Fleischmann, Monika; Strauss, Wolfgang. Home of the Brain, 1992

Oliver Grau

Does the Experience of Immersion Drive Media Art?

Date 12/2/02

Affiliation Art Historian, Danube-University Krems, Krems an der Donau


Going beyond technical and ahistorical views of media art, we analyze what is really new in media art by focusing on recent work against the backdrop of historic developments. This talk will consider the ancestors of mixed and virtual realities, telepresence and genetic art from the history of media of illusion and immersion. Our goal is a material and theoretical contribution to an emerging discipline: the science of the image. Where and how does the new genre of virtual art fit into the art history of the image, that is, how do historical elements continue to live on and influence this contemporary art? Immersion is undoubtedly a key to any understanding of the development of media. What part does this play in the current metamorphosis of the concepts of art and the image? One example is Mixed Reality, where a new blend of traditional media is created through combining architecture, sculpture, painting, and scenography.

The talk draws on the work of contemporary artists and groups like ART+COM, Maurice Benayoun, Charlotte Davies, Agnes Hegedues, Steven Schkolne, Christa Sommerer, Michael Naimark, Simon Penny, Daniela Plewe, Jeffrey Shaw, Karl Sims and Eduardo Kac.


Dr. Oliver Grau is a new-media art historian and lectures at the Department of Art History, Humboldt University in Berlin. He is a visiting professor at the Kunstuniversity Linz and is head of the German Science Foundation project on Immersive Art in Berlin, also he is developing the first international data base resource for virtual art, a result of his work on the history of immersion and virtual art. Grau studied art history, economics, archaeology, and Italian literature in Hamburg, London, and Siena with further research in Japan and the U.S.A. He published widely on VR-art and lectured in Europe, Japan, Brazil and the US. Oliver Grau is a member of the Young Academy of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (BBAW) and the Leopoldina. His research focuses on the history of illusion and immersion in media and art, the history of the idea and culture of telepresence and telecommunication, genetic art, and artificial intelligence. Other memberships and collaborations include the "Images of Knowledge" project at the Academy of Arts, Linz, Austria, and the Frieda Ackermann Working Group.

-- As of 12/2/02

Updated Bio

Oliver GRAU is Professor for Image Science and Dean of the Department for Image Science, Danube University Krems www.donau-uni.ac.at/dis

He is the author of Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion (MIT Press, 2003), editor of Mediale Emotionen (2005) and MediaArtHistories (MIT Press 2007) and founder of the pioneering international digital art archive www.virtualart.at

-- As of 3/13/07