Frank Popper

A historian of art and technology and Professor Emeritus of Aesthetics and the Science of Art at the University of Paris VIII.

He has been decorated with the medal of the L├ęgion d'honneur by the French Government. He is author of the books: Origins and Development of Kinetic Art, Art, Action, and Participation, Art of the Electronic Age and From Technological to Virtual Art.

Popper documents the historical record of the relationship between technology and participatory forms of art, especially between the late 1960s and the early 1990s. Sharing his focus on art and technology are Jack Burnham (Beyond Modern Sculpture 1968) and Gene Youngblood (Expanded Cinema 1970). They show how art has become, in Frank Popper's terms, virtualized.

Defining virtual art broadly as art that allows us, through an interface with technology, to immerse ourselves in computer art and interact with it, Popper identifies an aesthetic-technological logic of creation that allows artistic expression through integration with technology. After describing artistic forerunners of virtual art from 1918 to 1983 - including art that used light, movement, and electronics - Popper looks at contemporary new media art forms and artists. He surveys works that are digital based but materialized, multimedia offline works, interactive digital installations, and multimedia online works (net art) by many artists. The biographical details included reinforce Popper's idea that technology is humanized by art.

Virtual art, he argues, offers a new model for thinking about humanist values in a technological age. Virtual art, as Popper sees it, is more than just an injection of the usual aesthetic material into a new medium, but a deep investigation into the ontological, psychological and ecological significance of such technologies. The aesthetic-technological relationship produces an unprecedented artform.

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