Panel: The Matter with Media
It has often been said that the digital is completely void of material and sensual qualities, as physical objects are reduced to a shared language of bits without colour, size, volume, weight or smell. As a consequence, the direct or indexical relationship with a tangible and therefore ‘real’ reality is broken. This does not mean, however, that the digital is merely a realm of binary code, mathematical representation and illusory simulations, although digital data is not indexical of reality either. Using quantum physics to explore the material basis of electronic art, Laura Marks suggests that the physicality of the digital is rather located in ‘the tiny dance of subatomic particles’ or the wave forms of electrons. In a similar vein, Jim Al-Khalili argues that ‘nothingness’ is always teeming with virtual particles. Interfacing the positivist rhetoric of the natural sciences with an understanding of art and media that is informed by notions of materialism, affect and processes of doing and experiencing, I would like to address the physicality of electronic art by focusing on the nonrepresentational, the nonhuman and the nonorganic, thus downplaying the visual in favour of other modalities of perception.
- Martijn Stevens, after receiving a PhD degree in the Humanities with a thesis on the position and transition of art museums in today’s digital culture, is currently a lecturer at the Department of Cultural and Literary Studies (Radboud University, Nijmegen, NL), where he teaches digital art and culture, media studies, critical theory and cultural education. He is also affiliated with the Radboud Honours Academy, which offers both disciplinary and interdisciplinary programmes for talented students from all faculties. His sidelines include the quality assessment of higher education, the internationalization of teaching and research, and the membership of the board of the Platform for research and education in Communication, Media and Information, hosted by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Before turning to academia, Martijn worked in the field of the preservation and dissemination of media art.