Scenarios of Poiesis: Italian New Media (1994–2004)
This essay attempts to read a number of interventions in Italian new media over the last decade as both a response to and an implicit critique of posthumanism. After a brief discussion of the principal terms in question—new media, interaction, and posthumanism—and a survey of the most important contributors to the discourse of posthumanism in Italy, the essay maps the principal features of Italian media as embodied by the works of three contemporary new media artists. These characteristics include the privileging of a prosthetic model for understanding interaction and more generally the staging of interaction as moments of poiesis. They also include more recently the cancellation of the boundaries between ‘scientific' and cultural images. The essay insists that by foregrounding the primacy of Italian cultural patterns for determining how meaning is generated in new media, Italian new media artists implicitly critique a reifying tendency among posthuman observers in Italy. The essay concludes with a broad assessment of the importance of poiesis for an Italian technological imaginary.
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