Digital Art, Christiane Paul

Introduction pp 7–25

What was Vannevar Bush’s big idea in 1945?
What is Cybernetics?
Name some early art movements which were important to the development of new media art?

* Jeffrey Shaw, The Legible City, 1990

*Vannevar Bush, As We May Think, The Atlantic, 1945, Memex,  a theoretical proto-hypertext device which in turn helped inspire the subsequent invention of hypertext.

Norbert Wiener defined cybernetics in 1948 as “the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine.”

Ted Nelson, coined the term hypertext a text displayed on a computer display or other electronic devices with references via hyperlinks to other text that the reader can immediately access.

*ARPANET, Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, the technical foundation of the Internet developed by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Xerox PARC, invented laser printing, Ethernet, the modern personal computer and mouse, graphical user interface (GUI) and desktop paradigm, object-oriented programming.

*Marcel Duchamp, Rotary Demisphere, 1925.

*Marcel Duchamp, L.H.O.O.Q., 1919.

*László Moholy-Nagy, Light-Space Modulator, 1933, sent images over telephone lines in the 1920s.

*Dada, The art of the movement spanned visual, literary, and sound media, including collage, sound poetry, cut-up writing, and sculpture. Dada Poetry

*Fluxus, Conceptual art and the first video art of the 1960s. George Maciunas, Fluxus Manifesto, 1963

*including John Cage, 4’33”, composed in 1952

*including Nam June Paik, Random Access Music: Exposition of Music, 1963, precursor of sampling remix culture

*Michael Noll, Gaussian-Quadratic, 1963, first computer generated drawings

*John Whitney, Catalog, 1961, early computer animation

E.A.T.: Experiments in Art & Technology, 1960-2001 (POST)

*Keith Sonnier and Liza Béar, Send/Receive Satellite Network, 1977, first telepresence art

*Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowit, A Hole in Space LA-NY, 1980

Science Fiction, William Gibson, Neuromancer, 1984, Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash, 1992

NTT, ZKM, Ars  Electronica, EMAF, ISEA, DEAF, Transmedial (POST)

Challenges include presentation, collection and preservation


Chapter 1: Technology as Tool

pp 26–46

Vannevar Bush, As We May Think, The Atlantic, 1945
What was Walter Benjamin’s big idea in 1946?
Can you give some examples of Technology as Tool other than those in the book?
What was Nicéphore Niépce known for?

All forms are becoming digital, so is the distinction still relevant?

Basic characteristic, multiple manipulation and seamless combination of form

*Charles Csuri, essential characteristic of computer media Fragmentation Animations, Hummingbird, 1968

In digital media manipulation is heightened, what is real is open to question

Debt to film and photography, montage and collage Han Hoch, OJ SimpsonAI-generated Obama

Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, 1936

Copy verses original

Digital Imaging Photography and print

*Nancy Burson, Morphing, Early Work, Composite Silver Prints, 1982


*Patricia Piccinini, Teenage-MetamorphosisLaboratory Procedures

Paul Smith, Artists’ Rifles, 2000

Gerald van der Kaap

*Craig Kalpakjian, Black Box, 2013, Sony Aibo

*Joseph Scheer, Moths, 2001

*Peter Campus, Three Transitions, 1973

*Oliver Wasow, Travel Pictures, 1990

*Postinternet Art is a designation used in art criticism coined by Marisa Olson, Gene McHugh, and Artie Vierkant during the mid 2000s in New York at symposia and conferences on the topic of internet art, web art and other forms of new media art. It does not refer to artworks created for or with the Internet. Instead, it denotes impact that the invention of the Internet has had on art and culture, particularly on the work by artists whose creative practice was developed after its widespread adoption in the late 1990s


pp 47–65

Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Explain the anxiety over the loss of the hand of the artist.

