[csaa-forum] The Futures of Digital Media Arts and Culture - Issue 11 of the Fibreculture Journal - online now

Andrew Murphie andrew.murphie at gmail.com
Wed Feb 27 16:49:20 CST 2008

The Futures of Digital Media Arts and Culture - Issue 11 of the Fibreculture

edited by Andrew Hutchison  and Ingrid Richardson



The Future is User-Led: The Path towards Widespread Produsage - Axel

The Aesthetics of the Ambient Video Experience - Jim

Technology transfer present and futures in the electronic arts - Brian
Degger <http://journal.fibreculture.org/issue11/issue11_degger.html>

Cultural Roots for Computing: The Case of African Diasporic Orature and
Computational Narrative in the GRIOT System - D. Fox

A Game of One's Own: Towards a New Gendered Poetics of Digital Space - Tracy
Fullerton, Jacquelyn Ford Morie, Celia

Continuous Materiality Through a Hierarchy of Computational Codes - Kenneth
J. Knoespel and Jichen

Art and (Second) Life: Over the hills and far away? - Caroline

Experience and abstraction: the arts and the logic of machines - Simon

Dada Redux: Elements of Dadaist Practice in Contemporary Electronic
Literature - Scott

The Past as the Future? Nostalgia and Retrogaming in Digital Culture  -
Jaakko Suominen<http://journal.fibreculture.org/issue11/issue11_suominen.html>

Art against Information: Case Studies in Data Practice - Mitchell


In the early 1990s, the very term 'digital' was new and novel. Yet over the
past several decades it is apparent that applications and innovations in
e-mail, the Internet, mobile media, complex data systems and computational
practice, video games and networking software have become an essential and
dynamic part of contemporary art and culture. Increasingly, research in new
media (and 'newer' new media) interprets the arrival of these emergent
forms, addressing the sometimes unexpected social, cultural and aesthetic
uses and implications of developing digital technologies and interfaces.

The eleven papers presented here from the *perthDAC* (Digital Arts and
Culture) 2007 conference offer a broad spectrum of perspectives on the
future of digital media art and culture, speculating on recent trends and
developments, presenting research outcomes, describing works in progress, or
documenting histories and challenging existing paradigms of digital media
use, creation and perception. They range in topic from the participatory
culture of Web 2.0, video art and electronic literature, biological art and
emerging art practices in online environments, to the compound relation
between art, data and computation, the gendered poetics of game space and
evolving character of game culture.

In his paper Axel Bruns identifies a unique type of media experience to
emerge from the user-led Web 2.0 environment – that of *produsage*. As he
insightfully notes, the boundaries between media producers and consumers are
currently breaking down to enable 'the collaborative and continuous building
and extending of existing content in pursuit of further improvement'. Jim
Bizzocchi's paper also considers an emergent aesthetic and cultural
phenomenon – ambient video – which includes video art works and living video
paintings that reside on buildings, the walls of our homes and offices, and
in an increasingly array of public spaces. Such artworks, he argues, play
'in the background of our lives', yet paradoxically they must be
at-the-ready to reward a glance or more sustained contemplative gaze;
Bizzocchi reflects upon the creative and receptive implications of such a
phenomenon. The artistic potential of online virtual environments such as
Second Life is the topic of Caroline McCaw's paper; she adopts her own
Second Life avatar in a deep engagement with the work and ideas of DC
Spensley (aka Dancoyote Antonelli in Second Life). In discussing the
relation between this new aesthetic space and the values and methods of
traditional art practices and histories, McCaw suggests that at the very
least emerging art practices in online environments invite us to critically
examine 'the way we think and talk about art'.

Simon Penny examines the 'theoretical crisis' that exists at the nexus of
computational technologies and artistic endeavour, where the rationalist
Cartesian values of the hardware/software binary are antagonistic to the
creative aims of the artist. He argues convincingly that such a crisis
'demands the development of a critical technical practice'. The legacy of
Cartesian dualism embedded in our understanding and interpretation of
language, computer code and the physical world is also the focus of Kenneth
Knoespel and Jichen Zhu's paper. They suggest that the notion of 'continuous
materiality' can effectively capture the complexity of the relation between
materiality and immateriality, and they effectively deploy this idea through
the diagrammatics and design morphology of architectural practice. On a
connected yet divergent theme, D. Fox Harrell makes the case that when
computational systems are made to intentionally and critically engage with
cultural values and practices – for example, in the representation and
manipulation of semantic content – new, invigorated and expressive computing
practices can result. In this context he describes the GRIOT platform which
implements interactive and generative narratives 'deeply informed by African
diasporic traditions'.  In 'Art Against Information', Mitchell Whitelaw
examines the way in which artistic practice might break away from the
representation of information; he suggests that data art can effectively
work to separate 'information' and 'data', to create 'figures of data as
unmediated, immanent, material and underdetermined', and speaks of the
importance of critically reflecting on the potential of such practices.

Scott Rettberg explores the legacy of the Dadaist avant-garde upon
contemporary new media artists and digital writers, arguing that there is a
close correlation between Dada 'anti-art' practice and the methods deployed
by new media artists and digital/electronic writers. Such an association,
Rettberg claims, can be used to critically contextualise the properties and
artifacts of contemporary new media literature. Brian Degger considers
another arena of cutting edge artistic practice, the sometimes controversial
arena of mixed reality and biological arts which are deeply enmeshed in
technoscientific and biotechnological innovation and experimentation; in his
paper he deliberates upon issues of access, affordability and technology
transfer through the work of Symbiotic*A*, Blast Theory and FoAM.

Finally, two of the contributions chosen for this special issue attend to
aspects of computer game culture and game space. In 'A Game of One's Own'
Tracy Fullerton, Jacquelyn Ford Morie and Celia Pearce critique the
predominantly male sensibility of game space in first-person shooters and
massively multiplayer games. Via feminist writings and literature,
contemporary game studies and Bachelard's theory, they explore the
possibility of rethinking and re/degendering the spatial poetics and
cognitive models at work within the 'virtual playgrounds' of computer games.
In his article Jaakko Suominen turns to an interesting emergent phenomenon
in game culture – that of *retrogaming*. Retrogaming can include the
appropriation or remediation of older games, devices and applications into
present-day games, or more broadly the nostalgic collection and playing of
first and second generation games and consoles. Suominen investigates both
the increasing popularity of such practices, and the way in which the
culture and content of retrogaming becomes incorporated into the latest game
devices and gameplay.

We hope that you find this to be both a thought-provoking collection and a
worthwhile sampling of the perthDAC 2007 conference.

Andrew Hutchison and Ingrid Richardson

"Take me to the operator, I want to ask some questions" - Barbara

"Of course it is always possible to work oneself into a state of complete
contentment with an ultimate irrationality" - Alfred North Whitehead

"I thought I had reached port; but I seemed to be cast back again into the
open sea" (Deleuze and Guattari, after Leibniz)

Andrew Murphie - Associate Professor
School of English, Media and Performing Arts, University of New South Wales,
Sydney, Australia, 2052
fax:612 93856812 tlf:612 93855548 email: a.murphie at unsw.edu.au
room 311H, Webster Building
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