Image: Graduation project 'Work that Stands in the Way of Work' | Gabriela Felten, Graduate Student ArtScience 2014
At the ArtScience Interfaculty students and teachers are developing new forms of interdisciplinary art. The goal of the teaching programme of the Interfaculty is to investigate and possibly shape the intersection between artistic concepts and recent developments in science and technology.
Every year, the programme of courses and projects is partly updated according to current themes from the area where art, media, science and technology overlap. Possible artistic responses to recent developments are formulated by experimenting with new contexts and forms in which art can play a role. This discussion is continually related to an interdisciplinary base in which the continuity between media art, music, theatre, film and visual art is considered to be self-evident.
The Interfaculty is a collaboration between the Royal Academy of Art, the Royal Conservatoire and the Academy of the Arts of Leiden University. For that reason the staff comes from a variety of artistic cultures and disciplines that is unique in its scope. The Interfaculty offers a bachelor's programme and a master's programme. The ArtScience Interfaculty collaborates closely with the master's programme MediaTechnology of the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (Leiden University). Within the Royal Conservatoire the Interfaculty has close links with the Composition department and the Institute of Sonology, within the Royal Academy with the ARlab.
The bachelor's programme aims to guide students towards an 'autodisciplinary' art practice: students acquire the skills, research methods and conceptual background necessary to develop their personal artistic niche within the broad field of the arts and sciences. The ArtScience Interfaculty has an 'open curriculum': the students navigate individually through the teaching modules on offer within the Interfaculty and connected departments and institutions. At the Interfaculty there are four forms of tuition: research projects, labs, individual coaching and courses. Every year the student signs up for a number of research projects: these are periods of six weeks within which students and teachers investigate a research topic and develop artistic prototypes. Examples of recent research projects are: ArtScience on Seti, Art that Breeds Art, Extra Senses Extra Interference, Virtual Communities and Heroes Without Electricity. In the year 2009-2010 five collaborative laboratories have been set up within the Interfaculty in order to collect and zoom in on core subjects that have been dealt with in research projects over the last years. These labs are RecPlay (a live electronics and mechanics ensemble), StageLab (a performance ensemble), the Spatial Interaction Lab, the Audiovisual Composition Lab and the Tactile Research Lab. In the year 2010-2011 this will be expanded to seven labs with the addition of a CodeLab and the ARlab. The labs will offer group coaching and facilities for longer running projects by students, teachers and guests, and every bachelor student signs up to be a member of one or two of them. Apart from the collective activities, students are expected to do their own research and develop individual work, which is evaluated by all teachers in two presentations per year. Starting from the second year, each bachelor student chooses two personal coaches who advise in study choices and who reflect on the individual work of the student. A foundation for the individual and collective research activities is offered in the form of short, intensive courses in a large number of theoretical and practical subjects.
Participants in the master's programme are admitted on the basis of a research proposal, and depending on the research topic the student chooses two personal coaches. The three of them together then draw up a study- and research plan that will include course modules, projects and labs offered within the ArtScience Interfaculty and which can also include other courses from the Royal Conservatoire, The Royal Academy of Art or Leiden University. This choice will be based on both the research topic and the background of the student; also the ratio between self-study and course modules will be different for each student. Complementing this individual track are a number of introductory courses that are obligatory for all ArtScience master students. Also there are collective activities especially geared towards the mutual contribution to the research of fellow students. The progress in the individual work is being monitored in evaluations by the ArtScience teachers two times a year.