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Multimedia artists are contemporary artists who use a wide range of media to communicate their art. Multimedia art includes, by definition, more than one medium, therefore multimedia artists use visual art in combination with sound art, moving images and other media. The art can take the form of installation art, found objects presented in an artistic form, or kinetic sculpture, among others.
It is important to distinguish between multimedia art and mixed media artworks. Within the visual arts, mixed media tends to refer to work that combines various traditionally distinct visual art media such as certain works of Frank Stella or Jane Frank which merge painting and sculpture, for example. A work on canvas that combines oil paint, newspaper collage, chalk, glass and ink, for example, could be called a "mixed media" work - but not multimedia. Multimedia art implies a broader scope than mixed media, as in creations combining visual art media with elements usually considered the proper domain of literature, drama, dance, film making, or music.
Multimedia artwork also frequently engages senses other than sight, such as hearing, touch, or smell. A multimedia artwork can also move, occupy time, or develop over time, rather than remaining static as with traditional media. Another frequent trait of multimedia artworks is the use of advanced technology, such as electronic or computer-generated sound, video, animation, and interactivity.
Certain traditional genres such as opera and film are inherently multidisciplinary or even "multimedia" in a very loose sense, since they involve drama, literature, visual art, music, dance, and costumes. Indeed, a union of the arts was exactly what Richard Wagner imagined in his ideal of the "Gesamtkunstwerk" or a "synthesis of the arts" (literally: "complete artwork").
Nevertheless, in contemporary terms, opera or even movies would not properly be considered "multimedia art." A work of multimedia art is usually mounted on a smaller scale than an opera or a movie and is typically created entirely by a single person (rather than the collaborative effort of opera or moviemaking). Multimedia works do not usually require performers. If performers are used, they are usually untrained people, as in audience members who interact with the piece, as opposed to trained singers or actors. Multimedia artwork is often presented in a curated museum or gallery setting, in which the piece is understood to be an extended form of visual art. The creator of a multimedia work of art is typically someone with a formal background in visual art.
Croatian scientist Fjodor Ruzic discusses in his book: “it is not just the sum of information in different media, but logically shaped, organized and integrated set of mutually connected media which together compose a multimedia document”.
In his book, Ruzic exposes the fact that we are confronted with a new form of media mostly presented with the term digital reshaping not only media industry but also a cultural milieu of an entire global basis. The discussion follows on the World Library idea that is rebuilding with new form of World Memory, or also known as collective intelligence. He also discusses the change from visible culture domination to the domination of invisible culture in the world of e-technologies predominance. From this scenario, information technology professionals coping with information systems projects, e-services development, and e-content design have more cultural responsibility than in the past when they worked within closer and inner cultural horizons and when their misuse of technologies had no influence on culture as a whole.
The multimedia artist is, in fact, the new state of art, taking advantage of all the tools he has access to and express itself, just as traditional arts have been doing since they were created.
We are all aware of the omnipresence of technology in human life and of its possible dangers: as psychical alienation and losing our freedom through digitalization and letting the technology overmaster us. So it’s necessary to "humanize" technology in an anthropological way, to overwhelm it. This effects The New Education model as we can see it in Multimedia Art.
The lack of high artistic education in the world of informatics, do not excuse neither intensified usage of computer in design (CAD) and film animation, nor in virtual cyberspace. The artistic aspect in multimedia art is cognitively and sensitively created as a synchronicity (or synesthetics) of several media (image, music, text, speech and movement interpreted in space via media), and not only as logical document or work as it was meant in technological sense.
The 19th century idea of “Gesamtkunstwerk” (a concept used by Wagner) was the basis of “a total art work”, overlapping of Art, Philosophy and Religion. Although it had been proclaimed as decadent, the idea was a certain movement in usual seeing, as it became “re-valued seeing” in the sense of a “new inventing perception” 2which develops our cognitive potency and leads us to the “new perception of reality”. Speaking of perception, it is also known that Viktor Šklovski emphasized the importance of the “astonishment” and prolonging of perception, also Laslo Moholy Nagy insisted on Empathy while he was working in the famous Bauhaus school, so he used a phenomenological term “Einfϋhlung”, to encourage new percepting values.
The Mass media (photography, comics, poster, radio, film, video-art, television and internet) are very helpful to the artist: such media make special presentations possible (street or online performances), thus actualize next step in artistic development: social individualization or socialization through digitalized, what means bare, but penetrative feedback information.
To sum up: Multimedia Art is not just logically created multimedia in a technological point of view, but an intensification and orchestration of Art work. Multimedia Art also emphasises intensification of existential supportings through empathy and specifically New Inventing Perception, thus we become more aware of personal freedom and individuality.
- Ruzic 2007, p.12
- Ruzic, Fjodor (2007). "Information-Communications Systems Convergence Paradigm: Invisible E-Culture and E-Technologies". Institute for Informatics.
- New education model: Multimedia art. By MA Vesna Srnic. The International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp. 343–354, 2009).
- Tech Art History, Part 2, by Matthew Zuras. June 3, 2010.
- Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality, Edited by Randall Packer & Ken Jordan, W.W. Norton
- UEK Multimedia Artist: Turn That Bloody TV Off and Sound-in-Box, both 1991