Panel: Interart / Intersensorium. On the Interrelation of Media and the Senses
In what I have come to refer to as the post reality, we have become a society of “super-participants” – appropriating, amplifying and redirecting information via the social media. In the post reality, the super-participant feeds on user feedback, in which everything they do, think, and say is captured and processed and remixed and re-broadcast – their every sensory impulse is connected and re-connected to the unblinking eye of the electronic media. As a result, I have concluded it is imperative in the current epoch that the artist must now find new techniques and methodologies to more fully embrace multimedia and its pervasiveness or else become ineffectual as an artist. This necessity is akin to László Moholy-Nagy’s urgent view of the gesamtkunstwerk in the early 20th century when he declared: “What we need is not the gesamtkunstwerk alongside and separate from which life flows by, but a synthesis of all the vital impulses spontaneously forming itself into the all embracing gesamtwerk (life) which abolishes all isolation, in which all individual accomplishments proceed from a biological necessity and culminate in a universal necessity.” There is now the necessity for a current day gesamtkunstwerk, or gesamtdatenwerk as Roy Ascott has called it, in which the artist moves beyond abstraction, beyond representation, beyond the suspension of disbelief: the artist becomes, in effect, fully engaged as a sensory machine. To demonstrate this idea and its implication, I will organize and present a multi-sensory reading – a rhythmical, visual, textual, gestural reading – that reflects on current artistic thought concerning the artist’s role (and responsibility) in responding to and commenting on the transformative effects of the post real condition.
- Randall Packer is an internationally acclaimed multimedia artist and composer, creating works that have pioneered the integration of interactive media, installation, and live performance. His work has been performed and exhibited at galleries, museums, theaters, and festivals throughout the world. In 2001, he founded the US Department of Art & Technology in Washington, DC and was appointed as its first Secretary. Most recently, he received a commission to debut his multimedia theater work, A Season in Hell, at the ZER01/01SJ Biennial in San Jose, California. Packer holds an MFA and PhD in music composition and has taught multimedia at the University of California, Berkeley, Maryland Institute College of Art, and American University in Washington, DC. He is now on the faculty of the Advanced Academic Programs at Johns Hopkins University where he teaches the history, theory and practice of multimedia. Packer is a writer and scholar in the field of new media, most notably the co-editor of Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality. He currently lives and works in Washington, DC. zakros.com