From Connected Digital Art to Cybernetic Ecologies

Sean Clark

PhD Thesis

2018

This thesis is concerned with the development of art systems, and in particular digital art systems. That is, digital artworks that are able to interact with each other, as well as their human viewers or participants. The communication may be over distance via the internet, or in a shared space via sound, light and movement. The concept of the connected digital artwork is defined, together with a framework for analysing the connections between artworks and viewers in a connected art exhibition. Three full practice-based research cycles of Theory-Create-Exhibit-Reflect are described (together with an analysis of foundation work), over which the core concept was developed and refined. At each cycle knowledge was generated through the creation and exhibition of new digital artworks followed by a process of reflection. The core contribution of this work is the Framework for Connected Digital Artworks for use in the production and analysis of collections of interacting digital artworks – something that is further referred to as a cybernetic ecology. The connected digital artwork and cybernetic ecology concepts, together with the supporting framework, the new digital artworks and the underlying technical infrastructure, are a contribution to knowledge that will be of benefit to artists wishing to create similar connected artworks and for participants and theorists wishing to understand and contextualise such work. In the concluding discussion, proposals for further cycles of Theory-Create-Exhibit-Reflect are discussed.

Updated 29th October 2019.