August 12, 2003
Still on the road, in Amsterdam I picked up a copy of Christiane Paul’s new Digital Art. As far as I know, this is the only current book dedicated to a discussion and survey of digital art — rather than broader topics like “art and technology” or “information arts.” It’s essential reading, and not simply because it’s a source of information not coherently collected elsewhere. Paul (who curates new media art for the Whitney Museum and edits Intelligent Agent) also brings a deep understanding of the field to the book’s organization and selection of work. The one complaint I’m sure some will have is that the book is rather slight (a little over 200 pages), and therefor far from comprehensive. Also, as part of the Thames and Hudson “World of Art” series it inherits a certain picturebook character. But it will serve admirably as an introduction for students and also hold some new information or insights for most of us in the field. (I, for example, found the short discussion of Charles Csuri’s work more helpful than those I’ve read in the past.) I’m certain Digital Art will be a touchstone of the field for years to come.