New media artist
A New Media artist may use the following media to create works of art: The Internet, computer hardware, computer software-servers, routers, personal computers, database applications, scripts and computer files. These artists use the aforementioned technologies in conjunction with video and computer games, surveillance cameras, wireless phones, hand-held computers, Apache Web server, Hypertext Markup Language and Global Positioning System devices (GPS). The Dada and Pop art movements greatly influence New Media artists and provide a foundation from which to borrow and reinvent conceptual and aesthetic ideas.
Examples and influences
In the genres of corporate parody and hacktivism, influences from Pop artists play a highly influential role for New Media artists. Claes Oldenburg designed in a collaborative effort the Second American Revolution monument for Yale's school of architecture in the 1960s. A caterpillar tractor of painted steel, aluminum, and fiberglass tip which subverts the warlike reference by casting a large tube of lipstick in place of a missile, in protest of the Vietnam war. both humor and critical approach were used to drive home a definitive anti-war statement and sentiment.
New Media artists approach differs in that the audience must interact and come to find their own conclusion. The message is straightforward but arriving there requires thought and investigation into the deeper message. An example of this is seen in CarnivorePE, a parody of FBI surveillance activity. CarnivorePE was designed by the Radical Software Group, founded by Alex Galloway in 2000 with a team of artists. What comes into question is the whether the use of technologically sophisticated devices on everyday citizens is reasonable, and what is the rationale behind the practice. CarnivorePE was in response to a digital wiretapping software called Carnivore which the FBI used to surveil internet traffic in the 1990s. Agents could listen into chat room conversations and emails. The software uses an open source tool called a packet sniffer to listen in on the network on which it was installed. This detects the packets of data that make up emails sent and received, text and images posted online and websites browsed by individuals on the network. The data harvested is then used to develop clients: which is raw material for artistic interfaces. These clients are produced by New Media artists who then used an animated Flash interface to create brightly hued translucent circles to represent each active user. Each is represented with a different color; deep green, for example, represents someone using AOL. The intent of these artists is to observe the utilitarian definition of surveillance, examine the use of it, and then to construct an artistic spectacle which demonstrates perhaps that wiretapping on ordinary citizens can be a spectacle in of itself. Software is then transformed into a colorful work of art with moving images and a powerful message.
Pop artists' main goal was to expose the power of commercial culture, while both embracing and parodying popular culture. In contrast to Pop art, New Media artists can employ a level of absurdity or purposeless. The debate is open between artists using technologies for producing amazing effects and those who consider that new media are new means to convey meaning and a form of social engagement. This is clearly expressed in certain form of hacking or what the artist and theorist Maurice Benayoun calls Critical Fusion, a critical approach of the "fusion of fiction and reality", built to unveil social and political issues at stake in the physical world. Critical Fusion is, according to Maurice Benayoun, a branch of Open Media Art.
Vuk Cosic, a Slovanian artist trained in archaeology, is among one of the pioneering New Media artists. He also coined the term net art. For his piece, he uses ASCII characters to construct images. It is not a new practice for artists prior to the 90s to construct images using this method, and these images can be made manually or by using software that converts images into ASCII characters. Cosic then incorporates the use of films and television programs to convert these images into animation with a retro-futuristic aesthetic.
Vera Molnar a pioneer in computer art used geometric and mathematical abstraction to aid her artistic expression. In 1968 she began working with a computer to create images with the aid of a computer and terminals like a plotter and a cathode-ray tube screen. Early works of computer art include (Des)orders (1969).
Manfred Mohr influenced by German philosopher Max Bense and French composer Pierre Barbaud, created hypercubes founded on a constructivist, algorithmic aesthetic. In 1969 he used a computer to superimpose multiple rules and found that this was the only way possible to superimpose multiple rules without losing track of the general concept. This strategy made the information become deeply buried and a certain participation is demanded from the viewer. Each work is based in a subset of a defined structure, ranging from cubes to 6-dimensional hypercubes.
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