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Networks for art work: an analysis of artistic creative engagements with new media standards

Lesage, Frederik (2009) Networks for art work: an analysis of artistic creative engagements with new media standards. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The principle objective of this study is to examine the culture of networks that are implicated in the production of culture, specifically as it pertains to artists' design and use of digitally networked information and communication technologies (ICTs) for the production of artworks. The analysis in this study seeks to reveal a better understanding of the working practices that underpin artists' creative engagements with new media while recognising the significance of discursive continuities that inform such engagements. Theoretically, a case is presented for combining several theoretical perspectives into a multilayered conceptual framework for examining the circulation of power as it relates both to artistic creativity and to technological innovation. The former is accomplished through a critical assessment of the production of culture theoretical tradition. In calling upon concepts of discursive conduct as a means of developing relations of power, the concept of maverickness is proposed to understand how certain artists do not necessarily bring about change in an art world but instead dedicate themselves to the production of artistic creativity through a contention among various conventions. The latter is problematised drawing upon theories of mediation to develop a model of the conversion and classification of new media standards into art world conventions. A novel methodological approach is developed based on the development of multiple biographical threads of an individual and of a technology within a single case study of an art world network. Empirically, the thesis contributes insights into the diverse end contingent collective work practices involved in the design and use of ICTs by artists for the production of artworks. The findings suggest that individual artists are able to develop designer roles consistent with their situated understandings of creative conduct for modifying aspects of the ICT infrastructure despite shifting technological and social new media standards. However, in order to coordinate such roles within wider collective social structures, artists also initiate forms of mediation, articulation, and classification work that extend beyond the production of artworks and into attempts at programming art world networks within which such artworks were produced and distributed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2009 Frédérik Lesage
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Sets: Departments > Media and Communications
Supervisor: Mansell, Robin

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