British Digital Art

New for 2022

This research group will challenge the politics of gatekeeping surrounding ideas of what good art ‘is’, drawing inspiration from the manifesto issued by Furtherfield (London’s longest running (de)centre for art and technology): ‘We want disruption, democracy, decentralisation, distribution and diversity across art and technology now!’

It will explore ground-breaking digital art practice that engages with today’s most urgent social debates. Colleagues in the network with explore new thinking around the politics of display, propelling Sharon McDonald’s (1997) agenda to ‘chart the changing relationship between displays and their audience and [to] analyse the consequent shift in styles of representation towards interactive, multimedia and reflexive modes of display’, into the modern digital art arena.

This network’s starting premise will be to attempt to map what digital art gets made and collected in Britain, why, where and by whom?  This will build upon an existing project Credit X (run by Credit, a collaboration between Modern Forms art collective, Central Saint Martins and the Kingston School of Art) that maps a database of emerging galleries, projects and media platforms in London. In its exploration of digital art’s critical social potential, this inquiry will embrace Donna Haraway’s (1985) visionary intention to make a concerted ‘effort to build an ironic political myth faithful to feminism, socialism, and materialism’. The motivation for doing this is to (a) infect wider curatorial practice with the possibility of the digital contributing to the democratisation of art and technology that disrupts existing hegemonies, (b) explore the potential to for artistic collaborations between the physical and the digital, (c) provide a set of tools for curators and artists that are interested in becoming involved in the digital art and collectibles world d) map the literacies that need reinforcement in understanding and reading digital art.

Key research questions include:

  • Is there – and/or can there even ever be – such a thing as ‘British’ digital art?
  • What different categories of digital creation exist that are not yet a part of the history of digital art?
  • What does a curator of digital art look like?

The British Digital Art Network is led by E-J Scott (University of the Arts, London and the Museum of Transology), Lee Weinberg (University of the Arts, London) and Helen Pritchard (Associate Professor of Queer Feminist Technoscience, University of Plymouth).