Critical Inclusion: Valuing Student Perspectives, Queering Practice, and Hybridizing Pedagogy for 4D Media Critique

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Over the past decade, time-based visual media has attained the same ubiquity that the still image has enjoyed for the past 150 years. In this deliriously-mediated present, guiding students to use 4D media’s evolving languages of critique requires teaching strategies that address the strengths and blind spots of digital natives. Most undergraduate, internet-savvy students are natural critics of 4D media, and thoughtful educators will facilitate critique by valuing and harnessing these existing interests and useful perspectives. Vernacular media forms become an important and playful entryway to close looking and parsing. Colloquial and familiar viewing habits are eventually transformed by adoption of new terminology and critical angles. Situating contemporary 4D media works within greater art and design history is an extremely important way to effectively broaden perspectives and generate new critical conversations. Reading, continuous discussion, and exposure to artists, media works, history, and theory in the context of the studio classroom is just as important as 4D studio practice itself. Unless we are lucky enough to teach at an institution with a media+art history course, the 4D media educator is often saddled with the hybrid role of both studio practitioner and pioneering contemporary art/media/technology historian. This challenge, however great, is also an opportunity unique to our discipline. The 4D media educator must remain chameleon-like in negotiation of critical viewpoints, looking across disciplines, and responding swiftly to the unending torrent of hybridized art forms, expanding design needs, and emerging media technologies.