Lecture by Gavin Stewart: Art & The internet

Posted on by Ben Hodson

Here are some of the key words, phrases and artists which jumped out to me from a lecture by Gavin Stewart PHD.

Harold innis

The medium is the message

Marshall McLuhan 

Mediate messages

The global village

Kranzberg first law of technology

Code is law

Lawrence lessig

Karl Marx 



Vannevar Bush



Concepts: All information should be free

You can create art and beauty on a computer 

Max bense

Prehistoric digital poetry 

Nam june paik

Magnet tv

Robert Rauschenberg 

Ted Nelson

George Landow

George Ryman

Nicole Syenger

Information arts

Nancy Paterson - Stock market skirt

Talan memmott

Kate Pullinger & Babel

Jeff shaw

Daniel sandin

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Mary Flannagan


I have researched into some of these artists and was paticularly taken with the work of Nancy Paterson and her Stock Market skirt.  The visual pun and effective use of information and technology created a interesting and fun peice of work.  Basically the height of the skirt gets raised or lowered depending on the current rates of certain stock in the world stock exchanges.  She is quoted to have said that todays culture relies on three things: capitalism, technology and narcissism

Although this work is interesting to me, the thing I most took away from the talk was this link between art and technology.  As Gavin explained: a paint brush was new technology at some point, computers and cameras are just newer forms of technology.  I think for me I am nost aware of this because I work with increasingly intelligent camera systems and computers.  This relationship for me is sometimes un easy as I find myself feeling removed from my medium.  I started as a painter and even fell in love with the photographic image in the darkroom.  Modern technology and equipment has forced me to get further removed from the physical contact with the materials and cause me to have a very clinical relationship.

Technology plays an important role in my practice, but as machines, autofocus', digital manipulation and systens get better I start to question who is really creating the image.  Is it the artist or photographer or is it the machine?  Previously I would have answered the question with of course it is the photographer, however, there are now moments where I feel less sure.