New media workshops begin at Kemper

The proliferation of new and digital media — from computers and Web sites to television screens, cell phones and other handheld devices — has profoundly impacted the ways we see and interact with the world around us.

It also has provided tremendous new possibilities for the creation and experience of art. This fall, the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum will launch several new outreach programs designed to highlight the aesthetics and expanding role of new media and digital art.

“We have all of this technology in our daily life but for museum-goers there’s still a lack of familiarity with these mediums,” said Michael Murawski, Ph.D., the museum’s coordinator for education and public programs. “People aren’t quite sure how to approach or understand them. So one of our primary goals is to help a wide range of audiences come to appreciate and feel more comfortable with this work.”

Next week, the museum will launch “No Experience Required,” a series of workshops exploring the what, why, who and how of digital and new media art. The series begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, with “What is New Media Art?” which will survey the role of digital media in contemporary artistic (and museum) practice. The series will continue at 7 p.m. Oct. 17 with “Video as Art and Interface,” which will include viewings and discussions of landmark works from the 1960s and ’70s.

Both workshops are hosted by Sabine Eckmann, Ph.D., director and chief curator for the Kemper Art Museum, and Lutz Koepnick, Ph.D., the museum’s curator for new media, as well as professor of German and of film and media studies, both in Arts & Sciences. Eckmann and Koepnick recently co-curated the exhibition “Window | Interface” (on view through Nov. 5), which explores the ways electronic windows and interfaces have come to structure the practice and experience of art today.

Seating is limited and advance registration is required. Cost is $20 per workshop ($10 for students and Kemper Art Museum members). For more information, call 935-5490; visit; or e-mail

In addition to “No Experience Required,” the museum is collaborating with RoundTrips, a student-centered distance learning project based in St. Louis, to offer “virtual field trips” of “Window | Interface.” Using satellite video-conferencing technology, students from schools around the country will be able to speak with museum educators and curators in real-time while engaging with interactive artworks by Peter Campus, Olafur Eliasson, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle and Jeffrey Shaw.

“It presents some technological challenges, but I think it’s one of the most important educational programs we’re doing,” Murawski said, adding that the program was designed to meet both Missouri grade-level expectations and national education standards. “Students can ask the curators and myself questions, but more importantly they can tell the camera to move to the left, or closer, or further away to give them an active experience of these new media works.”