16 Critical Intelligence in Art and Digital Media

Konrad Becker

The creative imperative has become a dominant force. As culture has become an economic engine in post-industrial societies, art diffuses into business practice and the realm of the creative industries.

This chapter explores how digital art practice can do more than propagate technical progress and provide affect stimulus in aestheticized production cycles.

In present-day information societies, technologies of imagination and visual representation are embedded and exploited in ubiquitous digital networks. Imagination is a traditional domain of artists and cultural workers. What has changed with the worldwide permeation of communication technology machines? Which art practices or cultural forms address the challenges of a networked digital universe?

What are potential roles of cultural agents in societies saturated and structured by powerful information technologies? Questions regarding the engineering of the imagination arise for all new generations of artists in modernity. But how does their discontent relate to the new spirit of capitalism and the arts? How can artistic practices be relevant in the battle over the resources of the imagination, and what is agency in the cultural field?

Society and technology interact in feedback loops and dynamic interdependence. New media builds on layers of media archaeology and traditions of smoke and mirrors, where fragile concepts of reality reveal the anxious relation ...

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