At the Edge of Art
Book: At the Edge of Art , by Joline Blais, Jon Ippolito, ISBN10: 0500238227, ISBN13: 9780500238226, Thames & Hudson, March 2006, Hardcover
Joline Blais teaches digital narrative and indigenous media at the University of Maine, where she co-directs the Still Water program with fellow New Media professor Jon Ippolito. Jon Ippolito is a former Associate Curator of Media Arts at the Guggenheim Museum, where he curated the first museum exhibition of virtual reality and founded the Variable Media Network for preserving digital culture.
A dizzying array of artworks by over fifty creators, illustrated in a dynamic design that challenges conventional art publications.
Desktop computer technology and the Internet have opened up new possibilities for artistic creation, distribution, and appreciation. But in addition to projects that might conventionally be described as new-media art, there is now a wide spectrum of workunclassified until this bookby practitioners not normally thought of as "artists." Engineers, software programmers, biologists, and architects, among others, are producing work on the Internet that can only be described as "art." Or can it?
As rapid technological and scientific advances raise new cultural, ethical, and moral issues, while the white walls of the conventional museum or gallery seem to be straitjacketing cultural development, Joline Blais and Jon Ippolito confront our definition of art. The book explores six strands of creation:
Code as Muse: new artistic possibilities opened up by computer programming
Deep Play: new narrative forms and aesthetics of computer games
Autobotography: the rise of Webcam-based performance art
Designing Politics: seemingly real Web sites, used to subvert commercial and political enterprise
Preserving Artificial Life: a new biology established via human-engineered viruses and other digital life-forms
Reweaving Community: the emergence of an online art world whose fugitive existence resists definition.
Over 350 color illustrations.
At the Edge of Art might be more aptly titled Beyond the Edge of Art, as this survey of new art media pushes the definition of art beyond even where most new media artists would place it. Roaming freely from Barbie's hacker-switched voice box (with that of GI Joe's) to childbirth blogged in real time, Blais (new media, Univ. of Maine) and Ippolito (asst. curator of digital arts, Guggenheim) profile art by more than 50 creators that has only one common denominator the Internet. Each of the book's six chapters examines "art-like" activities ranging from the manipulation of code, online gaming, and webcams to "hacktivism" (hacking and political activism) and the mutation of artificial intelligence. Its graphic design mirrors the dizzying graphics of the online environment and does little to help the reader grapple with the complicated issues of recognizing new frontiers of art. Without a doubt, the authors have crafted a compelling if sometimes mind-boggling overview, but it will be most useful to cultural and art historians at institutions with new or digital media programs. Kraig Binkowski, Yale Ctr. for British Art, New Haven, CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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