Top Reading Sources on Media Arts

September 28, 2016

Although media arts and their presence in contemporary art practices is growing year by year, so many people are still unfamiliar with what media arts is really about, and what this term actually means. Also known as New Media Art, this term was designed to describe whole new bodies of work created by with new media technologies. Apart from video art, which is not considered as a “new media” at all, due to its long history of being legitimate part of contemporary art, there is a vast number of other art genres that are characterized by the use of the latest products of technological revolution. Cyborg art, interactive art, computer art, virtual art, 3D Printing – to name just a few; all these art genres are examples of media arts and many creators have been embracing these practices. Still, speaking theoretically, this field of art has not been analyzed at the level it should be. That is why media arts is either unknown or ambiguous term for many people, and that is why we decided to present top reading sources on media arts that can help us all to understand these unique art practices.

The story of media arts is quite rich, despite the term being rather young. It can be traced to the moving photographic inventions of the late 19th century. But, it was the 1960s that saw a breakthrough of media arts, particularly thanks to the rise of interactive art. This type of artistic creation is a form of art that involves the spectator in a way that allows the art to achieve its purpose. However, what is crucial in interactive art is the use of computers, interfaces and sometimes sensors to respond to motions and other changes coming from a visitor, viewer or participant. Interactive art opened a door for other media arts to be a part of the contemporary art scene and today it’s common to see computer art or digital art being presented in the world’s most famous museums, galleries and art fairs.

There is no need to understand computer codes or technology in order to be familiar with media arts. But, if someone knows the basic technological principles of a camera, computer or 3D printer, then it’s easier to understand some pieces of the new media art. The books we recommend in this article are diverse. Some of them explore the relationship between “the digital” and traditional art, some of them present the tradition of media arts, while some of them are dealing with the most important elements of new media art. Not so many books were written about media arts, while the ones we recommend in this feature are obligatory readings for all those art lovers, collectors and curators who want to explore the rich world of new media art. Many of the books are dedicated to students , as faculty books, providing them with a great readings for education . Many programs , events , ways of production in media arts are covered in these readings, and it's recommendable for every student who aims to be creative and who wants to apply his/her knowledge. who wants to apply his/her knowledge. Books are also for those students who want to start their career in a gallery working as curators, and these readings support those students who see their future in the production of media arts - students who want to become creators whose work will eventually be exhibited in a gallery .

Scroll down and take a look at the top reading sources on media arts !

Featured Image: Hito Steyerl - Factory of the Sun, 2015, installation view, German Pavilion, La Biennale di Venezia 2015.

The New Media Reader

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The New Media Reader contains texts, videos, and computer programs, many of them are impossible to find these days. The book presents a chronologic history of the new media and form the foundation of the still-emerging field of this type of art. The texts from this reader were originally published after the Second World War, during the period when digital computing, cybernetic feedback, and early notions of hypertext and the Internet first appeared. The latest texts presented here are written before the emergence of the World Wide Web. The texts are written by computer scientists, architects, literary writers, interface designers, cultural critics, and individuals working across different disciplines. There is also a CD accompanying this book that contains examples of early games, digital art, independent literary efforts, and so on. With quite useful information , this book can be helpful for students during their studies at the Faculty , and useful for University staff as well. If a student is provided with support in the system of education, than his/her future work will be better. The book can be applied in the domain of design , school of film , and so on.

Featured image: Jonathan Foerster - Vena II.

Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology, and Consciousness by Roy Ascott

Roy Ascott was a pioneer British artist and theorist, who coined the term "telematic art" in order to describe the use of online computer networks as an artistic medium. In Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology, and Consciousness by Roy Ascott, Edward A. Shanken gathers, for the first time, an impressive compilation of more than three decades of Ascott’s philosophies on aesthetics, interactivity, and the sense of self and community in the telematic world of cyberspace. This book explores Ascott’s ideas on how networked communication has shaped behavior and consciousness within and beyond the realm of what is conventionally defined as art. Therefore, this book combines artistic practices with philosophical analysis of aesthetics, interactivity and cyberspace – one of the first books ever written discussing these themes.

Featured image: Jodi (Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans) –

Toward a New Common School Movement (Critical Interventions)

In the book Toward a New Common School Movement (Critical Interventions), the authors are criticizing the educational privatization and austerity. They argue that these policies represent a broader redistribution of control over social life-that is, the enclosure of the global commons. This condition requires far more than a liberal defense of public schooling. It requires recovering elements of the radical progressive educational tradition while generating a new language of the common suitable to the unique challenges of the global era. Can this new language be produced by new media arts? Or, new media arts represent an obstacle towards new critical interventions that our societies in crisis require? Finally, what is the role of new media art in social and politically engaged art? The answers to these questions can be found in this book.

