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Intermedia was a term used in the mid-1960s by Fluxus artist Dick Higgins to describe various inter-disciplinary art activities that occurred between genres in the 1960s.[1][2][3]


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, performance art); historically, an example is haiga, which combined brush painting and haiku into one composition.[4]

Higgins described the tendency of what he thought was the most interesting and best in the new art to cross boundaries of recognized media or even to fuse the boundaries of art with media[5] 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 what are probably the greatest graphics of our century ...

— Higgins, Intermedia, 1965, Leonardo, vol. 34, p. 49

With characteristic modesty, he often noted that Samuel Taylor Coleridge had first used the term.[6]

Gene Youngblood also described intermedia, beginning in his "Intermedia" column for the Los Angeles Free Press beginning in 1967 as a part of a global network of multiple media that was "expanding consciousness"—the intermedia network—that would turn all people into artists by proxy. He gathered and expanded ideas from this series of columns in his 1970 book Expanded Cinema, with an introduction by Buckminster Fuller.


In 1968, Hans Breder founded the first university program in the United States to offer an M.F.A. in intermedia. The Intermedia Area[7] 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 that focus on intermedia are the Intermedia program[8] at Arizona State University and the Intermedia M.F.A.[9] 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. The University of Maryland Baltimore County [UMBC] offers an M.F.A. in Intermedia and Digital Art.[10] Concordia University in Montreal, QC offers a B.F.A. in Intermedia/Cyberarts.[11] Herron School of Art and Design, Indiana University, Purdue University, Indianapolis, has a M.F.A. Program Photography and Intermedia degree.[12] The University of Oregon offers a Master of Music degree in Intermedia Music Technology.[13] The Pacific Northwest College of Art offers a B.F.A. in Intermedia. [14]

In the UK, Edinburgh College of Art [within University of Edinburgh] introduced a BA (Hons) Degree in Intermedia Arts, and intermedia can be a focus of study in Masters programmes.[15] The Academy of Fine Arts [AVU] in Prague offers a Masters in Intermedia Studies founded by Milan Knizack[16] and The Hungarian University of Fine Arts has an Intermedia Program. [17]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dick Higgins, "Intermedia", re-published in Leonardo, vol 34, 2001, p49 - 54, with an Appendix by Hannah Higgins
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Friedman, Ken 2018. "Thinking About Dick Higgins", Fluxus, Intermedia, and the Something Else Press. Selected Writings by Dick Higgins. Steve Clay & Ken Friedman, eds., pp. 13-14.
  4. ^ Classic Haiku ed. Tom Lowenstein, London: Duncan Baird Publishers, 2007, ISBN 9781844834860.
  5. ^ Higgins, Dick (1967). "Statement on Intermedia". Artpool. New York: Something Else Press.
  6. ^ Coleridge, Samuel 'Lecture 111 : On Spenser'
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-01-08. Retrieved 2006-01-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ [3]
  11. ^ [4]
  12. ^ Intermedia[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Master of Music in Intermedia Music Technology
  14. ^ [5]
  15. ^ [6]
  16. ^ [7]
  17. ^ [8]
  18. ^ Ibrida Festival (Italian)


  • 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).
  • Ina Blom, "The Intermedia Dynamic: An Aspect of Fluxus" (PhD diss., University of Oslo, 1993).
  • Natilee Harren, "The Crux of Fluxus: Intermedia, Rear-guard," in Art Expanded, 1958-1978, edited by Eric Crosby with Liz Glass. Vol. 2 of Living Collections Catalogue. Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 2015.