Media art and culture

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The term media art is useful and used for artistic projects bringing up the technological, aesthetical, social, cultural, legal and political issues that come along with the emergence of new media. Since 1990s the new media have included internet, web, mobiles, wireless, GPS, and others. Media culture in this regard uses and is used by new media.

Media art includes projects exploring technological and aeshetical of emerging tools and standards, such as video, computer, mobile devices, internet, software, code, computer games, streaming, GPS, sound production devices, or robotics. These projects usually focus on the manuevre limitations, stereotypes of perception, or aesthetics of these tools.

Looking at the media art and culture mailing lists, conferences and festivals, the current discussions are held on various topics, such as public domain and accessibility of data, software, and devices, democratisation of electromagnetic spectrum (open spectrum), social web (or web 2.0), protection of personal data and identity, and human rights. Projects dealing with these social, cultural, legal and political issues stemmed from media art field and still can be considered as a part of it.


Stephen Wilson v Information Arts[1] klasifikuje prace na zaklade pouzitych technologii (v knihe spred 6 rokov ich naratal vyse 80).

Christiane Paul v Digital Art[2] rozlisuje medzi umenim, ktore pouziva digitalne technologie ako nastroje pre tvorbu tradicnych umeleckych objektov (fotografia, tlac, socha, hudba) a umenim, pre ktore su tieto technologie jeho vlastnym mediom, v ktorom je produkovane, zaznamenavane a prezentovane a ktoreho interaktivne a participativne vlastnosti taketo umenie vyuziva.

Peter Weibel[3] claims "Futurism, Cubism, Cubofuturism, Suprematism, Dadaism, Surrealism, etc." to be conceptual precursors of media art. New art forms emerging after WW2 such as "action painting, Fluxus, Happening, Pop Art, Kinetism, Op-Art, Ambiente, Arte Povera, actions, performances, etc.," are enlisted to the cause of preparing the ground for the 'liberated' digital image.

Lev Manovich v The Language of New Media[4] postupuje od materialnych zakladov novych medii k ich formam.
In section Media and Computation I show that new media represents a convergence of two separate historical trajectories: computing and media technologies. Both begin in the 1830's with Babbage's Analytical Engine and Daguerre's daguerreotype. Eventually, in the middle of the twentieth century, a modern digital computer is developed to perform calculations on numerical data more efficiently; it takes over from numerous mechanical tabulators and calculators already widely employed by companies and governments since the turn of the century. In parallel, we witness the rise of modern media technologies which allow the storage of images, image sequences, sounds and text using different material forms: a photographic plate, a film stock, a gramophone record, etc. The synthesis of these two histories? The translation of all existing media into numerical data accessible for computers. The result is new media: graphics, moving images, sounds, shapes, spaces and text which become computable, i.e. simply another set of computer data. In Principles of New Media I look at the key consequences of this new status of media. Rather than focusing on familiar categories such as interactivity or hypermedia, I suggest a different list. This list reduces all principles of new media to five: numerical representation, modularity, automation, variability and cultural transcoding. In the section, What New Media is Not, I address other principles which are often attributed to new media [digitally encoded media is discrete in contrast to analog, different media types are displayable using one machine, random access, digitization inolves loss of information, endless copying w/o degradation of media, interactivity]. I show that these principles can already be found at work in older cultural forms and media technologies such as cinema, and therefore they are by themselves are not sufficient to distinguish new media from the old.

Simon Penny v texte Consumer Culture and the Technological Imperative: The Artist in Dataspace[5] hovori o digitalnom, pocitacovom a elektronickom umeni (pouziva ich ako synonyma) ako o spojnici troch historickych prudov: techniky (engineering), transnacionalneho komoditneho kapitalizmu, a tradicneho vytvarneho umenia. kedy digitalni medialni umelci pracuju s estetikou technologii, ktore su v kulture technologiami moci.

Armin Medosch[6] k Pennyho trom prudom pridava este dva: kulturny priemysel (frankfurtska skola) a socio-politicke hnutia (aktivizmus). Pojem "media art" chape ako stresny pojem, analogicky k vyssie spominanym pojmom.

Mark Tribe and Reena Jana in New Media Art[7]: New Media art and older categorical names like "Digital art," "Computer art," "Multimedia art," and "Interactive art" are often used interchangeably, but for the purposes of this book we use the term New Media art to describe projects that make use of emerging media technologies and are concerned with the cultural, political, and aesthetic possibilities of these tools. We locate New Media art as a subset of two broader categories: Art and Technology and Media art. Art and Technology refers to practices, such as Electronic art, Robotic art, and Genomic art, that involve technologies which are new but not necessarily media-related. Media art includes Video art, Transmission art, and Experimental Film -- art forms that incorporate media technologies which by the 1990s were no longer new. New Media art is thus the intersection of these two domains. We chose to limit the scope of this book to work that was made after the term New Media art was broadly adopted in 1994, and to focus on works that are particularly influential, that exemplify an important domain of New Media art practice, and that display an exceptional degree of conceptual sophistication, technological innovation, or social relevance. Deciding what counts as media technology is a difficult task. The Internet, which is central to many New Media art projects, is itself composed of a heterogeneous and constantly changing assortment of computer hardware and software?servers, routers, personal computers, database applications, scripts, and files?all governed by arcane protocols, such as HTTP, TCP/IP, and DNS. Other technologies that play a significant role in New Media art include video and computer games, surveillance cameras, wireless phones, hand-held computers, and Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. But New Media art is not defined by the technologies discussed here; on the contrary, by deploying these technologies for critical or experimental purposes, New Media artists redefine them as art media. In the hands of Radical Software Group (RSG), for example, data surveillance software, similar to that used by the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), becomes a tool for artistic data visualization. In addition to exploring the creative possibilities of this software, RSG develops a critique of surveillance technology and its uses. According to the authors, contemporary new media art pieces tend to deal with themes such as collaboration, identity, appropriation and open sourcing, telepresence and surveillance, corporate parody, as well as intervention and hactivism.

Oliver Grau in Virtual Art - ? [8][9]

Roy Ascott in Telematic Embrace - ? [10]

Rudolf Frieling and Dieter Daniels: media art is "by definition multimedia, time-based or process-oriented"[11]

Denisa Kera [12]

Palo Fabuš [13]

More writings

  • Má pojem nová média dnes ještě co říci? 2007 [3]


  1. Stephen Wilson, Information Arts: intersections of art, science, and technology, MIT Press, 2003, (online), (google books)
  2. Christiane Paul, Digital Art (World of Art series), London: Thames and Hudson, 2003, (online), (commentary)
  3. Peter Weibel, On the History and Aesthetics of the Digital Image, 1984, (full text), (excerpt)
  4. Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001, (online), (google books), (excerpt)
  5. Simon Penny (ed.), Critical issues in electronic media, SUNY Press, 1995, (google books)
  6. Armin Medosch, Technological Determinism in Media Art, 2005, (full text), (excerpt)
  7. Mark Tribe and Reena Jena, New Media Art, Taschen/Brown, 2006, (full text)
  8. Oliver Grau, Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion (Leonardo Book Series). Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2003
  9. Oliver Grau (ed.), MediaArtHistories, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2007
  10. Roy Ascott, Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology, and Consciousness, Berkeley: University of California Press. 2003
  11. Rudolf Frieling, Dieter Daniels (eds.), Media art net 2: Thematische Schwerpunkte/ Key Topics, Springer, 2005, [(online), (google books)
  12. Denisa Kera "Nová média" [1] (Czech)
  13. Palo Fabuš "Co jsou to nová média?" [2] (Czech)


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