Featured image: Anthony Ferraro – Hypothetical Beats, 2015

Rethinking Curating: Art after New Media

What is the difference between new media arts and contemporary art? As curator Steve Dietz has observed, new media art is like contemporary art - but different. New media art involves interactivity, networks, and computation and is often about process rather than objects as it’s the case in traditional art. New media artworks are difficult to classify according to the traditional art museum categories determined by medium, geography, and chronology and present the curator with novel challenges involving interpretation, exhibition, and dissemination. This book views these challenges as opportunities to rethink curatorial practice in general. It helps curators of new media art to develop a set of flexible tools for working in this fast-moving field, and it offers useful lessons from curators and artists for those working in such other areas of art as distributive and participatory systems.

Featured image: Miao Xiaochun - Metamorphosis Doubt, 2011

A Brief History Of Curating New Media Art

This book is consisted of interviews. It tracks the work of curators in the field of new media art in order to consider the massive changes and developments over a relatively short period of time. It is also a celebration of the ten years since the online resource for curators of new media art, CRUMB, has been publishing interviews and other research. The curators featured in this book range across the field of contemporary art. They have been working away, not in the center or the periphery, but in the nodes of this networked field of new media art. Since the new media arts and contemporary art are often in collision, this book provides useful insights into the role of curators in ever-growing field of media arts. In addition, the book provides quite useful information , and can be helpful for students while they are on studies at the Faculty . It's also a useful edu cation tool for University staff as well. The book can be applied in the domain of design , school of film , and so on.

Featured image: Matt Pearson – LP18_1_S14 (DEATH POP)

Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion

contact center 2016

Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion is written by Oliver Grau, who shows how virtual art fits into the art story of illusion and immersion. He describes the metamorphosis of the concepts of art and the image and relates those concepts to interactive art, interface design, agents, telepresence, and image evolution. Grau recounts the story of art as the one of media, helping us to understand the phenomenon of virtual reality beyond the hype. The author shows how each epoch used the technical means available to produce maximum illusion. His analysis draws on the work of contemporary individuals and groups such as ART+COM, Maurice Benayoun, Charlotte Davies, Monika Fleischmann, Ken Goldberg, Agnes Hegedues, Eduardo Kac, Knowbotic Research, and many others.

Featured image: Tomas Saraceno - Installation

A Philosophy of Computer Art

Computer art is not quite academically researched comparing with other fields and movements of contemporary art. This book possess questions, such as: What is computer art? Do the concepts we usually employ to talk about art, such as ‘meaning’, ‘form’ or ‘expression’ apply to computer art? A Philosophy of Computer Art is the first book to explore these questions. Dominic Lopes argues that computer art challenges some of the basic tenets of traditional ways of thinking about and making art and that to understand computer art we need to place particular emphasis on terms such as ‘interactivity’ and ‘user’. The author also explains how the roles of the computer artist and computer art user distinguishes them from makers and spectators of traditional art forms and argues that computer art allows us to understand better the role of technology as an art medium.

Featured image: Keith Webber Jr - 1698

Digital Art, 2nd Edition

This book is dealing with the role of digital art in contemporary art practices. Digital technology has revolutionized the way we produce and experience art today. Not only have traditional forms of art such as printing, painting, photography, and sculpture been transformed by digital techniques and media, but entirely new forms such as net art, software art, digital installation, and virtual reality have emerged as recognized artistic practices, collected by major museums, institutions, and private collectors all over the world. This book surveys the developments in digital art from its appearance in the 1980s up to the present day, and looks ahead to what the future may hold. It explores themes addressed and raised by the art, such as viewer interaction, artificial life and intelligence, political and social activism, networks and telepresence, and many more.

Featured image: Rafaël Rozendaal –

From Technological to Virtual Art

In From Technological to Virtual Art, renowned historian of art and technology Frank Popper traces the development of immersive, interactive new media art from its historical antecedents through today's digital, multimedia, and networked art. Popper shows that contemporary virtual art is a further refinement of the technological art of the late twentieth century and also a departure from it. What is new about this new media art, he argues, is its humanization of technology, its emphasis on interactivity, its philosophical investigation of the real and the virtual, and its multisensory nature. Defining virtual art broadly as art that allows us, through an interface with technology, to immerse ourselves in the image and interact with it, Popper identifies an aesthetic-technological logic of creation that allows artistic expression through integration with technology.

Featured image: Joe Hamilton - Indirect Flights for The Moving Museum

Revisualizing Visual Culture (Digital Research in the Arts and Humanities)

It is now well-known fact that digital technology has had a radical impact on all the disciplines associated with the visual arts; and this book provides expert views of that impact. By looking at the advanced ICT methods now being employed, this volume details the long-lasting effects and advances now made possible in art history and its associated disciplines. The authors analyze the most advanced and significant tools and technologies, from the ongoing development of the Semantic Web to 3D visualization, focusing on the study of art in the various contexts of cultural heritage collections, digital repositories and archives. The book not only charts the developments that have taken place until now but also indicates which advanced methods promise most for the future.

Featured image: The Experience Machine exhibition at Ikkan Art International, 2012. All Images used for illustrative purposes only