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New Media Art

New Media Art

Author: Ian McConnell
Description:

This lesson will explore New Media Art.

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Tutorial

An overview of new media art.

Video Transcription

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Hello. I'd like to welcome you to this episode of Exploring Art History with Ian. My name is Ian McConnell. And today's lesson is about new media. As you're watching the video, feel free to pause, more forward, or rewind as often as you feel is necessary. And as soon as you're ready, we can begin.

Today's objectives are listed below. By the end of the lesson today, you'll be able to identify and define today's key terms, identify forms and examples of new media art.

Key terms, as always, are listed in yellow throughout the lesson. First key term is new media art, artwork characterized by the use of computers, animations, or other technology-generated medium. Fluxus, a word that literally means flow, it is a conceptual artistic practice that finds intersections between media and other disciplines, and often includes humor. Bio art, a technique of making art using science and mediums of biological or living materials.

Video art, art that uses the medium of video and that is often considered experimental. And video installation, a method of making art that uses technology to create an environment and experience. The big idea for today is that new media art is the artwork characterized by the use of computers, animations, or other technology-generated medium. And we'll be looking at art from between 1968 and 2008 today.

Now, Fluxus is identified as an attitude or philosophy rather than a particular movement. And it shares many similarities with an earlier movement of the 20th century called Dada in how it really questions the idea of art itself. It is an intermediary discipline, meaning that artists look to see what develops from mixing different forms of media, and in many cases, like the two examples we're looking at today, relies on assemblage.

Now, the first example is from an artist who is considered a pioneer in the field of new media art. Wolf Vostell was the first artist to incorporate the use of a television in a work of art. And this electronic assemblage piece from 1968 was actually a fully-functioning collection of contraptions set upon a bed of broken glass.

And Nam June Pak is considered the founder of video art. His Electronic Superhighway is a video installation and assemblage work of televisions, neon lights, in the form of a map of the United States, with each state displaying a different video loop.

Now, in both examples, we can see important elements of Fluxus art, such as simple designs and the integration of humor. Fluxus works of art are intended to be fun.

Bio art is an art form that really developed within the last 20 years. One of the landmark moments in genetic manipulation, which plays a role in bio art, was the birth of the first cloned mammal in 1996, Dolly the sheep. Now, the artist known as Stelarc has been using his body as an experimental tool for many decades in the name of art and science. And one example that's not shown here is a work called Ping Body, in which electrons were hooked up to muscles in his body and remote users could activate the different muscles over the internet.

Now, the project we see here goes by number of different names, such as Ear on Arm, Extra Ear, or Third Ear. And it's a surgically-grafted cell-grown ear-- meaning it's grown on a type of bio scaffolding, as opposed to donated from a cadaver, for example-- that's attached to his lower left forearm. Now, he's had it for some time and has used it in several different projects, one of which involved the insertion of a microphone behind the ear and then wirelessly feeding the recordings over the internet so people could hear what his extra ear heard. So let the puns begin.

Now my favorite example is of the GFP or transgenic bunny. Her name is Alba. And she's 100% real bunny, or close to it. She's an albino bunny with a neat trick. She fluoresces green in the right light, due to scientists injecting a fertilized albino rabbit egg with a green fluorescent protein of the Pacific Northwest jellyfish.

With the advent and expansion of the internet into almost every aspect of our lives, it was only a matter of time before people had the option of actually living their life in a virtual environment. Now, Second Life is an online virtual world that was launched in 2003. It's an ongoing development constructed by users and experienced vicariously through virtual avatars or people.

Now the Chinese artist, Cao Fei, developed a city within Second Life called RMB City, which opened to the public in 2009, very much a virtual social experiment. Cao Fei acts as a guide of sorts and documents and captures people's desires, ideologies, and experiences within the context of this city, as well as exploring the discrepancy between dreams and reality.

So that brings us to the end of this lesson. Let's take a look at our objectives to see if we met them. Now that you've seen the lesson, are you able to identify and define today's key terms? And can you identify forms and examples of new media art? Once again, the big idea for today is that new media art is the artwork characterized by the use of computers, animations, or other technology-generated medium.

And that's it. Thank you very much for joining me today. I'll see you next time.

Notes on "New Media Art"

Citations

TERMS TO KNOW
  • New Media Art

    Artwork characterized by the use of computers, animations, or other technology generated medium.

  • Fluxus

    A word that literally means “flow”; it is a conceptual artistic practice that finds intersections between media and other disciplines and often includes humor.

  • Bio Art

    A technique of making art using science and mediums of biological or living materials.

  • Video Art

    Art that uses the medium of video and that is often considered experimental.

  • Video Installation

    A method of making art that uses technology to create an environment and experience.