”Objet Petit A”: The Changing Meaning of Abstraction and Representation in the Digital Age

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • The Big Bang of Electronic Art: Merging Abstraction and Representation in the Age of Digital Imaging

Presentation Title:

  • ”Objet Petit A”: The Changing Meaning of Abstraction and Representation in the Digital Age

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • Panel: The Big Bang of Electronic Art: Merging Abstraction and Representation in the Age of Digital Imaging

    In the so­ci­ety of the spec­ta­cle, the art of the mass media changes the mod­ern re­la­tion­ship be­tween art and its au­di­ence.   The art re­sides in the shap­ing of this un­seen, dif­fuse spec­ta­tor­ship where the medium is the masses. In mass media, con­text trans­mutes image from scopic to semi­otic. Ab­strac­tion and Rep­re­sen­ta­tion are fun­gi­ble within this con­text.  This paper brings at­ten­tion to the work of artists whose process em­ploys the ap­pro­pri­a­tion, com­pres­sion, and de­con­tex­tu­al­iza­tion of mass media im­agery.  Re­sult­ing works re­veal the flat­ten­ing of the human soul caused by mass media.  The on­slaught of me­dia-im­ages sub­li­mates the image to the mes­sage, and ren­ders it mean­ing­less. These artists re­turn the image back to a state of pu­rity: open, and alive. As in JMW Turner’s fa­mous paint­ing Snow Storm: Steam Boat off a Har­bour’s Mouth, 1844 (coll: Tate Mod­ern) where the only sign of Moder­nity is blurred and thus re­veals the lu­mi­nous bril­liance of Na­ture, con­tem­po­rary artists re­sist cul­tural am­ne­sia and ob­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion through de­lib­er­ate at­tempts to fight the in­ver­sion of the human spirit. This process is one of utopian re­me­di­a­tion to­wards mem­ory in­stead of cul­tural am­ne­sia and the ob­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion of the human to pres­ence within the flesh.  The space pro­vided by these con­tem­po­rary art­works re­deem the soul and offer a tran­scen­dent ex­pe­ri­ence of the sub­lime. All im­ages end at the flesh.

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