Art of Media

A short introductory text for 4D ARTEXPRESS: New Media Education Resource, available on the COFA website.

For the first time in history at this year’s prestigious Sundance Film Festival, more video was screened than celluloid. And yet nobody really worried any more about the obsolescence of film. While most artists shooting on HD and other digital formats continue to refer to themselves as ‘filmmakers’, the media-specificity of film has been blown apart into a thousand shards.

It makes little sense to talk about ‘pure cinema’ in a moment where many films are made without the help of Kodak, the existence of sprocket-holes, or a multiplex to play in. Cinema is no longer film, and films are made for contexts that can no longer be described as cinemas. Most of us travel the world with mobile and portable devices capable of storing and networking more sound and images than the majority of people had access to in their entire lifetime even ten years ago.

And it’s not just cinema. Media culture is exploding and mutating into new forms all around us. It’s happening in places and formats that are changing the very nature of the media itself. From the ever-expanding Web to the latest generation of game platforms and mobile devices, artists are inventing new forms of expression that often defy the old categories.

Digital images and sounds are embedded into everyday places in a variety of ways. The young digital artists working today will be the ones who will shape this not-so-distant future just over the horizon. The Art Express 4D program provides an excellent glimpse into that nascent world.

Not quite cinema and not quite art, neither computer game or mainstream anime, the output of young emerging media artists show us new ways to blend, customise and challenge familiar media forms.

The most inventive and successful media works being made by young creators such as those presented here in Art Express cast their own presence onto the media. In the post-medium context of the present day and age, the art of media is emergent, participatory and interconnected. And as the media works included in this exhibition demonstrate, this emerging art of media is also personalised, expressive and playful.

Professor Ross Harley
Head of School of Media Arts
COFA, University of New South Wales