Course Objectives:

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Identify the principle developments and paradigm changes in the history of Digital Arts;
  • Describe the trends and practices of Digital Arts in relation to the adoption of core media technologies;
  • Apply critical judgments on the appropriateness of the use of digital technology in artistic endeavours;
  • Reflect on the future development of Digital Arts in response to current technologies;
  • Demonstrate a critical engagement with the fundamental philosophical questions concerning digital and techno culture;
  • Articulate the various issues surrounding the politics of identity and subjectivity in digital culture.

Working Methods:

Lectures and discussions will be facilitated through tele-conferencing and online environments (e.g. Second Life, Blackboard, Skype) so that students from the various partner institutions may participate. Readings will be assigned in advance and discussed during the class.


One essay 6,000 words or equivalent project (by agreement with assessor). Pass/Fail.

Seminar Topics:

  1. Histories of Digital Art 1: The Historical Avant-Garde’s Technological Innovations (From Symbolism to Futurism)
  2. Histories of Digital Art 2: Experimental Cinema, Multimedia, Video Art (Brakhage, Wooster Group, Paik)
  3. Histories of Digital Arts 3: Electric Sounds
  4. Cultural Conditions of Digital Art 1: Identity and digital culture. (From Telenet to Second Life to Facebook)
  5. Cultural Conditions of Digital Art 2: Politics of digital culture. (Digital Warfare, Revolutions, Subjectivity)
  6. Philosophical Questioning 1: Technology, Art, Simulation (Heidegger, Benjamin, Baudrillard)
  7. Philosophical Questioning 2: Postmodernism to Post-humanism (Zizek, Hayles, Agamben)
  8. Philosophical Questioning 3: Digital Aesthetics (New Aesthetics)
  9. Digital Technologies of Representation 1 (Hybrid, Networked, Virtual)
  10. Digital Technologies of Representation 2 (Interactive, Gaming, Web-based)
  11. Digital Technologies of Representation 3 (Bio-art, Robotics, AI)

Select Bibliography:

Auslander, Philip. Liveness. New York: Routledge, 2001.

Baudrillard, Jean. ‘Simulacra and Simulations’ in Jean Baudrillard: Selected Writings, Stanford, 1988.

Benjamin, Walter, ‘The Work Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’

Bell, David. Cyberculture Theorists: Manuel Castells and Donna Haraway. Routledge, 2007.

Berghaus, Gunter, Avant-garde Performance: Live Events and Electronic Technologies, Palgrave, 2005.

Bior, Matthew. The Dada Cyborg: Visions of the New Human in Weimar Berlin. University of Minnesota Press, 2009.

Broadhurst, Susan. Performance and Technology: Practices of Virtual Embodiment and Interactivity, Palgrave, 2006.

Broadhurst, Susan. Digital Practices: Aesthetic and Neuro-aesthetic Approaches to Performance and Technology, Palgrave, 2007.

Bürger, P. The Theory of the Avant-Garde, University of Minnesota Press, 1984.

Calinescu, M. Five Faces of Modernity: Modernism, Avant-garde, Decadence,

Kitsch, Postmodernism, Duke University Press, 1987.

Causey, Matthew. Theatre and Performance in Digital Culture: from simulation to embeddedness. London: Routledge, 2009.

Debord, Guy. The Society of the Spectacle. Black and Red, 1970

Dixon, Steve. Digital Performance. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006.

Gere, Charlie, Digital Cutlure, Reakton Books, 2002, 2008.

Giannachi, Gabriella. Virtual Theatres: an introduction, Routledge, 2004.

Goldberg, RoseLee, Performance Art: from Futurism to the present, Thames and Hudson 2011.

Hayles, Kate. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.

Heidegger, Martin, ‘The Question Concerning Technology’ in Martin Heidegger: Basic Writings, Harper Collins, 1977.

Mann, P. The Theory-Death of the Avant-Garde, Wiley and Sons, 1981

Kirby, Michael, Futurist Performance, PAJ Publications, 1986

Plant, Sadie. The Most Radical Gesture: the Situationist International in a Postmodern Age. Routledge 1992.

Poggioli, R. The Theory of the Avant-Garde, Harvard University Press, 1981

Rush, Michael. New Media in Late 20th-Century Art. London: Thames and Hudson, 1999.

Salter, Chris. Entangled: Technology and the transformation of performance, MIT Press, 2010.

Stiles, Kristene. “Art and Technology” in Theories and documents of Contemporary Art: a sourcebook of artists’ writings. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.

Wilson, Stephen. Information Arts: Intersections of Art, Science, and Technology. New Haven: MIT Press, 2001.