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A Companion to Digital Art by Christiane Paul

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12 Participatory Platforms and the Emergence of Art

Olga Goriunova

What she wished for more intensely than anything … was the coming of our world; and … the kind of imagination one needs for a real understanding of it.

She didn’t like things to be fixed. … Everything … is so difficult to get moving again, so one should try in advance to keep it alive while it’s still in the process of coming to be … It must keep on originating, that’s what matters.

Christa Wolf, The Quest for Christa T. (1995)

The emergence of art is heavily mediated. This mediation can be approached in countless ways: through the well-known apparatuses of the artworld, which are as much organizational and conceptual (curators, museums, and critics) as they are financial and historical (markets, galleries, art institutions); through the technical apparatuses of the systems used in constructing a project, for example the photographic, industrial, and “socio-economic complexes” unfolding in the use of a camera (Flusser 2000); multi-scalar networks and omnivorous media ecologies (Fuller 2005); or through mediating political systems and relational structures of the moment, and in many other ways.

In other words, multiple forces participate in art’s emergence: relationality, collaboration, technicity can be seen as forms of mediation, or, indeed, as vibrant and at times violent aspects of live processes themselves. An interest in this cross-mediation is grounded in a certain understanding of a subject, ...

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