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Beyond contemporary art: The everlasting relationship between new media and arts

Visiting scholar Paolo Mele provides us a peek at his current research work by allowing us to publish the introduction/abstract below of his research project “Beyond Contemporary Art: The Everlasting Relationship Between New Media and Arts”.


In the last two decades we have been witnessing a passionate debate about the role of the so-called “new media arts” within the world of contemporary art. The discussion involves artists, theorists, and especially curators who are questioning themselves about the status of this artistic form. A form, that, beyond definitions and categories, (, Digital Art, Post-media art, Post-internet etc.), finds its nature in “the use of emerging media technologies and are concerned with the cultural, political, and aesthetic possibilities of these tools” […] (Tribe, Jana, 2006). “Does the “new media art” require a specific curatorial model? How much the new media art could benefit of a non- specialized approach? Are we new media or arts curator?”[] .These are only some of the questions aroused from a considerable part of the curatorial world, which echoes Domenico Quaranta echoes on the pages of the famous portal and on the CRUMB mailing list.

What is here meant to highlight, beyond the role assumed by new media art within the contemporary art world, is the critical role of the new media within the contemporary artistic production, as well as the increasing importance of these devices in the everyday life for a constantly growing part of the population. Is it then possible to identify a connection between the technological development of the contemporary society and the growing diffusion of new artistic forms based on the new media usage? How much and at which level of depth “the software culture” (Manovich, 2010) is impacting the contemporary artistic production? Also, how much this infusion could affect not only the production, but also the fruition?

Paolo Mele is a PhD student in Communication & New Technologies at IULM University (Milan, Italy) and Visting researcher at The New School for Public  Engagement (New York) . He is a cultural and digital project manager and in he has recently worked with several international organisations such as World Bank, New Art Exchange, Fondazione Veronesi, Fondazione Chivasso, and others. He has been project manager for the Biennial of Young Artist from Europe and Mediterranean from 2008 to 2012. In 2006, He funded and coordinated the Observatory of Communication Politics (OCP) at the University of Salento. He has published two books on media and politics and he carry out several essay and articles. His  current research focus is on new media (art) and cultural policies. He is the founder of Cooperativa PAZ.

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