Re: [-empyre-] Opening remarks on new media history

Hi everyone

I'm interested in the notion of new media as a 'discipline' (see Anna's
comment below). Is it possible that new media (or whatever we want to call
it) is the first artform to be defined as a discipline (with all its
critical and academic overtones) rather than as, simply, a form of art.

Whenever I read this kind of discussion I can't help but try to imagine
Mozart, or Picasso, or Virginia Woolf, or Jean Cocteau, or Nina Simone or or
or ... describing their work and process in such academic frameworks as
constantly arise in the discourse of new media on lists like this.

It always makes me wonder whether new media has a stronger presence as a
form of making or as a form of critique. Or are the two interdependent in
the case of new media? And if so, why should that be, when in the past most
kinds of new art have come to life through the hands of artists and are only
embraced by critics later on, and by academics much much later on.

I would be interested to hear everyone's views on this.

best wishes and happy new year


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Anna Munster" <>
To: "soft_skinned_space" <>
Sent: Friday, January 02, 2004 10:36 PM
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Opening remarks on new media history

> Yes, I'd have to agree with Simon (and also Alan) about the blocking
> mechanisms of disciplinary definition, And I would be very unhappy to see
> the possibilities implied by the notion of new media (as Simon suggests
> *becoming* qualities) shut down by staking out a field. In fact what seems
> to be happening in game studies is simply the formation of a discipline
> that has found a kind of reasonably solid object to hangitself upon.
> New media on the other hand at least has the advantage of vagueness, and
> vagueness as Brian Massumi has argued in  Parables for the Virtual, can be
> a useful tool in a culture that is geared towards quantification.
> >-----
> >Bio-tech, smart-materials, etc?
> >
> >The computer is a powerful instance of a type of thinking which actually
> >informs the development of all these technologies. Like all paradigms
> >it paradoxically functions to blind us to future possibilities.
> >
>  I like to think of the biotech/ smart connection as something that would
> be unthinkable before not simply computers/computation but before
> information. So that it is part of the formation of informatic culture, as
> too is new media as a set of computationally based artifacts, theories,
> genres.
> If we look at information in the sense that Castells suggests it -
> informationalism - we start to build a broader understanding of new media
> than limited to being computationally supported or based. We have to begin
> to take into account the structural, socio-technical, political,
> formations that are part and parcel of *new media*. And these have to do
> with the shifts that have been occurring towards a networked. distributed
> society.  The problem of understanding new media in terms of the already
> constituted field of computing as a science/practice is that this field
> often be unreflexive of its own history, assumptions etc.  Both
> and art and design may have more to say to each other if we look at them
> through the lens of informationalism,
> cheers anna
> all bodies are in a perpetual flux like rivers, and parts are entering
> them and passing out of them continuously.
> Leibniz
> Anna Munster
> Lecturer in Digital Media Theory/
> Postgraduate Coordinator
> School of Art History and Theory
> College of Fine Arts
> University of New South Wales
> PO Box 259
> Paddington 2021
> Phone: 612 9385 0741
> Fax: 612 9385 0615
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum

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