Deborah Cornell




Boston University, USA



The Digital Dialect: Tactility, transience, reach, limits and limitlessness


Digital expressions constitute a specific dialect within the broader language of artistic production. Dialects are varietal idioms of language, based on syntax and vocabulary. This paper will consider the unfolding syntax of the digital idiom ' in particular, how the issues of immateriality, reach, and communication in digital art contribute to digital dialect. Reciprocity occurs between the shaping of artistic expression and the exigencies of an artist's medium. As artists transform images through digital means into printed and light-based forms, they are conversely redefining the concept of medium, as digital process expands  ' and sometimes redefines  ' visual content.
This paper will also consider the historically powerful reach of print and the new 'reachability' of digitally moderated media. The advantage of the printed multiple has long been its ability to function globally both within and outside of established markets and in international forums and global projects. It has been here that the print forum, with its portability, fleetness, and flexibility has realised its particular history. Presently, these same attributes of flexibility and global function have become key attributes of the digital dialect.
The current international scene is generated and supported by globalization, with its burgeoning venues and projects and its emphasis on the world as a whole. Contemporary print projects utilise Internet, Skype, remote digital transfer, and instantaneous communication as studio tools that amplify the reach and power of the image. These opportunities have limits and also elements of limitlessness.
The films and prints of South African William Kentridge, the digital environments and prints of American Jennifer Steinkamp, the installations of Eduardo Kac, and the mutability of my own print'based interactive 3D environments demonstrate the syntax, digital structure, expressive intonation, and communicativeness of digital dialect. They broaden and also challenge the concept of image and print.


Tuesday 27 September


3:30pm - 5.00pm





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