A conversation on globalisation and digital art

Melissa Milton-Smith

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Globalisation is one of the most important cultural phenomena of our times and yet, one of the least understood. In popular and critical discourse there has been a struggle to articulate its human affects. The tendency to focus upon macro accounts can leave gaps in our understanding of its micro experiences.1 1 As Jonathon Xavier Inda and Renato Rosaldo argue there is a strong pattern of thinking about globalisation 'principally in terms of very large-scale economic, political, or cultural processes'. (See: Jonathon Xavier Inda and Renato Rosaldo (Eds.), The Anthropology of Globalisation: A Reader, Malden, Blackwell Publishing, 2002, p. 5.) In this thesis, I will describe globalisation as a dynamic matrix of flows. I will argue that globalisation's spatial, temporal, and kinetic re-arrangements have particular impacts upon bodies and consciousnesses, creating contingent and often unquantifiable flows. I will introduce digital art as a unique platform of articulation: a style borne of globalisation's oeuvre, and technically well-equipped to converse with and emulate its affects. By exploring digital art through an historical lens I aim to show how it continues dialogues established by earlier art forms. I will claim that digital art has the capacity to re-centre globalisation around the individual, through sensory and experiential forms that encourage subjective and affective encounters. By approaching it in this way, I will move away from universal theorems in favour of particular accounts. Through exploring a wide array of digital artworks, I will discuss how digital art can capture fleeting experiences and individual expressions. I will closely examine its unique tools of articulation to include: immersive, interactive, haptic, and responsive technologies, and analyse the theories and ideas that they converse with. Through this iterative process, I aim to explore how digital art can both facilitate and generate new articulations of globalisation, as an experiential phenomenon.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2008


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