I’ve been meaning to write about this earlier after one of the weekly chats when we were presenting artists. In my presentation I presented Camille Utterbacks interactive installations, where visitors to the gallery can manipulate an abstract digital painting projected onto the wall by moving themselves over sensors on the floor.

Several points were brought up relating to the interactivity of the installation; the concept of the work (or lack of),  and also the lasting effect of post-viewing experienced by the viewer. I still can’t help but like these works, I like how the ideas of abstract painting are being continued into the digital environment and how the audience can participate in its outcome. However I completely understand the issues that were brought up that this project served more as entertainment rather than art, a good point is that after you have viewed the work you could possibly just forget about it, maybe taking away s printed screenshot of your input would make it more successful (this part could also fit to what is ‘original’ in a digital artwork which I discussed in my last post.)

A point which this raises is does the digital artwork need to have a deeper conceptual aspect in order for it to last, or at least last in the memories of those who have experienced it, also is the interactive element central this idea. Another point which I think is relevant to bring up is what could be considered design and what can be considered art in relation to some new media projects. Digital artworks that are interactive must be functional to increase the ease at which the viewer interacts with the project, but at what point does the functionality and design overstep the artistic concepts, I found this was an issue when I work on Senses Reconnected when I was on my exchange semester in Stuttgart. At points the user interface or other aspects of the project had to be developed in order to make the work easier to use but at points blurring the artistic concepts we were trying to put across. Found this good quote in relation to this in New Media in the White Cube and Beyond, however I don’t have the writers name at this time.

design is intrinsically a part of the modern commercial system of production and consumption with its focus on function. Where the artist uses abstraction and process the designer innovates around, inside and beyond the function of the object.

Just a couple of thoughts at the moment.

The Aura of the Digital Object

From todays talk on the aura of the art object in relation to Walter Benjamin’s Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, I have been thinking more on what constitues the ‘aura’ for the digital object. From the discussion we came to the conclusion that the aura was something that was given to the object through our own values or through the importance we assign to it, I think this method of thinking adapts perfectly to digital or new media projects, this as opposed to placing high significance on the original which runs into difficulty when faced with the copy/paste abilities of digital technology.

I’ve thought about this in reference to digital paintings, where the whole idea of copy and paste, opposed to the idea of the orignal is quite prominent. Unlike an image created with oil paints on canvas, what is the ‘original’ of the digital painting? Could it be the original psd file it was created on? (if the work was created on photoshop) From this, many copies can be printed out, all of the same quality and size as the other, or easily changed if needed, showing us the same image. But is the first one printed the original if all the others are the same quality and dimensions and if so, what makes this one the original? Is the psd the original asset of the works creation when it can be duplicated and reworked on a different machine, or is the computer that created the truly original aspect of the work as it functioned as the ‘canvas’ so to speak. Maybe the combination of all of these aspects make the digital painting original.

Answering these questions is not easy as everyone has their different opinions of what constitues the original and what constitues the aura of a work. I’ve asked more questions where I meant to answer others, one thing is certain that the concept of the aura of an artwork in the digital era either has to be re contextualised or will inevitably becoming void or a non issue when discussing digital artworks. Whether it is a good or bad thing is anybody’s guess

Julius von Bismarck

This work gives user the ability to see themselves out with of their own bodies, an out of body experience. He talks about the soul floating away from the body when we die which reminded me of some of the stuff I was reading about Plato and his theory that the soul is immortal so thought I would post it.


The Global Renaissance

The Global Renaissance section in the very short introduction book is similar to the humanist section as it gives an excellent starting point to research these topics in greater detail and has also provided me with several points which I can relate back to the Digital Renaissance idea. Two paintings that I have included in previous posts are analysed in relation to the idea of the global renaissance, Hans Holbein’s ‘The Ambassadors’ and Gentile and Giovanni Bellini’s ‘St. Mark preaching in Alexandria’. In both examples Brotton discusses the attributes of the works that support the theory that the renaissance was not simply a European, but a global development.

In ‘The Ambassadors’, situated over the top half of the table underneath numerous things is a rug of eastern design, objects such as globes and a merchant arithmetic book suggest that these ‘renaissance men’ had a broader understanding of the world and trade outside of Europe, or at least were attempting to achieve this. Travel, discovery and trade, all symbolised in this image were important factors of the renaissance and all of them, in some respect, touched by cultures out with European influences.

In the Bellini’s work the idea of a multi cultural society is suggested. The story of St.Mark dates back to the 1st century A.D. however has been reworked by the Bellinis into a modern setting for the time. Renaissance artists often reworked old stories and myths into their own contexts, which Brotton describes as them “dressing the contemporary world up with clothes from the past as a way of understanding the present.” If we look at this painting with that in mind we could say that this scene may have been common place in market places throughout the renaissance world. It depicts a multi religious, multi cultural marketplace that represents a broad scope of peoples including Venetian noblemen, Egyptians, Moors, Ottomans and Persians. The architecture of the scene is also mentioned; during the renaissance many cultures appropriated and reworked styles from each other and incorporated them into their own art and architecture. A key example that Brotton describes is that of Michelangelo, who whilst designing the domes for St.Peters, was influenced by Eastern architecture, in particular palaces and mosques.

When comparing St.Mark preaching in Alexandria and The Ambassadors, the concepts of trade becomes important, the former depicting the marketplace with the latter, the merchants books and goods from the market. The value of trade from the East within Europe can be witnessed by the fact that foreign goods were seen as luxurious and highly sought after. I have not research this that much but will keep going with it.

With these points, I think there are a few similarities which I can relate back to the Digital Renaissance. The issues I have highlighted, in particular multi culturalism, I feel are highly important topics within contemporary society which I will continue to build upon within my own project as my research continues.

Blog changes

Moving some stuff around the blog because of a new project structure I made for myself 🙂

This makes a bit more sense to me, also added a work calendar to keep track of things I need to and stuff


Cheers to Ben for linking me to these works, where the works of Rubens and Van Dyck have been digitally manipulated. Extremely good example for my contemporary art context.


Decided to start reading in more depth ancient philosophers like Plato and Aristotle seeing as they appear time and again in relation to the historical research I am undertaking, hopefully with a bit of further study I’ll be able to understand better the themes of the Renaissance that I have been looking at. I’ll start with this man here, Plato: