Technological determinism in media art : Armin Medosch

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Technological determinism in media art : Armin Medosch
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Sussex University for the degree of MA Interactive Digital Media.

이 글에서 저자는 자기가 정의한 high-media art 의 기술결정론 적 한계에 대해 이야기하고 있다.
이것을 post modernism/ structuralism/ modernism/ 등 다양한 연관성 안에서 고찰하고 잇으며
아트, 특히 media art에서 기술이 어떠한 관계를 맺는지. 그리고 Technological determinism이 어떠한 면에서 위험한지 고찰한다.

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Introduction
This field has deeper historical roots but ahs gained major significance only over the past 25 years.
McLuhanism, provides the intellectual framework for high media art in the mid-1990s combined with the fashionable thesises of postmodernism about the immateriality of the world. p.5.

저자는 자신의 methodology로 Heteronomous principle과 Autonomous Principle의 조화를 추구한다. 작품의 내적 의미 internal reading을 중시하는 Structuralism, Post structuralism 적 입장과 / 작품의 external reading, social context를 중요시하는 Marxism적 입장. 사이의 균형.

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기술결정론에 대한 설명.
Technological determinism.
science and technology autonomous, their development follows an inherent logic and is independent of influence from society… Society is the passive reciever… Technology follows its own internal dynamics only. p.8.
Technological determinism is behind assumptions such as that technological progress is the key to greater prosperity. p.9.

McLuhanism에 대한 비판적 견해
total filed of inclusive awareness가 맥루한이 말한 미디어의 영향. The influence of new media is total, immediate, all-encompassing and irreversible. 맥루한은 전반적으로 too positive. .. The impact of media is also independnet of the content played over those media. … McLuhan ignores the influence of society. its relation with the society. p.15-16
The Theory is fetishised.

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What is Media Art? : The quest for historic legitimacy

When I reviewed the literature on media art, it became apparent that there is a problem with finding systems of classification, or categorization and even a clear definition of the art from. … “The terminology for technological art forms has always been extremely fluid” (Christiane Paul, digital art, 2003, London: Thames and Hudson)

What is the problem with classification? p.24.
The medium in this definition of media art in not just a carrier of content but formative for the creation of meaning. Technology and culture are not seen as categorically separated but understood to be intrically linked.

레브 마노비치의 미디어 아트 분류는 의의가 있다.
In ‘the language of New media'(2001) Lev Manovicn는 materialistic approach를 시도했다. It enables him to avoid the usual troubles with definition and classification. “from the material foundations of new media to its forms(p.9)”
그러나 그의 분류법에 한계는
One is the lack of distinction between mainstream new media artifacts and the works of avant-garde new media artists; the second reason is the use of cinema as the key conceptual through which to look at new media. (p.)

Simon Penny(realities of the virtual, 1996, p.) thoghts the vectors of historic forces of media arts are;
1. engineering
2. transnational commodity capitalism
3. traditional fine arts.
여기에다가 작가는 2개 더 추가한다.
4. the culture industry
5. socio-political movements

The field of media art cannot be understood without asking which connections media art has with other fields in society. .. It is important to acknowledge those contextual links.
p.25.

there are two branches of Media art exhibitions
1. large festivals, such as Ars Electronica, since 1979, and large institution like ZKM.
2. small institutions; self-institutions – media labs or hack labs. forming an alternative or unstable field. p.26.

Media art is a precarious position in its relations to the art system / the computer industry/ and mass media.
저자가 생각하기에 현재까지의 미디어 아트 literature에 따르면, 미디어 아트의 기원을 파악하는 두 가지 입장이 있다.
1) One is to mix the history of media or image technologies with the history of media art. from paintingto photography, telegraphy, film, radio, TV and computer…
2) The second narrative strategy is to link media art with well known and highly regarded art movements. such as Futurism, Dadaism, Cubism, .. etc.
p.26.

The history of media as told by Manovich appears to contain only unbroken continuity. Lev Monovich claims that the aesthetic principles at work in new media culture have been developed by Rissian and German avant-garde film makers in 1920s. 그는 시네마를 미디어아트의 기원으로 삼는데, 이것은 좀 제한적이다. Only by dismissing interactivity and by making the screen the central component of new media art, …
p.28.

