We are a culture obsessed with I, ourselves: Immersive, Interactive, Immediacy, Involved, Intimate…and all these on Interfaces.
We are a culture obsessed with I’s: eyes, viewing, feeling and sensing.
In a way, art, aesthetics and sensation could be even more important than information as it consistently pushes the boundaries and creativity of media and social change as it encourages unconventional ways of thinking. Armstrong (2005) quotes Saper in his 2001 work, Networked Art and says that “these artworks invent a gift-exchange community involved in a more intimate sense of transactions that we usually consider impersonal.” Paraphrasing Armstrong’ argument, we can see that art installations have now become multi-channel frequencies that utilise your sensors to allow your body to feel more involved in its movements.
I attended Sydney’s interactive art and light showcase, VIVID, a few days ago. As seen in the video I recorded above, this brings forth new ideas of experiencing art. This particular case encouraged the feeling of serenity under the ocean as it changed colour with your movements. Another, perhaps even my favourite installation, was that of an interactive mirror. As you stood in front of it, this mirror would wiggle as it picked up on your movements. This challenges the boundaries between the living and that of inanimate objects by applying movement. What does this sensation represent? Is it simply a storage of computer code. Is it a showcase of the aesthetics? Perhaps it is even both? This act of questioning is what new media does as it pushes the idea of the individual, linking it to other forms and by doing so, make more innovative discoveries.
Intentionally, artists encourage an almost archaic spontaneous response in the community. This breaks the space so it become collective assemblages of experimental methods and communal. They are in search for space outside of the typical isolated gallery in an unconventional manner (Osborne 2009). In retrospect, this can be linked to Guattari’s ethico-aesthetic paradigm (2005) that talks about the ethical reasonings behind sensation-filled mass media and its subject influence over viewers. Mass artist collaboration is driving our society such as through advertising and, for example, encouraging the feeling of innocence and purity by using a baby to sell the compassion of a politician. This made me think whether or not sensation and aesthetics were beneficial. We have to be more critical and active audiences as best we can, despite the bombarding of information.
Interestingly, Walter’s (2012) questioning of where this ‘art’ and productions come from. The twenty-first century expansion is largely the result of “20 to 30 somethings with the educational privilege to understand both contemporary culture and the technology driving it all”. Where do we draw the line in art? This also had me questioning whether or not new media limits this creativity. He says that we are a class of ‘culture creatives’ where we produce content for every field. As a result, drawing from the McLuhan’s theory of technological determinism in past weeks (Murphie & Potts 2003), technology is the message that defines culture. Although we are drawing on individual ideas, the device we use is ultimately interrelating the content because we are also forced to fit a frame and set mediums to produce it.
I think, the most fascinating time to study this media and art form is at the earliest stages of its perceived expansion. The uncertainty and excitement is therefore why this age is so densely populated by critics and voices that want to be heard. It is the start of a culture obsessed with ‘I’ words: interaction and immediacy of the individual. This is because new media, has animated our possibilities into an accelerated driving force that is likely to change the future of our culture.
Armstrong, K 2005, ‘Intimate Transactions: The Evolution of an Ecosophical Networked Practice’, The Fibreculture Journal, Issue 7, accessed 23 May 2013, <http://seven.fibreculturejournal.org/fcj-047-intimate-transactions-the-evolution-of-an-ecosophical-networked-practice/ >
Murphie, A and Potts, J 2003, ‘Theoretical Frameworks’, Culture and Technology London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 11-38
Osborne, A 2009, ‘The Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm: Tribal Assemblages and Space Rock’, accessed 23 May 2013, http://totalassaultonculture.wordpress.com/2009/01/23/the-ethico-aesthetic-paradigm-tribal-assemblages-and-space-rock/ >
Walter, D 2012 , The New Aesthetic and I’, accessed 23 May 2013, <http://damiengwalter.com/2012/04/02/the-new-aesthetic-and-i/ >