August 08, 2005
In Almodovar's recent film, La Mala Educación (Bad Education), Enrique has a routine of clipping articles and images from the daily tabloids which in turn become materials and inspiration for his films (not unlike this blog). The fictional director realizes there is relationship between the unbelievably outrageous stories found in the tabloid press and the unbelievably outreageous reality we that we live.
When theorist and cultural critic Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase, "The Medium is the Message" he meant, "We can know the nature and characteristics of anything we conceive or create (medium) by virtue of the changes - often unnoticed and non-obvious changes - that they effect (message.)
This week begins the Edinburgh Fringe, "for decades, the world's largest and most anarchic arts festival". Just weeks after the terrorist bombings in London, the festival intends to take on the issue of terrorism head-on. A recent CNN article on the festival writes:
"One journalist asked me if shows should be canceled because of terrorist references. Absolutely not. It is absolutely right that what is covered in newspapers and on television should be covered in the arts," he said.
"McLuhan warns us that we are often distracted by the content of a medium (which, in almost all cases, is another distinct medium in itself.) He writes, "it is only too typical that the content of any medium blinds us to the character of the medium."
I'm often asked, what media art is, since its printed below my name on my business card. For me, media arts is a response to the world as it occurs. It is both an observation of change (real, perceived or both) as well as an vehicle for change. It is less about the material/medium (be it video, sound, computation, or plaster), or even the final artwork itself (an exhibition, installation, a performance, or screening). It is about the interaction, the play, the questioning of social and cultural phenomena. It's about commenting on our lives rather than simply dragging through it.
Painter or sculptor, working in textiles or bronze, accessed through video or performance - artists are a curious bunch hopefully moving toward better a understanding of the very ordinary cultural and communications detritus that fill our lives (among them: newpapers, broadcast television, cinema, advertising). For me, that's media art.
Posted by rst at August 8, 2005 03:18 PM
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