New Media Art as an ism

I was talking to Sean Cubitt about media art and artists and following on from Terry Smith who argues that Contemporary art was now a movement. I was wondering whether media art has become an ism; Mediaartism.

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  1. Is new media art an ‘ism’? It depends on how you define an ‘ism’. It is also a question of whether you think ‘isms’ are important. For those in the midst of a wave of activity it can seem very important. An example here would be net art, which had many of the charactistics of a good old fashioned avantgarde ‘ism’. Most of the artists knew each other, they communicated through their work with a set of shared understandings of what the various elements and tropes meant. They also had discursive relationships through parallel means – particularly via the key listservs most of them belonged to at the time. Everything about net art indicates it was a movement of artists very much of its time and place (linked intimately with the collapse of the Berlin Wall and emergence of a new Europe). Does New Media Art have the same characteristics? It is true that many of the practitioners, especially those of the first, second and third generations, know one another. They share certain understandings about their practices and the media they use. But is it a community like the net art community was (is)? This is a question to be explored.

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