In From Technological to Virtual Art, respected 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.
The relationship between the body and electronic technology, extensively theorized through the 1980s and 1990s, has reached a new technosensual comfort zone in the early twenty-first century. In Sensorium, contemporary artists and writers explore the implications of the techno-human interface. Ten artists, chosen by an international team of curators, offer their own edgy investigations of embodied technology and the technologized body.
New technology enables super vision—both superhuman visual powers and actual supervision by surveillance. In Super Vision, which accompanies the inaugural exhibit at the new Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, a broad selection of important works in a variety of media expresses both the ecstatic and the threatening aspects of vision and reveals visual experience as a source of both pleasure and fear.
Mathematical forms rendered visually can give aesthetic pleasure; certain works of art—Max Bill's Moebius band sculpture, for example—can seem to be mathematics made visible. This collection of essays by artists and mathematicians continues the discussion of the connections between art and mathematics begun in the widely read first volume of The Visual Mind in 1993.
Electronic games have established a huge international market, significantly outselling non-digital games; people spend more money on The Sims than on "Monopoly" or even on "Magic: the Gathering." Yet it is widely believed that the market for electronic literature—predicted by some to be the future of the written word—languishes. Even bestselling author Stephen King achieved disappointing results with his online publication of "Riding the Bullet" and "The Plant."
The body as an object of critical study dominates disciplines across the humanities to such an extent that a new discipline has emerged: body criticism. In Getting Under the Skin, Bernadette Wegenstein traces contemporary body discourse in philosophy and cultural studies to its roots in twentieth-century thought—showing how psychoanalysis, phenomenology, cognitive science, and feminist theory contributed to a new body concept—and studies the millennial body in performance art, popular culture, new media arts, and architecture.
Artificial life, or a-life, is an interdisciplinary science focused on artificial systems that mimic the properties of living systems. In the 1990s, new media artists began appropriating and adapting the techniques of a-life science to create a-life art; Mitchell Whitelaw's Metacreation is the first detailed critical account of this new field of creative practice.
In New Philosophy for New Media, Mark Hansen defines the image in digital art in terms that go beyond the merely visual. Arguing that the "digital image" encompasses the entire process by which information is made perceivable, he places the body in a privileged position—as the agent that filters information in order to create images. By doing so, he counters prevailing notions of technological transcendence and argues for the indispensability of the human in the digital era.
Stelarc is the most celebrated artist in the world working within technology and the visual arts. He is both an artist and a phenomenon, using his body as medium and exhibition space. Working in the interface between the body and the machine, he employs virtual reality, robotics, medical instruments, prosthetics, the Internet, and biotechnology. Stelarc's art includes physical acts that don't always look survivable—or, as science fiction novelist William Gibson puts it in his foreword, "sometimes seem to include the possibility of terminality."
It has been said that all cinema is a special effect. In this highly original examination of time in film Sean Cubitt tries to get at the root of the uncanny effect produced by images and sounds that don't quite align with reality. What is it that cinema does? Cubitt proposes a history of images in motion from a digital perspective, for a digital audience.