[iDC] Introduction: MobilityShifts

Oliver Grau Oliver.Grau at donau-uni.ac.at
Wed Jun 22 13:49:57 UTC 2011

Dear all,

having been a lurker on the IDC list for a while, it's time to
introduce myself. 
Trebor kindly invited me to the MobilityShifts conference and I'm
excited to be part of this extraordinary 

I am a Art Historian & Media Theorist.

I was appointed in 2005 the first Chair Professor of Image Science in
the German speaking countries at Danube University, Austria.
(www.donau-uni.ac.at/dis)  Before that I tought at Humboldt
University Berlin were I was the head of several research projects. My
books include Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion, Cambridge/Mass.,
MIT Press 2003; Mediale Emotionen, Frankfurt 2005; MediaArtHistories,
MIT Press 2007 and Imagery in the 21st Century, MIT-Press 2011

My main research is in the history of media art, immersive images, and
images and emotions, as well as the history, idea and culture of
telepresence and artificial life and the development of new scientific
tools for image science.  

I was founding director of the International MediaArtHistories
Conference Series (Banff 2005, Berlin 2007, Melbourne 2009, Liverpool
2011, Riga 2013). www.mediaarthistory.org. 

At the Department for Image Science we developed, among others, various
international master programs for postgrads with international faculty
(Professors like Lev Manovich, Sean Cubitt, Christiane Paul, Erkki
Huhtamo, Paul Sermon, Jeffrey Shaw etc.): MediaArtHistories, MA;
Crossmedia MSc, Image Science MA, Game Studies MA:


The programs have grown in the first five years of its existence from
12 to 180 students. 

I have conceived new scientific tools for the humanities/digital
humanities within the project "Immersive Art" of The German Research
Foundation (DFG) whose team started developing in 1998 the first
international archive for digital art, its probably the largest
scientific archive, open source (www.virtualart.at ). Since 2005 I am
also head of the database of Goettweigs Graphic Collection, Austria's
largest private graphic collection that contains 30,000 works, ranging
from Albrecht Duerer to Gustav Klimt (www.gssg.at ), here we devellop
virtual exhibitions and experiment with cinemascreen-size large

Here I attach the following abstract of my talk on the Future of Visual

Media Art Needs Histories and Achives
New Perspectives for the Digital Humanities

Over the last thirty years Media art has evolved into a vivid
contemporary factor, Digital Art became the art of our time but has
still not arrived in the core cultural institutions of our societies.
Although there are well attended festivals worldwide, well funded
collaborative projects, numerous artist written articles and emerging
database documentation projects, media art is still rarely collected by
museums, not included or supported within the mainframe of art history
and nearly inaccessible for the non northern public and their scholars.
Thus, we witness the erasure of a significant portion of the cultural
memory of our recent history. It is no exaggeration that we have to face
a total loss of digital contemporary art and that works that originated
approximately 10 years ago can normally not be shown anymore. Aim of the
lecture is to create an understanding that the present image revolution
which uses indeed new technologies and has also developed a large number
of so far unknown visual expressions can not be conceived without our
image history.

Similar to how research is facilitated in reputable natural science
labs in astronomy, biology or climatology through access to common data,
the digital cross-linking of the humanities through the creation of
common data pools would allow the undertaking of new globally relevant
questions for our society, which till now has not been possible and
difficult to realize.

If we take a look on media art research over the last 15 years then it
is clear: What we need is a concentration of high quality scholarly
documentation as well as a huge expansion of strength and initiative. In
the field of documentation – systematic preservation campagns do not
exist so far – it is essential to unite the most important lessons
learned and strategies developed by initiatives. For up to date digital
humanities, the funding structures must be internationalized in ways
similar to those enabling modern astronomy, genomics and climatology. In
order to create enough momentum and the necessary sustainability,
responsible sponsors like NSF, SNF, DFG, Volkswagen and EU have to
ensure international long-term sustainable structures. Only when we
develop systematic and concerted strategies of collecting, preservation
and research we will be able to fulfill the task which the digital
culture demands in the 21st Century. 



Chair Prof. Dr. Oliver Grau
Head Department for Image Science
Dr.-Karl-Dorrek-Strasse 30
3500 Krems, AUSTRIA
Tel +43-2732 893-2542
Database of Virtual Art turned 10!

NEW: Graphische Sammlung Goettweig-Online
Oliver Grau (Ed.): MediaArtHistories, Cambridge, MIT-Press 2007.

Oliver Grau (Ed.): Imagery of the 21st Century, MIT-Press 2011.

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