digital art and aesthetics

Every reasonably aware person of our time is aware of the obvious fact that art can no longer be justified as a superior activity, or even as a compensatory activity to which one might honorably devote oneself. (Guy Debord and Gil J Wolman)

Pay Attention: Here is danah boyd on Snapchat. boyd considers how having 7 seconds to view something influences the way we look at and think about the artifact, the artist, and the way we look at artifacts.

For other instances, try Selfie ObsessedOlive Grey Frost, and notably, Fish. Created using Tapestry.

The works on Tapestry demand participation, and they create operations and action involving information structures and behaviors. Shopping, checking email, googling are information behaviors (New Media Arts). So are reading, browsing, viewing a snapchat image, reading a tweet. Fish and Tapestry place an unusual constraint on how we can work with the information structure: there is no back button.

Tapestry itself, and the works created with Tapestry, enacts a few new media aesthetic moves or strategies

  • open access to anyone
  • sampling
  • repurposing
  • collecting and arranging
  • détournement

There are other moves common in new media art, but these will do for now.

And I’m employing some of these strategies in this blog post. It’s not like they are new or unique to the media or the message. Pay Attention.

New media art is interested in how cultural objects and spaces organize data and how it structures the audience’s experience of the data.

For Tuesday, let’s start with some historical artifacts and some samples.

  • Laurie Anderson –  Home of the Brave (video, full performance). Watch the first 7 minutes or so, then skip to the end, Sharkey’s Night & Credit Racket. 1986. Not a lot of interaction here, but a lot of sampling (both audio and cultural), détournement, and reimagining the artist and the work of art at a right-on-the border-of-digital moment.
  • Radiohead, video for House of Cards. 2008. All information structure.
  • Frank Chimero – What Screens Want. 2013. An essay.  On the affordances of the screen. But also enacts a digital version of the traditional essay.
  • Fish. On Tapestry, or as a self-contained work for free on the iPhone
  • The Digital Aesthetic – What it and is not. Art Digital Magazine. Mar 2012.



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