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Tatjana Byrne

Research student

Management Department
Birkbeck, University of London
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HX


Abstract: description of PhD project

The impact of new media/ technology on cultural institutions: a comparative study of dance companies and museums

Since the late 1960s when a computer programme was first used to create a work of art interest has grown in understanding the ways in which technology influences creativity and vice versa. This has lead to a growing interest in the form of interaction between the artist, artwork and the audience and has resulted in discussion of notions of collaboration and control in the production of modern technology-based art. As technology develops so to do the demands made on it by the artist. Consequently the dependency of the artist on the technologist to provide greater flexibility, control and functionality of the technology in question also increases. No longer is it simply a question of substituting one art medium for another, e.g. oil paintbrush for an electronic one, but a question of shifting modes of thinking and approach to art generation that requires an artist to be much more collaborative in his or her work.

Furthermore, if we understand the artist and artistic collaborators to be a team of communicators we find that much research effort has been expended in articulating technology's role in the communication process between the communicators and the audience. However, less emphasis has been placed on understanding how the roles within the team of communicators, might be altered by changes to the communication process brought about by the (increased) use of technology.

Thus, some of the research questions that will be examined to provide further insight into technology's effect on the artistic process include:

  • How does ICT/new media impact government policies regarding the arts and artistic organisations?
  • How do the policy priorities involving ICT/new media affect the boundaries and objectives of artistic projects and organizations?
  • How is the creative practice affected by an artist's past experience of the technology in question? How does an artist's predisposition to technology affect their application of it?
  • What effect does the technology have on the interaction between the artist and his/her audience? How do the dis-intermediating effects of new media technologies affect perceptions of the roles played by different actors in the creative process?
  • How is control of the artistic process affected by the increasingly mediated use of advanced media technology on the creation of cultural or artistic events? What are the mechanisms of manipulation?
  • What forms of organisational transformation are experienced by an innovative organisation or adhocracy such as a dance company or a professional bureaucracy such as a museum as a result of the increased de- and employment of such technologies? What structural changes are the result?
  • Which discourses dominate? What role does technology play in the different discourses?

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