Art is always a product and a response to the challenge of its social and technological surroundings. The state of civilization has a great impact on consciousness which is a base for art activities since we are being constantly transformed by our own inventions (de Kerckhove). This process of transformations creates also a new, widened environment for human beings, in which the biosphere has been complemented by the technosphere. Nowadays, we are facing an enormous development of digital information and communication technologies. Together with numerous phenomena which are the products of activities belonging to the bio-technosphere, those technologies build a complex corpus named cyberculture. In this context art has an important, critical role to play. Especially (multi)media art can serve as experimental laboratory, not only for new technologies but, first of all, for studies on the new social relationships created or encouraged by those technologies. Media and multimedia information and communication technologies bring along new problems, questions and threats. Art, on the other hand, undertakes efforts to examine this newly arising area which is at present often called a post-biological syndrome (Ascott). To say this in other words, artists not only use media technologies, but also examine them in this sense, th e new (multi)media art can be considered as a successor of the avant-garde movement. And since media technologies are first of all means of communication, the reflection on the medium leads in a natural way to the reflection on the processes of social communication, and on the new communities built on those processes. Expressing their doubts and anxieties artists ask about an impact of media technologies on social communication, roles and identities. They also ask about consequences of the development of virtual worlds. Overcoming the social fear of the technological world their works question in the same time the Utopia of the Electronic Paradise.
- Ryszard W. Kluszczyński (Poland), University of Lodz, Poland. Born 1952, Kluszczynski is a media writer, scholar and curator. After studying literature, theatre, film, and aesthetics, he obtained his PhD in 1987. He now serves as Professor of Film, Media and Communication Studies, and History of Art at University of Lodz and Media Art Curator at the Centre for Contemporary Art,Warsaw. Is the founder of Polish Video Art Data Bank (Media Nomad), a non-profit organisation for media culture. A regular contributor to several art magazines, Kluszczynski has published books, catalogues and numerous articles on the theory of art, media, film, and the international avant-garde movement. He has curated international exhibitions, shows and festivals in Poland, as well as many presentations of Polish art in in useums,festivals and other venues in Europe, Asia, and North America. Recent papers at conferences and symposiums include: ISEA94 (Helsinki), ISEA96 (Rotterdam), Media and Ethics (Helsinki, 96), LEAF (Liverpool, 97), Hyper Media (Oberhausen, 97), Consciousness Reframed (Newport, 97). Guest lectures at the universities and art colleges in Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Great Britain, Russia, U.S.A.
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