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Title: Toward 21st century Wundermaschinen :a practice-based inquiry developing media archaeology as an artistic methodology
Authors: Li, Ping-Yeh
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This practice-based thesis aims to construct a practice framework in the field of new media art that can be multi-disciplinary, reflective and productive in nature, and has potential implications for the relationship of humans and machines in the 21st Century. The core focus of this research is on how a media archaeological exploration of Wundermaschinen promotes an approach to Media Art practice that engenders wonder and expands our vocabulary about wonder is. Building on reflections on creative projects Sensing Energies (2012) and Spirit Exposure (2012-2013), specific concerns emerged. It is argued that further practices of information visualisation move away from scientific and explanatory means, and otherwise explore how they are in line with similar developments in Media Art practice. It is then recommended to embrace a paleontological view on media development, and explore the hidden motives in practice of technology for observation. In other words, a media archaeological approach is adapted to excavate the family resemblance characteristics and unrealized dreams of Wundermaschinen. A review of contemporary maker-culture also suggested that we go beyond the homogenisation of novelty in open source making and examine specific experimental aspects. To inform making activities thus conceived, a speculative framework of ‘21st Century Wundermaschinen’ is proposed: rarity and refined labour, information-oriented visual complexity, performance-like setting for specific sensuousness, embracing knowledge across disciplines, assembling multiple epochal technologies, and machinery of curiosity. This framework is then applied through five experimental projects conducted between 2013 and 2016 that each has been documented the developmental context, implementation, technical ii details and audience response. The results of this application are discussed and reflected to locate their characteristics of experience, aesthetic potential, and suitability for media research. This practice-based research makes the following contributions: (i) a design framework for new media practitioners and HCI designers, (ii) a method of utilizing maker tools that critically contextualise themselves to broader techno-historical context of technology, (iii) an aesthetic and analytic strategy expressed as a framework which re-examines contemporary human-machine relationships, and (iv) a set of provocative examples that reflects on, and provides practical examples for, a media archaeology as artistic methodology.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Arts and Cultures

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