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By the «New Economy» boom in the 1990s at the latest, the media in general had «infected» large areas of society. «Bookmarking,» that is the storing of Internet addresses in our browser, is now a daily activity. But how often does a bookmark remain just that, never again to be retrieved from the depths of the file folder? Our handling of digital content often promotes forgetting. Perhaps we do need material supports for our media experience. We know the book to the film or the film to the book, why not finally ‹a book to the Net› as well? This volume would like to promote the link between the media worlds of the Net and the book, not least in order to strengthen the quality of the bookmark www.mediaartnet.org.
In the area of art and culture, academic-cultural competence is still lacking in compatibility with the media-networked world of information. While the natural sciences and the business world by now take the Internet for granted as a platform, in large areas of art history or cultural studies the book or the journal remain the dominant media. Up until now, a long outdated skepticism that ‹genuine› knowledge is only to be found in books and that the Internet only
contains largely superficial and unreliable information has continued to hold its ground.
No area of art suffers more from this discrepancy between «media literacy» and cultural competence than media art. Text and print-based forms of representation alone only offer inadequate ways of communicating media art, for without experiencing their particular character as multimedia works the significance of media art cannot be grasped. This leads to a paradox: precisely those multimedia art forms that emerge with and in the digital technologies hardly participate in the potential of popularization offered by these media technologies. Although the mainstream of a still print-based art history and cultural transmission cannot adequately represent the specific character of multimedia art, a platform with widespread resonance has not yet been established in the Net.
Traditional media of distribution like the book or television have proven unsuitable or incapable of providing a lasting or even adequate form for projects in media art, which in turn would make possible a broader reception. For their part, the media arts have