Node Introduction: The Materiality of the Media: New Materialisms through Media, Art and Technology
Our digital, networked age hides from us (in plain sight) the concrete, historical and affective correspondences between matter and information, object and thought, that which is present and that which re-presents. The practices and culture of art-and-technology make it all too easy to ignore or devalue the material underpinnings and implications of artistic activity and production. Art is perhaps always an act of reconstituting the directly-communicative power of materials; for the rendering-present of the tension between the semantic or symbolic power of matter and its constitutive "real," at once simple and complex, always possibly sensual and potently tangible. Information networks, interactive interfaces, digital media displays and points of reception are complexes of material systems in collision. Any technical realisation requires the support of a bewildering, nearly untraceable nexus of physical interconnections and infrastructures. The technological artwork requires these, in addition to the support systems (aesthetics, exhibitions, forms of cultural capital) and historical scaffolding of an art world. Pointing at once toward the intersubjective meanings and framings we create and toward a strange, ambient and withdrawn inter-objective reality, art and technology "alert us to the attenuated indexical trace of an objective real that haunts the apparently self-referential world of pure simulacra." (Goldberg 2001)
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