Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Communication
This paper investigates digital art as a means with which to reflect on wider cultural patterns of everyday digital interactions. Specifically, it attends to an ongoing debate in new media studies focused on the relationship between digital technologies and narrative. Lured by the promise of libratory new narrative forms and utopic interactivity, much recent scholarship has been mired in the investigation of the narrative paradigm to the exclusion of potentially more useful concepts that directly acknowledge the sensing subject. This paper aims to illuminate the material digital aesthetic of ephemerality that increasingly supplants narrative primacy in the relationship between perception and digital realizations. Analysis of new media theorist Lev Manovich's algorithmically driven digital art project Soft Cinema, as well as other database-driven digital works, provides what I argue is a clearer set of tools with which to understand the relationship between temporality, materiality, digitality, and sensing bodies.