new-york

John Maeda

Cristinerose / Josée Bienvenu Gallery

What does it mean for a digital artwork to be medium-specific? The answer usually involves interactivity, a variously controlled and predictable behavior and response onscreen. But new-media theorists have shown that interactivity is largely a mirage, a mediated reflection of the programmer’s choices and hence not much more radical than the kind of engagement famously identified by Ernst Gombrich in 1959 as the requisite fill-in-the-blank response to illusionistic painting.

With his recent exhibition of twenty-eight color digital photographs (all 2002), some sandwiched between panels of Plexiglas, some framed, and all hanging on the wall, John Maeda extends the parallels between painting and digital art. A sort of antihero figure among computer artists, designers, programmers, and engineers, Maeda is outspoken in his insistence that the computer be explored as a medium, not used as a tool.

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