Looking at Art in the Digital Age
212 pp., 5 x 8 in, 195 color illus.
- Published: April 13, 2018
A look at how the internet and post-millenial technologies have transformed our ways of seeing and birthed a new form of culture.
The way we see the world has changed drastically since NASA released the “blue marble” image of the earth taken by Apollo 17 in 1972. No longer a placid slow-moving orb, the world is now perceived as a hothouse of activity and hyper-connectivity that cannot keep up with its inhabitants. The internet has collectively bound human society, replacing the world as the network of all networks. In Goodbye, World! Looking at Art in the Digital Age, writer and curator Omar Kholeif traces the birth of a culture propagated but also consumed by this digitized network. Has the internet transformed the way we see and relate to images? How has the field of perception been altered by evolving technologies, pervasive distribution, and our interaction with screens? How have artists working in diverse contexts, from eBay auctions to augmented reality, created new ways of emoting that are determined by these technologies? Focusing on a cultural and artistic landscape that has taken shape since the year 2000, Kholeif aims to put into context a new language for seeing, feeling, and being that has emerged through post-millennial technologies, and argues for a nuanced understanding of the post-digital condition. Taking cues from John Berger's Ways of Seeing and Alvin Toffler's Future Shock, this book—part memoir, part critical analysis—should prove essential for anyone interested in the changing world of the internet.
Goodbye, World! weaves through digital cultures, illustrating how both life and art have changed in the twenty-first century. Omar Kholeif's critical eye is as alert to the issues facing artists as it is to those confronting the contemporary viewer.
Sofia Victorino, Daskalopoulos Director of Education and Public Programmes, Whitechapel Gallery
Omar Kholeif's insightful new book, built upon knowledge accumulated from research and practice, distills a fast-moving world mired with image overload, where the continuous reproduction of popular, or indeed viral images, contrary to general belief, can in itself offer a refreshing experience and hold an intrinsic value of its own. With Goodbye, World!, Kholeif has emerged as one of the leading contemporary historians of the digital age.
Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, Director's Fellow at MIT Media Lab, founder of Barjeel Art Foundation
Through deft juxtapositions of image, text, and digital detritus, Kholeif presents a visceral take on the strange implications of a world in which images, politics, subjectivities, and affects are recombined in a post-internet era. An Arcades Project for the twenty-first century.
Trevor Paglen, Artist
Omar Kholeif pushes forward our rapidly evolving understanding of contemporary art in the digital age. Goodbye, World! is an essential survey of the widening field of digital forms and formats and the growing number of artists that give this art its expression. Moreover, it is a fresh and necessary exploration of the very ontology of the work of art that digital movements force us to reevaluate.
Ken Stewart, Assistant Dean and Director of Communications and Public Programs, Harvard University Graduate School of Design