Day 1, Stream 1


Kathy Cleland


Christiane Paul: Whitney Museum / The New School, United States

Maurice Benayoun: School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Esteban Garcia: Purdue University, United States

Andrew Donovan: Australia Council for the Arts, Australia



Christiane Paul  Digital Aesthetics Now and Tomorrow

Over the past five decades there have been significant developments in the form and context of digital artworks, from the early Internet to the WWW and social media platforms; from the data abstractions of cyberspace to converging realities (hybrid, mixed, and augmented) and an Internet of Things. At the same time these different forms and expressions have been addressing some continuously reemerging themes, from identity and embodiment to socio-political constructs, among others. The presentation will explore the taxonomies and histories of digital art as they define and reflect aesthetics; the obstacles that the aesthetics of the digital have posed to the reception of the art; and the changes that the aesthetics of the digital have brought about in the traditional art world. By taking a critical look at over-hyped phenomena such as the much-discussed ‘New Aesthetics’ (and tracing its historical lineages), the talk will raise questions of how we can define digital aesthetics in all their complexities today and how their affects can be classified.


Maurice Benayoun  Open Media Art from Cosmetics to Critical Fusion

When trying to explain why “the convergence between art world and computer art world (…) will never happen” Lev Manovich opposed ‘Duchamp-land’ and ‘Turing-land’, stating that both are doomed to irreducible oppositions:

• content vs the new
• complicated vs simple
• ironic vs serious

Do such divisions reflect the reality of apparently antagonist fields? Are Murakami’s and Koon’s works so much about ‘content’? Is there a lack of ‘irony’ and ‘complexity’ in most of the Ars Electronica awards?

The opposition between the two artistic attitudes might be relevant throughout the history of art, and not only between two moments of this history. The fracture delineates a stronger frontier across the ‘lands’ separating invisible transfrontier communities of artists; and across the time, art became a permanent fight between:
• depth and surface effects,
• cosa mentale and eye candy,
• critical and cosmetic practices,
• and later, between social awareness and techno entertainment.

‘New’ media extended the artist’s impact to all parcels of the visible and sensible space, and the artist’s responsibility took on the scale of his/her impact.

Let’s explore deeper Duchamp’s heritage … The Duchamp brothers’ heritage! The Duchamp Bros. formulated diverging directions for art which still coexist in the media art field, with artists:
• using technologies to create pleasant effects (Jacques Villon’s heritage);
• referring to technologies creating artefacts inspired by the Zeitgeist (Raymond Duchamp-Villon’s heritage);
• shaking the field up by taking a critical approach to art, introducing (inside or outside the frame) the questions: “What?” “What for?” and “What if?” (Marcel Duchamp’s heritage)

Beside these producing highly sophisticated life sweeteners, consolidating the Society of the Spectacle, some investigate the open world of new medias to practice the critical fusion of fiction and reality, forcing the last to become more visible and understandable than ever.


Esteban Garcia  Stretch: An early software art framework by Aldo Giorgini

‘Stretch’ provided Aldo Giorgini (1934-1994) with a framework for manipulating vector primitives using his own mathematical model. Although ‘Stretch’ was technically reported in 1981, Giorgini had a prior body of work from 1976 that demonstrated the use of stretching algorithms to make art, resulting in works that resembled checkerboards, stripes, polka dots and swiss cheese. Despite exhaustive primary source research at Giorgini’s estate in Lafayette, Indiana, there is no evidence that the manuscript for ‘Stretch’ was actually published. However, the Stretch framework was found in a manuscript form, and this paper will unveil the methods that Giorgini created for his own artistic production. The program was written in Fortran IV and intended for a CDC-6600 computer.


Andrew Donovan  Experimental arts – the challenges of funding speculation and exploration

How do we ensure that artists working at the very edges of artistic practice can thrive? Is there a difference between experimentation and innovation? Can we move from an instrumentalist alignment of interdisciplinary arts and experimental arts in the creative industries and accept them as intrinsically part of a vibrant arts ecology? Is there a place for process as product in the presentation of experimental arts? The Emerging and Experimental Arts section of the Australia Council held a national forum on experimental practice in early May 2013. This paper will present an outline of the outcomes of this forum, and discuss some potential future directions for the support of emerging and experimental arts practice in Australia.