in order to contribute some more things that could be dicussed, here are
some notes on the qualities of media art:
- ‘media art’ is a fuzzy term summarising art practises that use ‘new
media’, i.e. mainly electronic, digital media for the production of art
- within media art one can even further separate the so called ‘new media
art’ that is produced by the predominant use of the computer and software
and where the computer becomes a real medium of artistic expression
- the computer becomes an artistic medium when it simultaneously carries
and delivers/carries out an artistic message. The artist acts as the
massage’s designer and sender, the medium computer brings it to the recipient.
- in ‘traditional’ media art (non-interactive, non-generative,
non-connective) the computer is mainly used as a tool. These media art forms
do not overcome traditional patterns of the icon, the linear narrative and
- in media art performances the computer can be characterised as an
instrument as it is used on stage to create a visual or acoustic out-put
following predefined and pre-produced patterns. When used as an instrument,
the computer usually asks for an interactive expert user.
- new media art is characterised first and foremost by four technical
qualities: interactivity and generativity, connectivity and multimediality
these qualities actually mark off common contemporary visual art (and other
forms of media art like video art) from new media art
- these qualities do appear in various combinations and dominance, so
categorization on the basis of those terms makes only sense in order to
simplify, describe and communicate the dominant technical character of a piece.
- interactivity in the new media sense means the mutual dialog that occurs
between a human being (or possibly another live creature) and a computer and
in which the action of the human being influences the computational process
and its (artistic) expression. One can understand the interactive artwork as
system that can only exist and work when man becomes part of it.
- generativity means the execution of a program code, an algorithm, that was
created by man. The artist creates the basis - the algorithm on which e.g.
narration, information or form is generated, initiated by an extern input.
The result of this process is not pre-produced but forms itself depending on
- multimediality is the ability to integrate all traditional artistic media
independently from each other in an application and to make them available
together or separately: information is processed in more than one form. (In
old media like film also a number of media is integrated, e.g. moving image
and sound, but these are strongly dependent on each other and cannot be
presented separately in a meaningful way.)
- connectivity in an new media artwork means that it is linked locally or
externally. Locally in this case means linking parts/elements of the work
with each other and building references amongst them. External connections
usually involve the Internet serving as reference point or in-put source for
an art work and might use more than one network and expand to distributed spaces
- apart from these four basic qualities there is a large number of other
characteristics and objectives that can summarize and describe media art pieces
- the keyword list of the transmediale competition contains some of them and
its (playful) range shows the various perspectives on media art practices
beside the so far only technical one.
- this list takes the complexity and multi-dimensionality a piece of new
media art into account and tries to avoid common taxonomies to some extend.