Hello and welcome to the Columbia College Chicago Interdisciplinary Arts & Media MFA blog series! You can tell by my name tag that I am Michael St. John. Mike, for short. I’m a third-year thesis-bound MFA candidate, and I want to share my personal experience with you, inquiring prospective student, of my time here at Columbia.
You may be asking yourself, Is the Interdisciplinary Arts & Media graduate program right for me? Or maybe you’re wondering, How can this program fit into the ways I make art now? Or perhaps you’re still stuck on the basic question: what in the world does Interdisciplinary Arts and Media mean again?
These are all very good—and perplexing—questions to be asking right now, and even though the answers may feel scattered, they fall into the same category. It’s a bit like British philosopher Gilbert Ryle’s Concept of the Mind.
He has a great example of a prospective student (like you!) who gets a tour of a new school—the library, the classrooms, the labs, etc. and at the end of the tour, still asks, but where is the school? You can’t point to the school on a map without talking about all of its individual pieces. Those parts all work together to make the school. The same goes for the Interdisciplinary Arts & Media program.
In this blog series, I’ll talk about my experience in the program, but know that my perspective is not the be-all-end-all definition. InterArts (for short) is always changing and growing between disciplines—hence the Inter—and experiences with the core curriculum will be very different for different artists in the best way possible. If I’m doing my job here, the last question on your mind will be, …so, where is Interdisciplinary Arts & Media? It’s going to be you—the artist, the student, and yes, the soon-to-be-academic—who will be making the connections between the technology taught in your classes with the art you want (and need) to make.
InterArts is the program to experiment with new media, performance, video, and interactive installations. We defy categories because our student body redefines InterArts each and every semester. This is the laboratory where dancers incorporate computer programming into their costumes, video artists project their work in large-scale installations, and sculptors build objects in virtual space. You will create a network of peers and instructors who will push you to try new things…and those new things will be the jolt you need to expand your art-making.
Curiosity got the best of you now? Stick with me then. I can show you the InterArts program through my eyes…and if you like what you see, just imagine what you can do when you’re here.