Tag Archives: duchamp

Daniels, D. (2007). Duchamp: Interface: Turing: A Hypothetical Encounter between the Bachelor Machine and the Universal Machine. In _Media Art Histories_, O. Grau, ed. Cambridge and London: The MIT Press.

Dieter Daniels is the Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute Media.Art.Research. in Linz, Austria. He initiated the Videonnale Bonn in 1984, was director of the ZKM Video Library from 1992-4, and has been Professor of Art History and Media Theory at the Leipzig Academy of Visual Design.

In this paper, Daniels draws parallels between Duchamp and Alan Turing, and in placing their work alongside contemporary media art, notes the prevailing confusion of cause and effect of art and media technological innovations. After all, don’t they both emerge from “models, sketches, and blueprints” (104)?

In Alan Turing’s universal machine, detailed in his 1950 paper “Can a Machine Think?” thinking is done for humans, but not by them. And in Duchamp’s La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même [Large Glass] (1915-23), the “bachelor mode” is unfulfilled sexual urge. Both instances, Large Glass and the Turing Test, are “specifically masculine scenarios that revolve around an insurmountable distance from the female and, as a result, install a media-technical communication as a replacement for a physical encounter” (115).

“But today the bachelor machine has left the field of art and literature far behind and instead become a motif for the omnipresent practice of media technology. The universal machine of the computer serves as a means to realize these wishes, but its capacity does not suffice to fulfill them completely, nor to replace the human counterpart” (127).


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Huhtamo, E. (2007). Twin-Touch-Test-Redux: Media Archaeological Approach to Art, Interactivity, and Tactility. In _Media Art Histories_, O. Grau, ed. Cambridge and London: The MIT Press.

Erkki Huhtamo, media archaeologist, scholar, and curator, is Professor of Media History and Theory at UCLA’s Department of Design | Media Arts. Recent research topics include peep media, the history of the screen, and the archaeology of mobile media.

“The idea of interactivity is intimately linked with touching” (71).

“Haptic vision” refers to the visual touch. Within figurative art, there are two tendencies: imagery at deep distances and texture at close proximity. However, per Deleuze and Guattari (1987) and McLuhan (1964) in this essay and throughout this summer’s other readings, we know we can’t really separate the optic and haptic practices of looking — sensuous experiences inform and interact with each other to create a full “picture.”  The Cartesian dualism is an inappropriate.

The emphasis of this essay explores “the cultural, ideological, and institutional ramifications of touching artworks …. How has touching art been related with acts of touching taking place in other contexts–at work, leisure, and in ritual?” (72). Early museums encouraged their visitors to touch the works, but this practice ceased as notions of private property, access and education, social status altered society’s relationship with objects, supervision, and preservation. At the same time, the newly minted department store stepped in to provide consumers with opportunities to touch the finery.

Also at the same time, the avant-garde railed against these new “tactiloclasms” (the express forbidding of touching art). F.T. Marinetti’s “Manifesto of Tactilism” (1921) articulated the Futurists’ attack on academia and bourgeois culture. It’s possible that Picasso’s and Braque’s use of found things conveyed an interest in the tactile. Duchamp proclaimed that “retinal art” should be “cerebral” instead (78). Huhtamo wonders if Bicycle Wheel (1913) isn’t a “protointeractive work” and considers Duchamp’s and Frederick Kiesler’s Twin-Touch-Test (1943) to be “the most explicit experiment in tactility” (82). Feminist work with the “tactile passive body” (85) foregrounds the relationships between bodies (those of artists and sometimes participants) in happenings, performances, and “body art” of the 60s and 70s.

Some contemporary interactive art is fine with visual/aural feedback and implied tactile replies, but there are those that do give discrete “intimate touch” responses. Examples include Ken Feingold’s The Surprising Spiral (1991), Bernie Lubell’s Cheek to Cheek (1999), MIT Media Lab Tangible Media Group’s inTouch (1997-8), and Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau’s Mobile Feelings I (2001).

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Rush, M. (2005). _New Media in Art_, 2nd. Ed. London: Thames of London.

Michael Rush, PhD in Theology and Psychology from Harvard University, is the founding director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University. Most recently he was director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University. He contributes regularly art world publications and scholarship. His books include Video Art, New Media in Art, New Media in Late 20th-Century Art, Marjetica Potrc: Urgent Architecture, and he’s written monographs on Gunther Brus, Steve Miller, and Alexis Rockman.

This book is a well-organized, beautifully illustrated (124 of 267 illustrations are in full color) and straightforward history of new media in art. Rush organizes the text quasi-chronologically, but emphasizes modes of practice, with chapters entitled, “Media and Performance,” “Video Art,” “Video Installation Art,” and The Digital in Art.” Suffice it to say, Muybridge and Marey, and Duchamp are the technological and conceptual benefactors, respectively, whose ideas are experimented with and added to over the next century, first by artists migrating from other disciplines and eventually by first-generation artists.

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