Carlos Cuellar Brown
New media art defies categorization and crosses boundaries into technology, science and design. The aesthetics of new media art are broad and diverse a sort of hybrid that is distinctly shaped by the digital technologies of the modern age. This genre is time-based and centered on interactive participation; its more ephemeral and sequential nature separates it from traditional art objects. With new media art the user-audience must witness the experiential and transpersonal exploration of real time virtual space. The art piece only exists there after in its recollection and cataloguing like in performance art and happenings when it’s recorded as art document separately; this documentation is the new art object.
The term new media art is interchangeably used as digital art. What distinguishes new media art from mainstream digital art are the new possibilities generated by the Internet based hardware and software. The Internet has collapsed location boundaries facilitating a new dialogue between artist and user-audience. Like in digital art, interactivity and user feedback become essential. What’s distinctively new about new media art is the use of social media, internet art, mobile phones, webcams and software art in conjunction with digital tools like video mapping, 3D virtual simulation, computer graphics, video games, 3D printing art, digital imaging, performance and digital installation art, journalism art, live electronics and even art as biotechnology.
Random access is an important feature of new media, the digital age thrives on complex random access assemblage of infinite informational bits and bytes; in new media user network data flows instantaneously at many levels; like in twitter where public conversations overlap and run viral randomly. This activity transforms the non-linear contemporary cultural narratives. New media artist’s ability to contour new memes within the cultural soup is provocative and denouncing. Popular themes include: hacktivism, open source, public interventions, re-contextualization, masochism, voyeurism, contemplation, gender and racial stereotypes, appropriation and surveillance, AI and robotics, corporate parody and cultural cynicism. There is a certain defiance in the approach of new media art as it boroughs much of its anti-art, anti-establishment antics from Dada, Minimalism, Conceptual art and Fluxus; from them they copy modern preoccupation with techno-industrial and meta-informational issues. New media art tries to defy the cultural story, perhaps even infuse evolution with brand new software for the mind.
These cultural transformations are a product of artist and public experimentation of cyberspace. The manipulation of imagery and data creates a fictional world, a place where reality is reconstructed and manipulated to create the hyper-real. In new media art, virtual spaces are the canvases that intentionally augment the reality and perceptual coordinates of the user-experience. New media art manipulates data by exploiting the location based augmented realities that are occupied by smart phones and live cams. This new collective aesthetic has much to do with the unique qualities of mobile phone intimacy, streaming, frame rates and image pixilation. The aesthetic application of mobile technology also revives Nam June Paik idea of technological appendages; the mobile phone has become an extension of the body as a kind of prosthetic eye. This fresh instantaneous and intimate perspective like in Facebook, has the potential of merging millions of private lives and peep holes into the “digital superhighway.”
These instantaneous connections explore the public conversation as causal agency. In a sense we have never witnessed as society an art medium that was a result of a massive collective experience; in this multi-polar perspective the many contribute to the creative whole; these virtual spaces are ridden with exponential carriers of new meaning.
In the modern world, freedom of the press and other freedom of information rights have been restricted or editorialized in the open spaces where broadcast downloads ideas and entertains the masses. Arguably new media art steps in to broadcast memes of change and supply the vacuum left by the dinosaur media. In this sense new media art inherits from video art its criticism of mass media. It’s also no secret that video artist’s were first to test and explore incoming digital technologies and user-interfacing decades before the release of the Internet.
The turn goes now to new media artist’s, they will continue to explore virtual spaces and shape contours that define the aesthetic of collective interventions. In the decades to come new media art will grow and continue to be new as more and more user-friendly technology permeates the public and closes in on our social circles.
This October the Miami New Media Festival 2015 will offer the public of Wynwood and Miami at large the unique opportunity to experience new media in the public domain. The Chill Concept will host and curate the MNMF 2015 where a group of internationally renowned new media artist’s will come together with community to con yield a platform for creative expression. The MNMF already on its 9th edition was created by art mogul Nina Fuentes and the Arts Connection whom have together promoted new media art forms. This October 2015 come join and define the aesthetic of new media art.