*Camera Obscura

*Andreas Müller Pohle, Digital Scores, 1998-99 digital interpretations of the earliest known photograph, Nicéphore Niépce, View from the Window at Le Gras, Reproduction, Photograph, 1826

Digital image is not representational

Andreas Müller Pohle, Blind Genes, 2002

Warren Neidich, Conversation Maps, 2002

Carl Fudge, Rhapsody Spray, 2000

*Jochem Hendricks, Eye Drawings, 1992-93

Implied loss of the of relationship with the ‘mark,’ Luis Buñuel, Un Chien Andalou, 4:31, 1928


*Robert Lazzarini, Skulls, 2000, Royal-T in LA, Hans Holbein, The Ambassadors, 1533, Payphone

*Michael Rees, Clown Town, 2016

Karin Sanders, Scanned figurative sculpture


Chapter 2: Digital Technology as a Medium

pp 66–78

Name some of the key characteristics of Digital Technology as a Medium
Can you identify these characteristics in your work?

Its aesthetic is interactive, participatory, dynamic, and customizable, to name a few of its key characteristics.

Technologies often develop faster than the rhetoric evaluating them, and we constantly have to develop vocabulary.

*Jim Campbell, Paramount LED Public Art, John Craig Freeman, Boston, Paramount Watching, Boston

John F. Simon Jr. Studio, 5:28–6:02 Influenced by Bauhaus artist Paul Klee, Every Icon

Digital practice can be infinitely developed, recycled, and reproduced in various contexts –breed new ideas through recombination.

Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media, 2001

Interface, the place where independent systems meet and the tools that allow one system to communicate with the other, i.e. humane/machine

Forms of Digital Art


*Rafael Lozano-Hemmer,  Displaced Emperors, 1997, Vectorial Elevation >7:12, 1999, Population Theatre, 2016


pp 79–96

What is the difference between tools, media and form?
Name some distinct forms of digital art.

*Erwin Redl, Fade, 2008

*Asymptote, Mscape Flux_3, 2013

Intersection of art and archetecture

Quest to create an intelligent environment

Masaki Fujihata, *Global Interior, 1996, *Simultaneous Echos, 2009

The ultimate intelligent environment was envisioned in Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris, 1968, which was adapted in Andrei Tarkovsky’s, Stalker, 1979

PolarCarsten Nicolai and Marko Peljhan, 2000, *polar[m], 2010, related to German club culture

Helen Thorington, Marek Walczak, Jesse Gilbert, Jonathan Feinberg, Martin Wattenberg, Hal Eager, *Adrift, 1197-2001

Intersection of art and science

Both are concerned with the spaces between the actual and the virtual, subjectivity and objectivity, representation and simulation

Simulation can be defined as the imitative representation of one system or process by another

KnowBotic Research 10_dencies, 1997-1999

Perry Hoberman, critical examination of interface, *Cathartic User Interface, 1:20, 1995-2000, Timetable, 1999

Bill Seaman, Gideon May, The World Generator, 1996-1997

Jeffrey Shaw, *The Golden Calf, 1994, According to the Bible, the golden calf  was an idol (a cult image) made by the Israelites during Moses’ absence, when he went up to Mount Sinai


Film video and animation

pp 96–116

Lev Manovich has pointed out that digital media in many ways have redefined the very identity of cinema as we know it. How?
How does Gene Youngblood define expanded cinema?

Digital media have redefined the very identity of cinema, Post-truth, Post-cinema, Theoretical photorealism

Gene Youngblood, Expanded Cinema, 1970

“When we say expanded cinema we actually mean expanded consciousness. Expanded cinema does not mean computer films, video phosphors, atomic light, or spherical projections. Expanded cinema isn’t a movie at all: like life it’s a process of becoming, man’s ongoing historical drive to manifest his consciousness outside of his mind, in front of his eyes. One no longer can specialize in a single discipline and hope truthfully to express a clear picture of its relationships in the environment. This is especially true in the case of the intermedia network of cinema and television, which now functions as nothing less than the nervous system of mankind.”

