The Art Formerly Known as New Media

The exhibition, "The Art Formerly Known as New Media" (September 17 - October 23, 2005) celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Banff New Media Institute, at the Walter Phillips Gallery at the Banff Centre, located west of Calgary, Alberta in Canada. This showcase of 12 artworks was curated by Sarah Cook and Steve Dietz. Participating artists (selected from the over 600 artists who have participated in the Institute's programming) included Shu Lea Cheang, Francesca da Rimini, Sara Diamond, Garnet Hertz,, Michael Naimark, Greg Niemeyer, r a d i o q u a l i a, Catherine Richards, Maciej Wisniewski and Martin Wattenberg & Marek Walczak. Each of the works questioned the purported novelty of art that uses digital technology, and the exhibition sought to cast the works themselves within broader contexts, such as identity, collaborative research, navigating data, participation and interaction, and most of all, the experience of being human in a technological age. Michael NaimarkÕs "See Banff!" (1993-1994), a replica of Thomas EdisonÕs kinetoscope (introduced in the early 1890s) effectively used obsolete cinematic techniques in order to underscore the relative nature of terms like "new," while at the same time documenting the breathtaking landscape surrounding Banff, which has been a tourist attraction over the past century. Alternatively, Catherine Richards works makes comment on the ubiquity of wireless forms of communication. Her piece "Shroud/Chrysalis II" (2005) includes a copper blanket which offers visitors an opportunity to be "unplugged" -- shielding them from radio, television and mobile phone signals.

The exhibition coincided with the First International Conference on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology, Refresh.

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