I have been set a task to recommend the absolute must-have-read-by-the-time-they-leave texts for undergraduate art school students in electronic arts, photography and art history.
1. Jack Burnham Beyond Modern Sculpture:The Effects of Science and Technology on the Sculpture of This Century, New York: George Braziller; London: Allen Lane/Penguin Press, 1968
2. Douglas Kahn Noise Water Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts Cambridge Mass. and London: MIT Press, 1999
3. Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin Remediation: Understanding New Media Cambridge Mass. and London: MIT Press, 1999.
4. Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky), Rhythm Science. Cambridge, MA: Mediawork/MIT Press, 2004.
5. Paul Virilio War and Cinema: The Logistics of Perception London: Verso Books, 1989.
6. Martin Lister, Jon Dovey, Seth Giddings etc. New Media: A Critical Introduction London: Routledge, 2003.
7. Charlie Gere Art, Time and Technology Oxford and New York: Berg, 2006.
8. Plato, “The Allegory of the Cave” Book VII of The Republic. Translated by Benjamin Jowett, 360 B.C.E. http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.8.vii.html
9. N. Katherine Hayles, How We Became Post Human: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1999.
10 Oliver Grau, Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press/Leonardo Books, 2003.
11. Stella Brennan and Su Ballard eds. The Aotearoa Digital Arts Reader Clouds: 2008.
1. Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, New York: Hill and Wang, 1981.
2. Susan Sontag, On Photography, London: Penguin, 1977.
3.Margaret Olin, “Gaze,” in Critical Terms for Art History ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London, 1996.
4. Nicholas Mirzoeff ed. The Visual Culture Reader, London and New York: Routledge, 1998.
5. Victor Burgin, Thinking Photography London: Macmillan Press, 1982
6. Jeff Wall Selected Essays and Interviews forward by Peter Galassi New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2007.
7. David Campany, Art and Photography New York, Phaidon Press, 2003.
8. Jonathan Lipkin, Photography Reborn: Image Making in the Digital Era NY: Abrams, 2005.
9. William J. Mitchell, The Reconfigured Eye: Visual Truth in the Photographic Era, Cambridge, Mass and London: MIT, 1992.
10. Martin Lister, The Photographic Image in Digital Culture, London: Routledge, 1995.
11. Vicki Goldberg, Light Matters: Writings on Photography New York: Aperature, 2010.
Art History and Theory
1. Nicholas Bourriaud Relational Aesthetics Paris: Palais de Tokyo: Editions cercle d’art, 2004.
2. Brian O’Doherty Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space. Berkeley, CA: Univ. of California Press, 1986.
3. Boris Groys Art Power MIT Press, Cambridge, 2008
4. Donna Haraway “The Cyborg Manifesto” in Simians, Cyborgs and Women, London: Free Association, 1991.
5. Mieke Bal Louise Bourgeois’s Spider: The Architecture of Art Writing, University of Chicago Press: 2001.
6. Jean Baudrillard, “Simulacra and Simulations”, in Jean Baudrillard: Selected Writings, ed. Mark Poster. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1988
7. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Donna Landry, and Gerald M. MacLean, The Spivak reader: selected works of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak London and New York: Routledge, 1996.
8. Michel Foucault “What is an Author” in Modern Criticism and Theory ed. David Lodge. London: Longman, 1998
9. Laura Mulvey “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” Screen 16.3 (1973): 6- 18.
10. Michel Foucault Discipline and Punish tr. Anthony Sheridan, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979.
11. Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari A Thousand Plateaus, London: Athlone, 1988.
12. Hans Ulrich Obrist Hans Ulrich Obrist: Interviews, Charta/Fondazione Pitti Immagine Discovery, 2003.
To complete this task borders on the impossible. Where do I place Moby Dick? or Samuel Butler’s Erewhon? What about the books currently open on my desk: Timothy Morton’s Ecology without Nature, Naomi Wolff’s Shock Doctrine, Michael Serres Malfeascence? And what about Pierre Huyghe’s Celebration Park? Or the Phaidon books on Tacita Dean and Pippilotti Rist that prove so important for individual students. I can’t teach stage two Electronic Arts without ACMI’s Eyes, Lies and Illusions catalogue. And likewise art theory would have suffered without Benjamin’s “Thesis on the Philosophy of History” – where do we put all the angels!? And How can the Arcades Project be missing from this list?
But there are other problems. Together these lists are 70% male authors. This could be the side effect of canon formation, but shouldn’t be. Perhaps it is the result of thinking in a prescriptive manner, but it could also be something else; a dreaded internalisation of what seems good for us. ((There is no Derrida here and I’m not too bothered by that.)) But, can you leave art school having never read Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit, or John Cage’s silence?