Digging through Digital Art and Culture

Another example of someone being famous for no apparent reason, except for the public gaze.

4th Summary: ‘Digital Art’

We discussed in class how digital technology can be used artistically, both as a tool and as a medium, and also how digital art is different from traditional art.

We saw several examples of digital art in class, including a project in a museum from a Swiss art collective, where every visitor could upload an image from a website, creating an ever-expanding collage. This artwork was mediated digitally, through a digital ‘code’, created by web designers. Because of this, it did not have a physical dimension, but rather a virtual one, unless if you give it a physical presence with the use of hardware, a screen, an interface… This raised a debate about whether digital art has medium specificity. You can look at the digital medium as a combination of the visual and the audiovisual, which would make it a case of ‘remediation’. However, we concluded that there is a difference between ‘digitized art’, which is remediated, and ‘digital art’, which is executed and mediated digitally.

Other examples of digital artwork were certain websites, like the ‘Every Icon Project Page’ or the websites of digital artist Jodi. The writing of these websites were done with creative and artistic purposes, creating a digital aesthetic. These artworks are often autopoetic, meaning that they create themselves.

The difference between digital art and traditional art was also discussed: digital art is typically more customizable, dynamic and interactive. A problem that arises from this is the preservation. As digital art is constantly updated, it is difficult to preserve in traditional ways, like musea and such.

- Thomas 

Third summary- New stories?

During our last class we talked about McLuhan and the start of media theory. McLuhan was the first thinker who focused on the medium, instead of the message. He states that changing the medium changes the message and that new media means new stories.

A good example of media influencing the message was that during the presidential
election in the U.S. in 1960, a debate between Kennedy and Nixon was broadcasted by TV and Radio.Overall people who listened to the radio thought Nixon was the best candidate, while people who watched the TV thought
that Kennedy was the best candidate. This proves that the message is changed by the medium it is send in.

But do new media tell new stories? We looked at the film Babel in which there is a new way of telling stories (but in a “old” medium). Babel actually has a rhizome structure we talked about earlier, and this network (rhizome) way of telling stories allows us to tell new stories. Lev Manovich has a theory about our new way of telling stories. He sees a story as a database in which a lot of data is stored. The story is a way of connecting these datapoints and our new network logic (which he calls database logic) allows us to connect these datapoints in more ways than our traditional linear way of storytelling allowed us.

We can conclude that a new medium influences the old medium (in this case digital technology influencing film). So new media don’t necessarily tell new stories because of the new technological abilities, but they trigger a conceptual shift which allows us to tell new stories in the new medium, but also in the older media.


I found a link where you can download a presentation that explains why scientist do the things they do and sometimes don’t know why they do it. Which has a lot to do with paradigms.

Paradigms and Foucault (Reaction to/thoughts about first class)

When I heard Foucault’s theory during the first class (which was the first time I heard it), I thought I saw a connection between what Foucault calls a ‘discourse’ and what in science is known as a ‘paradigm’. The definition of a paradigm is: ‘A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.’ (according to http://www.thefreedictionary.com/paradigm).

A paradigm can change which is called a ‘paradigm shift’. That means that scientist start thinking differently about something (like time is relative in Einstein’s theory) and because of that shift in thinking we can invent all sorts of new things and gain new knowledge and of course it also changes the way we systemise our knowledge.

The main difference between Foucault and these paradigm shifts is that Foucault says the new technology comes first, while the paradigm shifts suggest that the new technology is a result of a new way of thinking. At least that’s what I think.




Second Summary

As previously mentioned, the purpose of this Tumblr will be to further examine the digital culture, which this blog itself happens to be part of.

I have often wondered what it is about digital culture that occasionaly makes you stare at a computer screen for so long, until it seems like the screen is staring right back into your soul… I expect that we’ll be able to figure this out by the end of this course. The digital world, like for instance the internet, offers an infinite amount of information about all kinds of interesting topics, as well as the opportunity to utilise this information in an infinite amount of ways. Obviously, this endlessness attracts people a lot, but it does have it’s detrimental side-effects. As Baudrillard explains in his ‘simualcrum’-theory, our overindulgence into this world will result in a reduced or completely lost sense of reality, which is a bit annoying.

As we saw in class, this leads to the loss of authenticity in society, as everything we see is merely a ‘representation’ of reality, a product of the old Greek idea of ‘mimesis’, which litteraly means the ‘imitation of reality’. As a result, copies have the same value as the original objects they refer to in today’s hyperreal society, in which reality and fiction are often blended and indistinguishable.  

Our visual culture has adpated to this new reality through two strategies: by employing ‘hypermediacy’ or ‘immediacy’. In hypermediacy, the medium refers to itself and re-enacts reality in a mediated way, specific to the medium. The other strategy used in visual culture is ‘immediacy’, where reality is shown through the eyes of the medium, which becomes transparent. The result is a very direct, in-your-face, often shocking, way of viewing reality, also described as ‘hyperreal’. 

Hopefully we will see in future classes how these strategies are applied to digital culture. As for the internet, I suppose ‘hypermediacy’ can be found in so-called ‘internet memes’, while ‘immediacy’ can be found in those videos concerning daily-life incidents and accidents. I’m afraid I’ll have to report back to you on this later…

- Thomas 

Perhaps not…

Should we refer to intertextual course-related material as “inter-course-related material”?

Summary first class

Actually one of us is supposed to write a summary, but since we’re a little short on time we’re doing this one together.

During the first class, we mainly talked about Foucault’s principles of framing knowledge. He said that technology determines how we frame our knowledge. After the industrial revolution, we needed a new framework, because of the new technology. This is called a epistemic break. Each epistemic break is determined by the current time and culture, which is called ‘discourse’ by Foucault. We systemized our scientific knowledge because our machines worked with systematics, which was illustrated by a very confusing slide about Darwin’s ‘Origin of species’ in class. The system for framing our knowledge was portrayed as a tree of knowledge in which there is one root.

After the next epistemic break we started framing our knowledge as rhizoms, according to Deleuze. Like our digital technology there isn’t one root, but an entire network. If Foucault’s system is a tree, this new framework can be best compared with grass. Today we live in the modern discourse, in which all knowledge is connected.

With this in our minds, we’re going to study digital arts, in the modern discourse. Digital art can also use the connectedness of digital technology. There are new forms of art which are not similar to the “old arts”, like paintings and literature. The internet is like a public sphere for new artists, which allows a far more dynamic spreading of these arts.

We will also use this connectivity of the internet with this blog, to analyse this subject.

Thomas and Kevin