I. A Collision

December, 2002

In the space we awkwardly refer to as the digital (denoting perhaps an era, perhaps a technology, a mode of production, a means of communication or recording, a virtual world or the mechanisms enabling its imagining, production etc. …), a collision [1] has occurred, confusing and destabilizing the trajectories of two previously distinct disciplines–two out of the many discourse networks treating abstraction: art and computer science. It may be that the closeness of their orbits made the accident inescapable. Or it may be that their massive presence here on this historical stage made it gravitationally inevitable. In any case, the meaning of abstraction and the deployment of its art-world techniques and critiques cannot remain the same in the wake of this catastrophe.

[1] Since the reception of this paper also may entail a kind of collision between art and computer cultures, I suggest that those more familiar with the former than the latter consult the Free Online Dictionary of Computing at http://foldoc.org/ for the definition of technical terms.