Multimedia performative forms of art challenge the traditional notion of ‘art’ in many ways, especially within the context of new media art. But their impact reaches far beyond the pure aesthetic realm: multimedia art demands multisensory perception modes and models for interaction that still lack theoretical foundation.
The dominant epistemological theories in Western cultures are mainly influenced by a separation of the senses in emphasizing their different functions and hierarchizing their meaning. Western cultures have historically developed towards a mainly visual culture, at least also, as Marshall McLuhan pointed out very clearly, because of the overwhelming importance of printing technology (McLuhan 1964). Therefore the development of epistemological models and the establishment of certain cultural dominant media can be seen as inherently interrelated. In this context it seems to be consequent that the multimedial digital technologies challenge the monosensory epistemologies of Western culture, although the eye‘s cultural dominance can still be observed in discourses around the ‘iconic turn’ and in the characterization of the ‘digital culture’ as a visual one.
- Dr. Christiane Heibach (DE) holds a position as research fellow and lecturer at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe and is currently funded by the DFG (The German Research Foundation) for her project “Epistemologie der Multimedialität”. Research fields: media theory and aesthetics.
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