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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2023-24

ARTH 63.72 Aesthetics of the Digital

This course confronts one of the most urgent and elusive problems of our day: the relationship of aesthetics to the rise of digital media. Drawing on a range of critical texts and artistic practices, we will consider how fundamental aesthetic categories such as materiality and form are transformed through the radical shift from a work-oriented to a medium-oriented conception of art and reality. In broader terms, this module explores the rapidly mutable audio-visual environments/interfaces of the digital age and their impact on social relations and cultural production. We will also examine the tensions between intimacy and distance, distraction and attention, and passivity and participation that characterize image consumption within the routines of contemporary technological culture. Finally, this module offers a historical and political framework for understanding contemporary art’s seeming disavowal of the digital and the expanding non-stop processes of twenty-first-century capitalism that underpin it. At the same time, we will assess some of emancipatory possibilities opened by the accessibility and affordability of digital cameras, editing software and mobile devices. As well as making use of the interpretive methods of art history, this module will introduce students to tools drawn from social semiotics, media studies, anthropology, visual culture, cybernetics and design philosophy.



Degree Requirement Attributes

Dist:INT or ART

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.


  • Spring