Digital Currents: Art in the Electronic Age

By Margot Lovejoy | Go to book overview

Preface

I have written this book out of a mixture of puzzlement, fascination, curiosity, and, finally, commitment to share what I have learned over the many years it has taken to complete my investigation. It grows out of the concerns artists themselves have about the development of art. Because artists' work is necessarily in the vanguard relative to later interpretation of it by art historians or critics, this book is meant as a frame-of-reference for the future. It is a survey designed to make connections-to penetrate the morass of issues and historical detail, to find pathways which cross over fields to reveal a structure which, like a Mayan monument covered by jungle growth and long hidden by neglect, is suddenly revealed for what it is. The function of this cross-disciplinary book is simply to uncover these connections. In extending Benjamin's theories about how technology changes the way art is produced, disseminated, and valued, and how new art forms grow from new tools for representation and new conditions for communication, I examined the conditions of our postmodern electronic age to find the roots of the present crisis in art.

Because this book is a survey, a major regret on my part is that I cannot include more of the important art works and artists. I've been able only to touch the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Difficult choices had to be made in order to complete my task without too much digression from the points that needed to be covered. Because each area of electronic media is now so large and has so many practitioners, I had to decide whether to present more historical illustrations or more current work. I tended toward the latter. A Glossary of technical terms appears at the end of the book. As in any survey, much of the material has had to be greatly condensed. Although some technological information presented here will inevitably be superseded by new developments even before Digital Currents appears in print, I believe reporting on the current status of technology will help to create a flavor for the issues under discussion. Changes are occurring at an ever-increasing tempo. It is my hope that the reader will find this book to be an important signal along the path. A website, digitalcurrents.com, accompanies this text as an ancillary source of information and insight. It contains major resources about media, artists, issues, and contextual information in the form of time lines. Its links to artists' homepages and other important resource materials will be updated on a regular basis.

-xv-

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Digital Currents: Art in the Electronic Age
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Illustrations vi
  • Foreword xiii
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgments xvi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One - Sources 11
  • 1 - Vision, Representation, and Invention 13
  • 2 - The Machine Age and Modernism 36
  • 3 - The Electronic Era and Postmodernism 62
  • Part Two - Media 91
  • 4 - Video as Time, Space, Motion 93
  • 5 - Art in the Age of Digital Simulation 152
  • 6 - Art as Interactive Communications: Networking Global Culture 220
  • 7 - Transaesthetics 270
  • Glossary 316
  • Select Bibliography 323
  • Index 333
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