Article written by Jamie M. Allen from the art magazine ARTNODES: Revista de arte, ciencia y tecnología. “Could This Be What It Looks Like? Lifelike Art and Art-and-Technology Practice” [p. 14-20]
Could This Be What It Looks Like?
For more than ten years, a number of archival and curatorial projects have mapped out a trajectory of art-historical roots for the values and practices of new media arts, its conventions and institutions. These accounts are, as often as not, earnest attempts made by practitioners and theorists alike to “save” new media’s artists and works from the purported inevitability of becoming a ghettoized subculture, walled off from the resources and distribution channels associated with Western contemporary (and commercial) museum and gallery culture. Saving new media in this way purportedly holds the promise of improving critical discourse surrounding “the work”, developing audience and interest, stimulating economic potential, and securing new media its rightful detent as another lineal “movement” in histories of creative practice. The experimental, process-driven and often anti-professional outlook of the conceptual avant-garde of the latter half of the 20th century provides an oft-cited and somewhat contradictory framework for situating new media within a contemporary art system that has remained relatively formal. As well, the current proliferation, popularization and extension of abilities that only a decade ago were the exclusive purvey of self-proclaimed new media artists have resulted in a number of points of entry for non-specialists to access concepts in non-objective art, participatory performance, process and systems-art. Is the dream of the early techno-artistic avant-garde becoming a reality?