Tag Archives: process

Media Arts for Community Development in Planning: A Literature Review

“Art, of course, does not produce grand revolutions, but as an event that opens up a new narrative about reality it provides the conditions of possibility for a nascent political consciousness, one born from conviviality, a being-together as a coming-into-being of community: the realization of shared existence.”

Jean Fisher, on Francis Alÿs’ When Faith Moves Mountains, 2007

Introduction

Today, planning’s esteem for the arts relates primarily to the latter’s capacity as economic engine. Of course, planners admire arts and culture for its notable impact on social and human capital, as well, but the majority of programs bespeak economic development’s continued primacy. I propose planning broaden its creative agenda to include media arts for community development. For one, media arts engage with each of the following crucial planning phenomena: time and space, identity, participation, and process, and uphold context as a decisive factor in all. For another, communication technologies have fast become the basic infrastructure of daily experience for millions. For many millions others, who reside on the other side of the digital divide, I consider this need and opportunity to be even more pressing.

The following literature review, comprising works from two of the last forty years’ most influential planners, and an array of media artists, art historians, computer scientists, philosophers, and sociologists, articulate the myriad benefits media arts can bring to community development in urban planning. In the first section, I introduce what I consider to be Kevin Lynch’s and Manuel Castells’ unwitting championing of media arts for community development. I then use Boris Groys’ 2011 Going Public to introduce context, time-place, identity, participation, and process through a philosophical lens before delving deeper into each of conditions. These literatures and case studies show media arts’ practices, blessings, and cautions are well taken in planning. I conclude by acknowledging there are constraints, but that the opposing benefits merit media arts’ application in community development.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Annotated Bibliographies, Media Arts, Minor Field, Scholarship

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).

Leave a comment

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

Broeckmann, A. (2007). Image, Process, Performance, Machine: Aspects of an Aesthetics of the Machine. In _Media Art Histories_, O. Grau, ed. Cambridge and London: The MIT Press.

Andreas Broeckmann is the Artistic Director of transmediale–festival for art and digital culture berlin. He studied art history, sociology, and media studies, and in his university courses, curatorial projects, and lectures, he discusses media art, digital culture, and an aesthetics of the machinic.

Broeckmann introduces these aesthetic categories of image, execution, performance, process, and machinic to show that digital art isn’t its own thing, not another aesthetic category, but situated within art history and practice. A digital art interface is unique in that it reminds us continuously of its constitution–it is ephemeral, barely material.

Our “digital culture [is] a social environment, field of action and interaction, in which meanings, pleasures, and desires and increasingly dependent on their construction or transmission and thus on their translation by digital devices. The necessary technical abstraction that the contents have to go through is becoming a cultural condition, which has effects far beyond the actual mechanism of extrapolated signal switching” (194).

In the image category, we understand media art gives us broader parameters than strictly visual. Now we have opportunities to examine images’ temporal structures, not just the narratives but the actual programmatic infrastructures, as well.

In execution, we see that computer software is a cultural artifact. Cultural theorist Michael Fuller distinguishes among types of “software art”: “critical software” refers to existing software programs, “social software” to social dimensions, and “speculative software” to the boundaries, to what can be considered software. Execution projects examine the change, the process. Those images with spatiotemporal bases require “processional approach[es], Bertrauchtung as an act of realization, of execution, which is itself the very moment of the aesthetic experience” (199).

With performance, the “domain of ‘live art’ . . . . the non-participatory live presentation of body movements, images, and sounds” (199), we see the witness the outcome of an execution. Situationism, Fluxus, intermedia and later computers all evoke performance through the use of scripts.

Process differs from performance in that it’s “the notion of process-based yet not fully programmed sequences of events that build on one another in a non-teleological manner” (201). “Processuality in art is closely tied to the existence of communication tools” (201) and the aesthetics of process-based art crucially implies this context–it cannot be other than relational” (202, emphasis mine).

Finally, the machinic category refers to how this art is produced, through any assemblages of apparatuses, be they mechanical or biological. Here the art’s existence is contingent upon mechanical forces outside of human control and beyond our subjective determination.

Leave a comment

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