Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Obsolete Objects, Time and New Media
Ivan Petkov
2nd Author
3rd Author
Master of Arts
Number of Pages
University of Art and Design Linz
Thesis Supervisor
Christa Sommerer
Supervisor e-mail
Other Supervisor(s)
Laurent Mignonneau
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Interface Cultures
Languages Familiar to Author
German, English, French, Bulgarian, Russian
URL where full thesis can be found
Thesis available upon request
Media art, Interactive art, Media archaeology, Chronophobia, Obsolescence, Nostalgia, Ruins
Abstract: 200-500 words
This thesis is concerned with objects and practices which are present within the context of the art formerly known as new media art. These objects and practices seem to contradict the notion of “new” - they represent an affinity for some form of out-datedness, obsolescence or nostalgia. I will attempt to survey the different approaches within this tendency, and the different reasons behind them. The thesis’ focus lies on “real”, tangible objects, and practices and actions associated with them. The objects discussed could not be unified under a certain category of media - any human-made object could be of interest for this thesis, as long as it incorporates some aspect of out-datedness in respect to its temporal and conceptual context, and I’ll narrow down my research to the context of art and technology. ‘The main emphasis will be on interactive digital art and installations, but a few examples from the wider context of contemporary art will also be discussed. The affinity to such objects or practices can be tracked back to the cultural period of Romanticism, which coincided with (and was a reaction to) the industrial revolution of the 18th century. It manifested itself mainly in images of ruins and decay in the fine arts. The tendency was of a fundamental importance in the Surrealist movement which began in the 1920s of the twentieth century, taking place within movement’s close relation with the Freudian psychoanalysis. Turbulent military research on both sides of World War II brought about the revolutionary technological developments the world has witnessed since the middle of the twentieth century. These developments also very much affected the way we perceive time and space. Within the arts, counter-movements opposed to the grand narratives of endless progress and the perpetual acceleration of life took shape. The tendency of old things to resurface, and a preoccupation with the past manifested itself again. Topics such as the crisis of temporality (Boyer, 2013), Chronophobia (Lee, 2004), Nostalgia (Boym, 2001) are still relevant for these movements. I have chosen to take a closer look at George Kubler’s revolutionary conception of time, which represented a perspective shift in the study of art history. His work, which influenced some of the most avant-gardist artists from the sixties onwards, relates to the way the historical time is perceived and understood in the culture history. Words such as “retrograde”, “outmoded”, and “obsolete” change their meaning in ‘Kubler’s perspective shift’. During the practical part of the thesis, I will take a look at how my own work relates to the previously presented critical theories and practical examples.