Media Technology MSc

An Exploration of a Diversity of Vision in Digital Art Projects in Relation to Issues of Engagement


Contemporary digital art projects are often dominated by an emphasis on the technology. What is striking is the uncritical approach taken towards the use of much of this technology in contemporary art projects. There is also the idea that interactivity and reflection interfere with each other, which seems to follow on from the idea that a medium is either invisible (like a mirror of 'reality') or mediated. The assumption is that it can't be both or that as participants we cannot multi-task or switch between modes of reception. Artists and theorists in digital media also tend to focus on the technological, ignoring the role of reception. In terms of making the works, technological requirements are distinctive, but we do not discuss literature in terms of the technical requirements and potential of the printing press, but from the point of view of the reader. My position is that any art form is primarily a question of achieving engagement, which as Rosalind Picard states, relates to our emotions. While she adds that “emotion theorists still do not agree even on a definition of emotion,” she argues that “we can base solid facts and knowledge on structures that are themselves imprecisely defined,” just as we don't need to define whether Mt Everest is rock or ice, to discuss it. This paper looks at how engagement can be mediated in digital art projects and whether this is significantly different to other media such as the novel, film or photography. This leads to questioning the dominance of cartesian spatial relations as the norm for visual expression.


Sonja van Kerkhoff, An Exploration of a Diversity of Vision in Digital Art Projects in Relation to Issues of Engagement. In: Proceedings of the Fifth European Symposium on Gender and ICT (GICT 2009), March 2009, Bremen (Germany)