Just as there is no self-evident solution to the problem of what is distinctly ‘new’ about new media, it has also proven difficult to identify the ‘uniquely digital’ aesthetic properties of computationally generated artifacts. Jeff Wall and Andreas Gursky, for example, use digital technology, but they are known primarily as ‘photographers’ rather than ‘digital artists’. While Wall resists easy categorization by blending digital and analogue technologies, it is harder to discern why Gursky, whose images are conspicuously manipulated or mediated by digitality, would not fall into the broad category of digital art. I will leave open the question of whether a work is deemed ‘digital’ on a formal, ideological, or technological basis, but I call up the figures of Wall and Gursky as points of reference against which to consider a collection of images whose siren song lures us with promise of photographic pleasure, only to dash us against the jagged rocks of statistical averaging and data-driven patterns.
- Meredith Hoy University of California, Berkeley, USA
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