Art was once thought of as simply paintings, sculptures and more recently print making of which were exhibited in galleries or exhibitions authorizing them as ‘art works’ which were generally viewed by the wealthier and more sophisticated people of society. This concept has been highly altered over the past century, with digital and communication technologies being introduced into society enabling new forms or art and communication to be accessed by a much larger audience, connecting people from around the world, to experience and appreciate interactive new media art forms together.
The concept of new digital and communication technologies enabling new forms of art and communication is based around the idea that geographic isolation is no longer a barrier, and due to the introduction of digital technology new forms of art have emerged allowing communication between larger audiences allowing real time interaction connecting people from around the globe.
These new forms of art and communication encompass artworks, which have been formed with digital technologies such as computer graphics, satellites, the Internet, interactive technology, robotics, animation and real time capabilities once never imagined to be classed as forms of ‘art’.
“We see communication and information systems as environments people live in … we look at the aesthetic of that environment, the shaping of the space. The way you shape a space determines what can happen to the information in it.” (Rabinowitz). New media art has allowed this concept to be explored and developed especially in relation to creating new forms of art and the capabilities of communication through developing technologies. Galloway and Rabinowitz have impacted highly on digital and communication technologies with a “core desire … in experimenting with the real-time, interactive potential and quality of human communication in technological environments” (Chandler, 2005, p. 153)
Galloway and Rabinowitz’ works Satellite Arts (The Image as Place 1977), Hole-in-Space, a satellite communication sculpture (1980), and Electronic Café-84 (1984) created new ways of being in the world interconnecting electronic and digital environments through explorations into utilizing satellite communication systems, teleconferencing technologies, video phones, and early contemporary computer networking systems. Such works have continued to influence digital artists today with the concept of creating new forms of art through digital technology, and connecting people around the globe. Such works emphasised Galloway and Rabinowitz’ aim to allow geographically separated audiences to convene and co-occupy the same virtual space, to feel as if in the same virtual place, by “shaping and humanizing technological environments” (Galloway).
Hole-in-Space, (1980) was a world eye opener to the potential of new forms of art and communication, as it allowed digitally created communication between distant communities, brining them together through a new art form allowing communication between the two. This satellite communication sculpture was in place for three days whereby according to Rabinowitz, “we wanted people to discover a Hole-in-Space” whereby images of the other group were relayed to each group on the screens – without the visibility or distraction of technology. By doing this it allowed the concept of freedom of communication to be present without the wondering of how they were actually communicating. “Everyone is having fun and sharing exchanges they would otherwise feel inhibited about in public spaces”. (Galloway)
This concept of technology being present but not to the eye is another highly relevant concept of new forms of art, allowing the audience to interact and be immersed by the artwork feeling as though they themselves are apart of the artwork. Daniel Rozin truly adapts this concept to his digital artworks whereby he creates interactive mirrors from many materials, in particular “Wooden Mirror (1999)” which explores the line between digital and physical reproducing your reflection in real-time onto the wooden planks portraying the abstract notion of digital pixels.
The idea of expressing information that you wouldn’t normally if directly face to face with a stranger is evident in today’s society in regards to communication technologies such as the internet through forms such as Instant Messenger, MySpace and Facebook, where people feel a lot more comfortable in expressing themselves and interacting with other people. Galloway explains that “We created a context and we stepped away, and then they completed the work” similar to that of the Internet programs previously mentioned, as without the user interaction the context is irrelevant and meaningless without the user interaction.
Due to these new forms of digital and communicative technologies where you can easily communicate with others around the globe, such as Instant Messenger, society has become very involved with such technologies expressing feelings and becoming a lot more emotionally involved with the counterpart of whom they are messaging than they would when face to face – this has enabled people from around the globe to become a lot more in touch with their feelings, as such new forms of communication have allowed a way for society to express themselves with more freedom than before, not feeling self conscious with the one on one connection.
In regards to the concept of public street interactive technology displays, a new form of art for window-shopping has emerged in Paris “Window Shopping - interactive art - Nuit Blanche 2007”. This display is in interactive catalogue of current fashion which when you stand in front of the interactive screen, you can see the clothes and scroll through them seeing how they look on you. Similarly to Galloway and Rabinowitz work, these artists are creating new ways of being in the world and creating new contexts for existing forms of communication.
Adobe Creative Suite 3 has also created an interactive and reactive video mural where when you walk by, an infrared camera tracks your movement creating a dynamic scene – of video street image created with adobe software allowing you to directly experience the software immersing people with the brand creating a new form of art with the brand communicating its product to the user in an interactive way whereby “everyone takes a little bit of their own creative license.” (Adobe)
Digital technology such as computers and their software which today allow such expansive digital creativity, allow artists to expand and further explore possibilities of digital art which would once have not been considered art due to previous assumptions that art had to be in an art gallery or by a famous artist to be considered art, this in itself enabling new forms of what we consider art to be, and new ways in which to communicate it. Online digital exhibitions such as “Turbulence” allow people from all over the globe to communicate with each other their digital art and appreciate it without the need to physically go somewhere in order to see the artwork.
Electronic Café-84 (1984) is a great example of showing how digital technologies have enabled the replication of virtual places into virtual spaces, allowing communication between people across the world without geographical boundaries. Electronic Café-84 is a shared network, which emulates a real cafe scenario however with the concept of you sitting with someone represented by digital technology enabling a new form of communication. Galloway explains, “We wanted to create a communications system that allowed for that same kind of breadth of communication.”
It is therefore evident of the array of digital and communication technologies which have enabled many new forms of art and communication within society allowing people from around the globe to come together and appreciate and experience continuing new forms of art as they develop around the world, without having a geographical boundary.
Discussed media can be found:
Rozin, D. Interactive Art (2008). Wooden Mirror - 1999, from
Adobe, Adobe Interactive Installation, YouTube, from
Nuit Blanche 2007, Window Shopping – Interactive art, YouTube, from
Turbulence, 2008, from here