The transformative nature of networks within contemporary art practice

PhD Thesis

Lynch, G (2018). The transformative nature of networks within contemporary art practice. PhD Thesis London South Bank University School of Arts and Creative Industries
AuthorsLynch, G
TypePhD Thesis

Since the introduction of the World Wide Web in 1991, it has had a significant impact on contemporary art. As a consequence, however, networks are almost exclusively considered as technologically determined, art produced is digital, refers to the internet and is more often than not specifically web-based. This research redefines the role of networks in contemporary art. It proposes that networks are not a specific technology that provides a means for art practice to occur but are a concept that transforms practice and enables a networked art.
Networked art is a continuation of twentieth century developments in art including cybernetic art, systems aesthetics, new media art and relational aesthetics. The research discusses these and considers how practice became systemised through strategies such as the dematerialization of art as object (Lippard, 1997) and the renouncement of objecthood (Fried, 1998). Equally important is the emergence of cybernetics and systems theory that explained concepts such as process and behaviour frequently employed in art practice. By defining a network as a type of system, networked art is foremost concerned with connections or links and considers the resulting behaviours that occur. Networked art is therefore not centred on networks as form. It can adapt as technologies evolve over time and as such is considered post specific technologies and the disciplines connected with them.
Emerging out of my ongoing art practice this practice-led research makes an original contribution to knowledge in the field of contemporary art in three ways. Firstly, it demonstrates how networks in contemporary art do not have a basis in a specific technology since they have been employed before current technologies. Secondly, the research explains networked art through the development of a framework and practice as research that informs each other. Thirdly, the research discusses emergent processes, themes and content and clarifies how networked art positions itself within current contemporary art discourse as a post-disciplinary practice.

PublisherLondon South Bank University
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
Print01 May 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited01 May 2019
Publisher's version
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