New Philosophy for New Media / Edition 1

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In New Philosophy for New Media, Mark Hansen defines the image in digital art in terms that go beyond the merely visual. Arguing that the
"digital image" encompasses the entire process by which information is made perceivable, he places the body in a privileged position -- as the agent that filters information in order to create images. By doing so, he counters prevailing notions of technological transcendence and argues for the indispensability of the human in the digital era.Hansen examines new media art and theory in light of Henri
Bergson's argument that affection and memory render perception impure -- that we select only those images precisely relevant to our singular form of embodiment.
Hansen updates this argument for the digital age, arguing that we filter the information we receive to create images rather than simply receiving images as preexisting technical forms. This framing function yields what Hansen calls the
"digital image." He argues that this new "embodied" status of the frame corresponds directly to the digital revolution: a digitized image is not a fixed representation of reality, but is defined by its complete flexibility and accessibility. It is not just that the interactivity of new media turns viewers into users; the image itself has become the body's process of perceiving it. To illustrate his account of how the body filters information in order to create images, Hansen focuses on new media artists who follow a "Bergsonist vocation"; through concrete engagement with the work of artists like Jeffrey Shaw, Douglas Gordon, and Bill Viola, Hansen explores the contemporary aesthetic investment in the affective, bodily basis of vision. The book includes over 70 illustrations (in both black and white and color) from the works of these and many other new media artists.

The MIT Press

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Editorial Reviews

Metapsychology - Andrés Vaccari

Brilliant and exciting work.... Obligatory reading for anybody interested in the philosophy of technology and its phenomenological dimension, as well as those interested in new media and digital aesthetics. Hansen is an engaging, lucid, and provocative writer.

From the Publisher
"Brilliant and exciting work.... Obligatory reading for anybody interested in the philosophy of technology and its phenomenological dimension, as well as those interested in new media and digital aesthetics. Hansen is an engaging, lucid, and provocative writer." Andrés VaccariMetapsychology
Library Journal
"New media" here refers to digital art forms that both act upon the perceiver's physical constraints and provoke the audience to reconstruct aesthetic assumptions. Hansen (English, Princeton Univ.) moves the reader through a grounding history of Henri-Louis Bergson's theory of perception before plunging into a tightly constructed theory of postmodern aesthetics, in which the human body, rather than the human eye, dominates perception. Illustrating his discussions with particular examples of digital art productions-for instance, the presentation rendered by a focused lens that offers both created image and reflection of actual objects-the author underpins each step of his presentation with an impressively Hegelian structure in which traditional aesthetics, contemporary digital experimentation, and the effects of the human on perceiving the new media art are treated. Like the art it treats, this aesthetic theory addresses the concrete as well as the intellectual and metaphoric. This is rich reading for those already grounded in the traditions of Henri Bergson and Suzanne Langer while of concern to artists working on the cutting edges of the digital field as well.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley P.L., CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262582667
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 361
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark B. N. Hansen is Professor of Literature at Duke University.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures
Introduction 1
1 Between Body and Image: On the "Newness" of New Media Art 21
2 Framing the Digital Image: Jeffrey Shaw and the Embodied Aesthetics of New Media 47
3 The Automation of Sight and the Bodily Basis of Vision 93
4 Affect as Interface: Confronting the "Digital Facial Image" 127
5 What's Virtual about VR? "Reality" as Body-Brain Achievement 161
6 The Affective Topology of New Media Art 197
7 Body Times 235
Conclusion 269
Notes 273
Index 321
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