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May 24, 2011 / graceunsw

Media and Art – imagining the future

Ah, the future. Whilst I myself would not even want to begin to hypothesise the nature of our world even five years from now, I think some very important insights can be gleaned by artists, who attempt to capture their vision for the world, albeit from a highly subjective viewpoint.

The Emergence Collective has attempted to “explore questions about the future of art, both in regard to its aesthetics, production, finance, curation, distribution and collection” through their documentary ‘The future of art.’ Perhaps the most important conclusion that I gleaned from this film was that, increasingly, people, as the producers of content and information, are beginning to take over the role of curation that was once afforded to those in positions of power and authority. This democratisation sees people archiving and designing their own histories, which is an incredibly unique process that is highly intrinsic to the 21st century.

One of my favourite artists is a musician who is deeply involved in such processes. His work raises important questions about the nature of what constitutes art and media in the 21st century, and as such has been highly controversial. The artist I am talking about is Gregg Gillis (better known as Girl Talk), who specialises in mashups and digital sampling of popular songs. Gillis’s work has been criticised by media such as The New York Times as being a “lawsuit waiting to happen,” however I believe that this is completely ignoring the point he is trying to make with his work.

Pitting old and new media against each other is both counter-productive and, more so, a redundant argument at the present time. It seems obvious now that there are aspects inherent in new media that are compatible with the benefits of old, and aspects that are fundamentally at odds with each other. In terms of the future, at this stage I believe it is more important to work on solutions that cater for bridging the gap in between media institutions, with the focus on celebrating innovation and creativity rather than pursuing litigious actions for little societal gain.


Gabriel 2011, The Future of Art, Emergence Collective, accessed 24 May 2011, <>

Walker, R 2008, Mash Up Model, The New York Times, accessed 24 May 2011, <>



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