Upheavals in social media and communications are overturning education, at the same time, a group of art education graduates and their artist lecturers are using creative research to disrupt this turn by visualising the practice of Digital Sabbath. The Digital Sabbath practice aimed to explore the feasibility of switching off from technology and the impact of this practice on the participants, and those around them.
The Digital Sabbath and Digital Distraction exhibition results from a creative arts research project involving graduate art teachers and art education lecturers who communicate well visually. The project followed the experiences of nine participants (including the researchers) as they gave up access to digital technologies for a day a week over a three-month period, a practice known as Digital Sabbath (DS).
The participants’ narratives (artefacts, journals and interviews) formed the stimulus for visualisations of the Digital Sabbath experience after a pre-intervention survey. Each researcher developed a series of works with participants, documenting the nature of their experiences and affective responses to the process. The researchers are creating a large collaborative piece that documents general themes from the project experience. The artworks produced for this research aim to communicate the findings of the research with a broader audience, and to incite discussion around our use of technology and its effect on our lives.
For many participants, the practice was incredibly difficult and small interactions with technology were often discussed as ‘necessary’. Most participants discussed their use of technology, and in particular social media, as an addiction.