General Media/Technical Media/Media Art

The notion of media and mediation extends beyond the technical conception of media. As middle, as gap, as plane and agent of communication, the concept of media has very wide relevance. Contemporary technical media provide an exemplary form of media in as much as they clearly embody aspects of distance, deferral and reconfiguration, but the concept itself is more general. The question for media art is whether it should remain within the compass of narrowly defined technical media (photography, film, video, electronics, computational processes, etc.) or whether it can properly engage with the broader social and philosophical field? My view is that it can only do the latter – if only because that is the direction that technical media itself is pursuing. Technical media now de-emphasises its complexity – it is oriented towards fostering mobility and social exchange. It aims to facilitate wider contexts of communication rather than to enable traditional simulation, immersion and solipsism. But in doing this it can hardly insist upon a privileged and proprietary relation to issues of mediation. The more general field of media has no single point of disciplinary purchase. If media art wishes to extend beyond its traditional boundaries then this is less to manifest an uber disciplinary entity than to risk the dissolution of ‘media art’ per se. The contemporary role of media art may indeed be to discover paths that obliterate the grounds for its notional distinct self-identity and exclusion.

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