Artistic Technology Research

New Media Arts as “artistic research and development” between artistic, medial and techno-scientific discourses is research-based and practice-led. It does not produce “final products” but “process artefacts”. Through “empowering cultural artefacts” and through “enabling technologies” it becomes possible to integrate technological ideas into artistic practice without having to think about feasibility in the first place. “Artistic Technology Research” attempts to separate New Media Arts and Creative Industries to force a new profile of an artistic practice formerly known as New Media Arts.

New Media Arts as “artistic research and development”1 between artistic, medial and techno-scientific discourses is research-based and practice-led. It does not produce “final products” but “process artefacts”. In the age of “loss of control” (“Kontrollverlust”2) a change of reception/perception of audiences can be observed. Through multiple, diverse channels of consumption and participation, the creation of attention and user-engagement is crucial to new media arts. In this sense, previous descriptions of new media arts have to be extended regarding “attention economies”3 and in this context being examined on their interactions with phenomena such as “real-time media” and “real-time participation”. Artistic research can be faster than scientific research and can react much more directly to current social and technological developments. Still, new artistic practices are often misunderstood and there have been many attempts made to move “artistic innovations” to the advertising industry or other “creative commonplaces” such as “R&D labs”. While media art-works often show high technological potential, it is often criticised, if this is the only characteristic4. New Media Arts should produce “artistic technologies”5 and not “economic technologies” to force a much more strict distinction to creative industries. This distinction would make the profile of a critical new media practice much more clear and it would be easier to generate awareness and respect for that field, since a non-popular artwork does not necessarily mean “market failure”. Media Artworks are cultural products (and processes) that force the “production and circulation of symbolic ideas”6 and therefore do not need a market as such. Richard Florida is right when stating “human creativity is the ultimate economic resource”7 but there is a different meaning for the terms “innovation” and “creativity” when contextualized with the system art or with the system economy. In times when “creativity” becomes a replacement for the term “art”8 we have to rethink what we call »new media arts«, remembering that culture should not only be valued for its economic contribution.

 

Through “empowering cultural artefacts”9 and through “enabling technologies” it becomes possible to integrate technological ideas into artistic practice without having to think about feasibility in the first place. Artistic practices in this context changed over the last years10 (cf. Arns, 2010: “media arts finally matured”) while still not every cultural artefact necessarily becomes an artistic artefact. In the age of the “query public” we have to radically rethink the concept of the public11. Extending the thoughts of Michael Seemann, as “produsers”12 the artist as researcher finds a transformed and changed (media) situation and needs to re-position his/her work to contextualise artistic practices with works and discourses from the past.

 

Questions:

* What does “artistic innovation” stand for and how does it differ to scientific and economic innovation?
* How does New Media Art as “innovation research” work—and how does it create a distinct profile with respect to creative industries?
* Is there still the “artwork” in new media arts or can we only describe “process artefacts” that emerge from a contemporary art-based research practice?
* What is the target audience of current new media arts? (new “digital public” vs. art audience)
* What are the discourses and interactions between art and digital communities?
* What are the motivations of creatives/artists beyond the industries—are there (successful) role models or positions that are neither located in fine arts nor in creative industries?
* Is it possible to re-position aesthetics in new media arts that include aspects of the opinion society (aspects of attention)?
* Are “new media aesthetics” moving towards an “attention-maximizing aesthetic” or “distributed aesthetics”?
* What parts of their output do new media artists compared to “process based cultures” see as artistic output?

 

[1] Borgdorff, H. “The Production of Knowledge in Artistic Research” in “The Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts”, Michael Biggs and Henrik Karlsson (Eds.), Routledge, Taylor & Francis, 2011
[2] Seemann, M.: “Vom Kontrollverlust zur Filtersouveränität” in: Digitale Intimität, die Privatsphäre und das Netz – #public_life, ISBN 978-3-86928-052-3, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Berlin 2011
[3] Franck, G.: “Ökonomie der Aufmerksamkeit: Ein Entwurf.” München: Carl Hanser, 1998
[4] Nordmann, A.: “Experiment Zukunft – Die Künste im Zeitalter der Technowissenschaften” in “Künstlerische Forschung”, subtexte03, Institute for the Performing Arts and Film Zürich, 2009
[5] Nowotny, H.: “Foreword” in “The Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts”, Michael Biggs and Henrik Karlsson (Eds.), Routledge, Taylor & Francis, 2011
[6] Galloway, S. and Dunlop, S. “Deconstructing the concept of ‘Creative Industries’.” in: Cultural Industries: The British Experience in International Perspective, pp. 33-52., 2006
[7] Florida, R.: “The Rise of the Creative Class. And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure and Everyday Life”, Basic Books, 2002
[8] Raunig, G., Wuggenig, U.: »Kritik der Kreativität. Vorbemerkungen zur erfolgreichen Wiederaufnahme des Stücks Kreativität«. In: Raunig, G., Wuggenig, U. (Eds.): Kritik der Kreativität. Wien / Berlin: Turia+Kant, 2007
[9] see in this context: Schäfer, M.T.: “Bastard Culture!”, Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, 2011; Lessig, L.: “Free Culture”, The Penguin Press, New York, 2005
[10] Arns, I.: “Über Zeitgenossenschaft – Die medialen Künste im Zeitalter ihrer postmedialen Kondition”, Kulturpolitische Mitteilungen Nr. 131 IV, 2010
[11] Seemann, M.: “Vom Kontrollverlust zur Filtersouveränität” in: Digitale Intimität, die Privatsphäre und das Netz – #public_life, ISBN 978-3-86928-052-3, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Berlin 2011
[12] Schäfer, M.T.: “Bastard Culture!”, Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, 2011

3 thoughts on “Artistic Technology Research

  1. I think it is really important to think about the contributions of artistic research. With your ideas and questions about the relation of art and audience, of process versus product and the rethinking of established paradigms you raise some very interesting questions for this discourse.

  2. Hello Mathias,

    I would be interested in learning more about your view regarding the nature and methodology of the (artistic) research upon which New Media Arts depend. I am also interested in what you think in regard to the potential for the work of reconceptualization of key terms in the discourses currently emerging in the areas of aesthetics – a potential that is perhaps related to what you term “innovation” and “creativity” – that the kind of artistic research underlying New Media Arts entails.

  3. I read about the plans of Brazilian Government at culture on “creative industry” and they are very straight on commerce, and too related to the term “innovation” and “creativity” – but how they can do that the kind of artistic research underlying New Media Arts entails?