Monday, March 31, 2014

Reader Response: "New Media: Guerrilla Culture to Gadget Art" by Krisna Murti

This reading explores the function of new media within contemporary culture, specifically within the context of Indonesian history, and its many varied functions.  Although the reading felt mostly like a re-cap on many of the same themes that have been covered in class, such as the politicization of digital/new media, and the ever-growing prevalence of technology and art within our everyday lives, the fact that it was contextualized within the frame of Indonesian history and culture was interesting and invigorating.  It focuses upon the international, accessible nature of new media, but also brings to light the possible ways it could be politicized.

The author claims that new media is neutral, and it sparked an interesting conversation that we had in class, revolving around the writer's assertion that new media is inherently neutral in nature, but it is only in transmitting the media that it becomes political.  Arguments were made in class that it is not, especially in terms of capitalism, where corporations strive to profit off of every possible financial source.  New media is no exception, as companies such as Adobe and Apple, although spearheading development and technological breakthroughs, strive to make a hefty sum off of the art business.  In this sense, new media itself may not be charged politically, but as of art in the past, it is primarily financially-driven in many ways, particularly in the sense that many of the tools needed to create it are available only to a certain amount of people.  Unlike drawing or even painting, to make a digital artwork requires a considerable amount of resources.

Another interesting topic that was discussed in class, that the reading acknowledged, is that time is a significant factor within new media art--it is only recently that art has had the ability to be time-based, or presented within the fabric of time.  This leads to a subjective time, and therefore a construction of virtual reality.  New media seems to accelerate exponentially, as much has changed within the past decade, and it will be interesting to see what comes next.

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