Graduation Year

2003

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.L.A.

Degree Granting Department

Humanities

Major Professor

Gaggi, Silvio

Keywords

interactive multimedia, electronic music, online art, hypertext, computers

Abstract

Recently, artists have begun using digital technology to create new cultural forms in the fields of art, literature, and music, and a new cultural form known as interactive digital multimedia has emerged, which combines elements from the new artistic, literary, and musical forms. Many of these artists have produced works that explore the interactive capabilities of digital technology. These interactive digital cultural forms have encouraged collaborative efforts that would have otherwise been difficult or even impossible to achieve before the advent of digital technology. In addition, this element of interactivity has redefined the traditional relationship between artist and audience. As the line between creator and consumer becomes increasingly blurred in interactive digital cultural forms, it becomes necessary to use terms such as "source artist" and "mix artist" to better define this new artist/audience relationship.

Postmodern theorists such as Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault anticipate this new artist/audience relationship in their writings. More recent theorists, such as Margot Lovejoy, George Landow, and Paul Théberge, writing after the advent of digital technology, have suggested that interactive digital cultural forms and the changing nature of the artist/audience relationship present opportunities for cultural creation and participation that extend the opportunities afforded by traditional artistic production and consumption. Works such as the As Worlds Collide website, Stuart Moulthrop's Victory Garden, the music of the Chemical Brothers, and Peter Gabriel's multimedia CD-ROM EVE are examples of these new interactive digital cultural forms. These works present navigable constructs (often incorporating elements culled from other source artists) that can be experienced and "re-mixed" by subsequent mix artists who choose to interact with these works.

The increased agency provided by these interactive works brings with it new responsibilities for both the source artist and the mix artist. By encouraging collaboration and experimentation, redefining the artist/audience relationship, and expanding the responsibilities of the source artist and the mix artist, interactive digital media extend the possibilities for cultural creation and participation. As digital technology develops, so do the opportunities for cultural development among society as a whole.

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