Cinema as hybrid form that combines film, digital effects and 3D modeling, erasing the history of film as recording reality

Michael Naimark, *Be Now Here, 1995-7

Luc Courchesne, *The Visitor-Living by numbers, 2001

Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, *Every Shot, Every Episode, Starsky and Hutch, 2001, How learned behavior is culturally conditioned.

Jim Campbell, *Hallucination, 1988-90

Wolfgang Staehle, Empire 24/7, 1999-2014, a reference to Andy Warhol, *Empire, 7hr 59min, 16mm b&w, 1964

Wolfgang Staehle, *Live webcam Manhattan Skyline, 2001, ultimate realism in art

Fundamental questions about the nature of live, yet mediated image. Does the live image render previous artforms obsolete? What role do the aesthetics of processing and mediation play in our perception of an artwork?

Interactive cinema

Toni Dove, *Spectropia, 2008

Abandonment of the control over the image sequence implies giving up on cinema as we know it.

Database cinema and supercut

Cory Arcangel, *Arnold Schoenberg, op. 11 – I – Cute Kittens, 2009, *Super Mario Clouds, 2002

Intersection of high art and pop culture.


Mark Amerika, *Filmtext, 2001-2


Pierre Huyghewith Philippe Parreno, *No Ghost Just a Shell 1999-2003, blurring the commercial and artistic aspects of animation. Title is a reference to manga Ghost in the Shell, 1989– , a science fiction story that takes place in a world made borderless by the Net and allows augmented humans to live in virtual environments.

Machinima and other Youtube forms.

Pierre Huyghewith, *Human Mask, 2014, reference to, *Monkey in mask, 2002


Internet and networked art

pp 111–124

The Thing, Wolfgang Staehle, 1991 Bulletin Board System (BBS), 1994 World Wide Web (WWW),

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (http), Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

Dot Com boom and bust, late 1990s to Web 2.0

Art on the Internet is in many ways characterized by the tension between the philosophy of the free networked space and its existence a commercial context

Rhizome founded by Mark Tribe ~1996, now partnered with the New Museum in NYC, New Media Art, 2009

Angel Nevarez and Alex Rivera, Low Drone, 2005

äda ‘web, archived by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

Vuk Cosic, ASCII Art Ensemble (American Standard Code for Information Interchange), mid-1990s

Olia LialinaMy Boyfriend Came Back From the War, 1996, Summer, 2013

Heath Bunting, _readme

Web Colliders and Remix

Janet Cohen, Keith Frank, and Jon Ippolito, The Unreliable Archivist, 1998

I/D/O 4 WebStalker, 1997,

Maciej Wisniewski, netomat, 1999

Mark NapierRIOT, 1999

Rafaël Rozendaal, Websites, View Source

Adriene Jenik and Lisa Brenneis, Desktop Theater, 1997

Jaap de Jonge, Speakers Corner, 2000-2001


Software art

pp 124–137

Software is generally defined as formal instructions that can be executed by a computer.

Casey Reas, Processing

Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective, Mass MoCA


Virtual reality

Reality that fully immersed its user in a three-dimensional world generated by a computer and allowed them an interaction with the virtual objects that comprise that world.

Jaron Lanier, Who Owns the Future?

Charlotte Davies, Osmose, 1995

Jeffrey Shaw, EVE (Extended Virtual Environment), 1995

University of Illinois, Chicago CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment

Plato, Allegory of the Cave, Republic, ~380 BC

Agnes Hegedüs: Memory Theater VR, 1997

Memory Palace

Giulio Camillo, Theater of Memory,

Tamiko ThielBeyond Manzanar, 2000

Peter d’Agostino, VR/RV, 1992

Sound and music



Spring Semester

pp 139–151

What are the three central concepts of any organism or system defined in 1948 by Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine?

Please explain Thomas Ray’s Project Tierra.


