Being and Value in Technology (2022)

Christopher Bartel
Appalachian State University
Technological advancements often lead to revolutions in the creation of art; but, what is unclear is whether such advancements always correspond to revolutions regarding the artistic medium. The notion of an artistic medium is central to our thinking about, engagement with, and appreciation of art. Accounts of the interpretation, understanding, and experience of art must at some point grapple with the role of the artistic medium against such endeavors. Moreover, artists do not choose their medium by accident, but presumably do so with an eye to the specific and unique affordances of their chosen medium. This chapter will explore the ways in which technology affects these issues. One question we could ask is, when does some technology itself become a new artistic medium? Some technological advancements result in the creation of a new artistic medium—like photography—while others do not—like procedural music. Finding “technology” itself to be too broad of a concept to define a distinctive and theoretically useful notion of an artistic medium, this chapter will examine generally what sort of barriers or challenges one might face when thinking of different technologies as themselves constituting an artistic medium. Specific attention will be paid to the notion of the medium and the theoretical and aesthetic work that such a notion plays in regard to works of computer art.
Keywords art  technology  artistic medium  computer art
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