The New Museum in New York has recently teamed up with the MIT to try and answer the question of what role the digital era has been playing in changing the ways in which artists create and how art itself is conceived, consumed and created.
The result is an anthology series to be launched in November 2015 and called Mass Effect: Art and the Internet in the Twenty-First Century, co-edited by Lauren Cornelland and Ed Halter. The series revives the seminal series of critical anthologies on key cultural topics initiated in 1984 by the New Museum and the MIT Press, which produced six defining volumes for the field of contemporary art.
Mass Effect is one of the first volumes to document and critique the evolution of art engaged with the internet in the twenty-first century and includes a series of essays, reprints of key texts, image portfolios, and transcribed discussions, debates, and lectures that offer insights and reflections from a wide range of artists, curators, art historians, and writers.
The editors of the anthology have both gathered and commissioned in-depth writing on artists such as Cory Arcangel, Cao Fei, Paul Chan, DIS, Aleksandra Domanović, Mark Leckey, and Seth Price, in order to hear about the change linked with the digitalisation of art from the ones who are directly involved with it.
The starting point of the reflection is the role of the internet evolving from a relatively new medium to a true massmedium—with a deeper and wider cultural reach, greater opportunities for distribution and collaboration, and more complex corporate, political, and social realities. This allows the project to reflect not only on the most recent digital innovations within the art field, but also to provide the first comprehensive look at the second generation of internet artists that emerged within this era, responding to a radically different set of conditions compared to the net art pioneers of the 1990s.
Persistent war waged through advanced, increasingly invisible technologies, globalization as it affects the language of the art world and the possibility for more distributed alliances and activism, as expressed during the Arab Spring are among the topics treated, ultimately calling for an overall forecast on the future of art as a discipline.