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Digital art: ghetto or spearhead?

Valentina Peri (Galerie Charlot) indicates us that Domenico Quaranta's book Beyond New Media Art (Link Editions, Brescia, 2013) is downloadable full text on

Briefly, this book takes us to go beyond "New Media Art", and still more from "Digital Art", and to play convergence and hybridization, aiming to "Postmedia Art".

The document is of great value for the lot of information it provides, and for an history of New Media Art from the 1990's through the 2000's.

Should we, digital artists or digital art critics and curators accept to dissolve us into a new space, a postmedia contemporary art, or take the risk to claim our specificity and remain a "ghetto" ?

We plead here the case for a specific role of digital art. Not of "new media", which seems us too vague.

"Digital" is whatever pushes its fragmentation/organization processes to its logical limit, the bit. It has been a long quest, with important steps with Descartes, Saussure, the Impressionists, Cubists, mathematiciens, Shannon, with an apex around John Neumann, and after him with a generalization and an acceleration still exponential in the 2010's.

Everything, every art becomes digital today. But digital properly implies that the computer is not taken only as a tool, but something more : a "second self", a partner, even something as a child. Artists are properly digital if they are able to drill down to the bit, in general through programming, for some of them including material components and the solder iron. It's a specific form of talent, and taste (if not of addiction). A particularly deep form of digital art is the generative one.

Digital art is of crucial importance today, with the exponential rise of machines and robots, and the threat of the "singularity.

In this environment, digital artists marry the liberty and creativity of art with an understanding in depth of the powerful digital tide. Around them, galleries, mediators, researchers and critics bring a necessary, and no less specific, contribution, to reach the public and private markets and to bring out the conceptual substrates.

Then, all of us, we must not underrate our responsibilities and accept their dissolution into a "postmedia world". That should not prevent us to remain open to the other forms of art and to cooperate with (realistic) ambitions in the general world of art.

Actually, as says Quaranta himself, postmedia at present is "not a point of arrival, but a point of departure"... in other words, a terra incognita for everybody. Let us take our full part of the exploration. Not raising our competence as the walls of a ghetto, but promoting them as a spearhead. With open minds but not without pride.


With adjustments and cooperative thinking, that could become a sort of manifesto...

Pierre Berger
July 15, 2013.






Paris ACM Siggraph, the French chapter of ACM Siggraph, worldwide non-profit organization of computer graphics.




Les Algoristes, an association of artists using their own algorithms in their work.





Galerie Charlot An important supporter of digital art.