MA in hypermedia studies LEGACY 03 The event Participants History

History

Legacy '03 is an overview of 7 years of new media creativity by staff and students from the MA in Hypermedia Studies at the University of Westminster. The show also provides a first chance to see the work being made by this year's class of MA students.

Legacy '03 contains a selection of innovative pieces from each of the 7 years of the MA course. For instance, John Lundberg made the first version of the celebrated circlemakers website when he was an MA student. The work which the alumni made on the course is coupled with examples of what they're producing now. For instance, you can see how Jane Austin's student piece is a precursor of her current success at Recollective. Best of all, looking at the alumni work gives a fascinating overview of the technological developments and aesthetic innovations which have taken place within new media between 1996 and today. Here is a chance to relive a time when Shockwave plug-ins were the latest thing!

Legacy '03 explores the creative influence of teachers upon their pupils. Being on a post-graduate course, students from the MA in Hypermedia Studies have always tried to surpass their mentors. Yet, at the same time, their work has often flattered the teaching staff by imitation. The pieces in the exhibition reflect the evolution of this artistic dialogue since 1996 - and how the new generation of students are engaging with the ideas of the current members of staff.

Legacy '03 shows how much the MA in Hypermedia Studies owes to its founding father: Andy Cameron. Back in 1995, Andy was already pushing forward the frontiers of interactive design with his students on the BA in Contemporary Media Practice at the University of Westminster. Out of these inspired experiments emerged first the world-famous antirom collective, then the Hypermedia Research Centre and, soon afterwards, the MA in Hypermedia Studies. In the early years of the course, Andy Cameron taught his practical modules with Andy Allenson, Tom Roope and other members of antirom. When you look at work from this period, it is obvious that - however hard they tried - students couldn't help but be inspired by the antirom aesthetic.

Legacy '03 demonstrates the influence of Jeremy Quinn upon students on the course. Jeremy was one of the first web designers in London and helped to set up the MA in Hypermedia Studies. Over the years, he became increasingly involved in open source software development, especially the Cocoon project of apache.org. Jeremy's teaching ensured that students explored the possibilities of the Net beyond designing beautiful front-ends for websites. In the early years of the course, Phil Loughran also inspired students to delve into other aspects of the Net with his experiments with virtual communities programs. For brief moment, people across the world were logging-in to chat to each other in Jungle MOO - a 3-D text-based environment hosted on the HRC website.

Legacy '03 remembers the teachers who moved on to other jobs. The antirom collective went their separate ways. Phil Loughran joined the BBC. Andy Cameron went to work at Fabrica in Italy. Jeremy Quinn concentrated on his open source and commercial work. Each of them in their own way made an invaluable contribution to the MA course - and, through their students - to new media creativity across the world.

Legacy '03 celebrates the arrival of Laura Jordan as a teacher on the MA in Hypermedia Studies. Back in Sydney, Laura helped to set up geekgirl - the infamous Australian cyberfeminist e-zine. She also was multi-media artist and worked at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales. Soon after she joined the teaching staff, Laura forged a relationship between the MA course and Lateral - one of London's premier web design agencies. Under her supervision, members of Lateral and its associated companies are now passing on their professional expertise to the current generation of students. Laura isn't only interested in ensuring her students can make innovative work for commercial companies. At the same time, she encourages them to experiment and play with new media technologies. The best digital artisans must also be innovative net.artists - and vice versa. If you look at the pieces from last year's alumni and this year's students, you can see how Laura is already inspiring a new aesthetic for the MA course.

Legacy '03 reflects the synergy between learning and teaching. Ex- students are now working on the MA in Hypermedia Studies. Rachel Collinson (class of 1998) teaches the database and open source software course. An ex-student is now influencing a new generation of MA students with her own innovative ideas. Rachel is also responsible for rebuilding and running the HRC website. Mare Tralla (class of 1996) is head of the E-Media Centre at the Estonian Academy of Art. She inspired the on-line collaborations between the MA in Hypermedia Studies and the MA in Interactive Multi-Media in Estonia. Sophia Drakopoulou (class of 2001) teaches mobile culture on the MA and curated the Legacy '03 exhibition. Other ex-students have given guest lectures, provided contacts for current students and helped the course in other ways. This show is one way of saying "thank you" to the alumni of the MA in Hypermedia Studies.

Legacy '03 is made possible by the intimate connection between the MA course and Cybersalon. Ever since it was founded in 1997, staff and students have been closely involved in running this new media network. Cybersalon provides a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the separate worlds of formal education and professional life. In addition, its events have created a space for the discussion of new ideas and the showing of new artworks. Over the years, students on the MA in Hypermedia Studies have contributed to and benefited from Cybersalon's activities. The Digital Learning event and the Legacy '03 exhibition exemplify this symbiotic relationship.

Legacy '03 confirms the principles which guide the teaching of practical skills on the MA in Hypermedia Studies:

* Constant innovation in technology and aesthetics. Always explore the latest version of authoring environments and the hippest styles in new media design.

* Keep in touch with the new media industry's demands. Make sure that plenty of workshops and lectures are given by professionals who are working in the sector.

* Connect practical skills with the theoretical side of the MA course. Software might go out-of-date, but an understanding of "really- existing capitalism" lasts a lifetime.

* Create space for exploring and playing with new technologies and new artforms. You don't know what can be achieved until you've pushed the boundaries as far out as they'll go.

* Celebrate the freedoms of open source software. The hi-tech gift economy isn't just a theory, but also a practice.

* Make links with other academic institutions and with groups outside the university. Collaborating with the Estonian Academy of Art and working with Cybersalon are essential parts of the MA course.

* Build a place where interesting people can meet each other and create wonderful things together. Students should learn as much from each other as from their teachers.

www.hrc.wmin.ac.uk