Book Notes from “Digital Art”

“Digital Art” by Christiane Paul

“Artists have always been among the first to reflect on the culture and technology of their time, and decades before the digital revolution had been officially proclaimed, they were experimenting with digital medium.” (P7)

“Information Space and interface”
“In the late 1968, Douglas Engelbart from the Stanford Research Institute introduced the idea of bitmapping, windows, and direct manipulation through a mouse.”
“In bitmapping, each pixel of the computer screen is assigned to ┬ásmall units of the computer’s memory, bits, which can also manifest themselves as ‘on’ or ‘off’ and be described as ‘zero’ or ‘one’.”
“Graphic User Interface (GUI)” “Alan Kay and Xerox PARC”

Digital Art movements:
“Dada”, “Fluxus”, “Conceptual art”
“The importance of these movements for digital art resides in their emphasis on formal instructions and in their focus on concept, event, and audience participation, as opposed to unified material objects.”

“Controlled randomness”
“The element of a ‘ controlled randomness’ that emerges in Dada, OULIPO, and the works of Duchamp and Cage points to one of the basic principles and most common oaradigms of the digital medium: the concept if random access as a basics for processing and assembling information. American digital artist Grahame Weinbren has stated that ‘the digital revolution is a revolution based on the possibility of instant access to media elements that can be reshuffled in seemingly infinite combinations.'”

“Experiments in Art and Technology (EAT)” (P16)

“Digital art projects often require audience engagement and do not reveal their content at a glance.” (P23)

“… absence becomes a presence in its own right.” (P38)

(above left) Charles Cohen, 12b, 2001. (above right) Charles Cohen, Andie 04, 2001.

[Digital art installations] “Many are aimed at creating ‘environments’ that can entail varying degrees of immersion, ranging from pieces that strive to envelop the audience in a projected environment to those that immerse them in a virtual world.” (P71)

“In one way or another, all are concerned with possible relationship between the physical space and the virtual, and what distinguishes them are the balance between these two realms and the methods employed to translate one space into the other: Some artworks try to translate qualities of the virtual world into the physical environment; others strive to map the physical in the virtual; and yet others are aimed at fusing the two spaces” (P71)

“relational architecture”
“the technological actualization of buildings and public spaces with artificial memory.”

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, with Will Bauer and Susie Ramsay, Displaced Emperors (Relational Architechture #2), 1997 (P74)

Erwin Redl, Shifting, Very Slowly, 1998-9 (P77) – LED lights

Marko Peljhan in collaboration with Carsten Nicolai, Polar (P83)





Jess Gilbert, Helen Thorington, and Marek Walczak, with Hal Eager, Johnathan Feinberg, Mark James and Martin Wattenberg, Adrift, 1997-2001

Knowbotic Research, Dialogue with the Knowbotic South, 1994-7