Week 12 – New Media Art

24 May

By using interactivity, I hope to promote an understanding of the world as interdependent; destroying the illusion that each of us, or any phenomenon, exists in isolation from the rest of reality – Scott Snibbe (2010)

Although there is no accurate definition for the term ‘art’, it has been traditionally considered as, in simple terms, a visual form of expression, imagination and human creation.

Advancements in new media technologies have blurred the lines between traditional, old visual art and new media art forms and processes. This genre encompasses artworks created with new media technologies including computer graphics, digital art, animation etc and is referred to by the term “new media art” (Wikipedia) Today, we tend to associate art with the products of film, television, and popular music which has allowed for new areas of expression therefore making the process of creating art a much more experimental and immersive experience.

An example of the experimental and interactive nature of new media art is the works of media artist Scott Snibbs who’s work is frequently interactive and requires viewers to physically engage with diverse media include mobile phones, lighting and digital projections.

I came across Snibb’s full-body interactive work, Boundary Functions (1998) which can be viewed below. The project is interactive in that it involves is a set of lines projected from above onto the floor, dividing people from one another. As soon as there are more than one person on the floor, a single line cuts between them bisecting the floor, and dynamically changing as they move. With more than two people, the floor divides into cellular regions referred to as Voronoi diagrams that are particularly significant as they surround each person with lines, outlining his or her personal space – the space closer to that person than to anyone else. Snibbe states that this work “shows that personal space, though we call it our own, is only defined by others and changes without our control”. (Snibbe, S. 2010). The projection of this diagram reveals the invisible relationships between people and the space around them.

Interactive media like this allows the audience to participant in the artwork. This time, they are not simply viewers but are immersed into the artwork and this experience is what impacts  and shapes their perceptions of art.

New media art has been subject to criticism as it lacks a solid theoretical foundation as these new interactive forms in a sense defy the traditional classifications of art. However, what I have come to notice is that all art is subject to criticism as nowadays the meaning of art can be absolutely anything at all.



Scott Snibbe Bio – http://www.snibbe.com/ (2010)


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