edited by Sean Cubitt, Paul Thomas – Relive: Media Art Histories.


The MIT Press, ISBN-13: 978-0262019422, English, 400 pages, 2013, USA

Media Art Histories is a biennial international conference “on the histories of media art, science and technology” that began in 2005. The third conference was hosted in Melbourne in 2009 and provided the inspiration for this book. The relationship between contemporary art and art historians has always been quite difficult and there has been a conspicuous absence and lack of recognition of digital art in the “biennial art world”, as Cubitt and Thomas clearly point out in the beginning of this book. Media archaeology and history and philosophy of media are the founding blocks of this type of research and they are explored in five sections addressing methods, territorial specificity (Europe and Australia/New Zealand), artificial life at large, and future perspectives. Internationality is embedded in the selection, covering geographically distant histories still largely to be written: Polish digital poetry, Australian video art methodologies, Venice Biennial computer art in the seventies, as well as Konrad Zuse’s use of punched film stock and the formulation of a Pre-Socratic media theory. So tracking and connecting technologies, strategies, artworks and theories from the past and confronting them with contemporary scenarios is not a mere exercise, but a pivotal attitude for exploring the central aspect of “mediation” in art, as affirmed by the editors . And if this mediation is now in daily practice and culture, the full recognition of its importance is (once more) just a question of time and opportunity.