[rohrpost] The MediaArtResearch Thesaurus is online

Image Science Image.Science at donau-uni.ac.at
Di Jul 18 08:50:05 CEST 2017

www.digitalartarchive.at (
The ARCHIVE OF DIGITAL ART is pleased to announce the official
publication of the MEDIA ART RESEARCH THESAURUS, the innovational
achievement of a 3-year project supported by the Austrian Science Fund
Just accepted by Leonardo (preprint)
Art_A_WEB_2.0-Archive_and_Bridging_Thesaurus_for_MediaArtHistories (
Based on a newly developed keyword index of terms selected by expert
critique, the MEDIA ART RESEARCH THESAURUS enables the comparative
analyses of contemporary Digital Art and its art historical
predecessors. The THESAURUS’ cross-database search function, for what is
called federated or meta-searching, makes visible the genealogical
conflictions and correspondences between Digital Art’s 1) AESTHETICS, 2)
With the robust semantic interoperability of the THESAURUS, user
queries link simultaneously across resources (including an expanded
documentation of digitized image, text, and video); domains (the ARCHIVE
OF DIGITAL ART, as well as the online graphic print collection of
GÖTTWEIG ABBEY–with further historical databases coming soon!); and
communities (of both artists and scholars). Innovated as an effective
tool for DIGITAL HUMANITIES, this keyword-‘bridging’ THESAURUS supports
researchers at the intersection of art, science, and technology in
creating original MEDIA ART HISTORIES.
The MEDIA ART RESEARCH THESAURUS encompasses keywords both at the
cutting edge of Digital Art–a field also known as Media Art or ‘New’
Media Art–as well from ‘traditional’ art history. Organized into a
‘tree-like’ taxonomical structure, the broad comprehensive categories
of the THESAURUS divide into increasingly specific subcategories–as in
the manner of genus/species, whole/part, or class/instance. As
exemplified in the “Panorama” case study sketched below, a user’s search
path might trace “Aesthetics” > “Panoramic,” “Subject” > “Arts and
Visual Culture” > “Panorama,” or “Technology” > “Display” > “Electronic
Display” > “Projection Screen.” Users can depart from any individual
keyword location, discovering terms higher, lower, or related, as
defined by the hierarchical order of the controlled vocabulary, in scope
notes, and through case studies.
As metadata, the THESARUS’ keywords allow for content indexing (in) and
content retrieval (from) the ARCHIVE OF DIGITAL ART (ADA), as well as
the online graphic print collection of GÖTTWEIG ABBEY (GSSG). Each
keyword links image JPEG–, text PDF–, and video MP4– formatted
resources, and in ADA a ‘expanded concept of documentation’ spanning
from installation iterations, and production processes, to information
and schematics under the broad category of TECHNOLOGY with specific
Users of the THESAURUS, in performing cross-database keyword searches,
create and re-create database resources from the ARCHIVE OF DIGITAL ART
and GÖTTWEIG ABBEY. Keyword metadata together with these information
objects semantically represent MEDIA ART HISTORIES, such that the
initial critical analysis of the THESAURUS structure naturally entangles
image, text, and video documents with notions such as cause, subject,
and time. Thus, user queries navigate combinatorial narratives and new
MEDIA ART HISTORIES that can be saved on a visual pin-board or LIGHT BOX
feature, and published in an online exhibition for a wide variety of
applications from scientific or art-based research to educational or
public outreach.
As a hierarchically organized semantic classification schema, the
THESAURUS explicitly represents the relationship between diverse ranges
of cross-cultural, inter-disciplinary, and trans-historical terms. To
best describe its specific knowledge domain of Media Art, the THESAURUS
is limited in scope to 400 individual terms for a field
comprehensiveness that also promotes usability. The continuously fluxing
terminologies of Digital Art, such as “Interface” or “Panoramatic,” are
included along with relatively fixed lexicons of classical art history,
like “Body” or Landscape.” Thus, the THESAURUS serves a bridge-building
function between the art forms such as Bio, Net, and Virtual Art and
those like lithography, painting, and textile.
To develop the THESAURUS, our experts surveyed four primary resource
groups: 1) ‘Traditional’ art history vocabularies, such as Iconclass,
Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), Warburg Subject Index
demonstrated, respectively, an alphanumeric classification scheme
designed for the iconography of art, a structured thesaurus used for
describing items of art, architecture, and material culture that
contains only generic terms, and an index of iconographical terms. 2)
Digital Art databases established since year 2000 then provided a
field-specific expansion of these art historical terms and concepts,
though The Dictionnaire des Arts Médiatiques, GAMA, Daniel Langlois
Foundation, and Netzspannung, have all either lost key researchers, had
funding expired, or were eventually terminated. 3) As forums and
catalysts for the contemporary discourses and innovative technologies
central to Digital Art, festivals such as Ars Electronica, Inter-Society
for the Electronic Arts (ISEA), and Transmediale, and their range of
materials from official publications to professional interviews, were
taken into account. And, lastly, 4) premier literature from the leading
publishers of Digital Art was evaluated on the basis of its indexes,
peer-reviewed keywords that ‘map’ some of the most valuated topics in
the field.
The THESAURUS semantically links artworks on the ARCHIVE OF DIGITAL ART
(ADA) as well as the online graphic print collection of GÖTTWEIG ABBEY
(GSSG), and serves as user interface. Given the GSSG’s curation and
content, a provenance of ideas for Digital Art can be singularly traced
through its graphic prints. These document resources are viewable not
only as artworks, but information-carrying visual media. In their day
central to the production of knowledge, the graphic prints of the GSSG
collection represent many of the inspirations, innovations, and
inventions in disciplines such as architecture, astronomy, biology,
botany, medicine, and psychology that preceded Digital Art.
Systematically archived in the early 18th century from across Europe by
Abbot Gottfried Bessel, conservationist, diplomat, and patron of the
arts, Renaissance and Baroque woodcuts, engravings, and lithographs
constitute the heart of the GÖTTWEIG ABBEY COLLECTION.  With over 30,000
prints, this preserves not only one of the most encompassing private
holdings in Austria, but realizes the Enlightenment ideal of
encyclopaedic knowledge.
To introduce you to the keyword search function on ADA and the MEDIA
ART RESEARCH THESAURUS, we present you with the keyword “Panorama” and
its Histories:
Virtual Reality, immersive spaces of knowledge, memory theatre, and
digital games – the idea of panoramic illusion is omnipresent in Digital
Art. Renowned digital artists from Jeffrey SHAW in his immersive ceiling
projections to Char DAVIES’ immersive virtual spaces, Maurice BENAYOUN
to KNOWBOTIC RESEARCH, all investigate the panorama in their work. And
now, through the MEDIA ART RESEARCH THESAURUS, researches are able to
investigate these Digital Artworks as documented on the ARCHIVE OF
DIGITAL ART in discourse with classic art historical objects.
In 1787, Irish painter Robert Barker patented the process that later
came to be known as the pan-orama (“all-view”). Based on a military
precise view, he developed a system of curves on the concave surface of
a picture so that the landscape, when viewed from a central platform at
a certain elevation, appeared accurate and undistorted. Yet, blurring
the boundary between real and illusionary space is a pictorial process
but a fascination, an idea seen throughout European art history from the
early Renaissance all the way to the Digital Art of today!
+ FIND art works from Graphic prints to Digital Art for the Keyword
‘panorama’ on MediaArt research Thesaurus!
+ BROWSE through ADA’s bibliography for literature on ‘panorama’!
+ SEARCH for artists, artworks and events related to ‘panorama’ on
 The ARCHIVE OF DIGITAL ART   www.digitalartarchive.at (

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