, design, and practical work.

This semester, DWIG is focusing on craft and combining digital media and craft practice.

“We started the pathway into this area last year,” says project studio director Dr. Michael Nitsche. “This term, we more directly target existing craft practices and how we can use digital media to re-shape them. The students will visit practicing crafters, document their practices, and then develop their own projects that will build on this analysis. Right now, we are in the phase when students head out to visit their particular craftspeople.”

First year Master’s student Kate Farina has chosen to focus on the craft of weaving. She plans on following local Atlanta weavers to learn more about the practice.

“I think weaving is interesting for this project because there’s already a machine involved—the loom—so the craftsperson is already involved with a fairly complex tool.” Farina says.

Earlier last week, students of DWIG went to visit the Georgia Tech Craft Center to experiment with clay and to have a shared experience of a typical craft practice. Students crafted artifacts ranging from snowmen to large replicas of their own hands.

“First, we looked into a logical breakdown of craft practices, which included readings and critiques” explains Nitsche. “But we wanted to avoid a purely logical perspective toward craft. Crafting is such a personal and experiential activity that a purely logical activity breakdown would not cover some of crafting’s most essential parts.”

DWIG offers Digital Media students a chance to explore the connection between performance, craft, and the digital medium. Students in this project studio address creativity, civic media, and artistic practice, as well as important issues to the digital media field.

“I would suggest that the question of what is physical and what is virtual is becoming rather complicated. And we cannot answer this question through a purely technological perspective.” Nitsche says. “Instead, we apply humanistic approaches. Our current work uses craft and connects to a larger body of research on the growing culture of making and hacking. There are huge communities that share knowledge, objects, and practices, from Etsy to Instructables and MAKE. They reflect a major trend and through our work, we position digital media in this growth of a new movement.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information about what DWIG is up to this semester, visit the group’s blog.