Thesis Info

Thesis Title
The Grammar of New Media. Descriptive Metadata in Database Archives for Media Art.
Nina Wenhart
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
151 (320 with appendix)
Danube University Krems, Austria
Thesis Supervisor
Bruce Jenkins
Supervisor e-mail
bjenkins AT
Other Supervisor(s)
Gerfried Stocker,
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Department of Image Science?Media Art Histories
Languages Familiar to Author
German, English
URL where full thesis can be found
excerpt of thesis is available on:
Media Art Histories, descriptive metadata, database archives, knowledge systems,
Abstract: 200-500 words
Aaa, sdafsda, sxjhk hfjk asfjkl. What reminds of onomatopoeia or a poem by Ernst Jandl, are actually tags that can be found as descriptive metadata in database archives of Media Art. They describe and depict the contents of these archives. I call these words magical because they conjure up works and knowledge from the depths of the archive. Magical also, because who but a magician would know about the “spell” sxjhk hfjk asfjkl? What and if we actually find something in an archive significantly depends on the quality and accessibility of the descriptive metadata assigned to the artworks. My thesis provides insights into ways of capturing ephemeral Media Art via descriptive metadata and creating a system of order. Although “Digital Media Art” includes the term “Media”, hardly any database archive for Media Art sufficiently deals with this core aspect of the art form. If a crucial factor like this is almost completely forgotten or excluded, then what else is lost? And furthermore, we should go on asking ourselves, what is remembered and included? In my thesis I critically analyze existing database archives for Media Art while investigating alternative strategies of capturing the “unstable” and “ephemeral” - i.e. time- and process-based works of art. To avoid premature aging of these archives, I suggest that models of openness, such as Wittgenstein's concepts of Familienähnlichkeit (Family Resemblance) and Sprachspiel (Language-Game) more functionally fit the task of describing evolving systems.