02/12/2023 - 10/12/2023

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The institute in Media Art Criticism is a course designed for students in media art histories and media art cultures, which serves to prepare them to a number of practical jobs in cultural industry (as festivals), academic productions (as conferences) and institutional culture (as museums and archives) and wider media framework (newspaper, newer information media). It enhances students to systematically interpret and evaluate pieces of art and exhibitions in various contexts.


Today art criticism, as an evaluation of art (Lippard 1971; Danto 1996), has been more frequently employed for advocating, especially in curatorial practices (Elkins 2005; Elkins 2009) and fundraising, than producing a critical standpoint which can assist the work of a professional curator, museologist and researcher. Media art criticism today has rarely used new media platforms to disseminate critical essays (Taylor and Carpenter 2007; Berenake 2007; Gillespie 2012; Frost 2019). Still, formal analysis of art (Barett 1994) can be employed to address criticism against media art forms and genres as well as analyze a piece of media art.


Collecting is agglomerating, yet we are aware not all resources are saved. Artworks and their documentation, primary and secondary materials (including manuals and technical books)–is an often sentence media art address. Addressing this obstacle, and – setting other criteria to impose in the selection process of media art heritage, is an important stage in protection of media art heritage.


To address the problem of media art’s relative absence in collecting institutions, or less protection for complex, more gallerist and museum public orientated pieces, one has to address the set of criticisms media art has faced. Such as it being too technical, it is collaborative and thus is problematic determining authorship; it deals with themes and topics not imperative to gallery art, it often can be politically and ethically problematic… Such sporadic and inconsistent approaches only serves to narrow down to domain contextual, usually market-based, temporary values of contemporary art. The political and cultural context framing reasons for inclusion or exclusion of technologically advanced artworks may range from media and technological illiteracy to anti-technology political programs preventing development of, for example, “smart machines”. The only way to prevent it is to analyze, archive and disseminate the problems media art once faced in order to learn how to avoid such a barrier in the future, by any of the archives. Keeping art pieces spoken about, criticized and analyzed is the only way of keeping it alive. Only by actively reviewing and criticizing will media art, including media art history be critically integrated, not only into media art history, as merely a finished historical chapter, but an ongoing lesson on the failure to continue reading and analyzing art. This way we can expand Critical Approaches to Media Art and integrate the technological complexity of media art into the larger contemporary art scene.



The goal of the course is to prepare student to judge pieces of media art and confront its criticism, for purposes of various festival and conferences selections, curated exhibitions, preparatory phase in restoration and conservation, promotion of artworks in catalog prefaces or media, criticism of artworks and exhibitions in critical contexts of newspapers, magazines and journals, as well as contemporary platforms as tweets, blogs, vlogs etc. 


Short Text:
For the greatest deal of its history media art has been criticised and neglected, for various of its aspects; technical experimentation, collaboration with scientists, ephemerality of work etc. Meanwhile, as most of art and cultural institutions are entering digital space, they are overtaking modes of media art (360 presentations, net curated shows). Yet, some of implementations can now be criticised back. How do we interpret media art? Which tools and knowledge we need to have to approach its complexity? This course bridges the theoretical gap between the experimentation and popularisation, between novelty and kitsch, by analysing and situating art pieces in their media, genres and histories. 

takes place hybrid

In Cooperation with:
Arts & Digital Humanities Lab
Archive of Digital Art
MediaArtHistories, MA programme

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Going online! December 2snd - 10th 2023

The Media Art Criticism Institute will take place hybrid. 


Wendy Coones heads the Exhibition Strategies Division. She received a fine arts degree in New Genres at the San Francisco Art Institute. After receiving an M.Ed. in Educational Research & Philosophy, she began working in museums as an exhibition developer of international cultural and scientific exhibits. Institutions where she has worked range from a Science & History Museum in Texas, a Space Science Center in California to the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. Since 2005 she has been on the academic staff at the Department for Image Science responsible for curricula development, teaching working professionals, and support of research initiatives. She is responsible for master of arts programs related to digital cultural life, its histories and futures and is currently primary coordinating staff for an EU-funded Erasmus Mundus European Master of Excellence program in Media Arts Cultures.

Patricia Falcao is a Time-based Media Conservator with a broad interest in the preservation of digital components of contemporary artworks. She has worked at Tate since 2008 and currently focuses on the acquisition of new time-based media artworks into the Collection. Patricia also works with Tate’s Research Department in the Reshaping the Collectible project, in a case study about preservation of websites in Tate’s context. She also works closely with Tate’s Technology team to continue to develop Tate's strategy for the preservation of high value digital assets. Patricia completed her MA at the University of the Arts in Bern with a thesis on risk assessment for software-based artworks. She continues to develop research in this field in her role as a Doctoral Researcher in the AHRC funded Collaborative Doctoral Program, between Tate Research and the Computing Department at Goldsmiths College, University of London. The subject of her research are the practices of software-based art preservation in collections, by artists and in the gaming industry.


Oliver Grau was appointed in 2005 the first Chair Professor of Image Science in the German speaking countries. His books include Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion, Cambridge/Mass., MIT-Press 2003, Mediale Emotionen, Frankfurt 2005, MediaArtHistories, MIT-Press 2007, Imagery of the 21st Century, MIT-Press 2011. He was invited to more than 200 lectures world-wide, is translated in 12 languages and received various awards. His research focuses on the history of media art, the history of immersion and emotions and the history, idea, and culture of telepresence, genetic art, and artificial intelligence. Grau developed new international curricula for Image Science MA and MediaArtHistories, MA, and served as an advisory board member of numerous international journals. He was elected as member of the Young Academy of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and the Leopoldina.

