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Hardcover | Out of Print | 488 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 85 illus., in color and black & white | January 2007 | ISBN: 9780262072793
Paperback | $30.00 Short | £24.95 | 488 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 85 illus., in color and black & white | August 2010 | ISBN: 9780262514989
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Edited by Oliver Grau


Digital art has become a major contemporary art form, but it has yet to achieve acceptance from mainstream cultural institutions; it is rarely collected, and seldom included in the study of art history or other academic disciplines. In MediaArtHistories, leading scholars seek to change this. They take a wider view of media art, placing it against the backdrop of art history. Their essays demonstrate that today's media art cannot be understood by technological details alone; it cannot be understood without its history, and it must be understood in proximity to other disciplines—film, cultural and media studies, computer science, philosophy, and sciences dealing with images.

Contributors trace the evolution of digital art, from thirteenth-century Islamic mechanical devices and eighteenth-century phantasmagoria, magic lanterns, and other multimedia illusions, to Marcel Duchamp's inventions and 1960s kinetic and op art. They reexamine and redefine key media art theory terms—machine, media, exhibition—and consider the blurred dividing lines between art products and consumer products and between art images and science images. Finally, MediaArtHistories offers an approach for an interdisciplinary, expanded image science, which needs the "trained eye" of art history.

Rudlof Arnheim, Andreas Broeckmann, Ron Burnett, Edmond Couchot, Sean Cubitt, Dieter Daniels, Felice Frankel, Oliver Grau, Erkki Huhtamo, Douglas Kahn, Ryszard W. Kluszczynski, Machiko Kusahara, Timothy Lenoir, Lev Manovich, W.J.T. Mitchell, Gunalan Nadarajan, Christiane Paul, Louise Poissant, Edward A. Shanken, Barbara Maria Stafford, and Peter Weibel.

About the Editor

Oliver Grau is Professor for Image Science and Dean of the Department for Cultural Studies at Danube University. He is the author of Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion (2003) and editor of MediaArtHistories (2007), both published by the MIT Press.


“A rich selection of important texts by some of the most noteworthy figures in media art history, and together they will do much to shape the content of this new discipline.”—Charlie Gere, the Art Book
“Hmmm. That looks pretty handy.”—Bruce Sterling, Beyond the Beyond
MediaArtHistories provides a wide view on the complex, in-progress field of media art, in which this volume intends to stand as one of the main bibliographical reference points.”—Horea Avram,
“The essays presented in MediaArtHistories comprise a compelling addition to the bookshelf of any academic interested in art history. New media art histories need to be positioned with the growing range of books that are coming to terms with technological, scientific, philosophical and social comprehension of art practice.”—Paul Thomas, realtime +onscreen
“With the growth of media art (and media art programs), MediaArtHistories is an importantand timelybook. Scholars, teachers, and artists all have much to gain from reading it.”—Dene Grigar, Leonardo Reviews