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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Re-Thinking Materiality of Media in Artistic Practice: The User Manual
by Mehrvarz, Mani, Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 2020, 237; 28313937
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation is a media-archaeological inquiry into the materiality of operative media. It aims to present a model of practice-based research in media study that addresses media materiality in the context of art. To this end, I introduce an experiential framework which I call the User Manual. It is an approach to the study of signal-based media— technically and aesthetically —beyond iconographic representation.

As an artist-researcher, I adopt a hands-on approach to technology to conduct this practice-based research and I draw from my own artwork and creative practice. Given the importance of doing/making and media art practice within the framework of media archaeology (as developed by media archaeology scholars such as Siegfried Zielinski, Erkki Huhtamo, Jussi Parikka, and Wolfgang Ernst), I examine a selection of media artworks and discuss their materiality, temporality, and operationality. This examination includes analysis of my own media art installations from the series Strata of Memory (2015-19) and other examples from contemporary media artists whose works deploy signal-based media, such as Dan Graham, Paul DeMarinis and Alvin Lucier.  

As a hybrid model of practice+theory, the User Manual situates media as more than representational objects, in excess of their socio-cultural significations and predetermined technical definitions. It looks for unknown aesthetic capacities of media and explores how media can be repurposed in artistic works. As an experiential model of media study, the User Manual can be regarded as a useful presentation of the practicebased research model, significant for the study of signal-based media art.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Shepard, Mark
Commitee: Reid, Alex, Vanouse, Paul
School: State University of New York at Buffalo
Department: Media Study
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 82/8(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Multimedia Communications, Technical Communication, Fine arts
Keywords: Materiality, Artistic practice, User manual
Publication Number: 28313937
ISBN: 9798582508496
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