Archive for June 4, 2011

Week Twelve: “But is it Art?”—the new dynamism of art

This weeks topic examines how “art” is made, percieved and classified in light of new media. Traditional art, like painting, sculpture and even photography have become only one faucet of what is now deigned “art” . One example is the film discussed in last weeks entry, “Scenario” by Dennis Del Favero. The director, Dennis, classifies it as art, but it does not fit neatly into any of the old world art genres. It is an immersive 3D user generated film, using artificially intelligent characters who interact with the audience. Thus no two screenings are the same, and it is a new form of story telling, according to Dennis, a “two way narrative”.

Watching the piece, it is impossible to deny the artistic merits of it and I am sure anyone else would agree. But there are other forms of “art” that are slightly more suspect. See the following links:

The first is a program that recognises words typed into the input box and finds words from popular songs to “sing it” for the user, and the second explains “bio art”, where bacteria and fungus create “living art”, sometimes so small that it has to be viewed under a microscope. Can we classify these as art? Both examples smack of the product of students mucking around with various programs or in the science labs. Yet they contain some semblance of the idea of what art should be. According to Dennis Del Favero, art is about “creating a set of experiences for the audience to encounter and interpret for themselves”. This definition is quite loose, but in the new media sphere, black and white options do not exist.

“A diffusion is occurring in which art methodologies can pop up unexpectedly, not even recognising themselves as art” says Matthew Fuller, and this is true of the above linked examples. Art is longer definable by a set of strict terms, it occurs and exists in an almost organic fashion.

Armstrong, Keith (2005) ‘Intimate Transactions: The Evolution of an Ecosophical Networked Practice’, the Fibreculture Journal 7, <>

Fuller, Matthew, 2008, ‘Art Methodologies in Media Ecology’ <>

Interview with Dennis Del Favero, 21/05/11, Recorded by Louisa Bathgate


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Week Ten: The Generosity of New Media—Science, Technology and Innovation


Science journals and publications are extremely expensive, and this vital knowledge for many people is all but out of reach. However, the new media sphere is allowing information, knowledge and data to be shared online immediately, if not for free, then at a much lower rate than was had with “hardcopy” journals.

With the scientific industry being one of the quickest early adopters of new technology, in particular new media technology, it is interesting to examine one way in which new media technology is being adapted. Dennis Del Favero is a Sydney -based artist, whose most recent work, featured in 2011’s Sydney Film Festival, utilises artificially intelligent 3D technology in the interactive work entitled “Scenario”.

The technology used is completely immersive and very impressive, and this is being adopted by a number of industries, including mining (for hazard perception training), museum databases and most recently, they are working with climate scientists to attempt to help people understand the world around them. “The relationship between what’s happening in the atmosphere and what’s happening in a particular part of the coastal environment,” according to Dennis, is something that can be mapped and illustrated simply with their system. “We’re working with atmosphere scientists most of all now to figure out different ways of using the system to make the whole idea of climate change more personal and more concrete, rather than being a set of numbers that most people don’t understand”.

The potential of this and other new media forms to be adapted to scientific study is huge. “Generosity” is right; new media can lend itself to countless other disciplines by expanding, publishing, illustrating and often simply showing what is new, what is known, and what needs to be learnt.

Interview with Dennis Del Favero, 21/05/11, recorded by Louisa Bathgate

Kelly, Kevin (2010 ‘Evolving the Scientific Method: Technology is changing the way we conduct science’, The Scientist <>

Schmidt, Gavin (2011) ‘From Blog to Science’, RealClimate <>

Skeptical Science <>

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