David Bard-Schwarz – An Introduction to Electronic Art Through the Teaching of Jacques Lacan: Strangest Thing


Routledge, ISBN-13: 978-0415500593, English, 192 pages, 2014, UK

The ability of digital information, especially when constantly in flux, to alter our perceptions is still to be acknowledged and properly studied, despite several decades of artworks using media to illustrate the concept. Bard-Schwarz adopts Lacanian psychoanalysis to analyse “electronic art,” not only because it is able to address different senses, but for the ability to engage with the category of the “Real” in multiple ways, and for using “reality as the mise-en-scène of daily life.” The systematic application of Lacanian categories to media artworks promotes fresh perspectives of interpretation and evaluation, for example different involvements with audiences. Structurally, the book is divided into four main themes (and chapters): Bodies, Voices, Eyes and Signifiers. Very different types of artworks are examined, with an ample range of media, techniques and strategies, all directly confronted by Lacanian concepts. The use of language, also in Lacanian tradition, is extremely important, questioning or interpreting essential features, otherwise probably missed. In some cases the technical level is also crucial, as with some sound artworks, which the author invites us to explore through specific technical details. The emerging body of work, then, although coming from a specific perspective, is evidently relevant, and the amount of critical writing and artworks involved form an original and stimulating collection.