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Cover for Contemporary Art and the Digitization of Everyday Life

Contemporary Art and the Digitization of Everyday Life

Janet Kraynak


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Digitization is the animating force of everyday life. Rather than defining it as a technology or a medium, Contemporary Art and the Digitization of Everyday Life argues that digitization is a socio-historical process that is contributing to the erosion of democracy and an increase in political inequality, specifically along racial, ethnic, and gender lines. Taking a historical approach, Janet Kraynak finds that the seeds of these developments are paradoxically related to the ideology of digital utopianism that emerged in the late 1960s with the rise of a social model of computing, a set of beliefs furthered by the neo-liberal tech ideology in the 1990s, and the popularization of networked computing. The result of this ongoing cultural worldview, which dovetails with the principles of progressive artistic strategies of the past, is a critical blindness in art historical discourse that ultimately compromises art’s historically important role in furthering radical democratic aims.

University of California Press, 9780520303911, 304pp.

Publication Date: November 10, 2020

About the Author

Janet Kraynak is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, where she is Director of the MA in Modern and Contemporary Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies program (MODA). She is the author of Nauman Reiterated and editor of Please Pay Attention Please: Bruce Nauman’s Words.