Overview of the development of computing and network technology and how it intersected with avant-garde art

Chapter 1: Technology as Tool, and Chapter 2: Digital Technology as a Medium

Forms of Digital Art such as Installation; Film video and animation; Internet and networked art; Software art; Virtual reality; Sound and music

Chapter 3: Themes in Digital Art

Medium-specific: artificial life and intelligence; telepresence and telerobotics: database aesthetics and data visualization; (net) activism and tactical media; gaming and narrative environments; the redefinition of public space through locative media and public interactives; augmented and mixed reality; and social media and the Web 2.0 era.

Artificial Life

Chapter begins with a quote by Donna Haraway, “Our machines are disturbingly lively, and we ourselves frighteningly inert.” from the book “Simians, Cyborgs, and Women,”  Chapter 8 “A Cyborg Manifesto,” 1984, uses the metaphor of a cyborg to urge feminists to move beyond the limitations of traditional gender, feminism, and politics (POST)

High-tech culture provides a challenge to these antagonistic dualisms

Haraway suggests an alliance between cybernetic and feminism to counter binary oppression

*Langton’s Ant, Chris Langton, 1986, * Langton’s Ant Colonies

Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine,”  Norbert Wiener, 1948. Originator of cybernetics, MIT. Three central concepts of any organism or system: communication, control, feedback

Wiener postulated that the guiding principle behind life and organization is information.

Zoologist, Richard Dawkins, Selfish Gene, genetic populations, rather than individuals, will tend towards an evolutionarily stable strategy. In the book, Dawkins, coined the term ‘memes’ concept of memetics, social and cultural evolution analogous to genes.

Karl Sims, * Evolved Virtual Creatures, Evolution Simulation, 1994, Galapagos, 1997

Christa Sommerer a Laurent Mignonneau, A-Volve, >2:01, 1994-97

Ian Cheng: * Liars – ‘Brats’, 2015, * Ian Cheng: Behavior as input for generative works, 2:22><3:16, 2016 (POST)

Thomas Ray, * Project Tierra, 1:12><2:20, suggests a network-wide biodiversity reserve for evolution of code by mutation (POST)

Rebecca Allen, Emergence: The Bush Soul, 1998, new media artists should always embrace the digital aesthetic, Kraftwerk – Music Non Stop , 1986

Ken RinaldoAutopoiesis, 2000

Alan Turing, Turing Test, 1950, mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and theoretical biologist, invented turing machine (prototype computer) which cracked the German Enigma machine at Bletchley Park, Britain’s codebreaking centre during WWII.

Machine intelligence.

Ken Feingold, If/Then, 2001

David Rokeby, Giver of Names, 1991-present

Human-machine communication, internet of things.

Bots, intelligent agents.

Jaron Lanier, Agents of Alienation, 1995


pp 151–163

pp 163–175

pp 175–187

pp 187–199

pp 199–211

pp 211–223

pp 223–235

pp 235–247

pp 247–259

Noah Wardrip-Fruin with Adam Chapman, Brion Moss, Duane Whitehurst, Impermanence Agents, 1998-2003, author of The New Media Reader, with Nick Montfort, MIT Press.

Robert Nideffer PROXY, 2001

Lynn Hershman Leeson, Agent Ruby, 2002


László Moholy-Nagy, Telephone Pictures, 1923

Simon Nora and Alain Minc, Telematics, computers/telecommunications, The Computerization of Society, 1978

Roy Ascott, Telenoia, 1992

Telematic Connection: The Virtual eMbrace, Walker Art Center, 2001

Ken Goldberg, Telegarden, 1995-2004, Mori, 1999-present

Eduardo Kac, Teleporting an Unknown State, 1994-1996, Uirapuru, 1996-1999, Rara Avis, 1996, GFP Bunny, 39:44, 2000

Eric Paulos and John Canny, PRoP, 1997, William Gibson, The Peripheral, 2014

Nina Sobell and Emily Hartzell, pioneers of performance on the Web, ParkBench, 1994

Adrianne Wortzel, Camouflage Town, 2001

Lynn Hershman Leeson, Tillie, The Telerobotic Doll, 1995-1998

Jeff Gompertz and Prema Murthy, Capsule Hotel, 2001

Steve Mann, Wearable Wireless Webcam, 1980-present

Body and Identity

Sherry Turkle, MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet, 2011

Allucquere Rosanne Stone, The War of Desire, 1995

Tina LaPorta, Re:mote_corp@REALities, 2001

Cyborgs, technologically enhanced and extended bodies.

