Art & Technology – Extending The Social?

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientificpeer-review


    The large majority of the so-called new media art has been made for a human audience or human users, and also it has focused on human faculties. The users have been in an important role in many of the new media art works, which typically have expected, or even required, a human participator that can make the work to become ‘alive’. Based on this, one can claim that the most of the new media art is socially-based and involves, almost exclusively, human-communities. This is also true when I look at my own works, many of which have certainly prioritized humans as the users of technological artefacts and often required an audience participation [--][--]. However, throughout the years I have increasingly (and partly unconsciously) begun creating works, in which technological connections also involve non-humans. This selection of works can be seen as extending the concept of the ‘social’ from solely human realm towards a situation that brings into it the presence of non-humans. However, it is obvious that these works are still made for a human audience. One can critically point out that these types of works, which incorporate non-humans to a human-constructed situation, form designed experiences or a display of non-humans that is safe and pleasant for us (humans). Karen van den Berg has categorized this type of participatory or socially-engaged art as ‘spectator art’; in her typology of three distinct categories, exemplified by works that deal with refugees and art, she defines ‘spectator art’ as art that integrates refugees as performers [---]. On the other hand, what is in my interest as an artist to construct these types of works that incorporate humans with the non-human world go beyond the spectatorship aim. The works explore the extension of the ‘social’ and explore potentialities of networked or other digital technologies to create new types of connections between humans, our natural environment and non-humans. But in doing this, the works can also be seen as juxtaposing the biological with the technological. This non-intended juxtaposition points out that human-driven technological development easily enforces territoriality between humans and non-humans. In other words, even if the opposite is attempted, the existing technological infrastructures and digital constructs stay in the social realm of humans and sometimes may even widen the gap to non-humans.[--] Beloff, L. 2018 Unruly Connections. In: Cybernetics and Human Knowing. Vol. 25 (2018), nos. 2-3, pp. 89-100.[--] Beloff, L. (2014) From Elephans Photographicus to the Hybronaut; artistic approach to human development. In Elo M. & Luoto M. (Eds) Senses of Embodiment: Art, Technics, Media. Peter Lang, Bern.[---] Berg, Karen van den. 2019. “Socially Engaged Art and Fall of the Spectator since Joseph Beuys and the Situationists.” In The Art of Direct Action Social Sculpture and Beyond, edited by Karen van den Berg, Cara M. Jordan, and Philipp Kleinmichel, 1–40. Berlin: Sternberg Press.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020
    MoE publication typeNot Eligible
    EventInternational Symposium on Electronic Art - Online , Montreal, Canada
    Duration: 13 Oct 202018 Oct 2020
    Conference number: 26


    ConferenceInternational Symposium on Electronic Art
    Abbreviated titleISEA
    Internet address


    • art
    • art & science
    • social-engagement
    • art & technology


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