Diego Mellado is an engineer for new media arts and a new media arts restoration researcher, with a strong focus on technical solutions and documentation models for software based artworks. Since 2010 he used of his background on communications engineering (MSc degree) to design and produce new media art works for several artists. Since 2013 he is project manager at Daniel Canogar's Studio, in charge of public art commissions. In 2020, I finished MediaArtHistories MA program, with a master thesis on computer-based art conservation. After his experience at Daniel Canogar's studio, his interest on new media art conservation and restoration has grown significantly as a work field, applying his knowledge on electronics, mechanics and programing to the repair and maintenance of this kind of artwork. He leads a freelance project called HelpMeI'mFamous and is the founder of the Digital Art Drive collection space.


Isabel Meyer is the Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) Branch Manager of the Smithsonian Institution with 17 years’ experience in the Office of the Chief Information Officer in Washington D.C.. She is responsible for the Smithsonian Institution’s digital assets and preservation repository. Duties include strategy, direction and oversight for all DAMS related projects, the digital asset repository storage, system security, preservation, metadata and file format standards, digitization analysis, system design, user requirements identification and gathering, application enhancement and development, maintenance and support. She helped initiate DAMS as an Information Technology Specialist Responsible for project management, requirements identification and gathering, analysis, system design, software development, implementation and support of systems and applications to support all Smithsonian Building and Facility operations.


Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau are internationally renowned media artists working in the field of interactive computer installation. They are Professors at the University of Art and Design in Linz Austria where they head the Department for Interface Culture at the Institute for Media. Sommerer and Mignonneau previously held positions as Professors at the IAMAS International Academy of Media Arts and Sciences in Gifu, Japan and as Researchers and Artistic Directors at the ATR Media Integration and Communications Research Lab in Kyoto Japan. They also were Visiting Researchers at the MIT CAVS in Cambridge US, the Beckmann Institute in Champaign Urbana, IL, USA and the NTT-InterCommunication Center in Tokyo. Mignonneau studied modern Art and Video Art at the “Ecole des Beaux Arts” in Angouleme, France where he received his masters degree. Sommerer and Mignonneau completed their PhD degrees from CAiiA-STAR, University of Wales College of Art, Newport, UK and the University of Kobe Japan, respectively.

Graduate restorer Andreas Weisser studied conservation and restoration at the FH Cologne. From 2003 to 2015 he was employed by the Freiburg City Museums and has been working as a freelance consultant for archive analysis and digitization as well as a restorer for audiovisual media since 2002. His work focuses on advice on analog and digital long-term archiving and the development of sustainable digitization strategies. This includes the evaluation of suitable formats and the conception of depot rooms. From 2008 to 2012, he was the project manager responsible for the conception, planning and construction of the Central Art Depot for the Freiburg City Museums. Since July 2015, he has been responsible for the video art collection of the Museum Brandhorst and the Pinakothek der Moderne at the Doerner Institut in Munich (part-time). In addition to private collections, his customers also include museums, public and state archives at home and abroad. Andreas Weisser has published several articles on the long-term archiving of audiovisual cultural assets and has given lectures on this topic. He is a lecturer at the FH Cologne and HTW Berlin and a trainer at the Deutsche Welle Akademie for the Middle East and North Africa.


Florian Wiencek is an expert on the interface of Digital Media and Cultural Learning. He earned his B.Sc. in Digital Media and M.A. in Art and Cultural Mediation from University of Bremen and his PhD in Visual Studies at Jacobs University Bremen. He currently works at Fluxguide in the areas of digital concepts, project management and R&D. He was previously researcher and lecturer in the Department for Image Science and visiting lecturer in the Department of Art, Art History and Visual Studies at Duke University. His published PhD analyzed digital media and digital data with their characteristics and affordances are currently employed in practices of mediation of art and culture and for cultural learning. Moreover he is interested in the creative (re-)use of digital heritage data for co-creative knowledge generation about and with art and culture together with the audience inside and outside of an exhibition or institution. His main research interests are digital mediation of art and culture, digital archives, media- and hybrid art, digital culture and communication as well as co-creative and participatory methods of knowledge generation and education.

Knowledge, Skills and Competencies:

  •  Advanced knowledge on definitions of components of time-based media artworks
  •  Understand how to evaluate risks for the preservation of specific works
  •  Evaluate advantages and limitations of different preservation approaches
  •  Understand the issues and relevance of digital preservation
  •  Recognize and analyze risks and advantages of different preservation techniques.
  • Analyze and implement the elements of documentation for preservation necessities

Target Group:

Anyone involved with cultural, collecting or archiving institutions. Conservators and conservation students & lecturers, AV technicians, media artists, archivists, registrars, curators, collectors. Researchers in art history, media studies, (media) archeology or digital cultural heritage.


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Fees and Funding

Participation fees for the institute are 750€
Students and non-affiliated emerging practitioners 650€


Staff at universities in Erasmus+ program countries* may apply for Erasmus+ mobility funds. Participants who wish to join us at the Arts & Digital Humanities LAB may come to Krems on mobility. Please, contact the International Office at your home institution about staff training funds available for travel and accommodation.

*Erasmus+ program countries are: all EU member states plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Serbia, North Macedonia and Turkey.


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