[Sorry, there are going to be a number of these. I know they are repetitive. They are my effort to find ways of describing media art, not that the genre is especially important or requires closely policed limits, just that there seems a need to envisage a space of speculative media practice that it is not entirely circumscribed by a conception of technological media, that addresses notions of media and processes of mediation more generally.]
What is it that distinguishes media art from new media art or electronic art? Nothing absolute, of course. Just a shift in emphasis. Electronic art stresses a specific technological medium, exploring how aspects of action, interaction, perception, information, communication, logic and cognition can be rendered in electronic terms. New media art is more specifically concerned with the advent and implications of the digital. It shares the same technological emphasis as electronic art, but focuses on the creative potential of new forms of computational media.1 Media art is a bit different, or at least potentially a bit different. It represents a transition beyond the exclusive concern with technologically enabled mediation. Charting pathways to varied traditions of historical media and to diverse currents of contemporary art practice, it shapes something more like an epistemological conception of media. It is concerned with media not as physical medium, nor as a multiplicity of technological forms, but as a fundamental condition of experience. The concept of media denotes a paradox. Media represents an intervening space of distance, separation and delay, which is nonetheless constitutive of our experience of being, interaction and communication. Media art highlights this terrain of uncertainty, this play of engagement and disengagement, access and alienation, summoning and disappearance.
- see, for instance, Manovich, L. 2001, The Language of New Media, MIT Press, Cambridge Massachusetts. ↩