MediaArtHistories (MIT Press) edited by Oliver GRAU : First Review

MediaArtHistories (MIT Press) edited by Oliver GRAU : First Review

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

February 8, 2008
MediaArtHistories (MIT Press) edited by Oliver GRAU : First Review

Leading scholars take a wider view of new media, placing it in the context of art history and acknowledging the necessity of an interdisciplinary approach collaboration in new media art studies and practice. With contributions by

Rudolf ARNHEIM, Peter WEIBEL, Andreas BROECKMANN, Erkki HUHTAMO, Edward SHANKEN, Christiane PAUL, Oliver GRAU, Gunalan NADARAJAN, Timothy LENOIR, Machiko KUSAHARA, Lev MANOVICH, W.J.T. MITCHELL, Sean CUBITT, Barbara Maria STAFFORD, Douglas KAHN a.o.

Digital art has become a major contemporary art form, but it has yet to achieve acceptance from mainstream cultural institutions; it is rarely collected, and seldom included in the study of art history or other academic disciplines. In MediaArtHistories, leading scholars seek to change this. They take a wider view of media art, placing it against the backdrop of art history. Their essays demonstrate that today’s media art cannot be understood by technological details alone; it cannot be understood without its history, and it must be understood in proximity to other disciplines – film, cultural and media studies, computer science, philosophy, and sciences dealing with images.

Contributors trace the evolution of digital art, from thirteenth century Islamic mechanical devices and eighteenth century phantasmagoria, magic lanterns, and other multimedia illusions, to Marcel Duchamp’s inventions and 1960s Kinetic and Op Art. They reexamine and redefine key media art theory terms–machine, media, exhibition–and consider the blurred dividing lines between art products and consumer products and between art images and science images. Finally, MediaArtHistories offers an approach for an interdisciplinary, expanded image science, which needs the “trained eye” of art history.


“MediaArtHistories does a commendable job of capturing media art and legitimising its history as a distinct field of research.”
— Charlotte Frost, MUTE

“MediaArtHistories provides a wide view on the complex, in-progress field of media art, in which this volume intends to stand as one of the main bibliographical reference points.”

“Hmmm. That looks pretty handy.”
— Bruce Sterling

“MediaArtHistories is a very useful and relevant anthologie (..).”
— Eric Kluitenberg, springerin

“The essays presented in MediaArtHistories comprise a compelling addition to the bookshelf of any academic interested in art history.”
— Paul Thomas, realtime-arts

“MediaArtHistories is an important–and timely–book. Scholars, teachers, and artists all have much to gain from reading it.”
— Dene Grigar, Leonardo Reviews

“Es gibt einen unbestreitbaren Bedarf für Graus Buch. Kaum irgendwo ist das unerschöpfliche Arbeitsgebiet, das Grau umreißen will, systematisch erforscht und beschrieben worden.”
— artnet

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February 8, 2008

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