Katherine Hayles, How We Became Posthuman, 1999

Stelarc, Exoskeleton, 1999, Ping Body, 1996, Ear on Arm

Victoria Vesna, Bodies, 1995, Notime, 2001

Monika Fleischmann, Wolfgang Strauss and Christian-A Bohn, Liquid Views, 1993

Shu Lea Cheang, * BRANDON, Guggenheim Museum, 1998

Embodiment/Disembodiment, either/or, both/and

Eduardo Kac, * Time Capsule, 1997

Stahl Stenslie, Tactile Technologies, 1994, Erotogod, 2003

Kazuhiko Hachiya, * Inter Discommunications Machine, 1993, Gibson’s Sim-Stim

Scott Snibbe, * Boundary Functions, 1998

Database aesthetics and data visualization

Information architecture, memory theater and palace

Martin Wattenberg and Marek Walczak, * Apartment, 2001

Benjamin Fry, Valence, 1999

W. Bradford Paley, TextArc, 2001

Databases have become an essential form of cultural organization and memory

George Legrady, An Annotated History of the Cold War, 1994, Slipper Traces, 1997, Pockets Full of Memories, 2001

Alex Galloway and Radical Software Group, * Carnivore, 201_Present

Big data analytics

Lisa Jevbratt and C5, 1:1, 1999-2001, * interface : every

Nancy Patterson, * Stock Market Skirt, 1998

John Klima, * ecosystem, 2000, EARTH, 2001

Lynn Hershman, Synthia, 2001, Bitforms, 2008

ART + COM, * TerraVision, since 1994, Ride and Byte, 1998

Warren Sack, Conversation Map, since 2001

Judith Donath and Fernanda Viégas, Chat Circles

Lev Manovich, Nadav Hochmann and Jay Chow, The Aggregate Eye, 19:28, 2013, * Wallace Gallery, 2013

Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, Many Eyes, 2007

Beyond the book, Narrative environments

John Maeda, former President of the Rhode Island School of Design, Tap Type Write, 1998, *TED, ~44% to ~63%

David Small and Tom White, Talmud Project, 1998 – 1999, * Stream of Consciousness: An Interactive Poetic Garden, 1997-1998

Mark Amerika, Grammatron, 1997

Graham Harwood, Rehearsal of Memory, 1996

Jim Gasperini and Tennessee Rice Dixon, ScruTiny in the Great Round, 1996

Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Josh Carol, Robert Coover, Andrew McCain, ann Ben Sacha ‘Sascha’ Shine, * Screen, 2002– Present


Natalie Bookchin, * The Intruder, 1999, Metapet, 2002

John Klima, ecosystm2, 2001

Cory Arcangel, Landscape Study #4, 2002, Super Mario, 2002-Present

Jodi, SOD, 1999

Feng Mengbo, Q4U, 2002

Anne-Marie Schleiner, Joan Leandre, and Brody Condon, Velvet-Strike, 2006-11

* Joseph de Lappe, dead-in-iraq, 2006-11

Tactical media, activism, and hacktivism

Surveillance Camera Players

* Institute for Applied Autonomy, iSee, nd

* Josh On, They Rule, 2001

Antonio Muntadas, The File Room, 1994

Natalie Jeremijenko, Sniffer, 2002

Electronic Disturbance Theatre, electronic civil disobedience, FloodNet, The Hacktivists Digital Zapatismo

