Dutch Masters

By Carla Rapoport January 26, 2015

Every Lumen Prize Exhibition comes with a seminar or educational activity, involving academics and artists. In Amsterdam, among other speakers, we were lucky enough to have Katja Kwastek, a professor of modern and contemporary art at the VU University Amsterdam, with a research focus on digital art, media aesthetics, and the digital humanities. Previously, she taught at Ludwig-Maximilians-University (Munich) and Rhode Island School of Design in the US. She is also the author of “Aesthetics of Interaction in Digital Art” (MIT Press, 2013). This book is a must for anyone aiming to connect today’s interactive digital art to the rich and storied history of contemporary art over the past 100 years.

[Katia] argues that the aesthetic experience enabled by digital art can, in fact, open up new perspectives for art historians.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, she writes in the book’s introduction, artists have increasingly sought to involve the viewer and stretch the boundaries of the traditional concept of the artwork. Since the 1960’s, this trend has been the object of much academic research. However, she points out, most art historians still have difficulty acknowledging  interactive digital art as a fully valid form of artistic expression. Instead, she argues that the aesthetic experience enabled by digital art can, in fact, open up new perspectives for art historians and not only as it connects to other digital art. In fact, she says, the fresh perspective gained from studying the aesthetics of interactive art might inspire art historians and art lovers alike to begin looking at other contemporary and historical art forms from new angles.
Inspiring words, indeed.

Share this article