Critical Journal- ch. 1&2

The term “new media art” does not centre itself within the definition of the word “new”. Using media to express oneself goes beyond the initial “wow” factor that is often linked to technology. New media art creates conversations around a variety of themes that is crucial to the work and dependant on the creator . Media within art can take shape in many ways and is often used as a support of the work and not as a crutch. In class Megan Smith mentioned that there has been a lot of new media art created, some of which is good art, and much is considered bad art. Good art, in this case, creates questioning, a wider conversation that can carry itself when the newness of the media has diminished, as discussed  with the hype scale. In terms of the text “new media art is, broadly, art that is made using electronic media technology and that displays any or all of the three behaviours of interactivity, connectivity, and computability in any combination” 1

As a viewer it is important to see new media art in terms of characteristics which in turn could re examine the way media’s role within an arts context is understood. Curators must also re examine their approach on how to perceive, hold space, and facilitate a  successful show that may live beyond the appeal of the new. “… curators working with new media have increasingly sought out ways to highlight at times and downplay at times the newness of the technology rather than emphasizing the work’s other characteristics. It is hard to downplay newness when that is all anyone else is focused on, however “2. There are other ways in which to understand new media arts in relation to fine arts, such as a shift in language. The terms computable, connected and interactive are all considered new media terminology that translates into the art history terminology of variable, distributed and collaborative. Understanding the crossover of language could aid in a shift within curatorial practice. 

An example of work that is connected and has a  focus on integrating media into the overall concept  is Imaginary Friends: A participatory augmented reality projectt by Ted Hiebert. The theme of his work deals with the imaginary and subverting the notion of what is considered imaginary. In his work he is interacting with his viewers in multiple ways. He is participating with local artist’s by inviting them to submit work and displaying works with a platform in which he is able to connect to a larger audience. Hiebert’s use of augmented reality ties to the concept and understanding of his work. As he has stated “Contributions to the project are exhibited in a technological overlay to the city. Like all things imaginary, they cannot be seen by the naked eye. Instead, in order to see the exhibition, viewers need to download an augmented reality (AR) application for their smart phone…” 3. Further information, and documentation of this project can be found here.  

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Image source

There is a multitude of ways in which to represent and work with new media art. This example lives in multiple spaces (gallery, online and through augmented reality) which is why I provided Imaginary Friends as an example.  I believe that the work has multiple layers in terms of new media art, and how this can be represented, viewed, discussed and curated in present day.

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1 Graham, Beryl, and Sarah Cook. “1.” Rethinking Curating: Art after New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2010. 10. Print.
2 Graham, Beryl, and Sarah Cook. “1.” Rethinking Curating: Art after New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2010. 23. Print.
3 Hiebert, Ted. “Imaginary Friends.” Imaginary Friends. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2016.

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