Where is the Medium?, the 2010 Joan & Martin Goldfarb Summer Institute in Visual Arts & Film in York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, features a free public lecture on May 5 by media arts specialist Christine Ross.
Ross, who holds the James McGill Chair in Contemporary Art History at Montreal’s McGill University, will speak on “The Non/Destinations of Augmented Reality Art” in 312 Joan & Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts, from 2:30 to 4:30pm.
In her talk, Ross will explore the idea that the potential innovativeness of augmented reality (AR) – which in simple terms involves computer-generated information mixed with real-world elements (such as the digital first-down line in a televised football game, or a head-up navigation display) –lies in its ability to generate new ways of perceiving for the spectator. According to Ross, these ways of seeing are structurally rooted in the ambivalence of destination, which she sees as the key feature of AR art. “It calls attention to the special status of the spectator, whose participation is at once a requirement and an uncertainty, a principle of localization and a questioning of the very capacity to localize,” she says.
Left: Christine Ross
Ross argues that this ambivalence is endemic to AR environments, which rely on mobile, networking, tracking, sensing and detection technologies, and that it’s in this ambivalence that AR art offers innovative deployments of interactivity. “It declares: ‘Here you are now’ but simultaneously asks: ‘Where are you now?’” Ross says. “The positioning of the spectator is not an act, but a search, a question, a desire, a verb, an anxiety.”
Ross will address these concepts through an investigation of three AR environments by artists Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Mathieu Briand, and Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau.
Ross’ primary field of research is contemporary media arts, in particular the relationship between media, esthetics and subjectivity; spectatorship studies; AR; and the study of alternative forms of temporality. She is the author of the books The Aesthetics of Disengagement: Contemporary Art and Depression (University of Minnesota Press, 2006) and Images de surface: l’art vidéo reconsidéré (Éditions Artextes,1996) and co-editor of Precarious Visualities: New Perspectives on Identification in Contemporary Art and Visual Culture (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2008). She is currently working on a new book that will be titled “Creating Time(s): Contemporary Media Art and the Post-Optical Investigation of the Image, From the Instant to Slow Time”.
About the 2010 Joan & Martin Goldfarb Summer Institute
The proliferation of digital media and a continuing movement toward the dissolution of the art object call into question the continuing validity and significance of “medium specificity”. At a time when artists increasingly engage the moving image via a range of technologies spanning cinema, Web, television, museum and gallery, the 2010 Joan & Martin Goldfarb Summer Institute in Visual Arts & Film asks: “Where is the Medium?” Invited speakers offer a series of events exploring the boundaries and intersections between the disciplines of the visual arts, art history and film.
The Summer Institute offers York University graduate students and the wider community the opportunity to engage with prominent international artists, curators, critics and theorists through seminars, workshops, courses and public lectures. Upcoming guests of the institute this year are internationally renowned art historian and theorist Thierry de Duve (May 6) at the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art and film theorist Mary Ann Doane (June 7 to 10) at York University.
The Summer Institute is named in recognition of Joan & Martin Goldfarb, longstanding supporters of York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, whose generous gift has made this annual residency program possible.