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Interplay: media art and research

"Topics" of Media Art Research present articles and projects connected with the interaction of man - machine - man. The online texts discuss aspects of the current discourse. They examine the communication models practised in the projects, put them into a new context and relate them to general developments within digital culture.
The term "media art" refers here to artistic works that are based on digital technologies, either making use of digital technologies, or making such technologies an object of contemplation. They are works that investigate, artistically reflect, refract, modify, extend - i.e. digitally transform - media technology or, more precisely, information and communication technology. In media art, artists, designers, computer scientists and other scholars often develop their projects in interdisciplinary teams. They are creatively active not just in an aesthetic-artistic sense but also on the scientific-technical front.
The implications of digital media are complex and multi-layered. They involve acceleration and simultaneity, networking, integration, increasing data density and miniaturization, as well as the removal of things and processes from the realms of immediate perceptibility. Today, in our everyday lives, microprocessors are integrated everywhere - in electric toothbrushes, alarm clocks, video recorders and mobile phones. Without noticing it, we come into daily contact with some 70 to 100 chips. Media art actively engages with this culture of digital transformation.
Media art concerns itself with aesthetic, functional and deconstructional approaches, audio-visual, narrative, emancipatory, social-critical and activistic orientations, interpretative knowledge constructions, and even the materials themselves (software, sensors, networks), investigating them as an artistic medium, and treating them as an instrument. There is nothing new about all this. Media art addresses everything that we know from visual art, music and performance art, but there are no longer any fixed boundaries between these genres. Media art is no single discipline, in which the subject is taught and learned, but is a discipline combining image, sound, code, speech, text.
Media artworks are crucially different from the "Gesamtkunstwerk" or complete work of art in that they are not completed works. Rather, they are concerned with controlling open processes and with strategies of opening (open source, dynamic systems, generative processes, ...). Media artworks are concepts with no rigidly determinable outcome. They are primarily interested in exploring the processes of communication and in interacting with the processes of - technical and symbolic - transmission and networking. A core focus of media art is on inventing new control systems and on creating metaphors of navigation and presence in digital cultures.

From the Society's point of view, the alliance of media art and research ultimately results in innovation in the form of:
- new visual languages: › Explore Information examines the area of knowledge arts as artistic research on the themes of communicating information, genererating knowledge, and constructing reality.
- new forms of teaching cultural heritage: simulation and artificial realities for medially teaching cultural legacies and artefacts › Cultural Heritage.

As a platform for teaching culture, netzspannung.org makes a contribution at the interface between media art and research which reflects the research interest of the MARS-Exploratory Media Lab. Central themes of the platform are learning and knowledge, recent media art, online archives, and community. See also:

› Knowledge Discovery:  Tools for Knowledge Discovery
› digital sparks:  Young Media Art
› Media Art Learning:  Best Practice Examples
› Tele-Lectures in Media Art and Research:  Lecture series
› MARS Projects  
› MARS Exploratory Media Lab  
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