RE: [-empyre-] old discussion, new discussion

> First, regarding some of the "new" (or actually, earlier) discussion, it
> seems strange that many of the emails have seemed to view new media
> exclusively through the arts and solely as an artistic practice. The work
> of computer scientists such as Ivan Sutherland, Joseph Wiezenbaum, Douglas
> Engelbart, and Alan Kay seems quite relevant to the creative and artistic
> uses of the computer. I'd hate to reduce new media to just being computer
> science, however, just as I think it shouldn't be reduced to only what
> artists have done or to the artistic perspective alone.

Well said.

> So, I wonder if new media art will be able to enlighten the scientific
> mainly by dealing with the tools and techniques of the sciences, or
> whether it will tend to focus more on science as a world-view and on the
> ideas of natural order that science offers?

I feel that what artists can do to "enlighten the scientific" rests not so
much in dealing with tools and techniques, or even in "science as a
world-view" as in the healing of schism between art and science, the
emotional and the rational, the technological and the human. Our
technologies are, as McLuhan and others have noted, extensions of our
powers. But if they are simply better claws to swipe at one another, as
opposed to instruments of our being that we can adopt and grow wisely with,
they simply hasten our destruction. It we were to grow a new mind, like we
sort of have with the Internet, what shall we use it for and what have we
become with this new mind? Part of the challenge to artists is to make this
new mind something other than a sharp claw and become both articulate with
the new body/mind and also find its expanded uses to make this a better
world and also a less dull world, a world with more laughter and mutual
understanding and appreciation.

This does involve, as you suggest, dealing with the tools and techniques of
the sciences, and also respecting truth and language, but the main thing, I
feel, is in freeing our own minds and growing imaginatively into being able
to use new media in a sufficiently eloquent and purposeful way as to be able
to fashion works that allow such consciousness to spread. To show what it
means to use new media artistically, to the benefit of mankind and
also/concommitantly to show how we may feel with new media. I remember an
old teacher of mine commenting about a student that s/he had not yet learned
to feel with the language. That is, I take it, an important part of being a
poet. And an important part of being a human being.


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