More of the same really. She points out that in the domain of media art these issues are explicitly addressed whilst in the mainstream art world they generally are not.
Why is this surprising? It isn't. The primary characteristic of the media artist is that they foreground the mediality of what they do - whether that involves new media or old. It's not the media they use that is necessarily significant but how they consider it reflexively in their practice. The same applies to how such work is theorised and historicised. Media art is media art because the media is a major consideration in its ontology.
The main stream art world operates on a different paradigm, where media are so well established that they become more or less invisible (eg: painting, sculpture, print, etc). Even some recently (but now less than) new media have taken on this mantle of invisibility (eg: video, photography, etc). Sometimes mainstream and media art cross-over and, for a couple of decades, that crossing-over was almost default, at least at the cutting edge of contemporary art (here I'm thinking of the 60's, 70's and, to a lesser degree, the 80's) when mediality was a pervasive issue in the arts (this was arguably driven by socio-political concerns). That was a time when artists were rethinking the fundamentals of what they were doing (and how) and this meant many of them were media artists (even if they didn't consider themselves to be). However, over the last 20 years or so issues of mediality have faded for mainstream artists, just as concerns about art's ontology have faded from view. Contemporary art is no longer reflexive. This has happened at the same time as the process of digital convergence has accelerated and, more or less, completed.
This last point, about how media becomes unimportant as it matures, might appear to be surprising. But perhaps it isn't, as such media become instrumental to the most banal aspects of life. Perhaps the question therefore is, what is the digital equivalent of "merda d'artista"?
On 2 Sep 2012, at 12:49, Honor Harger wrote:
> Hi all,
> I am guessing you've all probably read Claire Bishop's fascinating
> essay in Art Forum, the "Digital Divide"?
> "So why do I have a sense that the appearance and content of
> contemporary art have been curiously unresponsive to the total
> upheaval in our labor and leisure inaugurated by the digital
> revolution? While many artists use digital technology, how many
> really confront the question of what it means to think, see, and
> filter affect through the digital? How many thematize this, or
> reflect deeply on how we experience, and are altered by, the
> digitization of our existence? I find it strange that I can count on
> one hand the works of art that do seem to undertake this task
> There is, of course, an entire sphere of "new media" art, but this is
> a specialized field of its own: It rarely overlaps with the
> mainstream art world (commercial galleries, the Turner Prize,
> national pavilions at Venice). While this split is itself undoubtedly
> symptomatic, the mainstream art world and its response to the digital
> are the focus of this essay."
> I'd be interested in your eruditions on this.
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Honor Harger
> Director, Lighthouse
> Brighton, UK
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MSc by Research in Interdisciplinary Creative Practices