Digital Environments

Week2 - 16 October 2009


notes and links from the session

tasks are at the bottom of this page


everyone presented for 2 minutes:

'digital is . . .'


lots of great ideas and thank you all for participating in a very interesting discussion (I will try and get some typed up before next week)

I had intended to go through some other ideas but the discussion took over and there was no time!



Here are some of the ideas I was going to present to you, we might have time next week to go over this.

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)


Thinking briefly about 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 23 October 2009



1. Although there wasn't time to show you how to do this first task on Friday 16 Oct, it is still very easy. You need to add your blog to the student blogs page which you will see in the menu on the left hand side. You will need to 'join' wikispaces by creating a username and password, click on 'join' at the top of the page. If you have any problems doing this wait until next Friday and I will run through it with you all then.

2. reflect on your blog - thinking specifically about the great presentations you all gave on Friday 16 Oct, 'digital is ...'

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