Resource Document

Mapping the Cross-Over between the Arts and Technologies

Ana Alacovska, Peter Booth, Christian Fieseler and Ida Schyum

Mapping the Cross-Over between the Arts and Technologies, by Ana Alacovska, Peter Booth, Christian Fieseler and Ida Schyum

This report is a part of Artsformation’s efforts to map existing European arts initiatives and interventions that operate at the intersection of artistic expression and digital transformations with a view to outlining the basic mechanisms of interdependence between the arts and digital technologies. In the face of the wide variety of artistic genres and media that tackle digital transformations (Gansing and Luchs, 2020; Graham and Cook, 2010), the great geographical distribution of artistic initiatives as well as the rapidly proliferating diversity of digital technologies (Lambert, 2003), all of which may frustrate efforts at rigorous reviews, we have opted to conduct a scoping, rather than systematic mapping of the intersection between the arts and technologies in Europe. Mapping a field through a scoping review of evidence allows for an in-depth assessment of the scope and quality of connections between discrete elements of investigation rather than a quantitative and sweeping overview of the general state of affairs (Munn et al. 2018). At the same time, a scoping study allows for focusing on the investigation of more substantive connections such as ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ rather than on elucidating ‘who’, ‘how many’ or ‘how frequently’ (O’Flaherty and Phillips, 2015). The goal of the scoping review is thus to summarize qualitative evidence of the interrelationship between the arts and digital technologies, and in this way reliably identify relevant research case studies that would merit further systematic investigation (O’Flaherty and Phillips, 2015). Accordingly, our scoping study has focused on the ways in which digital technologies and the arts have co-evolved as a separate complex field of art-tech practice, expression, commentary on and even intervention in social, cultural, and political issues relating to digital transformations of European societies.

The questions that propelled the scoping study were: What are the historical trajectories of the art-tech crossover? What are the concrete examples of the crossover of arts and technology? Can the arts make subtle but meaningful interventions to advance conventional knowledge about the effects, impacts and effects of digital transformations? How do the arts engage technological issues? How are technological issues expressed in the arts?