Oct 19, 2011

TREND | New Media Art

"Suns from Flickr" -A new media piece by Penelope Umbrico
New Media Art is best described as art that uses new media. New media is digital computer technology where a user has on demand access at all times on a digital device. The various manifestations of new media  include computer games, the internet and social media, websites, and digital multimedia. New media art uses this emerging technology and often plays upon the relationship of the user with the digital world. While new media dates back to the invention of the computer, this essay will only be examining more recent developments within this artistic field.

"Controlling_Connectivity" by Gretta Louw

Gretta Louw's Controlling_Connectivity explores social media and it implications for a our modern culture. This project explores modern society's addiction to social media and the radical changes occurring with the way humans socialize. Louw's is taking this idea to an extreme by creating a performance where her only means of communication with the audience and outside world are through various social networking sites. For ten days she will be accessible 24/7 via social media platforms, locked away in a dark gallery to remove any aspects of the real world or traditional communication. She seeks to explore the side effects of living in a world where not using social media is akin to social withdraw. One big question for her is whether or not social media and constant connectivity are causing people to censor themselves and behave in the most socially acceptable manner at all times.  
An image from "Quiet" by Josh Harris

Josh Harris is another new media artist exploring the dangers of constant connectivity. His project Quiet involved 100 people living in an underground bunker of 30 days while being constantly surveilled by each other and the outside world. Quiet shows us how people willingly trade privacy for connection and recognition via the internet and explores the side effects of this constant social connection. Josh Harris has said that he believes the internet and social media will bring about the end of the individual while ushering in a new world of constant hive mind connectivity. 

"Suns from Flickr" by Penelope Umbrico

Penelope Umbrico is a new media artist exploring the world of online photo banks. Her project entitled Suns from Flickr is an ongoing collection of images taken from the online photo bank Flickr. While searching for the most photographed thing on the internet, she found that the sun, giver of life on planet earth, was turning up the most hits. From there she took two thousand 4” x 6” prints of suns found on Flickr and arranged them into a large rectangular grid. Penelope Umbrico says that her “collating of found sunset and moonrise pictures results in images that are inherently reflexive of the pre-scripted collective content found there.”

New media art serves the purpose of exploring the consequences of our ever evolving digital predicament. By exploring themes such as constant connectivity and the online community, new media art forces the viewer to question their own place in the digital universe. New media has had a profound effect on the lives of people all over the world, and new media art seeks to document this effect and present it to the viewer in a way that promotes introspection. 

--Robert Wingfield 


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