Category Archives: theory

Mass Effect: Art and the Internet in the Twenty-First Century

Edited by Lauren Cornell and Ed Halter (2015)
Since the turn of the millennium, the Internet has evolved from what was merely a new medium to a true mass medium – with a deeper and wider cultural reach, greater opportunities for distribution and collaboration, and more complex corporate and political realities. Mapping a loosely chronological series of formative arguments, developments, and happenings, Mass Effect provides an essential guide to understanding the dynamic and ongoing relationship between art and new technologies.

Posted in art, culture, design, exhibition, history, language, media, technology, theory

Chronophobia: On Time in the Art of the 1960s

By Pamela Lee (2004)
Despite its pervasiveness, the subject of time and 1960s art has gone largely unexamined in historical accounts of the period. Chronophobia is the first critical attempt to define this obsession and analyze it in relation to art and technology.Lee discusses the chronophobia of art relative to the emergence of the Information Age in postwar culture. The accompanying rapid technological transformations, including the advent of computers and automation processes, produced for many an acute sense of historical unknowing; the seemingly accelerated pace of life began to outstrip any attempts to make sense of the present. Lee sees the attitude of 1960s art to time as a historical prelude to our current fixation on time and speed within digital culture.

Posted in art, culture, history, media, philosophy, technology, theory

Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation

By Steven Johnson (2011)
How do we generate the groundbreaking ideas that push forward our lives, our society, our culture? Steven Johnson’s answers are revelatory as he identifies the seven key patterns behind genuine innovation, and traces them across time and disciplines. From Darwin and Freud to the halls of Google and Apple, Johnson investigates the innovation hubs throughout modern time and pulls out applicable approaches and commonalities that seem to appear at moments of originality. What he finds gives us both an important new understanding of the roots of innovation and a set of useful strategies for cultivating our own creative breakthroughs.

Posted in culture, history, theory

Broken Screen

Broken Screen is comprised of informal conversations between artist Doug Aitken and a roster of 26 carefully chosen artists, filmmakers, designers, and architects. Part guidebook and part manifesto, the book takes a fresh look at what it’s like to create work in a world that has become increasingly fragmentary. Through casual and direct discussions Broken Screen offers a detailed navigation through the ideas behind the important yet under-documented visual language of nonlinear narratives, split screens, and fragmentary visual planes that define the most progressive moving images today.

Posted in art, culture, interview, media, technology, theory

Expanded Cinema

By Gene Youngblood (1970)
Author Gene Youngblood argues that a new, expanded cinema is required for a new consciousness. He describes various types of filmmaking utilising new technology, including film special effects, computer art, video art, multi-media environments and holography. Forward by R. Buckminster Fuller. Also available for download at http://www.vasulka.org/Kitchen/PDF_ExpandedCinema/ExpandedCinema.html

Posted in art, consciousness, culture, media, technology, theory

Critical Response Process


By Liz Lerman and John Borstel (2003)
Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process is a multi-step, group system for giving and receiving useful feedback on creative processes and artistic works-in-progress. This book offers a detailed introduction to the Process, beginning with its three roles and four core steps.

Posted in art, education, feedback, theory

The Real Real Thing

By Wendy Steiner (2010)
In this bold view of contemporary culture, Wendy Steiner shows us the very meaning of the arts in the process of transformation. Her story begins at the turn of the last century, as the arts abandoned the representation of the world for a heady embrace of the abstract, the surreal, and the self-referential. Today though, this “separate sphere of the aesthetic” is indistinguishable from normal life. Media and images overwhelm us: we gingerly negotiate a real-virtual divide that we suspect no longer exists, craving contact with what J. M. Coetzee has called “the real real thing.” As the World Wide Web renders the lower-case world in ever-higher definition, the reality-based genres of memoir and documentary are displacing fiction, and novels and films are depicting the contemporary condition through model-protagonists who are half-human, half-image. Steiner shows the arts searching out a new ethical potential through this figure: by stressing the independent existence of the model, they welcome in the audience in all its unpredictability, redefining aesthetic experience as a real-world interaction with the promise of empathy, reciprocity, and egalitarian connection.

Posted in art, culture, theory

Emigre No. 70 the Look Back Issue: Selections from Emigre Magazine 1-69

By Rudy VanderLans (2009)
During the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, graphic design was experiencing one of its most exciting and transformative periods. The Apple Macintosh computer had been introduced, design schools were exploring French linguistic theory, the vernacular had become a serious source of study and inspiration, the design and manufacture of typefaces was suddenly opened up to everyone who could use a computer, and for the first time in the United States, New York City was no longer the place to look for the latest developments in graphic design. And in Berkeley, California, across the bay from Silicon Valley, Emigre magazine, like no other, recognized the significance of the events, and became both a leading participant and a keen observer of this innovative international design scene, generating a body of work and ideas that still resonate today.

Posted in design, theory, typography

Innovations in Art and Design Series

Art and Visual Culture series from Routledge:

Network Art: Practices and Positions (2005)

Invisible Connections: Dance, Choreography and Internet Communities (2005)

Thinking Through Art: Reflections on Art as Research (2005)

New Practices – New Pedagogies: A Reader (2005)

New Visions In Performance (2004)

Digital Creativity: A Reader (2002)

Posted in art, culture, design, education, history, media, theory

Deep Time of the Media: Toward an Archaeology of Hearing and Seeing by Technical Means

Deep Time of the Media: Toward an Archaeology of Hearing and Seeing by Technical Means (Electronic Culture: History, Theory, and Practice)By Siegfried Zielinski (2006)
Drawing on original source materials, Zielinski explores the technology of devices for hearing and seeing through two thousand years of cultural and technological history. He discovers the contributions of “dreamers and modelers” of media worlds, from the ancient Greek philosopher Empedocles and natural philosophers of the Renaissance and Baroque periods to Russian avant-gardists of the early twentieth century. “Media are spaces of action for constructed attempts to connect what is separated,” Zielinski writes. He describes models and machines that make this conncection: including a theater of mirrors in sixteenth-century Naples, an automaton for musical composition created by the seventeenth-century Jesuit Athanasius Kircher, and the eighteenth-century electrical tele-writing machine of Joseph Mazzolari, among others. Uncovering these moments in the media-archaeological record, Zielinski says, brings us into a new relationship with present-day moments; these discoveries in the “deep time” media history shed light on today’s media landscape and may help us map our expedition to the media future.

Posted in art, culture, history, media, technology, theory