Art is in the eye of the beholder. Will there ever be answers to the speculation associated with the Mona Lisa’s mysterious smile? Has it ever occurred to you that these descriptions are just a mass imagination? It is all about the way an audience interprets a work in regards to their specific culture, personal experiences and social norms as a one side viewer. The definition to art is growing increasingly blur, yet there is no doubt aesthetics and sensation will always be the criterion for what constitute ‘art’. New media art has altered most museums and social institutions and has elevated art to a whole new level. Nonetheless, it sets a higher standard and changes art by utilizing media in a complex way. New media art is resulted from developments in society.
Intimate transaction as Armstrong described is a piece of media art that intends to demonstrate changes. It is described as an “immersive, interactive installation” which allows two people which are geographically apart to be interconnected and interact in virtual spaces. People are attached to “body shelf” which allows them to detect body movement and body weight. After putting on the wearable device, they will be able to be aware of other movements and navigate their way through the space. Instead of being an outsider or just a viewer, an audience now becomes a participant in an artwork. This not only can enhance audiences’ personal experiences, but also produce changes in people’s perceptions. This has no doubt stressed on the transversal nature of new media and its ability to frame, hence changes the way that art piece produced is ultimately perceived.
This video demonstrates a how Intimate transaction works and the whole process is decomposed.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQV7nIsgS-U&feature=player_detailpage]
Here, I would like to show you a similar new media art form in regards to death penalty.
58 countries around the world still apply death penalties. This piece is created and produced by the Marcel Agency, situated in the main lobby of the National Library in France. This artwork is trying to raise the issue of death penalty. Two screens face one another and they display an executioner with a rifle on one and the convicted on the other screen. The objective is achieved when a participant ‘takes a stand’ and stands in between the two. This causes the executioner to lower his rifle and the convicted man to raise his head. This is a similar example of intimate transaction media. The treatment of this installation piece is powerful and engaging. If you are only watching it as an audience, you may not feel the fear of death penalty. But when you are standing in the middle as described in the video, you will feel like you are going to be shot by the gun. This is a concrete example of how art can be used to initiate change which alters your perspectives.
Conclusively, new media artwork requires cooperation among thoughts, resources, media, human beings, budget, etc. Intimate Transactions demonstrates the way new media allows us to cooperate, share and experience the same idea in the same space even we are geographically apart. I love the idea of “body shelf” in the article, if it is applied to gaming, this will allow gamers to collaborate well and experience better comparatively to the traditional gaming.
Armstrong. K, 2005, ‘Intimate Transactions: The Evolution of an Ecosophical Networked Practice’, the Fibreculture Journal 7, <http://seven.fibreculturejournal.org/fcj-047-intimate-transactions-the-evolution-of-an-ecosophical-networked-practice/>
Marcel Agency, Art to change, 2011, online video, assessed May 26,2011, <http://aesthetic-media.blogspot.com/2011/05/art-to-change.html>
MediaArtTube, Team of Transmute Collective: Intimate Transaction, 2008, online video, assessed May 26, 2011, < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQV7nIsgS-U&feature=player_embedded#at=208>