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Artist Statement of Amy Lee:


On New Media Art

A thousand Dreams within me softly burn:


From time to time my heart is like some oak
Whose blood runs golden where a branch is torn.
--Arthur Rimbaud

In my practice, I yearn for technology to catch on to the visual logic of painting. It is


impossible because technology doesn’t consider the root of painting to be the root of technology.
Principles of composition compound with principles of design, as if I could just add one to the
other—for an endless array of easy renders. I look at aspects of technology that exhibit an
understanding of the visual appeal familiar to me when I paint. If new media is to be
contextualized within a framework of modernity’s devotion to subjectivity, then truly, as Zhang
Ga says, “Muscles don’t have to be only flesh, neuron networks have become primarily
associated with the artificial, computer bacteria and viruses are more formidably contagious than
those in biology. Objects suddenly have become subjects with a presence alien to our traditional
wisdom and modes of perception.”
The issue of subjectivity relates to a preference of treatment with which I handle my
content. If the subject of a portrait is compared to the objects that make up a still life, I can
quickly sense how the conceptual underpinnings of internet culture might be harnessed to
reformulate traditions of perceptual subjectivity as a type or genre of expression. According to
Lisa Nakamura, the “high cultural valuation of science as a way of understanding identity,
behavior, and the self as social actor continues to erode humanistically based notions of the
subject as socially constructed.” Yet, this foundation of social constructivism is precisely what
makes the subjectivity of algorithmic art so enthralling. In my own practice, I attempt to work
through these paradoxes of new media art by remembering the transitory nature of this moment
in contemporary art.
But if the present condition of contemporary art has left the viewing and preservation of
new media exposed to modes of interpretation not generally attached to models of curation,
debates about the commercial shortcomings of technology should in theory yield to renewed
methodological rigor towards moving the field beyond its novelty-loving stagnancy. Dominico
Quaranta says, “It should be about bringing new media art to the art audience in a way that
enables it to be accepted as art, and also obliges people to reconsider their preconceptions about
what can be accepted as art.” In other words, for new media to gain further acceptance from
contemporary art curators, the medium would need to draw upon sources of creative expression
associated more closely with the traditional, contemplative, and reflective practices of fine art
production.
I agree with Christiane Paul that a starting point for a more cohesive formulation of my
practice is to think of technology as self-referent. She says, “…this complaint about technology
expresses frustration with its gratuitous use—showcasing technology for its own sake. Applied
to new media art, this critique is linked to a person’s familiarity with the medium. Technology is
a medium, like paint or clay, for most new media artists.” When I paint, I exercise subjectivity at
every turn, from decisions affecting the temporal relevance of my content to the use and
maintenance of materials that appreciate, integrate, and shape new media art practices. It is my
hope in doing so that technology will offer up its dreams, just as painting reveals a memory.
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Works Cited

Nakamura, Lisa. Epilogue: The Racio-Visual Logic of the Internet to “Digitizing Race: Visual
Cultures of the Internet.” Electronic Mediations, vol. 23 (2008): 202-209. Eds.
Katherine Hayles, Mark Poster and Samuel Weber. Minneapolis: University of
Minnesota Press.

Paul, Christiane. “Challenges for a Ubiquitous Museum: From the White Cube to the Black Box
and Beyond.” New Media in the White Cube and Beyond: Curatorial Models for Digital
Art. Ahmanson-Murphy Fine Arts Book: University of California Press, Dec. 2008.
Accessed Oct. 21, 2018. http://classic.rhizome.org/profile/christianepaul/?page=5.
Accessed Oct. 21, 2018. https://www.ucpress.edu/op/9780520255975/new-media-in-the-
white-cube-and-beyond.

Quaranta, Domenico. “What’s (Really) Specific about New Media Art?: Curating in the
Information Age.” New Perspectives, New Technologies. Venice, Pordenone: Institute
University of Architecture Venice (October 2011), reprinted
http://rhizome.org/editorial/2012/dec/6/whats-really-specific-about-new-media-art-
curating/ (Dec. 6, 2012).

Zhang, Ga,张 尕. "Translife." Exhibition catalogue,「延展生命」。 北京:清华大学.


University of California Berkeley (2008, 2011): 14-29.