Peter Weibel claims “Futurism, Cubism, Cubofuturism, Dadaism, Surrealism, etc.” to be conceptual percursors of media art. New art forms emerging after (Weibel, ON the history and aesthetics of the digital image, 1984) WW2 such as action painting, Fluxus, Pop Art, Kinetism, Op-art, Arte Povera, actions, performance, etc.,” are enlisted to the cause of preparing the ground for the liberated digital image. p.29

Christiane Paul prsents a slightly different trajectory. she claims that “the notion of interactivity and virtuality in art were explored only by artists such Marcel Duchamp and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy in relation to objects and their optical effects(ibid., 2003).”

Other conceptual links between contemporary media art and art movements in the past focus on the exhibition Cybernetic Serendipity, at the ICA, London 1968.

꼭 high-art에서만 찾아야 하나? in the larger context of visual culture undr intensified conditions of industrial production in the 1920ss. 예를 들자면. p.31.

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기술결정적인 입장은 기술이 linear하게 발전함에 따라 당연히 사회도 발전한다는. 선적인 진행. 퇴보는 없고 진전만이 있다는. only progress. utopian thinking을 내재한다.
이러한 utopian 입장에는 두가지 갈래가 있다.

Media Utopianism
connectingn new communications media with a utopian vision of society.
1. Totalitarian / Furturists, Contructivists, Free Marketeers : 자동적이라는 입장. communication media do not just automatically trigger.
2. Participatory / democratic, egalitarian : Brecht, Benjamin – need to used purposefully to facilitate social changes as part of an explicit programme of social engineering.
p.32.

Media art trajectories
Brecht and Benjamin’s participatory ideas became influential in the 1960s via art movements such as Fluxus and Happening. 백남준. 존 케이지.
p.32.

Documenta 6 in 1977 was the first documenta with a very high part of video works, and a television live performance involving Paik, Beuys and Douglas Davis.
p.33.
cybernetic art는 staring in the 1950s, and reaching a climax in the late 1960s.

1960년대 media art의 전신으로 추가할 사항.
Another central theme is the close collaboration between artists and engineers in an approach which focuses on objects, installations, and machine performance. In the 1960s Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T) had initiated collaborations between artists and engineers.
In the 1980s video art entered the museum. So called multi-channel works… Valie Export, Bruce Nauman, Bill Viola and Gary Hill to become canonized by the art system.
By the end of 1980s media art had develpoed a wide variety of artistic practices. Many of those practices were politically oppositional and happened outside the art market.

p.34.

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High Media Art

As Peter Weibel recalls, in those early years Ars Electronica had been..좀 이상했다. This changed, according to weibel, when he and Gottfired Hattinger gained more influence on the festival’s direction from 1986 onward. In 1987 Ars Electronica for the first time had a theme, The free soul. In 1989 neworks became the festival theme… In 1992, Peter Weibel took sole responsibility for the festival’s artistic direction and presented the scientific disciplines…

High media art는 1985-1995 에 진행된 것.
I call this form high media art for two main reasons, because it resonates with high-tech as well as with high-brow or high-cultural values. For the realization of those works expensive and complex technology was used… The digital aesthetics of high media art was compatible with the black cube inside the white cube of the museum…
p. 35.

이 작업의 예들은
Jeffrey Shaw “Legible City” (1988-1991)
Sommerer and Laurent Mignonnaeu “Interactive plant Growing” (1992-1993)
Knowbotic Research 1990s group
Art+Com : Terravision
p.38.

내 논문에 기술의 사용 정도가 미디어 아트 분류의 기준이 될 수도 있을 듯.

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The discourses of high media art

1980s and early 1990s VR becomes the paradigmatic technology in high media art and Jeffrey Shaw its central proponent.

포스트 모더니즘에서 self의 개념이 컴퓨터 기술과 함께 실현되는 것 같다.
The prardigm of computers equipped with graphical user interface(GUI) emerning in the 1980s, are the ideal machines to give substance to post-modern theories. Post-modernists have written about worlds without origins.
With the interactive graphical interface of the computer becomes the perfect match for post-modernism…
We are increasingly getting used to a culture of simulation.
원래 포스트모더니즘 이전에는 self 만이 유일하게 the most basic reality.
For most people the unitary self is the most basic realiy.But in the computer mediated world of the 1990s the self is experienced as multiple,fluid, fragmented, and constituted in interaction with machine connection.
In short, the PC with its GUI gives material expression to post-modern theories.
simulations games, chat rooms, where we can easily change our gender identities or fake completely different personalities, enable us to reconfigure the understanding of self and the world along the lines of post-modern theories. Lev Manovich goes even so far to claim that theretical post modernism ha been impossible without the invention of Adobe photoshop.
p.41.

