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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathImmersion
The Visitor: Living by Numbers; An interactive panorama (Courchesne, Luc), 2001Place-Ruhr (Shaw, Jeffrey), 2000Be now here (Naimark, Michael), 1995

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Art and image worlds

As a finely meshed alliance between science and art, today media art explores the aesthetic potential of interactive, processual image worlds. Internationally prominent representatives of this art form, such as Charlotte Davies, Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau, Monika Fleischmann and Wolfgang Strauss, Jeffrey Shaw or Victoria Vesna work as scientists at research institutes in the field of developing new interfaces, interaction models and innovative codes: they set the technical limits according to their aesthetic goals and critiques. Thus a new type of artist has emerged: as scientists, they often have security of tenure and they develop the technology for their image-aesthetic innovations themselves, working as leaders within teams of programmers and engineers. We are seeing a new alliance between art, technology and science; artists now publish reports on their new software or interface models in specialist journals or present them for discussion at scientific meetings.

Today media artists are shaping very disparate areas, for example, telepresence art, biocybernetic art, robotics, Net art, space art, experiments in


nanotechnology, artificial or A-life art[7], creating virtual agents and avatars, datamining, mixed realities and database- supported art. These specialist disciplines can be roughly assigned to the fields of telematic, genetic or immersive-interactive art, and subsumed under the generic term ‹virtual art›.

Lineage of the tradition of immersion

From an image-theoretical perspective, it is remarkable that installations such as «World Skin» are bringing back the image form of the panorama to life—at least for a time. In addition to works by Maurice Benayoun, others, such as «The Visitor: Living by Numbers» (2001) by Luc Courchesne, «Place Ruhr» (2000) by Jeffrey Shaw, or Michael Naimark's «Be Now Here» (1995–2002), can also be put in the category of an exegesis of the panorama. These installations revive and discuss the idea and aesthetics of this dinosaur of a medium and are thus part of the history of immersion—a phenomenon that has only recently received recognition yet can be traced throughout the entire history of Western art.[8] Consciously or unconsciously, these artists make reference to this

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