Exploration of new forms has been a modus operandi of the avant garde for over a century, and New Media is doubly implicated in this gesture of praxis. New Media implicitly signifies novelty by virtue of its name alone, but also through its definition that includes emergent (but primarily digital) artforms. As a subset of this, one could recurse by saying that art in virtual worlds could be a “New” New Media. Before devolving into satirical discussions of comparative novelty, it’s notable that “new” media are a locus of expansion of art praxis for centuries, including oil, print, and photography. However, is novelty sufficient cause to merit the consideration of virtual art? Beyond the maxim of “Art for Art’s Sake”, virtual world art is part of a historical arc of work that engages social relations.
~ Patrick Lichty – Artist, Curator, and Theorist
In art the object is the work produced by art, as much containing elements of empirical reality as displacing, dissolving, and reconstructing them according to the work’s own law. Only through such transformation, and not through an ever falsifying photography, does art give empirical reality its due, the epiphany of its shrouded essence and the merited shudder in the face of it as in the face of a monstrosity. The primacy of the object is affirmed aesthetically only in the character of art as the unconscious writing of history, as anamnesis of the vanquished, of the repressed, and perhaps of what is possible. The primacy of the object, as the potential freedom from domination of what is, manifests itself in art as its freedom from objects. If art must grasp its content [Gehalt] in its other, this other is not to be imputed to it but falls to it solely in its own immanent nexus. Art negates the negativity in the primacy of the object, negates what is heteronmous and unreconciled in it, which art allows to emerge even through the semblance of the reconciliation of its works.
~Theodor Adorno, Sociologist, philosopher, and musicologist
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Reading a wide array of texts has been an integral part of my writing practice. I’ve written numerous posts on this topic so I won’t bother getting into it since I have a sneaky suspicion you know what I would say (e.g., developing a voice, dedication, staying motivated, yada yada yada la la la, etc.). So, I’ll try to dissect the text above…
The idolization of the cheap involves making the average the heroic.
There’s nothing like critical and social theory to start the morning. I highly recommend reading the entire essay. Whether you agree with it or not, after all these years, it’s still a relevant and significant read. It reminds me of college (when I HAD to read this stuff). No joke, nowadays, I read this stuff for fun… 😀