Too Close, Too Distant: Arts in the New Media Environment After the Pandemic

Çolak M.

4th International Symposium on Art and Design Education, Ankara, Turkey, 5 - 07 April 2021, pp.91-97

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: Ankara
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.91-97



The thesis that communication technologies has transformed human perceptions with space has long been discussed. Critical writers, like Walter Benjamin, stressed that mass communication technologies, or what other Frankfurt School thinkers called “culture technologies”, decline aura between audience and work of art, and create a mechanical interaction-perception process instead. New media environment advanced this dissolution and creates a new, more intensive form of virtual perception in place of it which can be clearly observed in the phenomenon of time-space compression on the internet where human perception is squeezed among electronic pages, electronic windows, as Fredric Jameson, one of the recent key figures in American cultural criticism, has noted. Art and art practices have already been changed before the pandemic, but the remnants of the traditional art perceptions were still partly alive, at least in the museum and exhibition experiences. However this situation has dramatically changed after the Pandemic. Every act regarding to art becomes digital and virtual after the pandemic. In such a condition artists have also been changed; they produce their works keeping in mind that one day they will present their works to the public in a virtual environment. In this environment artists and audience meet on the basis of the work of art which, in fact, has also been a subject matter of a long debate about physical existence of art. Firstly spatio-temporal index of the artistic works have eroded in this simulative reality. Secondly, artistic perceptions are established on a quasi-reality which, in turn, will limit imagination of artists and imprison it in this ‘tele’, virtual actuality where everything looks close, but distant, fluid, and artificial at same time. And finally, this new state of emergency will deepen the crisis of art, as Donald Kuspit and Hal Foster have stressed within a different context.

Taking into account of all these critical perspectives this study will approach the interactions between artists, artistic productions, display, exhibition practices and audience in the new media environment after the break out of Covid-19. This paper will limit its scope to the western countries, including the USA, and use primarily descriptive and case study research methods.


Keywords: Art, New Media, Spatial, Pandemic, Covid-19.