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Absence of the Image: Digital Sonic and Experimental Art. The Importance of Music in Contemporary Artistic Practice TXT, CURL, CTRL, SONANCE and DELUSION

Lona Gaikis
Research Grantee Academy of Fine Arts Vienna | Dissertation Completion Fellowship 2015|16


This thesis in philosophy and aesthetics aims to discuss the phenomenon of digital and experimental art, which adapts strategies of music cultures and sound based expression.

The analysis concentrates on the interrelatedness of art, culture and society with the construction of language and will argue that artistic practice marks an essential part in the continuous process of language and culture.

This hypothesis is mainly based on ideas emerging from symbol theory. It will refer to a triangle of thinkers in this field: Susanne K. Langer, Alfred N. Whitehead and Ernst Cassirer.

The aim is to propose a shift in art critique, reflect issues of visibility and accountability of art and pose an update to a school of thought that is currently attracting attention in various other fields of research. The tools of analysis applied are developed from Process Philosophy and focus on a Philosophy of Feeling or Affect, as the subject is the agency of musics as cultural technology.

The selected examples reflecting these tendencies are chosen upon a curatorial expertise in practice and research since 2009. They include works from experimental music scenes that play with musical form, format and specification of genre and are situated in subcultures of popular music: artist duo Luke Fischbeck and Sara Anderson (Lucky Dragons), musician and artist James Ferraro, musician and performance artist Holly Herndon and visual artist Nate Boyce among others.

TXT, CURL, CTRL, SONANCE and DELUSION are concepts and symbolic abbreviations representing the fields on which I will base my hypothesis and elaborate on central assertions and analyses along with artistic examples.