Electronic Art and Design (EAD) covers a wide range of faculty and student practices in the Art Department at UC Irvine, but they all share an emphasis on hybrid methods that integrate computation and/or electronics with other media, that are critically engaged with key cultural issues, especially the space occupied by ideas of technology, and that participate in shaping the designed aspects of our world.
In 2016, the School of the Arts launched the Institute for 21st Century Creativity to sponsor interdisciplinary practices linking art, technology and design. “21C”, as it’s familiarly known, offers grants to graduate students as well as faculty working on the forefront of expanded art practices.
At the graduate level, we avoid the formal separation between “new” and “traditional” media that has arisen in some programs, feeling that the differences between these practices are often less important than they are made to seem through the constant hyping of new technologies and technology as only new. In the Art Department, EAD students work side by side with graduate students in all areas of contemporary art practice, creating a fruitful conversation in which Foucault and Flusser, Haraway, Heidegger, and Hayles are all part of the mix.
A cross-section of Art graduate students and the work they did while in the program—with links to the work they have gone on to do since:
- Derric Eady: dystopic architectures and landscapes created with 3D software
- Andy Fedak: a surreal maze experience created using 3D software
- Amy Kaczur: digital video installation on bees, communication, and technologies of imaging
- Christine Nguyen: imaginary bio-geographies expressed through multilayered digital images
- Carrie Paterson: pataphysical machines
- Lisa Tucker: an exhibition and symposium organized on the theme “Bioneering”
- Claude Willey: data mapping, geolocation, experimental hydrology, and a symposium
- Gordon Winiemko: mockumentary, karaoke, slideshows, and performance
Undergraduates do not have to declare a major in EAD to take courses; in fact, they are encouraged to take EAD courses side by side with video, installation, sculpture, music, and so on. Through immersion in the principles of information design and programming, students gain the necessary skills to collaborate with innovators from many other fields, giving them an exceptionally broad perspective to fuel their future as makers. As they move their expanded practice outside traditional exhibition venues, they are enabled to intervene more directly in the shaping of their culture.
To help students plan their curriculum, the EAD area of the Art Department has identified several informal tracks, each consisting of a loose group of related courses that focus on a specific subset of practices and outcomes. Informal tracks currently include Interactive Art and Installation, Mechatronics, Electronic Narrative, and Media Design.
EAD students may also be interested in the school’s Digital Arts Minor—many UCI students who major in Art minor in Digital Arts, where they work alongside interested students from across the campus. For more information, check out our page on DAM.