Digital Arts Session at 2010 AAH Conference

Digital art will feature again in the Association of Art Historians’ Annual Conference this year. Birkbeck and Computer & Art Technoculture’s Nick Lambert is heading up a session entitled: ‘Digital Continuities: From the History of Digital Art to Contemporary Transmedial Practices’ on Friday 16th April 2010. And I’m excited to announce that I’m in the line-up, which looks like this:

  • Charlie Gere (Lancaster University) ‘Ruskin, Arts and Crafts, and new media art’
  • Charlotte Frost (Birkbeck, University of London) ‘Internet Art History 2.0’
  • Jeremy Pilcher, (Lancaster University) ‘Network Art Unbound’
  • Elaine Speight (Birkbeck, University of London) ‘Producing the local: web 2.0 as a placemaking tool for socially engaged artists’
  • Perla Innocenti (University of Glasgow) ‘Evolution and preservation of digital art: case studies from ZKM and AEC’
  • Ernest Edmonds (University of Technology, Sydney) ‘Unifying Image and Sound in a Synaesthetic Whole’
  • Jeremy Gardiner (Birkbeck, University of London) ‘Digital Craftsmanship – How artists are making physical things from virtual data’
  • Ingrid Holzl (McGill University) ‘Hybrid Images’

Here’s the abstract for my paper, which I’ve started wishing I’d called ‘Now Trending’:

Internet Art History 2.0

This paper shows how internet archival thematics are now ‘trending’ in art history and theory. Combining the theory of Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida and Friedrich A Kittler, it establishes how the meaning held in bodies of knowledge relates to the prevailing modes in which said knowledge can be archived. Using art historical discourse as its focus, it explains how art historical ideas rely very strongly on the archival technologies available. For example, empiricism used photography as an analytical tool, but in doing such, developed ideas about art that were stored within a photograph and were qualified by photographic standards. Or, to put it another way, photography validated art historical meaning. With the internet come a whole new set of experiential parameters and what this paper goes on to address are the meanings conferred on art history by internet archival technicity. What this paper introduces therefore are web tools and their associated thematic contributions to art historical discourse. For example, the real-time aspect of the internet lends credence to real-time arts including Performance art. Art historians themselves experiment with process-orientated critical responses and culture in general appears all the more legitimate the faster it produces and presents. In this way, this paper traces elements of web 2.0 culture online and off, concluding that internet technology plays a pivotal role in shaping the thematics of contemporary art historical discourse.

Of course I’m looking forward to seeing Glasgow for the first time, but what I’m really excited about is getting to show and discuss my research on such an important stage for the first time since completing my PhD. Bring on the learning frenzy!

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