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<nettime-ann> Media, New Media, Postmedia (Postmediabooks 2010)
Domenico Quaranta on Wed, 1 Dec 2010 16:26:23 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime-ann> Media, New Media, Postmedia (Postmediabooks 2010)


Domenico Quaranta, Media, New Media, Postmedia, Postmediabooks, Milan 2010. 176 pages, 99 b/w images, isbn 9788874900558, € 19,00. Language: Italian

[A consistent English abstract is available at http://medianewmediapostmedia.wordpress.com/ ]

Cover 300 dpi: http://www.postmediabooks.it/55media/cover55dpi300.jpg

From December 2, the book "Media, New Media, Postmedia",written by Domenico Quaranta and published by Postmedia Books, will be available in Italian bookstores and on the website www.postmediabooks.it.

Along the last sixty years, a complex body of works has been developed along the edge between art, science and technology. An increasing number of artists came up putting their hands on the new tools that technology placed at their disposal, trying to get in touch with engineers and scientists, collaborating with them, entering university labs as well as research and development centers. After a long preparation, this research literally boomed along the Nineties, when the increasing accessibility of new technologies and the development of a “digital culture” made it possible for it to acquire a critical mass of artists. Festivals and specialized art centers sprang up like mushrooms, and many books and magazines, investigating the present and documenting the past, have been published.

A plenty of labels and critical paradigms have been forged in order to identify and describe this kind of research; then, in the late Nineties, the label “New Media Art” imposed itself upon the others.

Yet, notwithstanding this flourishing, neither the label “New Media Art” nor the artistic practices it refers to were able to conquer the official art criticism or, more generally, the contemporary art world. Just a few works of New Media Art were able to enter the permanent collection of a museum, and even less were able to escape the limbo of the museum’s warehouses. New Media Art is more or less absent in the contemporary art market, as well as in mainstream art magazines; and recent accounts on contemporary art history completely forgot it.

How can we explain this segregation? Why “official” art criticism and history have still so many difficulties in integrating the artistic research on new media technologies into their interpretation of the art history of the Twentieth century, even now that this research can be considered in all its historic relevance? Why the art market, that was able to greet video, installation and performance, is still unable to accept and distribute artworks based in software, hardware or computer networks? Why many artists are so intolerant of the very term “New Media Art”, and of any attempt to stress its diversity? Why, on the other side, other artists are so proud of this diversity? Why New Media Art pretends to be “different” from contemporary art, and yet proudly reclaims its relationship with contemporary art’s very same roots, the Avant-gardes?

Many answers have been suggested, along the last decade, for these questions. It has been said that the official art criticism suffers a generational gap, a digital divide that doesn’t let it understand the most radical choices (in terms of media); that art history never accepted the art-science-technology paradigm; that digital technologies challenge the traditional idea of an artwork as a closed, unique artifact, as a luxury item for a luxury market; and that the fast obsolescence of technology makes it impossible to collect technology-based works.

However, all these answers share a common mistake: they focus on a single problem, rather than considering these problems as part of a whole. Medium, New Media, Postmedia is the first attempt to give these questions a common, holistic answer. In order to reach the goal, this book starts discussing the current definition of New Media Art, making its weakness clear and suggesting a new definition that makes it possible to reconsider New Media Art’s historical development on a new basis and to better understand its recent developments and its positioning in contemporary culture.

But "Medium, New Media, Postmedia" is not just an attempt to explain the current status of the artistic research with new technologies, but also a militant endeavor to help it get the critical consideration it deserves; it’s not just a description of the present, but also an attempt to change the future, suggesting new critical and curatorial strategies.

A consistent preview of the book is available on Google Books (http://books.google.com/books?id=7l0ZgoI_UEcC&lpg ). A bilingual website (English / Italian, http://medianewmediapostmedia.wordpress.com/) has been developed in order to provide information about presentations and reviews, and also to further develop the issues discussed in the book.

Domenico Quaranta is an art critic and curator. He is a regular contributor to Flash Art and Artpulse; his essays, reviews and interviews appeared in many magazines, newspapers and web portals. His first book titled, NET ART 1994-1998: La vicenda di Äda’web was published in 2004; he also co-edited, together with Matteo Bittanti, the book GameScenes. Art in the Age of Videogames (Milan, October 2006) and contributed to many books and publications (including the recent Eva and Franco Mattes: 0100101110101101.ORG, 2009). He curated and co-curated a number of exhibitions, including: Connessioni Leggendarie. Net.art 1995-2005 (Milan 2005); Holy Fire. Art of the Digital Age (Bruxelles 2008); RE:akt! | Reconstruction, Re-enactment, Re-reporting (Bucharest, MNAC – Ljubljana, Skuc – Rijeka, MMSU 2009); and Playlist. Playing Games, Music, Art (LABoral, Gijon 2009 – 2010 and iMAL, Bruxelles 2010). He lectures internationally and teaches “Net Art” at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan. Since 2010, he is the Director of the MINI Museum of XXI Century Arts.

More infos:



Domenico Quaranta

web. http://domenicoquaranta.com/
email. info {AT} domenicoquaranta.com
mob. +39 340 2392478
skype. dom_40

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