Eser Selen’s Paper Proposal

Cybernetic Mode: Overlapping of Narrativity and Subjectivity in New Media Art Works

Cybernetic Mode: Circularity, Feedback and Perception in New Media Art Works

New media art works have presented the significance of becoming a channel that binds the individual through a certain experience with advanced representation techniques and technologies via systems (machine, computer, automaton etc.). In doing so new media also has introduced us to a term: the user, which relatively governs a sum total of what audience, performer, spectator, visitor, and viewer signifies in the “older” forms of works of art.

In this presentation, I aim to explore how cybernetics functions in new media art works, specifically through the flow of information and experience vis-à-vis art history in the making. I argue that the selected artists’ works such as Julius Popp’s “Bit.Fall” 2006; Ian Wojtowicz’s “The Oracle of Elsewhere,” 2007; Zeren Göktan’s “The Counter Monument,” 2013 employ cybernetics as modes of “circularity,” “feedback,” and “perception” while communicating the user.

In Popp’s “Bit.Fall” both the episteme and aesthetic understanding is recharged by cybernetics through the interaction of a global and remote user in his industrially and technologically advanced installation. The main interaction happens between the machine and the Internet but a sense of tactility is still being fostered. In Bit.Fall the idea of interactivity metonymically displaces the users’ experience of touching the interface. The user is not the spectator before the installation, but is anyone who is online.

Wojtowicz’s digital representation of the ontology of the “news” caters to the idea of cybernetics within a discontinuous narrative and subjectivity with his online installation “The Oracle of Elsewhere.” The work is mainly an interface which is connected to a live data feed from Google and it is sourced to display the fluctuation of world events whereby it generates a cyber-collage in the form of feedback or as flow of information.

Göktan’s installation “The Counter Monument” displays the overlapping worlds of binaries. Göktan generated a database, consisting of women murdered by male violence in Turkey. She designed a website as an online monument for the murdered women with an interface counting backwards from the year 2014, while continuously adding new data. To accompany its online presence she designed bead-work paraphernalia (tapestries and key chains) with embedded QR codes that were handmade by the male inmates of the Department of Corrections in Ümraniye, Istanbul. The user as both a witness and an active participant, the installation turns into a display of cybernetic mode that communicates through media and technology of old and new.

The artists’ attempt to invert the quotidian in to the concept of new media that stream online while facilitating cybernetics within interactive art installations is also significant. The fully functioning circularity in the works breaks down the linear narrative structure whilst regenerating a (non-linear) narrative together with the flow of information, utilization of the systems, and the user. The extension of narrative as a tool for interaction is generated by databases, technology and the desire to narrate.

The experience of these artworks for each user differs depending on the user’s choice to either reject or become immersed in the work. In turn the experience shifts towards unification as the user engages with the work and the split between the mind and body dissolves. The possible sensoria, however, may still be betrayed by the mind’s willingness to cooperate or at times the ability to perceive.

Cybernetic traditions:

  • 7) Art; design; music; literature
  • 5) Education and conversation

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