[ISEA2020] Paper: Budhaditya Chattopadhyay — Post-immersion: Towards a Discursive Situation in Media Arts

Abstract (short paper)

Keywords: Immersion, media art, presence, machine agency, discourse

Immersion is a much-fetishized word in the domain of media arts. It is through immersion that the audiences are often made to engage with the media artworks. In these works, immersion operates as a context for realizing the production of presence as an illusion of non-mediation (Reiter, Grimshaw et al). The main concern of this paper, and the corresponding artworks, is whether the audience tends to become a passive and non-acting guest within the machinic immersive space often constructed by an authoritarian and technocratic consumer-corporate culture and
driven by machine sensibility. I will argue in the paper that in this mode of non-activity the audience may lose the motivation to question the content and context of the work by falling into a sensual and indulgent mode of experience, therefore rendering the consumerist-corporate powers to take over the free will of the audience. From the position of a media artist myself, in this paper I will argue for producing a discursive environment with a human agency rather than a machinic immersive one. I will examine the possibility to create artworks where the individuality of the audience is carefully considered and taken into account as a parameter for the artwork’s dissemination.

  • Budhaditya Chattopadhyay is an Indian-born media artist, researcher and writer. Deploying diverse media, including sound, text, and moving image, Chattopadhyay’s large-scale installation and live performances address contemporary issues of climate crisis, human intervention in the environment, urbanity, migration, race, and decolonisation. A recipient of numerous fellowships, residencies and awards, Chattopadhyay has contributed to the programmes of Transmediale, Berlin, ZKM Karlsruhe and Darmstadt Hochschule (all Germany), among many other internationally recognized institutions. His sound-works have been published by Gruenrekorder (Germany) and Touch (UK); and his writings on sound and media arts have appeared in publications such as MIT Press’s Leonardo Electronic Almanac and the University of Leiden’s Journal of Sonic Studies. His books The Nomadic Listener and The Auditory Setting are forthcoming this year respectively from Berlin’s Errant Bodies Press and the Edinburgh University Press. Chattopadhyay holds a PhD in sound studies from the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, Leiden University, Netherlands, and an MA in new media from Aarhus University, Denmark, and recently completed a one-year Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.