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Lifelike Art and New Media Practice
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College Art Association Annual Conference
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For more than ten years, a number of archival and curatorial projects have mapped out a trajectory of art- historical roots of the values and practices of new media arts, its conventions and institutions (e.g.: Rush 2005). These accounts are, as often as not, overt and earnest attempts made by practitioners and theorists alike to “save” new mediaʼs artists and works from the supposed inevitability of becoming a ghettoized subculture, walled off from the resources and distribution channels associated with Western contemporary (and commercial) museum and gallery culture (Rhizome.org, 2006). Saving new media in this way purportedly holds the promise of improving critical discourse surrounding “the work,” developing audience and curatorial interest, stimulating economic potential, and securing new media its rightful detent as a lineal “movement” in histories of creative practice. The experimental, process-driven and often anti-professional outlook of the conceptual avant-garde of the later half of the 20th century provides an oft-sited and somewhat contradictory framework for situating new media within a contemporary art system that has remained relatively formal. Inversely, the current proliferation, popularization and extension of skills and ideas that only a decade ago were the exclusive purvey of self- proclaimed new media artist has resulted in a number of points-of-entry for non-specialists to access concepts in non-objective art, participatory performance, process and systems-art, as well as other ideas.
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