Engaging 'Intermedia'

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In the mid-sixties, Fluxus artists began using the term 'intermedia' to describe work that was both interdisciplinary and composed of multiple media. The term highlights the intersection of artistic genres and has gradually emphasized performative work and projects that employ new technologies. The exhibition 'Engaging Technology: A History and Future of Intermedia,' on view through March 11 at Muncie, Indiana's Ball State Museum of Art, offers an art-historical survey of such activity. Artists Richard Bloes, Hans Breder, Adam Brown, Gary Hill, Dick Higgins, Jenny Holzer, Golan Levin, Nam June Paik, and Alan Rath show work that explores 'intersections between electronic media and various modes of art making--video, poetry, sculpture, performance, sound, typography, music, and installation.' Organizers John Fillwalk and Tania Schuler worked to explore the etymology of the term 'intermedia,' while emphasizing the practice of artists who 'are particularly interested in the relationship between a viewer and a work of art.' Fillwalk's curatorial statement argues that, 'In encountering that threshold of engagement, the viewer can enter into a partnership with the artist in shaping the direction of the work.' The implication is that these pioneering pieces have an ongoing legacy and flexible trajectory. Meanwhile, the show is a refreshing look back at the history of new media. If you can't visit it in person, check out the online video tour. - Marisa Olson