Redefining Terms? ‘Artist’ and ‘Audience’ in New Media Art


Session Title:

  • Virtual Interventions: Digital Avant Gardes

Presentation Title:

  • Redefining Terms? ‘Artist’ and ‘Audience’ in New Media Art



  • Artists have been quick to start exploring the potential of new media technologies for artistic expression. New media technologies have also attracted much critical interest since their interactive capabilities promise the possibility of a greater engagement on the part of the audience through physical participation in the artwork. Thus claims are frequently made that digital artworks are empowering the user while redefining the artist as a collaborator or facilitator. Implicit in such claims is the suggestion that artist and user now play virtually equal roles in the creation of artworks. This paper will argue that this is simply not the case. Through an analysis of the discussion, promotion and exhibition of new media art, it will suggest that there is an inherent problematic with regard to the ways in which new media art is promoted and presented in the gallery context. This problematic has resulted in the critical and practical neglect of the real-life user and the continuing privileging of the artist. The paper will argue that this inhibits digital artworks from fulfilling their interactive potential and will demonstrate how this functions to limit the possibilities of building a wider audience for new media.