Digital Fluidity: The Performative and Reconfigurable Nature of the Digital Image in Contemporary Art and Design

By Marijke Goeting.

Published by The International Journal of New Media, Technology and the Arts

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: December 5, 2016 $US5.00

Technically speaking, the production and form of digital images differ from that of analog images: instead of a physical outcome of material or mechanical processes, the digital image has no definitive form but is essentially a performance of code (Manovich). The perception—and therefore the use and experience—of the digital image are, however, still strongly connected to its analog counterpart, by regarding the digital image as a remediation of media such as photography and film (Bolter and Grusin). This paper examines the medium-specific properties of the digital image, in order to expand its perception. I argue that fluidity, performativity, and reconfiguration are important concepts to consider since the digital image is always a temporal manifestation and virtual configuration of information. Specifically, I will explore contemporary works of art and design, such as artistic research project DepthKit, the work “Test Screen” by interaction designer Jasper van Loenen, the websites by artist Rafaël Rozendaal and the indie video game Metrico. By analyzing these works, I will show how designers are already experimenting with the untapped potential and future possibilities of the digital image (by hacking existing techniques and creating new tools) in order to create new forms of experience.

Keywords: Digital Image, Performativity, Design

The International Journal of New Media, Technology and the Arts, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp.27-46. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: December 5, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.272MB)).

Marijke Goeting

PhD Student, Art History, Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands