money = ability

Christopher Sumpton (
Wed, 31 Dec 1997 02:16:05 -0800 (PST)

Hi everyone, de-cloaking here briefly to respond to a couple months posts.

First, I'd like to respond to the use of computers, specifically media and
technology in schools. I have a few colleagues who are teachers here in
Vancouver, and they have told me what it's like for them as front line
workers in the education system. It seems that for many the threat of
being replaced by a machine is very real. Administrations are placing more
value on equipment than on human resource. This means that class size is
increasing to accomodate the decrease in staff. The increase in class size
means that the students have less one on one contact with the teacher, and
as a result the quality of their education is being compromised. Youth are
spending less time with their peers and more time with a machine. Only
time will tell what kind of sociologic impact this will have on society as
a whole. What kind of life will result from role models being computers?

Looking back on the development of technology, it has always been the
affluent who have determined the direction of development. Those with
expendable income, those with leisure time. The reflection is provided in
the existance of this discussion group. Those that have the fancy toys can
play with them - those that don't cannot. Those that have the fancy toys
can be part of the jetset swinging technology clique; go here and there
peddling their wares - marketing, conferencing and commodifying art.
Sometimes it's difficult to resist feeling envious.

Video games started off fairly tame with the likes of Pong. No hidden
agenda there; just a need for something more fancy. PacMan and DonkeyKong
were to follow shortly with the programming of the game to reinforce and
perpetuate consumerism - eating and eating and eating to gain more lives!!
And consuming would give you supernatural powers. Other games came out
with similar parameters, immitating sports and so on, with the sport came
the competitive streak and violence. Then came the games where you would
kill an opponent or a whole army. Now the kids play eachother in duels to
the death in cornerstores. Does anyone know the statistic on family
violence and how it relates to video game playing?

I asked a couple questions about content and meaning of chosing to
integrate dance & technology in performance projects when I first joined
this discussion group. A few responded with things like we do it because
we like to, because it's fun, because we think it's interesting. But no
one said: "because we can." "because we are the privedged class."
It's no wonder when people go to see work of this kind that it's hard for
the audience to find a way in if the artists are just techno-wanking.

Technology is a dangerous tool - just like a radial-arm saw. If you're not
careful when you use it, something hurtful can happen.

Is our fascination with computers and technology related to our need of
creating an artificial environment to replace the world that we've poisoned
in the pursuit of advancing our "civilization"?

An Important Person
Head of An Important Art Group
An Important Place