Device Art

I just read through a short, incisive little essay by Machiko Kushahara called Device Art: A New Form of Media Art from a Japanese Perspective in the v6, n2 issue of intelligent agent.

There are a couple of things that resonated in the piece, mostly the way the piece starts by explicating this notion of device art as a kind of theory object (here we go again..) that allows for what Kusahara describes as a re-examination of the relationships amongst art, science and technology. That is, the practice of creating a kind of media art that dices, slices and re-arranges what we understand to be art, what we understand to be science and what we take for granted as technology. I’m also intrigued by the Kusahara’s description of the cultural distinctions between Japanese cultural traditions in this area, versus what I understand about American cultural traditions surrounding device technologies and creation practices.

Many of the concepts in there I think are relevant for the projects that end up happening at IMD — it’s a short read that I highly recommend.

Why do I blog this? You know — the familiar sense that there are things we make that are framed as media art, some things framed as engineering technologies or science research. Personally, I would like to do both simultaneously, a sentiment I think I share with many others.

Obviously, these goal are in the life-long category. That’s hard, but certainly not impossible. You have to be able to reframe your work in a variety of contexts, which means being able to talk about your work (literally, or write about it) fluently in many idioms. (Many of the artists mentioned in the essay do that expertly — Maywa Denki being the one with whom I am most familiar.)That’s a challenge, which can be overcome through diligent practice. That is, as an exercise, frame your work as a media art, engineering design, contributing to long-term science research, etc. Naimark framed this notion as a variety of pitches to different sorts of people. It was something like, making your project resonate with a film producer, venture capitalist, media arts curator, your parents and a kindergarten teacher in 3 minute pitches?