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A radicla break with the past

모더니즘은 예술이 autonomous하다고 보았다. self-legitimisation.
이것은 합리주의, 기능주의와 반대적 입장이다.
The development of an autonomous artistic subject was crucial for pushing through a specific understaning of art in modernity – in opposition to a utilitarian filed of industial mass production. The modern artist individual and the autonomous aesthetic are invented as a counter-strategy to the pressures of rationalism and functionalisation.
p.42.

Peter Weibel claims that art created with technical media is radically different from all other art that existed before. MEdia art is transformation, if not a transgression of the classical arts. The concept of authorship is abolished because the artwork is a result of interaction in an open system; the work is not an object but a process; the concept of originality does not apply because the work is technically reproducible. p.43.

The social background and foundations of art are hidden behind their nullification caused by the objectivity of the material. Artists working with new media need to reflect on the condition of the medium. Followingi interpretations of critical theory, science studies and the social shaping of technology, technology is never just technical but has a social content. It could be understood to be the task of a critical media art to excavate the social content of the technologies they work with. 그러나 high media는 이와 반대였다. society- technolgy 관계를 간과하였다.
high-media art의 경우는 기술을 최우선순위. 기술만을.
those criteria seem to be neither aesthetic nor socio-political ones but technological only.
the newness f the enw media is the unique selling point of the new art form.
p.45.

피터 위벨의 경우 progress of digital 와 progress of technology를 동일시 했다. 동일하지 않을수도 있는데.
Progress in digital art and progress in computer science are presented as one and the same thing. …

곰브리치는 아트와 진보의 관계에 대해서 말한 바 있다. 둘은 반드시 일치하지 않는다. 아트에서 말하는 진보는 선적인, 퇴보는 없고, 전진적 발전만을 말하지 않는다. 결국 아트는 ‘자발적으로’ 발전한다. 이것이 꼭 기술, 사회의 발전 양상과 형식상으로 일치하는 것은 아니다.

In art and progress, Ernest H. Gombrich explains conflicting concepts of progress in art. … improvement of techniques of mimesis, of art imitating nature. Once perfection is achived decay sets in, because there is nowhere else to go.
But with the industrial revolution progress suddenly takes on a very different notion. Many be science and tehcnology progress in a linear way, but the artists’ reaction is rather different.
In reaction to a world where science and tehcnology play an increasingly important role, romanticist demand to go back to the more primitive forms of medieval art….
Gombrich criticises, the historic sequence of styles becomes a dogma, and new styles are becoming obsolte before the paint has dried. The historic view on one style succeeding and replacing the next has obscured the view on what has really been going on in art in the 19th century. Combrich comcluded that the principle of progress has been inflicted on art. Instead of blindly following this external principle, art has the right to formulate its own goals and to question the legitimacy of scientific projects, because otherwise we became the puppets of an irresistible development.
p.46.

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Summary

high media art 의 특징:
work at the highest technical and aesthetic level need to get support by institutions. They need to accept high levels of separation of labor and bureaucratic management. …
high media art takes a similar position by insisting of the ontological status of the work of art as being digital. The seemingly progressive digital aesthetic is socially and politically conservative. The discourse of high media art endorse a version of McLuhanism which has technological determinism at its core. p.50.
기술결정론이 현현된 것이 high media art라는 입장이다. 오직 progress만이 있을 뿐.

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after high-media art climaxed at around 1995, it soon lost its discoursive relevance. A new paradigm unfolded with the mass populirization of the internet. …
We learned to step back and understand that our bodies are still real…
with hackers developing free and open source software and a new discourse on art, activism and free or copyright culture florished. high media art, by winning institutional power, lost its symbolic capital.
The ideology of technological determinism has prevented it from doing so. high media art with its high-tech visions has won a phyrric victory.

프리 오픈소스 소프트웨어 맵핑하고도 연결가능.

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