Intermedia was a concept employed in the mid-sixties by Fluxus artist Dick Higgins to describe the often confusing, inter-disciplinary activities that occur between genres that became prevalent in the 1960s. Thus, the areas such as those between drawing and poetry, or between painting and theatre could be described as intermedia. With repeated occurrences, these new genres between genres could develop their own names (e.g. visual poetry or performance art).
Higgins described the tendency of the most interesting and best in the new art to cross the boundaries of recognized media or even to fuse the boundaries of art with media that had not previously been considered for art forms, including computers.
"Part of the reason that Duchamp's objects are fascinating while Picasso's voice is fading is that the Duchamp pieces are truly between media, between sculpture and something else, while a Picasso is readily classifiable as a painted ornament. Similarly, by invading the land between collage and photography, the German John Heartfield produced the what are probably the greatest graphics of our century..."—Higgins, Intermedia, 1966)[page needed]
With characteristic modesty, he often noted that Samuel Taylor Coleridge had first used the term.
In 1968, Hans Breder founded the first university program in the United States to offer an M.F.A. in intermedia. The Intermedia Area at The University of Iowa graduated artists such as Ana Mendieta and Charles Ray. In addition, the program developed a substantial visiting artist tradition, bringing artists such as Dick Higgins, Vito Acconci, Allan Kaprow, Karen Finley, Robert Wilson and others to work directly with Intermedia students.
Over the years, especially on the Iowa campus, "Intermedia" has been used interchangeably with "Multi-media". However, recently the latter term has become identified with electronic media in pop-culture. While Intermedia values both disciplines, the term "Intermedia" has become the preferred term for interdisciplinary practice.
Two other prominent University programs focusing on "Intermedia" practice are the Intermedia program at Arizona State University and the Intermedia M.F.A. at the University of Maine, founded and directed by Fluxus scholar and author Owen Smith. Additionally, the Roski School of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California features Intermedia as an area of emphasis in their B.A. and B.F.A. programs. Concordia University in Montreal, QC offers a B.F.A. in Intermedia/Cyberarts. Herron School of Art and Design, Indiana University, Purdue University, Indianapolis, has a M.F.A. Program Photography and Intermedia degree. 
In the UK, Edinburgh College of Art [within University of Edinburgh] has introduced a BA (Hons) Degree in Intermedia Arts and Intermedia can be a focus of study in Masters programmes. Edinburgh College of Art, Intermedia Art
- Dick Higgins, Intermedia, Something Else Newsletter 1, 1966
- Owen Smith (1998) Fluxus: The History of an Attitude, San Diego State University Press
- Hannah B Higgins, "The Computational Word Works of Eric Andersen and Dick Higgins" in H. Higgins, & D. Kahn (Eds.), Mainframe experimentalism: Early digital computing in the experimental arts. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press (2013)
Notes and references
- Hannah B Higgins, "The Computational Word Works of Eric Andersen and Dick Higgins" in H. Higgins, & D. Kahn (Eds.), Mainframe experimentalism: Early digital computing in the experimental arts, p.283
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