My working definition:
Art made using any medium \(X\) such that in most art schools, the Department of \(X\) is less than 50 years old.
Anything that science fiction of the 1930s to 1980s hypothesized we’d be doing In The Future, and we finally got around to doing it.
Stuff that is hard to get funding for because it looks suspiciously like video games, perhaps because it is video games.
See generative art for my personal favourite strand thereof.
For an alternative perspective, let me excerpt Near Future Laboratory’s criteria for new media art (from 2008), who claim the indicators of new media art are that:
- It doesn’t work
- Your audience “interacts” by clapping/hooting/ making bird calls/flapping their arms like a duck or waving their arms wildly while standing in front of a wall onto which is projected squiggly lines
- Your audience asks amongst themselves, “how does it work?”
- It’s just like using your own normal, human, perfectly good eyeballs, only the resolution sucks and the colors are really lousy…
- Someone in your audience wearing a Crumpler bag, slinging a fancy digital SLR and/or standing with their arms folded smugly says, “Yeah, yeah, I could’ve done that too… c’mon dude… some Perlin Noise? And Processing/Ruby-on-Rails/AJAX/ Blue LEDs/MaxMSP/An Infrared Camera/Lots of Free Time/etc? Pfft… It’s so easy…”
- Someone in your audience, maybe the same guy with the Crumpler bag and digital SLR excitedly says, “Oh, dude. That should totally be a Facebook app!”
- It’s called a “project” and not a “piece of art”
- Your audience cups their hands over various proturbances/orifices at or nearby your project attempting to confuse/interact with the camera/sensor/laser beam, even if it uses no such technology
- There are instructions on how to experience the damn thing