Blurred Boundaries and Return to Authenticity: Image Politics of Arts in Cyberspace

by Chiu, Chih-yung

Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation investigates the phenomenon of authentic art in cyberspace. The focus is the existence and spatial transformation of authentic art in the digital era, rather than art created by digital technology. The dissertation proclaims that the spectator exists in a unified world of physicality and virtuality; also, the existence of art in the real world and cyberspace cannot be simply split into a physical space and a non-physical one. By applying an interdisciplinary methodology including Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Existential Phenomenology, Walter Benjamin’s Critical Theory, Wolfgang Iser’s Reception Theory, and modern Museology, this dissertation examines the phenomenon of art in cyberspace, through an inclusive study of the phenomenon of spatial transformations of the existence of art. I examine the embodied relations of art-technology-Lebenswelt by focusing on the relationship between technological transformation and the existence of art. The discussion logically leads to the concept of technological embodiment. Under this circumstance, I claim that authentic artworks from the past currently coexist with images produced and reproduced by modern technology. The boundaries between the spheres of the body and of technology have begun to transgress, overlap, and blur in the digital world of cyberspace. Moreover, this project also points out that the phenomenological temporal aspect of viewing digitized art in cyberspace is twofold, and both are related to the body-subject. The temporality of a spectator’s viewing experience is unique because the experience of one’s own temporal flow is quite different from the experience of others; one can only grasp his/her own temporal flow in reflection and, therefore, as already past, whereas one grasps the alter-ego in the simultaneity of a present now. Finally, this dissertation discovers the significance of digitized art in cyberspace by stating that this new space and place for human sensory perception is the place for the everyday exploitive power relations to be challenged through the new effect of art-and-technology embodied relationships. They are filled in their circumstantial links with capitalism and with fundamentalist politics. The experience of looking at digitized artworks in cyberspace, such as on museum sites, eventually has its own power and politics of display. This dissertation eventually concludes that the digitized art images do not lose the context of their original artworks, but maintain an embodied relationship with the physical existence of their artworks. We therefore cannot easily separate them as physical/virtual or real/unreal. Rather, the boundaries between these concepts need to be abandoned. Only with the boundaries blurred can the meaning of art be returned to the originals, and the authenticity of the artwork then returns back to the physical part of the artwork’s existence.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Ohio University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:authenticity digitized arts cyberspace phonomenology image politics


Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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