AH30640 Contemporary Art and New Media

Academic Year 2021/2022

The module Contemporary Art and New Media will explore the influence of digital technologies on contemporary art. New media art generally refers to art from the mid-1990s onwards which makes use of digital technologies in its production, distribution and exhibition. Examples of digital technologies used might include video, video game engines, CGI, VR and AR, AI and machine vision, the internet, social media, mobile phones and apps. Concentrating on screen-based media, weekly lectures will introduce students to histories, theories and practices of new media art and to concepts such as post-medium, post-media, post-digital, post-internet and new aesthetic, while weekly discussions will introduce students to some of the thematic concerns of contemporary art such as identity, computational capitalism, climate change, trans- and post-humanism, the Anthropocene and the Cthulucene. The module will also explore the influence of digital technologies on the art world, specifically the curating, collecting and marketing of contemporary art, by focusing on recent developments including algorithmic curating, freeportism and blockchain.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the module students will:

1. Have acquired a solid foundational knowledge of new media art histories, theories and practices

2. Appreciate the necessarily interdisciplinary approach to the study of new media art combining art history with, for example, media theory or philosophy

3. Understand the relationship between new media art, contemporary art, and earlier art movements such Dada, Situationism, Fluxus and conceptual art

4. Understand the relationship between new media art and its political, economic, social and cultural context

5. Recognise the importance of criticality for new media artists

6. Have honed their skills in reading, writing and critical analysis

Indicative Module Content:

1. An archaeology of screen-based media from phantasmagoria to GUI

2. Early computer art, the two cultures and the art and technology R&D lab

3. DIY, hacktivism, tactical media and the practice of everyday life

4. Maker culture, critical making, physical computing and locative media

5. Post-photography, AI, machine vision and the status of the image

6. Expanded cinema, video art and artists’ moving image

7. Video game art and critical play

8. From animation to machinima

9. Simulation, virtual reality and augmented reality

10. Internet art from net.art to Web 2.0

11. Post-internet art and the new aesthetic

12. Curating, collecting and marketing new media art

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Seminar (or Webinar)




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module will be taught through a weekly combination of a one-hour lecture and a two-hour seminar. The lecture will give an overview of the week’s topic while the seminar will combine discussions of assigned readings with discussions of selected new media artworks. Each week one or more students will be asked to lead the discussion of the assigned reading. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Leading weekly discussion of assigned reading Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Essay: Final essay of 4,000 words Week 12 n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Class participation Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Journal: Learning journal Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Oral feedback on leading discussion of assigned reading will be given on an ongoing basis. Oral feedback on preparatory research for essay will be given to students individually on an ongoing basis. Written feedback on learning journal and essay will be given to students individually post-assessment.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 Mon 13:00 - 13:50
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 Thurs 09:00 - 10:50