“if recognizing that we are living in a postmedia era is just a starting point, the integration of the art formerly known as New Media Art into the contemporary art world is, again, only the preliminary phase of a broader reconfiguration of art worlds. The continental drift has begun. When it will be over, we will be probably able to understand what the word “art” will mean in the new millennium.”



“Recognizing that we are living in a postmedia age is not a point of arrival, but a point of departure. It means recognizing that the digital revolution completely changed the conditions for the production and circulation of art, and that it is slowly but inevitably changing the ways in which art is experienced, discussed and owned. In these circumstances, art is becoming something completely different from what we were used to – and art worlds have to change accordingly, developing new values, new economies, new structures.”

Beyond New Media Art

beyond new media artLink Editions is proud to announce the release of “Beyond New Media Art”, by Domenico Quaranta.“Beyond New Media Art” is the revised, updated version of a book first published in Italian with the title “Media, New Media, Postmedia” (Postmedia Books, Milan 2010). Through the circulation of excerpts, reviews and interviews, the book produced some debate outside of Italy, which persuaded the author to release, three years later, this English translation.

“Beyond New Media Art” is an attempt to analyze the current positioning of so-called New Media Art in the wider field of contemporary arts, and to explore the historical, sociological and conceptual reasons for its marginal position and under-recognition in recent art history. On the other hand, this book is also an attempt to suggest new critical and curatorial strategies to turn this marginalization into a thing of the past, and to stress the topicality of art addressing the media and the issues of the information age. Continue reading

Presentation: ENSAD, Paris

On Wednesday, March 23, at 2.30 PM Domenico Quaranta will present the book Media, New Media, Postmedia at the prestigious ENSAD, Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs in Paris.

Au cours des dernières décennies, un corpus étendu et complexes de pratiques s’est développé, à la croisée de l’art, la science et les technologies.
Dans les années 1990, avec l’accès grandissante aux technologies et le développement de la culture numérique, cette recherche a explosé et conquis un grand nombre d’artistes: le New Media Art (dit aussi “art numérique”) est né. Pourtant, malgré cette diffusion exponentielle, l’art numérique n’a pas été capable de conquérir le monde de l’art contemporain. Quelles sont les causes de cette exclusion? Un contraste de traditions? Le refus obstiné de la part de la critique officielle à intégrer ces pratiques dans l’histoire de l’art? à l’incompatibilité entre ces formes de création et le marché de l’art?
Le critique et commissaire d’exposition italien Domenico Quaranta accepte le défi et, dans son livre Media, New Media, Postmedia, qui vient de paraitre en Italie, il esquisse une série de réponses à ces interrogations. En critiquant une définition de l’art basée sur la nature technologique des oeuvres, il présente une panoramique international de ce débat actuel et discute les enjeux de l’art à l’âge de l’information.

La perspectiva postmedia

A Spanish translation of my text “The Postmedia Perspective” – the English excerpt from the last chapter of Media, New Media, Postmedia published on Rhizome some time ago – is now available on the online magazine Tintank. Thanks Christel!

Edward Shanken

Edward Shanken just posted on Rhizome some thoughtful side comments to my text “The Postmedia Perspective” (see the previous post). I collected them below. Thanks Eddie!

There are many keen insights in this excerpt from Media, New Media, Postmedia. I hope that Domenico’s whole book will be translated into English, as this teaser demonstrates that it will make a valuable contribution to an ongoing debate that appears to be building significant steam. Continue reading

The Postmedia Perspective

I post hereby the last chapter of the book in English, as it has been published on Rhizome on January 12, 2011. The text is also available in pdf and mobi format (yes, I’m totally into Kindle now 🙂

The following excerpt comes from the final chapter of my book Media, New Media, Postmedia, recently published in Italian by Postmediabooks, who kindly gave Rhizome permission to republish it in English. The book is an attempt to analyze the current positioning of so-called “New Media Art” in the wider field of contemporary arts, and to explore the historical, sociological and conceptual reasons for its marginal position and under-recognition in recent art history.

The starting point of the book is that the label “New Media Art” does not identify an art genre or an art movement, and cannot be viewed – as it usually is – as a simple medium-based definition. On the contrary, a work of art – whether based on technology or not – is usually classed as New Media Art when it is produced, exhibited and discussed in a specific “art world,” the world of New Media Art. This art world came into being as a cultural niche in the Sixties and Seventies, and became a bona fide art world in the Eighties and Nineties, developing its own means of production and distribution, and cultivating an idea of “art” that is completely different from that entertained by the contemporary art world. If you are familiar with Lev Manovich’s distinction between “Duchamp Land” and “Turing Land” (1996), you already get the point. According to Manovich, Duchamp Land (the contemporary art world) requires art objects that are “oriented towards the ‘content’”, “complicated” and that share an “ironic, self-referential, and often literally destructive attitude towards its material”; on the other hand, Turing Land (the New Media Art world) is oriented “towards new, state-of-the-art computer technology,” and produces artworks that are “simple and usually lacking irony” and that “take technology which they use always seriously.” 1 Both art worlds have changed a lot over the last decade, but the distinction is still valid to a point. Continue reading

On Rhizome

The English translation of the last chapter of the book is now available on Rhizome, through the Rhizome Writers Initiative. Enjoy!

Caitlin Jones

“Thus the studio is a place of multiple activities: production, storage and finally, if all goes well, distribution.” [Daniel Buren 1979]
These words by Daniel Buren were originally meant as a critique of the traditional studio system, but the quotation in fact offers a prescient description of art production today. For many artists the notion of the studio does not present a problem to be dismantled or deconstructed. The laptop studio serves simultaneously as the tool, the space, the product and the frame. This conflation of the studio’s many functions is the goal, and quite often the meaning of the work.
The “post studio” laptop studio has other meaningful implications for contemporary art production. The concept of access transforms significantly within this notion of the studio. Access to (virtual) studio space, public access to artists’ work, artist access to materials—each of these transactions is enhanced in the shift. Traditional “open studio” conventions are rendered obsolete as, by its very nature, the laptop studio can always be “open.” The “post studio” laptop studio also significantly disrupts the temporal process of the traditional studio—moments of research, production and dissemination are continually evolving and reorganizing.
In these ways, post studio practice in a contemporary sense could be understood less as a reaction against established norms of production and distribution and more a reaction to expanded cultural platforms writ large.”
Caitlin Jones, “The Function of the Studio (when the studio is a laptop)”, in Art Lies, Issue 67, 2010.

Nicolas Bourriaud

A couple of quotes from Nicolas Bourriaud, The Radicant, Sternberg Press, New York 2009:

“today, one must struggle, not – as Greenberg did – for the preservation of an avant-garde that is self sufficient and focused on the specificities of its means, but rather for the indeterminacy of art’s source code, its dispersion and dissemination, so that it remains impossible to pin down – in opposition to the hyperformatting that, paradoxically, distinguishes kitsch.”

“home computing has gradually spread to all modes of thought and production. At the moment, however, its most innovative artistic applications stem from artists whose practice is quite distant from digital art of any kind – no doubt while waiting for something better to come along.”