Week 11 Response

The articles present different perspectives towards New Media work within the context of digitization. Bishop expresses that while art deploys digital technology in their ‘production, dissemination, and consumption’, artists seldom question or respond to the impact of the digital revolution on the way of life. The prominence of digitized structures calls for a reconsideration of the assumptions which visual art is based upon – things that are physical, marketable, and derivative of authorship. Bishop argues that the neglect of these considerations risks the ‘impending obsolescence of visual art itself.’ On the other hand, van der Meulen sees the digital revolution as a subset of the broader context of analog art history. He recognizes that there is a ‘wide range of media art with social ambitions and intentions at its core exists’, and a way to categorize it is to take social engagement as a frame of reference.
The digital revolution means different things for Bishop and van der Meulen. For Bishop, it is an inescapable determinant underlying our modes of experience and expression which we have to come to terms with. Van der Meulen instead seems to account for a larger extent of autonomy of artists in the face of these digital technologies, recognizing intents to use them consciously with the aim of social engagement, and acknowledging them as a proper field of exploration within contemporary art. In that respect, they are after all tools we have the choice to use, no matter how widespread and deep-rooted.