Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Your Divided Attention: Ambient Media art and Looking Sideways
Brett Phares
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
Hunter College
Thesis Supervisor
Tim Portlock
Supervisor e-mail
tim.portlock AT
Other Supervisor(s)
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Intergrated Media Arts
Languages Familiar to Author
URL where full thesis can be found
ambient media art blindness senses mass narcissism everyday
Abstract: 200-500 words
Looking sideways, always sideways, rejecting fixity of attention, drifting from the object to the context, escaping from the source of habit, from the customary seems to have become impossible. The perceived world ceases to be deemed worthy of interest... -Paul Virilio, The Aesthetics of Disappearance. Semiotext(e) The world floods our senses, and if it weren’t for a set of natural neurological processes, we would lie paralyzed in a house of mirrors, mesmerized by the stimuli surrounding us. Ironically, the same brain processes that allow us to get on with our daily life also make us blind to much of what goes on in the world. Add to this the increased narcissistic tendencies brought on by an incessant media environment easily customized to our idiosyncratic angles onto the world, and a growing tendency to migrate to like-minded social communities (both physical and virtual), a problem emerges in our individual and collective abilities to attend to the world as it is. The projects included in this monograph disrupt the innate masking of different facets of the everyday with what I identify as ambient media art (AMA). AMA pre-empts the neurological processes that shape our attention, to go beyond “our right to blindness” (Paul Virilio, Open Sky, Verso) with something more provocative or poetic, in order to unlock and prompt fruitful opportunities towards individual growth and social discourse.