To my understanding of Christiane Paul’s article, Myth of Immateriality: Presenting and Preserving New Media, she discusses digital media in terms of a museum space. Christiane focuses on art being interacted with and how digital media would work in an art museum perspective.

Three Main Points:

  1. “The potentially interactive and participatory nature of new media projects—which allow people to navigate, assemble, or contribute to an artwork in a way that goes beyond the interactive, mental event of experiencing it—runs counter to the basic rule of museums: “please do not touch the art” (page 254). I think Christiane is saying here that digital media needs to involve interaction and participation. It needs to be interactive with the user in order to work properly but this doesn’t fit with a true piece of artwork, which is just meant to be looked at and out used.
  1. “These projects are software “systems” in which the creation of the “manifestation” of the work relies on the content contributed by the audience” (page 256). I took systems to mean modularity. There are separate groups that each does a certain part for the software. The audience becomes the modularity for digital media because they need to personally create and interact with each piece for the whole to work.
  1. “New media art seems to call for a distributed, “living” information space that is open to artistic interference—a space for exchange, collaborative creation, and presentation that is transparent and flexible” (page 251). I think Christiane is making a point to use the word “living” for digital media because the user needs to “breathe life” into a computer to make it work. Think of how we talk about the computer in terms of starting it up. We say, “turn on the computer” or when the computer goes blank, we say it’s “gone to sleep.” These terms are an indication of a living network in a way. With this living information space, it’s easier to use for an art form because the user can, in a way, relate to technology more than a piece of non-interactive artwork.

Two Confusing Aspects:

  1. I’m not sure what Christiane meant by “black box” or a “lounge area.” I think it has something to do with an art form because she goes into talking about a “dark space” on page 259. I’m not sure if this is a dark space related to the whole museum or just the digital media.
  1. I didn’t really understand what physical space had to do with digital media when Christiane started talking about “how the installations of digital art need to create a distinct presence in physical space” on page 260. It was a little confusing because all artwork takes up a physical space especially in a museum. Unless, Christiane means that the physical space takes up a larger area than the usual artwork.

Question to the author:

What I understood about your article is that you believe digital media is an art form and should be regarded as such. But my question is: what do you mean by this? You never fully explain your point on digital media as art. Instead, you point out how it’s not like an art form because you need to interact with digital media and not with artwork.