Chair Person: Bill Balaskas
Presenters: Christina Vatsella, Beryl Graham, Philip Glahn, Melanie Lenz & Athanasia Daphne Dragona
From the early stages of its development, New Media Art readily adopted a variety of means of artistic engagement and expression that aim at serving modes of utopian social being: from multi-modal collaboration to mass participation and from open software to hacktivism, the germs of leftist utopian thought seem to abound in the art of the Digital Age. It appears that New Media Art increasingly employs new technologies in order to penetrate all aspects of global social living and propagate such practices as catalysts for change. It has gradually become part of an ideology whose objectives allude to utopian theories of social organization lying closer to certain visions of communism, than to the realities of late capitalism within which new media operate.
This panel session intends to investigate the relevance of communist utopianism to New Media Art’s ideological dispositions, as a starting point from which wider political, social and cultural implications of New Media Art could be explored. In this context, areas of interest addressed by the panel’s contributors will, amongst others, include: Marxist theory and the digital art object, democratization of art through audience participation, literal and metaphorical revolution in the realm of new media, economic actors and networks shaping the character of New Media Art, institutionalization of New Media Art and related cultural policies. Through the synthesis of such diverse points of view, the session will attempt to demystify whether and to what extent the art of the Digital Age is, or could be, the result of the seemingly paradox combination of capitalism’s products and communism’s visions.
- Bill Balaskas is a London-based artist working with video and digital media. He studied Economics and Business Administration before deciding to completely change direction by studying film and video at the Royal College of Art, in London. His work has been widely exhibited internationally. Recent and forthcoming solo exhibitions include presentations at Institut Français de Thessalonique, Greece (2011); Jewish Museum, London; and Sketch Gallery, London (both 2010). Recent and forthcoming group exhibitions and screenings include presentations at Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York (2011); Musée des Abattoirs, Toulouse; British Film Institute, London; Werk-Raum Gallery, Berlin; and A Foundation, Liverpool (all 2010). Bill Balaskas is, also, an awarded short fiction writer (British Council of Greece, 2005) and screenwriter (Worldfest Houston International Film Festival, 2006). More information: billbalaskas.com
- Bill Balaskas’s participation in ISEA2011 is kindly supported by the Association of Art Historians (aah.org.uk), the European Cultural Foundation (eurocult.org) and Open Society Institute (soros.org).