The Art Formerly Known as New Media


A tube of paint was once new media. And remember the shock of those newfangled Daguerreotypes? Theorists have speculated wildly about what drives humans to crave newness, but the truth is that all media age. And while some are still prompted to use the phrase ‘new media,’ art has been made under this moniker since long before Madonna was a Material Girl.

‘The Art Formerly Known as New Media,’ at the Banff Centre’s Walter Philips Gallery, was curated by fellows Sarah Cook & Steve Dietz to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Banff New Media Institute. On view through October 23rd, the show features 14 BNMI alums whose once-novel work now verges on being canonical. Ranging from html and 3D experiments to more ironic or tactical pieces, the show is less bogged-down by the premise of displaying important early works than it is concerned with getting us over the hump of considering a medium’s virginity, and onto considering art’s persistent themes. Dietz said the curato! rs hope that, like the artist formerly known as Prince, the work formerly known as New Media Art can simply come to be known as ‘Prince’ –I mean ‘Art.’ – Marisa Olson

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