Digital Environments

Week2 - 17 October 2008


notes and links from the session

everyone presented for 2 minutes:

'digital is . . .'


lots of interesting ideas (I will try and get some typed up before next week)

We also looked at some attempts at categorising digital, and digital art in paricular:

some have attempted to define ‘digital art’ with 2 key distinctions:
1. art that uses digital technology as a tool in the process of making so called ‘traditional’ art
2. art that uses digital technology as the medium - art that is held within a digital environment in its making and presentation and exploring interactive nature

another definition (categorisation)
‘AMODA defines digital art as art that uses digital technology in any of three ways:
as the product,
as the process,
or as the subject.’
(Austin Museum of Digital Art 2006)

however, even these categories come with a health warning

sometimes categories can be helpful - define common characteristics

but as Christiane Paul (2003 p.8) says ‘they can also be dangerous in setting up predefined limits for approaching and understanding an art form, particularly when it is still constantly evolving, as is the case with digital art.’
(Paul, C. Digital Art. London: Thames & Hudson, 2003)


We also looked briefly at Walter Benjamin's ideas in his famous essay: ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ 1936

Benjamin suggested that the reproduction of an art work lead to questioning it's authorship and uniqueness and meant that it lost it's 'aura'.

With this in mind we considered the questions:

have we moved on?
from issues of reproduction - to totally new forms of production

Benjamin’s concerns related to the loss of ‘aura’ in representation of ‘the real’

If ‘real’ & ‘virtual’ contested notions, where does that leave us now?
Is ‘simulation’ moving towards ‘substitution’...?

TASKS for 24 October 2008


1. add your blog to the student blogs page

2. reflect on your blog

3. read essay by Lev Manovich - think through the questions on the Manovich essay page