The Search for New Media: Late 20th Century Art and Technology in Japan

There has been burgeoning interest in documenting the history of digital media within the international art and technology movement so prevalent today. What once was referred to as “computer art” has earned the new title “digital media” in the art world. In the field of art history it dissolves into the larger art category called “New Media” which includes performance, installation, environmental art, and other venues that do not necessarily include technology. This book makes parallels between the process of production in traditional media and the reiterative algorithm in digital media within Japan’s avant-garde of the 1970s. Looking even further back in time reveals that the avant-garde attitude to the exploration of materials and processes of the 1960s in Japan may have provided the impetus to search for new types of media, an attitude which naturally led to experiments with technology and eventually opened the way toward the digital realm and the use of computer algorithms and interactivity in the fine arts. An exploratory attitude toward the abstract concept of the computer’s virtual environment, and the inclination to see the algorithm as the process of art, may have its roots in these early experimental currents. This also gives insight into the nature of non-narrative interactive and performance art in the today’s digital media realm of Japan.

Immersive Theatre: Engaging the Audience

Immersive Theatre: Engaging the Audience is a collection of essays that look to catalogue the popularization of “immersive” theatre/performance throughout the world; focusing on reviews of works, investigations into specific companies and practices, and the scholarship behind the “role” an audience plays when they are no longer bystanders but integral participants within production. Given the success of companies like Punchdrunk, Dream Think Speak, and Third Rail Projects, as current examples, immersive theatre plays a vital role in defining the theatrical canon for the twenty-first century. Its relatively “modern” and new status makes a collection like this ripe for conversation, inquiry, and discovery in a variety of ways. These immersive experiences engage the academy of “the community” at large, going beyond showcasing prototypical theatre artists. They embrace the collaborative necessity of society and art–helping to define the “stories” we tell and the WAY in which we tell them.

Art, Science, and Cultural Understanding

Art and science are often seen in contemporary Western society as almost entirely separate and polarised fields of human enterprise. In contrast, a growing number of practitioners are realising that art and science are both intimately concerned with how we conceive of the world around us; not just as individuals, but also as societies. Art and science share a common embodied imagination, cognitive creativity, and independent spirit of inquiry at their heart, and both can summon up the visionary power of revolution for our senses. The editors and contributors to this book clearly highlight the many underlying themes that have always connected art and science throughout our history and show, through a range of essay styles and voices, how a hybrid art-science movement is now emerging. This new movement offers a broader transdisciplinary perspective to avoid relying on narrow specialisms and short-term fixes when addressing growing global problems such as climate change, economic instability, and provision of food, water, and healthcare for a rapidly expanding world population. Practitioners, researchers, and students in the arts, sciences, and humanities will all find much in this volume to stimulate and inform new ways of thinking about their own disciplinary approaches.