Paul, C. (2007). The Myth of Immateriality: Presenting and Preserving New Media. In _Media Art Histories_, O. Grau, ed. Cambridge and London: The MIT Press.

New media art has increased and improved the conventions and possibilities for exchange, collaboration, and presentation. While many call it “immaterial,” it isn’t necessarily so. Yes, algorithms constitute, but hardware contains those algorithms. New media art encompasses several aspects: process, time (sometimes real-time), dynamism, participation, collaboration, performance. In addition, it is “modular, variable, generative, and customizable” (253).

Those are good things. Here are some challenges (that make as much sense in planning terms as they do in Paul’s museum-specific context). New media art takes time, so visitors rarely see the full work and rarely come in at the beginning, so the narrative, assuming there is one, is non-linear. In addition, museum struggle with new media art’s prescribed interactivity.

To make it work, artists, curators, and audiences share deep involvement from the project’s initiation. The artist (planner) becomes the curator, establishing parameters, a creative context, for audience agency and sometimes “public curation.” New media art can be in the gallery, locative, online, and “has the potential to broaden our understanding of artistic practice” (272).

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Filed under Annotated Bibliographies, Media Arts, Minor Field, Research Fields

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