How does the medium make a difference? What kind of experiences are presumed when we look at various media expressions?
Wolfgang Tillmans, Still Life. Photo: Taschen
Media Aesthetics is a research group whose aim is to explore the medium's importance for the mediated expression. We work on film, photography, medical imaging and other visual media as we consider mediation and the technology and materiality of mediation.
From 2013 our main focus is on the prioritized research area Imag(in)ing Technologies. You can read more about that here.
Who are we?
The Media Aesthetics group at IMK is an interdisciplinary research group that branches out both to other departments at the University of Oslo, and to other institutions within and outside of Norway. We meet regularly to discuss each other's work, as well as other texts that are of interest to all. In addition to our monthly research seminar, we put on other events.
Media Aesthetics as a field cannot be delimited to a particular academic discipline, but is rather a set of perspectives that can be applied productively within a variety of disciplines. That is why our group is a heterogeneous mix of people with their backgrounds in art history, media studies, literature, film, aesthetics, philosophy, and more.
What do we do?
Media aesthetic analysis starts from concrete phenomena as objects of experience. As a compound and versatile research area, Media Aesthetics is unified by the fundamental question of how media mean and make sense. This question demands a specification of the very terms aesthetics and media.
The concept of aesthetics is in Media Aesthetics regarded as a theory of culturally and historically embedded sensation and perception. More specifically, Media Aesthetics regards aesthetics as a critical reflection on cultural expressions, on technologies of the senses and on the experiences of everyday life, from an ideal of a non-hierarchical view of sense perception.
The concept of medium is considered and treated as complex. Hence the questions of media is refocused from a notion of something fixed, a mere apparatus – a medium, to a notion of process of mediation as a process, as the performance of a function – mediality or mediation.
Media Aesthetics is situated where aesthetic discourses meet the realm of technological and mediatic phenomena. Media specific concepts are seen as dynamic and contextually flexible; always reflecting their specific situatedness within a medial, technological, social or cultural context.