etoy, Toywar, 1999

®TMark, Yes Men

Vuk Cosic, Documenta X, nd

Mongrel, Uncomfortable Proximity, 2001 , life_sharing, 2001

Open source and copyleft


Technologies of the future

Eduardo Kac, Genesis, 1999

Critical Art Ensemble, GenTerra, nd

Natalie Jeremijenko, OneTree, 2000

Redefining public space: Locative media and public interactives

Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution, 2002

Julian Bleecker, Scott Paterson and Marina Zurkow, PDPal, 2003

Julian Bleecker, WiFiArtCache, 2003

Fluxus, Situationist International, Psychogeography

Q.S. Serafin and Lars Spuybroek, D-tower, 1998-2004, NOX

Teri Rueb, * Core Sample, 2007

C5 Landscape Initiative, 2001


Usman Haque, Sky Ear, 2004

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Amodal Suspension, 2003

Giselle Beiguelman, Sometimes Always, Sometime Never, 2005

Jenny Marketou, Flying Spy Potatoes, 2005, 99 Red Balloons, 2005

Michelle Teran, Life: A User’s Manual, 2003

Krzysztof Wodiczko, Homeless Vehicles, 1988-9,

Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga, Vagamundo, 2002, The Public Broadcast Cart, 2003-6

Marko Peljhan, Makrolab, 1994-present

Bureau of Inverse Technology, The Antiterror Line, 2003-4

Konrad Becker and Public Netbase with Pact System, System-77 CCR, 2004

Preemptive Media,Beatriz da Costa, Heidi Kumao, Jamie Schulte, and Brooke Singer ** Zapped to 8:25, 2005

Eric Paulos with Urban Atmospheres, Participatory Urbanism, 2006

Gabriel Zea, Andres Burbano, Camilo Martinez, and Alejandro Duque, BereBere, 2007

Beatriz da Costa with Cina Hazegh and Kevin Ponto, * PigeonBlog, Test Flight, ZERO1, 2006

Camille Utterback, ** Abundance, ZERO1, 2007

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Voice Tunnel, 2013

Marie Sester, * ACCESS, 2003

Aram Bartholl, * Dead Drops, 2010-Present

Augmenting the real: Augmented reality and mixed reality

John Craig Freeman, Orators, Rostrums, and Propaganda Stands, 2012

John Craig Freeman and Will Pappenheimer, SFMOMA AR, 2013

Manifest.AR, Mark Skwarek, John Craig Freeman,Will Pappenheimer,Tamiko Thiel and Sander Veenhof, We Are in MoMA, 2010

John Craig Freeman, Border Memorial: Frontera de los Muertos, 2012-Present

Blast Theory, * Can You See Me Now?, 2001-Present

Social media and the Web 2.0 era

Shift of emphasis from linking and exchange of media files to networking of people

Golan Levin with Kamal Nigam and Jonathan Feinberg, The Dumpster, 2006

Antonio Muntadas, On Translation: Social Networks, ZERO1 and CADRE 2006

Warren Sack, Agnostics: A Language Game, 2005

Annina Rüst, Sinister Social Network, 2006, * A Piece of the Pie Chart, 2015

Angie Waller, 2007

Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico, * Face to Facebook, 2011, SBS World News Australia

Ben Grosser, Facebook Demetricator, 2012-Present

Joe Hamilton, Hyper Geography, 2012-Present

Scott Snibbe, Philip Glass REWORK_APP, 2012

Donato Mancini and Jeremy Owen Turner with Patrick ‘Flick’ Harrison, AVATARA, 2003

Eva and Franco Mattes (aka, 13 Most Beautiful Avatars, 2006

John Craig Freeman and Will Pappenheimer, Virta-Flaneurazine, 2007

G+S (Simon Goldin and Jakob Senneby) Objects of Virtual Desire, 2005

eTeam (Hajoe Moderegger and Franziska Lamprecht, Secondlife Dumpster, 2007

Second Front, Spawn of the Surreal, 2007, Border Patrol with John Craig Freeman, 2007