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
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
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
* 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.