[-empyre-] Critical Questioning in relationship to Ant Farm

Talan Memmott memmotttalan at gmail.com
Thu Jun 15 03:49:04 AEST 2017


Excellent questions, Renate!

First, I will take part of this up in the larger context of UnderAcademy
College.

UnderAcademy was established in 2011 to explore potential alternative
methods for online pedagogy. Founded with the following charter.

*UnderAcademy College* is an unaccredited undergraduate, graduate and
postgraduate anti-degree institution. UnderAcademy College situates itself
as a shadow-academic environment offering alternative courses and
anti-degree programs in a variety of subjects. The primary mission of
UnderAcademy College is to remain open, marginal, and unaccredited.

*“UnderAcademy is not anti-academic, it is under — like under the influence
of the academy. And, we are not a university; **we are called a college
because of its phonological proximity to collage.”* Talan Memmott
Provisional Provost UnderAcademy College
Since its inception we have serviced around 1000 students (or participants,
as we prefer). Courses we have offered include the fake news seminar in
question, along with seminars in GLITCH, STITCH, AND THE MELANCHOLY OF
REPRESENTATION, GRAMMAR PORN, ADVANCED MACARONICS: NEOLOGY, SUBJECTIVITY
AND THE PROBLEM OF PERSUASION, MEME CULTURE, ALIENATION CAPITAL, AND GESTIC
PLAY (which resulted in an issue of Rhizomes:
http://rhizomes.net/issue32/index.html), 141: THE GENERAL ECONOMY AND
TWITTER–GEORGE BATAILLE IN THE AGE OF TELETECHNICS, ENTROPY, INERTIA, AND
OTHER ANTI-KINETICS: A FEMINIST WAY OF LOOKING, and many more.

UnderAcademy is definitely not a stunt -- though it does employ
performative, participatory, and playful methods. At some level
UnderAcademy may be taken as satire of traditional academia, but I would
argue that its is more of an intervention. And, in this regard is a serious
project that works on multiple levels -- as critique, as performance, as
alternative, as think-tank, as incubator. Our faculty is made up of
Digressors rather than professors.

In regard to the HOW TO WRITE AND READ FAKE NEWS seminar, I see the course
operating in the domains of creative writing workshop and rhetoric class.
And, at some level I believe what we did with the course could fairly
easily be  leverage into more traditional courses taking up the subject of
fake news. One observation I have of UnderAcademy is that quite a few
academics take the UnderAcademy courses and then borrow exercises for their
own courses. I am certain this is the case with the fake news course.

-- Talan

On Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 10:20 AM, Renate Terese Ferro <rferro at cornell.edu>
wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> In response to Tim—
> Thanks Tim for posting the link to the Ant Farm intervention. I always
> love going back to look at these old tapes from Ant Farm.  Such a physical
> stunt with such conceptually and politically charged content.
>
> In response to Mark and Talan—
> Mark and Talan thinking about Ant Farm in relationship to your
> intervention—that of classifying and “teaching” how to write “fake news.”
> I need some help here.  Let me ask some very basic questions here because I
> am sure that our readership might be somewhat confused.
>
> When Margaret Rhee first introduced me to you she explained that you and
> Talan had taught a course on fake news.Who is it that this “class” was
> geared for?  Who ended up taking the class?   Do you see this project as a
> “stunt” as in driving a car through a wall of televisions as a conceptual
> gesture to critically look at the present day state of creating and
> interpreting the news?   If you are teaching how to write Fake News do you
> also have to teach how to write credible news or accounts?   In light of
> the fact that libraries, educational institutions and a host of others are
> setting out to educate the public on discerning fake from credibly news
> sources, how do you see this course in relationship to these trends?
>
> What’s fascinating here is that the boundaries between real and fiction
> are so blended today— but to get back to Ant Farm— where is the critical
> questioning in your mind in relationship to your teaching the class in
> retrospect?
>
> Renate Ferro
> Visiting Associate Professor
> Director of Undergraduate Studies
> Department of Art
> Tjaden Hall 306
> rferro at cornell.edu
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On 6/13/17, 6:38 PM, "empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au on
> behalf of Mark Marino" <empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au on
> behalf of markcmarino at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> >----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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