The Problem with Digital Art is the Future “[New media art] questions everything, the most fundamental assumptions: What is a work? How do you collect? What is preservation? What is ownership? All of those things that museums are based upon and structured upon are pretty much thrown open to question.” – Jeremy Strick, Director, […]
In having been asked to lead off this discussion, the relevant issue that comes immediately to mind is a about autonomy and/or integration. Should new media be afforded a special or separate artistic status in comparison with more traditional media? Is this what artists want? If so then is the challenge for a contemporary curator to recognize distinction before integrating media arts into the fold of contemporary art and exhibitions? Doesn’t the nature of new media art itself often aim to challenge the very nature of traditional (gallery) art viewing contexts and behaviour? Isn’t it possible to accept that all contemporary art, from new media, to photography to painting are more or less different branches of one big diversely coloured tree? On the face of it I have always looked upon media arts this way, as one avenue artists have open to them for exploration. Of course particular knowledge and aptitudes are required (as they are for any artistic medium) but if the goal is to create an art object then is there really that much difference when it comes to reconciling media arts with everything else? Or do I have this all wrong? Like language laws enacted to protect the cultural fabric of a minority community within the broader mainstream, is this how those who speak in media art’s name feel with respect to the governing structures of the contemporary art world; i.e. that to make all sides compete as though the playing field is equal is to place the distinctiveness of what makes media art media art at risk?