Reading Response #10


In her article, “Myth of Immateriality: Presenting and Preserving New Media,” Christiane Paul discusses digital media, more specifically, digital art. Paul focuses on the term immateriality and its connection to digital media and art. She then uses the rest of her article to divulge her ideas about the “challenges that digital media poses to the existing art system; the ways in which the roles of artists, audiences, and curators are changed through digital culture and practice; and different models for presenting and preserving new media art.”(251)


Paul’s style of writing clearly laid out the development of her points and topics. The first main point which Paul is tackling to support her claims is the challenges and opportunities within the characteristics of digital media. Paul characterizes new media as, “… process-oriented, time-based, dynamic, and real-time; participatory, collaborative, and performative; modular, variable, generative, and customizable.” (253) Paul explicitly is comparing museums to modern digital museum-type collections of art. She suggests that the new digital media allows art to become more interactive whereas a museum is a hands-off kind of interaction with the art itself. I am unsure really if I can tell whether Paul thinks this is a good thing, but to me there is so much more to learn about art through interaction, so I see it as a very good thing. Overall, Paul suggests that this kind of framework has, “… changed the landscape of cultural exchange has a direct influence on the creation, presentation, and reception of art and affects the role of everyone engaged in these aspects.” (255)


Next, Paul discusses interactions in terms of digital media and the artist, audience, curator, etc. Paul writes, “One could argue that the changes in the roles of artists, audiences, and curators that have been brought about by collaborative models largely relate to the immateriality of systems, exchanges, and cultural production in general.” (258) From this quote especially, Paul is using the relationship and interaction of the collaborative nature which surrounds digital media as a gateway to discussing the, “…links between the virtual space of the work, with its communicative and participatory interaction, and the respective site of interaction, be it a gallery space of one’s own home.” (258) I think Paul is trying to say that the immateriality of the art itself in the digital form is allowing for expansion for interaction, collaboration, etc. between the relationships of people involved in the process itself.


Going backwards a bit, I think the last point to consider is the point Paul makes about digital art/media being “living” on page 251. I think this personification of digital media shows how inviting and welcoming digital media can be. What I mean by that is, it become more relatable, more personal. This kind of interaction is the crux of the argument to me because Paul is showing how the interactivity of the art gives it life and therefore gives it purpose. It then is more than just art that hangs on a wall and commands you not to touch it, it becomes art that is welcoming, interactive and invites you to discover it in your own way.


I was confused, later on in the work, when Paul was discussing 3D dwellings and black boxes. I had a hard time connecting to what she was saying and I didn’t understand really why she was bringing those aspects into her argument.

I was also confused by the term, “network art.” Is she trying to say it’s like a museum in that way?


I would like the class to think about digital art as a personified sect of technology. Does interactivity give it life? Or is it just the art itself, standing alone that possesses life already? How might being digital play into the role of that or not at all?