Anna Munster – Materializing New Media, embodiment in information aesthetics

Anna Munster

book – Dartmouth College Press – ISBN 1584655585
The digitalization process of an information /form / entity means its disembodiment. An entire generation of thinkers has grown up from early nineties taking this postulate as granted. This book is dedicated to turn this popular concept upside down. How the digital aesthetic in our lives has radically changed “body, sensation, movement and condition”, as the author writes? Our perception and use of the body has faced physical interfaces, new functional gestures and an omnipresent representation through multiple electronic devices. And the type of hyper-stimulation that visually engages us is challenging our retinae in similar ways the old baroque aesthetics used to do. Munster analyzes the latter relationship through different perspectives, trying to apply the concept of ‘fold’, an environment in which “differences… hold together… produce… a consistency only with combinatorics”. As a result the central role of body for engagement in digital environments arise. A very consistent array of artworks are purposefully reviewed. But this different approach to physicality in digital culture can lead also to our new perception of other’s bodies. The machines initiated a reformulation of the body as a whole connection entity. Their influence on the body-to-body mutated consciousness is probably still underestimated. The new framework within which the body move in space seem to be driven by digitally-induced new gestural attitudes, science-rooted awareness and mutated instinct generated by infinite image production and exposure. But this seem just a step beyond the essential theoretical difference that this book makes.