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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathForerunners
_readme (Bunting, Heath)

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Walter Ruttmann designed «an art for the eye that differs from painting in that it is time-based (like music). … And so a type of artist will emerge who is quite new and previously only latently in existence, placed somewhere between painting and music.» And this new art «can definitely expect to reach a considerably wider audience than painting has.»[5] This idea takes on concrete form in the absolute films made in the 1920s by Ruttmann, Viking Eggeling, Hans Richter and others. Kurt Weill produced an equivalent idea for «absolute radio art» in 1925, in which «an army of new, unheard sounds that the microphone could produce artificially» was to make possible something like «an absolute, soulful work of art, floating above the earth.»[6]

These new approaches to media aesthetics were conceived from the outset as a reaction to the increasingly technological nature and media acceleration of everyday perception.[7] This second motive also continues today in artists' analyses and deconstruction[8] of mass media. Examples extend from William Burroughs' literary cut-up via Nam June Paik's remix of TV images to Dara Birnbaum's systematic


analysis of TV semiotics and to the representation of how the Internet is subtly commercializing our language in Heath Bunting's «_readme» Net Project.

Forerunners of media art

Manifestos and utopias

Even before artists started to work with the media, their motives and possible goals were formulated in manifestos and utopian drafts, some going well beyond the state of the technology available at the time. In many ways, these theses anticipate the broad artistic practice of media art that has been underway since the 1960s. These text excerpts documented online in «Media Art Net» can be read as the first formulation of the thematic focal points that are reflected in other texts included in this media art overview. In detail, the following can be said to be the forerunners as far as the following texts are concerned:

* Luigi Russolo, «The Art of Noise,» 1913, cf. text on «Audio Art» * Walter Ruttmann, «Malerei mit Zeit,» circa 1919–20, cf. text on «Technological Constructions of Space–Time» * Bertolt Brecht, «Radio as Communication Apparatus,» 1930; cf. for audience

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