“Media Art and Its Theories: from “New Avant-garde” to “Science-Brut” Discourse Analysis Approach” presented by Voropai


Session Title:

  • Theory and History of Media Art

Presentation Title:

  • Media Art and Its Theories: from “New Avant-garde” to “Science-Brut” Discourse Analysis Approach




  • The discourse of New Media Art (NMA is used here as a general term encompassing other related designations like Electronic Art, Digital Art etc.) emerged in a cultural and intellectual context of the late 80’s, which essentially determined its theoretical framework. From the very beginning NMA has claimed its cultural ‘added value’ by positioning itself as a vanguard of “creative exploration of New Media”, which goes beyond the borders of mere artistic practice: it is a socially useful field of experimentation, in which “art, science and technology” can be successfully integrated.

    One could distinguish two major intellectual traditions, which became a feeding ground for a theoretical conceptualization of New Media and NMA in the 80’s. On the one hand, there was a distinguished neo-positivistic trend, represented by artists and institutions (e. g. the MIT Media Lab, Leonardo circle) primary concerned with a practical implementation of New Media in art practice. An “exploration” of new technologies was an implicit ultimate purpose of this trend.

    On the other hand, we find an attitude rooted in an intellectual tradition and discourse of contemporary art, which was mainly formed by theoretical trends and tendencies in the academic humanities. Concerning the 80’s, these trends can be retrospectively clearly differentiated: French poststructuralism with its worldwide reception partly overlapped with the postmarxism and a Frankfurt school devotion and resulted in massive “postmodernism” debates, spreading out into public discourse.

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